Sue Bob’s Diary links to a fascinating article about the movie and the man. It’s a long but worthwhile read. Here are a few nuggets:

At a dinner party shortly afterward, a friend of mine, who had visited India
many times and even gone to the trouble of learning Hindi, objected strenuously
that the picture of Gandhi that emerges in the movie is grossly inaccurate,
omitting, as one of many examples, that when Gandhi’s wife lay dying of
pneumonia and British doctors insisted that a shot of penicillin would save her,
Gandhi refused to have this alien medicine injected in her body and simply let
her die. (It must be noted that when Gandhi contracted malaria shortly afterward
he accepted for himself the alien medicine quinine, and that when he had
appendicitis he allowed British doctors to perform on him the alien outrage of
an appendectomy.)

The film, moreover, does not give the slightest hint as to Gandhi’s attitude
toward blacks, and the viewers of ‘Gandhi’ would naturally suppose that, since
the future Great Soul opposed South African discrimination against Indians, he
would also oppose South African discrimination against black people. But this is
not so. While Gandhi, in South Africa, fought furiously to have Indians
recognized as loyal subjects of the British empire, and to have them enjoy the
full rights of Englishmen, he had no concern for blacks whatever. In fact,
during one of the “Kaffir Wars” he volunteered to organize a brigade of Indians
to put down a Zulu rising, and was decorated himself for valor under fire.

For, yes, Gandhi (Sergeant Major Gandhi) was awarded Victoria’s coveted War
Medal. Throughout most of his life Gandhi had the most inordinate admiration for
British soldiers, their sense of duty, their discipline and stoicism in defeat
(a trait he emulated himself). He marveled that they retreated with heads high,
like victors. There was even a time in his life when Gandhi, hardly to be
distinguished from Kipling’s Gunga Din, wanted nothing much as to be a Soldier
of the Queen. Since this is not in keeping with the “spirit” of Gandhi, as
decided by Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi, it is naturally omitted from the
movie.

Read the whole thinhg. I’ve got to admit I hadn’t realized just how bad the movie was.

Advertisements