From another site allegedly quoting Gandhi's own autobiography:
quote:"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." -- Mahatma Ghandi "Gandhi, An Autobiography", M. K. Gandhi, page 446
quote:"Arms" in this context were military arms not the personal weapons of private individuals. The context of "depriving of the whole nation of arms" was the refusal of the British to conscript Indians into the British Army during the First World War. Gandhi was an extreme anti-militarist. The statement is odd coming out of him, but he used the circumstance for political purposes to advance the cause of Home Rule and Independence.
quote:Your quote, though interesting, is taken way out of context. This is actually an excerpt from a leaflet Gandhi was passing around to gain recruits to fight for Britain during World War I. Organizers of a war conference, which Gandhi wanted to attend, quoted the leaflet as a way of illustrating that their political views differed from Gandhi's. In order to boot the British out of India, Gandhi engaged in many savvy, polemical activities designed to move India toward Home Rule. Distribution of this leaflet was apparently one of them. He certainly did not include the leaflet quote in his autobiography to support any opinion, one way or the other, on gun control. Reading the quote in context makes this crystal, sparkling clear. The passage in which the quote occurs has absolutely nothing to do with gun control or gun legislation.
Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, at no point in Gandhi's 90-volume collected writings does he ever express a belief in an individual's right to keep and bear arms. It would certainly be weird if he did. If Gandhi will be remembered for anything, it will be for his passionate dedication to two principles. The first is ahimsa, a Hindu vow to never consciously injure another living creature. The second is satyagraha, the belief that non-violent methods are the only methods that should ever be used to resist injustice and tyranny. The leaflet quote simply doesn't reflect Gandhi's actual beliefs in any way.
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Why would a pacifist even distribute leaflets looking for recruits to fight a war?
quote:The leaflet quote simply doesn't reflect Gandhi's actual beliefs in any way.
Nor does passing out the leaflet,
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quote:Why would a pacifist even distribute leaflets looking for recruits to fight a war?
Several actually, the primary being that in early 1918 it looked like Germany might triumph on the western front, possibly taking over India in the process. When the Viceroy summoned prominent leaders to a War Conference in Delhi. Gandhi supported a resolution calling for Indian recruitment, both so that the Germans would not invade and in the hope that Britain might reward the efforts of the Indian people by granting them independence.
You need to remember that this was before his beginning of the "passive resistance movement", which was partially brough about by the dissappointment he felt at the British not granting India her independence, and indeed taking away some civil liberties after the First World War.
In essence, the reason that this makes sense is that he hadn't really begun his philosophy of non-violence. He does say that he regretted those actions later in his life. I guote, "There is no defence for my conduct only in the scales of non-violence. I draw no distinction between those who wield weapons of destruction and those who do Red Cross work. Both participate in war and advance its cause. Both are guilty of the crime of war." (he is also here referring to the fact that he helped to form an ambulance unit at the beginning of the war for the allies):