Gandhi and Modi – Are they different?

Mohandas K. Gandhi on scavenging :

“The Shudra who only serves (the higher caste) as a matter of religious duty, and who will never own any property, who indeed has not even the ambition to own anything, is deserving of thousand obeisance. The very Gods will shower down flowers on him.” ~ Quoted from Varna Vyavastha, p. 51

“The iniquities we, caste-Hindus, have heaped upon you are so many and so horrible, that enough amends cannot be made even if we scraped our own skins and presented you with shoes made from them. I am a non-Brahmin by birth and became a sweeper by action. It is no calamity to be a sweeper. One can become a Bhangi (sweeper) in two ways. Somebody may call me a Bhangi by way of an abuse—as if a sweeper is a burden to society, though he does the very useful work of cleaning latrines and sweeping streets. Or one may call that man a Bhangi whose service of the people reaches its acme. The Bhangi’s service is like that of our mothers, but we never call them untouchables. Far from it, the mother is revered as a Goddess worth remembering during our morning prayers. The Bhangi therefore is a true servant of society”. ~ From Day-to-Day with Gandhi, Vol. IX. By Mahadev H. Desai, p. 182 which sources Gandhi’s article from Young India,  13th Feburary, 1927. 

Now consider this: 

“At some point in time somebody must have got enlightenment in scavenging. They must have thought that it is their duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods.” ~ Karmyog, 2007

This is allegedly the view of Modi, from an unpublished book, Karmyog.  As a controversy has sought to be created, by usual suspects, on the alleged views of Modi, that too, even if true, extracted out of context from an unpublished book,  it would be pertinent to ask some questions.

Confronted with these two views, what would a fair mind do? Conclude that Modi, just like Gandhi, is telling society that it should be ashamed of itself for stigmatizing labor? Or would a fair mind outrage against Modi, while pretending to follow Gandhi ?

Let me rephrase the question: Would those, who daily claim to live by the ideals of Gandhi, hurl equal pejoratives and abuses at him as they are doing at Modi,  for allegedly expressing essentially similar views?

While we are at it, let us try some more questions:

  • Why is it that after 66 years of independence, women in villages and cities are still forced out to go in open for toilet?
  • Why is it that Modi is being targeted for prioritizing sanitation, particularly when the major beneficiaries of it will be women?

Here are some more questions, on the phenomenon of Modi:

  • How does it sound, to a fair mind, when those who only existence in the world is because of their famous surname, question ‘we the “people like”‘ Modi on his commitment to the downtrodden and the deprived ?
  • How does it sound to a fair mind, that those who spend their lives between farm houses in Delhi and exotic vacations in Spain, question Modi on his vision for the poor and the deprived?
  • Is the opposition to Modi simply because, he who sold tea in railway stations, and has risen through his merit and hard work to the very top, threatens the incestuous existence of Lutyens’ Delhi?
  • Is the almost completely upper caste and upper class ruling establishment of Delhi afraid of Modi, because, he of the extreme backward caste, rising to the very top, would end their dominance?



1. The phrase ‘we the “people like Modi”‘ is courtesy Vijay Chada and Shashi Shekhar, prominent online voices. They tweet at @centerofright  and @offstumped  respectively. 

2.  Details of Gandhi’s views on scavenging can be found in this link.

One thought on “Gandhi and Modi – Are they different?

  1. Good points, and well articulated. I have maintained that this is an artificial controversy based on lies – none of the CONgressi bots has ever read any book (forget NaMo’s). And this faux controversy is based entirely on some unpublished book that!

    Amusingly, some fools (including the usual suspects in media) are trying to draw parallels between NaMo’s remarks on priorities with Jairam Ramesh’s offensive rants (perhaps intended to please his christian political masters?). NaMo merely prioritised while Jairam Ramesh actuallt said “toilets are purer than temples” (see direct quote in 3rd para) here:


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