Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gandhi and Palestine

On entering the Physics Department at UBC Vancouver the day before yesterday, the very first thing that met my eye was a picture of Mahatma Gandhi. It was on a poster for a talk by Norman Finkelstein titled: "Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict: What we can learn from Gandhi". I resolved to attend the talk, until I realised it had already taken place a few days ago. But never mind, the internet has everything one needs (except fresh food) and I tracked Mr Finkelstein's talk down to this link. Not having about 6 hours to spare, I haven't actually gone through it yet - but you should feel free to do so.

And while you're about it, do take a look at what Gandhiji wrote about the Israel-Palestine conflict - in 1938! A good place is this blog posting by the intriguingly nicknamed Zakintosh from Pakistan. The rest of his blog seems most interesting too.

The Israel-Palestine issue has been on my mind of late (as on everyone else's mind, I assume) but I have nothing wise to say about it myself and I think what I've posted above will be more useful to readers. So, having assigned you enough homework for a week, I'm getting back to work.


Rahul Basu said...

Unfortunately Sunil, Satyagraha of the kind Gandhiji envisages would not work against Hitler and his people, the way it did with the British. I think this much is clear from the history of the massacre of the Jews by the Third Reich.

Ironically though, I also feel that Satyagraha by the Palestinian people against the Jews of Israel will also have no effect. It will definitely not impress the likes of Netanyahu or Olmert, nor will it induce Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders. The vanquished are the victors today and behave in much the same way as their victors did in an earlier era.

Bewakoof said...

Prof. Mukhi,

Agree with the previous comment.

Originally from India, but now in America. I miss the great diversity of opinion in India, as opposed to the narrow debate in the "land of the free". The topic here is one case; I would not dare stray from the mainstream in this one---look what happened to Rajmohan Gandhi, Norman Finkelstein, etc... In India, we have the RSS types, secularists duking it all out in the open. Sure there are taboos, but they are there everywhere---some taboos are a lot more harmful than the others...

Anyways a great admirer of the esoteric stuff u and other string theorists are up to, though i do not understand much of it :)