Gandhian Politics and Religion in Raja Rao's 'Kanthapura'

2519 WordsFeb 29, 201211 Pages
Gandhi’s mass movement during the freedom struggle aimed solely at arousing a nationalistic consciousness which would help in forming up a unique national identity constructed by uniting the masses. Achieving this is not an easy task considering the diversity in religion, caste, creed, etc. of the nation. In order to bring together those diverse sects under a common roof, Gandhi feels the need for secularism and religious tolerance. He professes his secular notion of religion and incites to the mind of the masses, the oneness of men, negating any sectarian religion and caste and class based divisions. As he observes: Man’s ultimate aim is the realization of God, and all his activities, political, social and religious, have to be guided…show more content…
This provoke a shock to the listeners as they never expect a story of an ordinary human being as a subject of Harikathas. The birth of Gandhi is narrated in mythical terms as an avatar of lord Siva: And lo! When the sage was still partaking of the pleasures Brahma offered him hospitality, there was born in Gujarat a son such as the world has never beheld… You remember how Krishna, when he was but a babe of four, had began to fight against demons and had killed the serpent Kali. So too our Mohandas began to fight against the enemies of the country. (kanthapura, p. 16 ) In the imagination of the villagers, Gandhi is visualized as the very incarnation of lord Krishna and has been born in order to “slay the serpent of the foreign rule” (kanthapura, p.16). The spiritual teachings of Gandhi appeal to the religious mind of the villagers: Fight, says he, but harm no soul. Love all, says he, Hindu, Mohomedan, Christian or Pariah, for all are equal before God. Don’t be attached to riches, says he, for riches create passions, and passions create attachment, and attachment hides the face of Truth. Truth must you tell, he says, for Truth is God, and verily, it is the only God I know. (Kanthapura, p. 16-17) Since the actual stories are familiar to the religious elders, the immediate reaction to the modified versions of the myth is of skeptical one. This shows the difficulty to bend the superstitious mind of the villagers. In order to convince

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