Ghandi …..a Luddite and a Suffragette

Hmmmmm so I’ve been pondering ….yet again I say the following is just my meandering thoughts after commenting on a blog I am following…it’s not researched or particularly well thought out …I am NO academic:D:D:D

BUT ….growing up I was lucky enough to have had what I view as some remarkable ‘teacher’s ….my junior school teacher Mr Kellet and My Great Aunt Emma who I have mentioned before come to mind, even tho I took them for granted at the time:D:D…ironically they were BOTH 2 generations above me …maybe 3 really …I was an afterthought after all or maybe it was an accident:D:D:D ….ANYWAY I digress

SO ….both these guys taught me a lot about my cultural heritage ….or history …no not the usual stuff of history books but being from the industrial north of England taught me socio/political history from the Industrial revolution onward …from the ordinary person …or ‘working class’ perspective ….BOTH drawing on their own personal experiences and knowledge.

I’ve posted before about the story of Emma, Alice ( my grandmother) and their mother who JUST avoided the notorious ‘workhouse’ by the covert support of extended family and later a small woolen textile mill fortunately run on philanthropic lines giving them work and decent accommodation.

I was taught about socialism and feminism from an early age and the hard won battles for both to be accepted and integrated into the democratic process.

Now I’m not sure if many folk are aware of this but Mahatma Ghandi came to the industrial north when he was on a three month visit to England between WW1 and WW2 …..and in his usual style he made it a priority over and above meeting with dignitaries to spend time with ordinary people……or should I say ‘the poor’.

This was in the latter days of the ‘British Empire’ ….Ghandi was seeking ‘independence’ …. or should I say …seeking to ‘reclaim’ India from the British who had sneaked in and taken over via the founding of the East India Trading Company in the 19th century ( which ties in nicely with the Luddites ….but I’ll come to that in a minute)

ANYWAY ….Ghandi was both a deeply spiritual man AND a politician …my understanding is his desire was to raise the quality of life of ‘the poor’ in India as he believed in equality for ALL….no small task

At the time cotton was imported into the UK from India ….made into cloth at the textile mills in Lancashire and then sold on for a massive profit, and part of the struggles in India was to boycott this trade …which of course had a knock on effect for those working in the cotton mills.

I believe Ghandi met with the mill workers to try to get them to understand what was going on. When he came THOUSANDS turned out to meet him at the station but the authorities had got him to exit at the stop before …..folks were enthralled by Ghandi …they ADORED him …and it is my view that perhaps the authorities were worried about his popularity.

NOW …..stuff I have READ states that the reason folk LOVED Ghandi as they did was because they were hoping negotiations would be had and it would herald a return to ‘business as usual’ but that is not the impression I got from my elders …although I guess they didn’t work in the cotton industry and were also talking with hindsight by the time they were talking to me:D:D:D

And I also believe in spending a good deal of his time with the mill workers will surely have strengthened HIS belief that this WAS NOT a healthy lifestyle ….I mean c’mon …working in those large scale mills all hours …living among row upon row of terraced housing and breathing in the grime belched out from the mill chimneys ..can’t have been a picnic for ANYONE …..hmmmmm and that Protestant ‘work ethic’ …..there IS more to life isn’t there?:D:D:D

Which brings me on to the ‘Luddites’ of the 19th century:D:D

Again I personally believe that there is a misconception that the Luddites were just a bunch of ignorant thugs who were against ‘progress’

At the beginning of the Industrial revolution ….textiles were largely produced by craftspeople in their own homes using traditional spinning and manufacturing techniques ( hence the term ‘cottage industry) …their life might have been simple …but they tended to live in cottages in rural areas and got paid a set price for their cloth …a simple pretty laid back lifestyle but a liveleyhood made ….hunky dory maybe?( can you see where I’m heading with this:D:D:D

ANYWAY once the larger scale mills started to be built it is my understanding ( but don’t quote me I’m not a historian either:D:D:D that to force folk to work in them the authorities reset the prices so low that a liveleyhood could no longer be made in the ‘cottage industry’ YET the large mills could still turn a profit due to the introduction of industrial machinery.

It could be argued that there was a shift in ideology from ‘liveleyhood’ to ‘wage slave’ and ever increasing ‘profit’ and ‘power’ for ‘business’ owners.

The Luddites WERE resistant to this change …well …wouldn’t YOU be? ….in whose interest was this shift in lifestyle? …Hmmmm not the ordinary workers that’s for sure…SO …these guys took to meeting and going in the dead of night to sabotatage by vandalising the industrial machinery as the mills were being built …it almost became a civil war in the north of England ….you could argue it WAS

Anyway in the end one of the Luddites got carried away and murdered a guy …..a group of them were rounded up and publicly executed …they were made an example of to stifle the troubles..and so cottage industry died and large scale manufacturing was born. And I think it’s pretty safe to say that in the British working class …women have ALWAYS worked …children too …none of these working people had any ‘rights’ …untill the recognition of ‘suffrage’ and political socialism but that’s ANOTHER story:D:D:D

And so there are my reasons why I believe Ghandi WAS not only an incredible Yogi .BUT for his own country BOTH a kind of Luddite and Suffragette of his time:D:D …make no wonder he’s considered a Saint:)

And yes ..yes ..I know this is an oversimplification ..but it’s my thoughts worded my way ..feel free to comment if you wish:D:D

9 thoughts on “Ghandi …..a Luddite and a Suffragette

  1. Personally I’d see Gandhi more as a suffragist than a suffragette, even if he wore funny clothes. 🙂 I think that the early labour unions had a lot to do with improving working conditions and wages for mill workers, as they did here in Canada for the many industries springing up to exploit natural resources of lumbering, mining and agri-business. I didn’t know that about the martyrdom of the Luddites. Back to Gandhi, an interesting historical figure, diminutive in size but gigantic in stride. Quite charismatic. Yet he didn’t accomplish much of anything, apart from demonstrating the power of satyagraha, or non-violent non-cooperation with oppressive systems. His politics cost hundreds of thousands of lives lost to religious zealotry and political violence, the partition of India and Pakistan, then further partition of Pakistan and Bangladesh. He didn’t change people – no one can do that. But he seemed convinced that he could, hence his failures. What people “worship” of Gandhi now isn’t his accomplishments but a “national” martyr, safely dead. Were he alive in India today he’d be excoriated. Dead martyrs are always extolled for their virtues. The Catholic Church burned the 19 year old Joan of Arc at the stake claiming she was a witch, then made her a saint. I’m sure Joan and Gandhi are now thrilled to be recognized by those who killed them. Gives you a really nice, warm, fuzzy feeling all over. Wow, those sociopaths love me now, isn’t it grand?

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    1. Ha ha ?…Yes …’Suffragist’ is the correct term ‘Suffragette’ being the woman who stood up for the particular ‘Suffrage’ of women ….I’ll make the correction ….Thanks for your comments
      It’s strange how those seen as ‘trouble makers’ in life can then be sanctified in death . Sometimes by the folk who saw them as ‘troublemakers’ in the first place … it’s a matter of perspective really.
      And I guess it takes a bit of troublemaking or at least cause to face uncomfortable thoughts ….or truths …to change perspectives for the better

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    2. Hmmmm thought about making the correction …but feel it would soften the title to my post …I would also then have to take out the word Luddite ….and it would just be ‘Ghandi ….the Suffragist’ which is not very ‘Blog On’ if you know what I mean:D:D:D

      Oh …and of course Ghandi’s legacy to the world was like you say PEACEFUL protest …but humans being humans there is always someone who gets carried away and it all goes pearshaped:)

      Ps) Talk about things going pearshaped …can’t believe the gross faux pas( understatement) in my reply above this one…which I HAVE now corrected …..BEJEEZUS …I’ve probably upset all those following my blog now …DOH! ….hopefully folk have come to realise where I’m coming from …grammatical errors, spelling mistakes …don’t really think before I post or reply …just tap out straight from my head and maybe was trying to be clever using big words:D:D:D …..no offence intended

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    3. I don’t know if you just saw my reply …but had second thoughts and took the post down …..it’s RIDICULOUS Sha Tara ….I’m just an NHS worker in the community
      It’s ABSOLUTELY crazy ….I think it’s just the authority covering it’s backside should anything happen to an employee following all the cuts that have been made

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      1. You’re probably right. I worked for a multi-national for 42 years and watched as their insane paranoia grew year by year. Couldn’t wait to retire. When they asked me to stay on I didn’t have to think about my resounding “Not a chance!” The other side of the coin in your case is that all that gadgetry makes some people big money – so you have the corporate influence pedlars, salesmen, lobbyists, pushing various types of crap: drugs, security hardware and software, surveillance tools, training, weaponry, whatever sells. They push this extraneous crap upon government departments with discretionary purchasing powers whose bureaucrats hold open hands under the table for their cut. The money simply comes out of the general operating budget meant for people and your wages. Hence why in today’s world, 1% of the population owns more than 50% of the rest.

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        1. You’re so right there Sha Tara ….it’s ABSOLUTELY insane …I’ve worked in my field for 20 years now and we don’t NEED this device ….a few more staff on the ground might help tho:D:D:D …they’ve cut back too far

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  2. Just a quick thanks to say thanks for following and liking my various posts (come impulsively – story of my life). My life is a bit crazy, but “who wants to be normal anyway” (one of my books). Busy on about 5 new books, that are “writing themselves.”, but probably no one would believe the story (stories)
    enjoy the sleep, Fijay
    ZZZZZZZZZZZ

    PPS How do you find the time to write so much, comment and follow so many blogs?

    Liked by 1 person

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