11) Relating to Gandhi

Another to sit for Jacob Epstein just after the war was Pandit Nehru who in 1947 became the first Prime minister of India. Nehru was a close disciple of the Hindu holy man Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi had insisted that rivals to Nehru step aside and let him lead India in its newfound independence from British imperial rule.

Gandhi’s non-violent protest had confounded the British stranglehold on India. The brute strength of the whole Imperial Army was defeated by simple act of non co-operation. Churchill was incensed

“It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the vice regal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor.”   

Winston Churchill

Though Nelson Mandela may be a notable exception there is little sign of anyone picking up the gauntlet of Gandhi in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the modern age the Peacemaker is shot at from both sides. Martin Luther King was strongly influenced by Gandhi and murdered in the process, said of the Mahatma (great soul)

“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable”

Martin Luther King

If Martin Luther King is right then where are the peacemakers?

This is not to say that anybody could expect George Bush to miraculously become Gandhi. But trying to capture Bin Laden has been akin to sending the riot police to catch ‘the invisible man’. It’s not the reaction in the name of justice that is questionable – it’s the strategy. Covert operations surely stand a better chance of success in tracking down International criminals? It’s possible that should another course of action been taken, Bin Laden would be facing the International Criminal Court and we would not be contemplating the Third World War.