Robert Ellsberg

Gandhi: ASIAN PEACEBUILDER

By Robert Ellsberg

Gandhi believe that exploitation was made possible because by the active and passive cooperation of the exploited themselves. How else to explain that a single trading company, eventually reinforced by the thousand soldier, held hundreds of millions in captivity in their own lands? India’s moral weakness and visions of religion, caste, class, and language, were Britain's strength. Also, the nation’s educated were enthralled by Western culture and manner. A country that had been self- sufficient for food and clothing for a thousands of years and that of one principal of textile for centuries had been impoverished in the space of a hundred years. Land was taken up for the cultivation of cash crops like indigo; food was hoarded by the profiteers and famine for the first time swept over the countryside while wheat was exported to England. Peasants were forced to sell all their crops to pay massive taxes, only to re purchase their own food at increase prices. Government – supported moneylenders gave credit to farmers at staggering interest rates. The cottage textile industry was ruined with the importation of cheap English cloth made from Indian cotton. The village industries, which had supplies the peasant with 20- 60% of their basic needs, were destroyed. With nothing to replace these, industries the villages, once the cradle of Indian civilization, fell into ruin and stagnation. The cities, strongholds of British power and money, began to swell, draining the countryside of its population and wealth, as the country grew deeper into dependence on Britain.