“Good Government is no substitution for Self-government“ M.K. Gandhi
Reflecting on male control of women, racism and economic exploitation of developing countries I am reminded of something Gandhi wrote in 1920; twenty-seven years before Indian independence and his relationship with Winston Churchill. They represent more than antagonists over the liberation of India from British colonial rule. Churchill, the consummate imperialist, hated Gandhi and tried to prove he was a fraud. Gandhi on the other hand promoted more than revolution through nonviolent resistance. He told the British he loved them and wanted to liberate the English from the damage they were doing to their souls and reputation through imperialism. Gandhi wanted to serve India and England. Churchill wanted British mastery and control. People face similar issues.
When Gandhi wrote “Good government is no substitution for self-government” he knew Indians needed governing experience and the skills to address twentieth century challenges. He trusted Indian autonomy would force his country to mature. Churchill’s imperial self-interest told him India would not and needed England as a parent.
My first question is where and when my mastery and control is appropriate? Next I ask if it is ever appropriate, for how long and when I might help others develop autonomy and the skills they need to better manage their lives. As a father of growing children it was appropriate but my children are now grown and autonomous. Like other parents we experienced an imperfect transition process.
Next I recognize we all have some caste benefits and advantages so I ask as a white male, American, what are my responsibilities toward those who have been disadvantaged by my successes and caste advantages?
Churchill represents those who want to maintain mastery and control. Gandhi wants to liberate me from the damage that mastery and control does to my soul as much as others..
Finally, how are you working out these challenges?