Friday, October 2, 2009

Gandhi’s London Diary

‘What led to the intention of proceeding to London? The scene opens about the end of April. Before the intention of coming to London for the sake of study was actually formed, I had a secret design in my mind of coming here to satisfy my curiosity of knowing what London was.’ This is how Gandhi - born 140 years ago today - started a diary he wrote in London aged 19. Only the first 20 pages of the diary still exist, but the text is available online, and appears fairly banal. A Canadian group, however, is propagating the idea that Gandhi’s London Diary is something else entirely, something secretly masonic.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on the coast of present-day Gujarat, India, on 2 October 1869. He lived an extraordinary life, and is considered the country’s most important political and spiritual leader. He led India to independence in the middle of the 20th century, and was a pioneer of resistance (to the British rulers) through mass civil disobedience without violence, thus becoming an inspiration for similar civil rights movements across the world. He died in January 1948, leaving behind 100 volumes of collected writings, amounting to over 50,000 pages of text. Wikisource has an incomplete listing of the volumes, plus a photograph of them.

The very first volume, which covers the years 1988 to 1896, contains the first 20 pages of what is now called Gandhi’s London Diary. According to A Comprehensive, Annotated Bibliography on Mahatma Gandhi by Ananda Pandiri (which itself runs to three volumes), the diary originally included 120 handwritten pages. In 1909, Gandhi gave it to his nephew who was travelling to London; ten years later the nephew gave it to Mahadev Desai. By then, Desai had become Gandhi’s personal secretary and would stay so for over 25 years. For some unknown reason, Desai copied out only the first 20 pages of the diary, and the contents of the other 100 pages remain unknown. (In contrast to Gandhi, Desai was a committed diarist, and eventually published nine volumes - Day to Day with Gandhi - one of which is available on Wikisource.)

Here are the first and last surviving paragraphs from Gandhi’s London Diary. All the pages between these two extracts are devoted to an analysis of how the trip to London came about, and a description of the sea voyage. Thus, in fact, it is not a proper diary at all.

October-November 1888
‘What led to the intention of proceeding to London? The scene opens about the end of April. Before the intention of coming to London for the sake of study was actually formed, I had a secret design in my mind of coming here to satisfy my curiosity of knowing what London was. While I was prosecuting my college studies in Bhavnagar, I had a chat with Jayshankar Buch. During the chat he advised me to apply to the Junagadh State to give me a scholarship to proceed to London, I being an inhabitant of Sorath. I do not perfectly remember the answer I made to him that day. I suppose I felt the impossibility of getting the scholarship.’

. . .

‘Mr. Mazmudar, Mr. Abdul Majid and I reached the Victoria Hotel. Mr. Abdul Majid told in a dignified air to the porter of the Victoria Hotel to give our cabman the proper fare. Mr. Abdul Majid thought very highly of himself, but let me write here that the dress which he had put on was perhaps worse than that of the porter. He did not take care of the luggage too, and as if he had been in London for a long time, stepped into the hotel. I was quite dazzled by the splendour of the hotel. I had never in my life seen such pomp. My business was simply to follow the two friends in silence. There were electric lights all over. We were admitted into a room. There Mr. Majid at once went. The manager at once asked him whether he would choose second floor or not. Mr. Majid thinking it below his dignity to inquire about the daily rent said yes. The manager at once gave us a bill of 6s. each per day and a boy was sent with us. I was all the while smiling within myself. Then we were to go to the second floor by a lift. I did not know what it was. The boy at once touched something which I thought was lock of the door. But as I afterwards came to know it was the bell and he rang in order to tell the waiter to bring the lift. The doors were opened and I thought that was a room in which we were to sit for some time. But to my great surprise we were brought to the second floor.’

Elsewhere on the internet, a search for ‘Gandhi’ and ‘diary’ soon churns up an intriguing proposition posted by a Toronto group, Conspiracy Culture. Last year they hosted a lecture - Gandhi the Freemason? - in connection it seems with the publication of a book by Tim Watson titled Gandhi - Under Cross-Examination. Here’s some of the propaganda for that lecture:

‘The title ‘Mahatma’ is derived from those who are initiated members of the Theosophical Society but who are already initiated members of Freemasonry. The title means ‘Great Soul’. Gandhi’s London Diary was his Freemason diary. It was written in Masonic Code. Only 20 pages survive from this book. The rest of the 120 page volume has conveniently disappeared. The 20 pages which survive describe his initiation to the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry.

Why is Gandhi’s affiliation with Freemasonry and the Theosophical Society being suppressed? Gandhi went to the Bar and studied law at the Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court in the City of London, quite a privilege for a person of colour in the late 19th century, late 1880s in point of fact. Student admission was normally reserved for landed gentry and aristocrats. How did he luck out?

Why was Gandhi in touch with the head of the Muslim League, a known terrorist organization? And why was this organization based in London? It is well known that MI6 and British Freemasonry were behind the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, generally regarded as Islamic Freemasonry, which boasts known terrorists like Osama bin Laden among its membership. It is also well known that the CIA was behind the creation of al-Qaeda, the Mujahaddin and the Taliban. . .’ Etc. etc. etc.

Interestingly, there exists an earnest article about Gandhi and Freemasonry on the website of the Grand Lodge of India, but it makes no reference to London Diary.

And one final thought. Gandhi produced another work with the word ‘diary’ in the title - Delhi Diary. This is a collection of prayer speeches in the very last months of his life, from October 1947 to January 1948. A sample can be seen on Questia’s website.

2 comments:

Capt A.Nagaraj Subbarao said...

'Why was Gandhi in touch with the head of the Muslim League, a known terrorist organization? And why was this organization based in London? It is well known that MI6 and British Freemasonry were behind the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, generally regarded as Islamic Freemasonry, which boasts known terrorists like Osama bin Laden among its membership. It is also well known that the CIA was behind the creation of al-Qaeda, the Mujahaddin and the Taliban. . .’ Etc. etc. etc.'


How can the two periods be juxtaposed?

It was a 'common' British ruse to divide India along religious lines so that there would be little unity amongst its massess. Gandhi, saw this very early & attempted to bridge this divide.

Also, Gandhi was called a Mahatma, because he held out hope to the most backward of India's people.........not because he was a Freemason.

Paul K Lyons said...

The reference to the name Mahatma in the article is part of a quote which is introduced as 'propaganda for [a] lecture'.