There are really two Gandhi's.
Gandhi A. one of the greatest men of all time--like Siddhartha or Jesus. he mastered ahimsa. he used great symbolic gestures like the salt march. he took Hindu/Muslim cooperation to a the highest level anyone has. he led a country to believe in itself without any political title. he mastered fasting in a totally selfless way to affect peace among 1 billion. he lifted the untouchables. for doing these things, he is one of the greatest men of all time.
Gandhi B. quirky. idiosyncratic. self-absorbed. overly-concerned with diet to the point of making food his number 1 moral issue. backwards toward women. against societal progress to the point that he would have condemned modernity like the Internet, or even a bread factory.
the issue is Gandhi lived so recently--and he kept an autobiography. this means his narrow, quirky side is preserved alongside his divine side. Siddhartha and Jesus probably had quirky, shallow sides too but those sides were never documented and therefore
i always try to think of Gandhi A.
People have positioned Gandhi in a very exalted platform in their minds. But the truth is extremely hard and goes too deep.
Since i have always liked revolutionary terrorism as the earnest path to drive away "Ingrej Raaj" Gadhian path has never really been in my good books. Post Gandhi people's allegiance to revolutionary terrorists were completely brainwashed.
INC and Trusteeship were seriously jeered and mocked by Indian Intellectuals and are still done by several others. (we are surely included in that race).
Gandhi was such a power loving maniac that he favoured Nehru instead of the great leader Subhash Bose! It was a step much thought and planned by Gandhi. Nehru was supposedly in the dark about Gandhi's high class "power motifs".
It is true that Gandhi adopted ahimsa, he made an effort to lift the untouchables, he was instrumental in transforming the Indian independence movement into a mass movement. The thought of independence was more or less an elite idea before Gandhi appeared in the scene.
But, it is this same Gandhi who was power thirsty, who promoted only those politicians(in those days, leaders) who accepted his word unquestionably. He did his best to eliminate from the political scene those men whose ideas were different than his or men whose popularity threatened that of his. This Gandhi to me is the one who fought first for the cause called GANDHI and then for the cause called India.
The two major parties in British India - the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League - could have had matters resolved amicably to avoid splitting the country in two, but they did not do so. History proves the Indian National Congress was more to blame for this difference than the Muslim League. The policies adopted by the Indian National Congress was mostly decided by Gandhi. He was the unquestionable leader in that. Consequently, India went to the INC and Pakistan went to the Muslim League.
When India gained Independence and the country split in two, Muslims, both elite as well as the common masses, left India and went to Pakistan(both east and west). Similarly, a lot of Hindus came to India from Pakistan. Men of this generation saw the atrocities and the gruesome Hindu-Muslim riots with their own eyes, they saw innocent men killed, women raped and children orphaned. These were the same Hindus and Muslims who had lived as neighbours, for centuries in their cities and villages, attending schools together, playing together, helping each other through each day. The common folk had never thought of two countries, had never thought of leaving the land of their forefathers and had never thought of having to start life all over again.
What's more meaningless, even after the creation of Pakistan and India, even today, India has a bigger Muslim population than Pakistan and Bangladesh have.
Masses uprooted, thousands killed, millions turned homeless - to appease the political whims of only one man. Such a waste !!!
This is the Gandhi I know, somehow, the rest has never mattered at all.