Gandhi and Historical Revisionism

A few years ago, my father gifted me a copy of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. It was 2006, I had just started Junior High and my hairline was beginning its transition into the ridiculous shape it has today. Ah yes, the world was my oyster. One night on what was that year’s Christmas Break; I fired up the game and quickly became enthralled by the experience, and infuriated by Gandhi.

You see, in the Civilization games, the man many once hailed as a modern day Jesus Christ is something of an asshole. Share a border with him, he’s likely to invade. Make it to the modern era, he’s also likely the first to develop and then deploy nuclear weapons on the game map.

For years, this has become something of a running joke on the web. Humor was found in the fact that this man of peace was so overwhelmingly aggressive and violent. What those fans likely don’t know however is that Civilization Gandhi is much closer to the real man than historical revisionists and hippie-dippy people who would be the type to play drums in the nude would have you believe. As you’ll learn, he was more of a Hindu version of Crazy Fred Phelps.

Remember how the man took a vow of celibacy? Well, what people don’t tell you is that the little man from India often put an asterisk beside that concept. You see, though he claimed to be celibate, he also slept naked with women as young as 17 to test his will, including his 18 year old niece. Of course, he got her to do that by using Muslims as a scapegoat. What a classy guy.

Now, as I’m sure you were guessing, it does get worse and even more hypocritical. For a man who once said “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of understanding”, he sure was a blatant racist. During his time in South Africa, the man expressed views of black people that would earn him a brutal beating in the world that we live in today. I’ve saved just a few of them below.

“We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”  

“the Indian is being dragged down to the position of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

I don’t understand why this sort of thing is not more widely known. More than just Gandhi, this sort of revisionism has been applied to far too many historical figures. Abraham Lincoln is remembered as the “Savior of the Union” and a “Champion of Equality”, yet he was against interracial relationships and didn’t want African Americans to serve as jurors, shocking right?

Bottom line is it’s time to take a look back at some of the people that we lionize in history and bring their dirt out into the open. As the recent debacle with Bill Cosby has shown us, sometimes society lets their love for a figure cloud their judgement and ruin people’s lives as a result.

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