Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

BBC implies in its “Fact of the Day”, that Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi were related!

Posted by jembendell on February 10, 2010

In a schoolboy error the BBC confused J Nehru with MK Gandhi on its homepage today.  A screen shot follows below. In its “Fact of the Day” it says:

Gandhi’s father was State Prime Minister of Porbander in India. Two years before he died, when Gandhi was 13, he married him off to a 14-year-old girl.

“My father was a statesman. I’m a political woman. My father was a saint. I’m not.” INDIRA GANDHI

Ms Indira Gandhi was speaking of her father Jawaharlal Nehru. The juxtaposition of the two statements on the BBC suggests they see a relation between the two Gandhis.

While it’s good to see MK Gandhi mentioned on the BBC, it’s a pity its done with such sloppiness. It’s not uncommon for famous names to be mentioned and their lives and insights into life just assumed. So many people like to quote Adam Smith in defence of current forms of capitalism, without any knowledge of his writings about the role of values and the importance of up-close ownership and face-to-face accountability through the market. Even in India the life and work of MK Gandhi is not looked at very closely, and his own views on economic life are ignored or mis-interpreted. For instance, Gandhi wrote about “economic trusteeship” being his view of how capitalism should operate. Today those few business leaders who have heard of that concept consider it means a paternalistic responsibility to employees and communities. Yet it does not – it demands accountability of those who control assets to those who are affected by that form of control. Otherwise, property rights should be revoked. It is therefore a concept of capital democracy. I develop this in the latest Lifeworth review of corporate responsibility, called Capitalism in Question. I quote from it:

“Indian independence leader, Mohandas K Gandhi, articulated a concept of ‘trusteeship’ in some of his writings. This arose from his view that everything is owned by everyone, and wealth is owned by those who generate it. Thus the one who controls an asset is not an owner but a trustee, being given control of that asset by society. Gandhi wrote “I am inviting those people who consider themselves as owners today to act as trustees, i.e., owners, not in their own right, but owners in the right of those whom they have exploited.”1 In the Harijan paper his views on trusteeship of property were later documented to clarify “It does not recognize any right of private ownership of property except so far as it may be permitted by society for its own welfare” and “under State-regulated trusteeship, an individual will not be free to hold or use his wealth for selfish satisfaction or in disregard of the interests of society.” He also wrote that “for the present owners of wealth… they will be allowed to retain the stewardship of their possessions and to use their talent, to increase the wealth, not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the nation and, therefore, without exploitation.”2 Gandhi did not develop these ideas further, as he had other preoccupations, such as generating economic self-sufficiency, inter-communal understanding, and the non-violent expulsion of the British Empire. The concept there remains to be developed and applied further.”

If people are now even confusing Nehru with Gandhi, perhaps it really is time for another look at some of the great leaders and thinkers of the past century, and what they might tell us about the future of our societies.

1Gandhi, M K. Gandhi’s Philosophy On Trusteeship, http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/gandhiphilosophy/philosophy_trusteeship.htm

2Gandhi, M K. (1946) Harijan, 31st March pg. 63-64. http://www.mkgandhi-sarvodaya.org/momgandhi/chap53.htm

5 Responses to “BBC implies in its “Fact of the Day”, that Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi were related!”

  1. […] https://jembendell.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/gandhi/ […]

  2. Some, however, will try to take over the garden bed.

    Small and soft skin growths acquired on the skin are called skin tags.

    There are a wide range of self tanners to choose from at department stores, but
    why not treat yourself to a spray tan at your nearest tanning salon.

  3. Dante said

    Can I simply say what a comfort to find
    someone that actually knows what they are discussing on the internet.

    You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    A lot more people must check this out and understand this side
    of the story. It’s surprising you are not more
    popular because you certainly have the gift.

  4. Crypto Bit said

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.

    Your site provided us with valuable information to work on.
    You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  5. Hi, after reading this amazing post i am also delighted to share my knowledge here with
    friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: