"The question of whether Gandhi should go down in history as a saint or a sinner remains arguable and one has the obligation to heed the evidence."

His place in history ought to be neither of these options. There are no 'saints' and thre are no 'sinners'.

Human beings are complex creatures who are influenced as to what they believe and how they act by myriad factors, from genetics & parental status, to schooling, to peer group and cultural influence, to experience and the norms of the societies in which they live - and even more.

'Good' and 'Evil' in the polarised & simplistically. extreme terms commonly used by religion and within society are falsehoods.

'Good' people will sometimes support or commit 'bad' acts & 'bad'. people will equally often support or commit good acts.

Most would not argue that Hitler was of poor character and very poor role model. Most would portary him in even worse terms. However, Hitler loved Eva Braun and loved his dog, Blondi. Clearly he was capable of gentleness, affection & caring. He was also capable of callous indifference to human life and the ordering or authorisation of substantial atrocities.

In my view, history does need to be re-written, not to hide, distort or present a particular view but to tell in a more objective fashion. History needs to focus far more on the realities and experiences of 'ordinary' people, i.e. not the famous, the generals, national leaders, & such. Not that I am suggesting that their role oughtn't to be there but simply that it ought to be balanced by the experiences and stories of those whose names are forgotten but who have always made up the bulk of the human race.

I don't condone or seek to excuse horrible acts or behaviour. I simply believe that most, if not all, of us are capable of thoughts and acts that we would also consider reprehensible - it only takes the right circumstances and timing.

This may seem trivial & some may discount it as being on another and much less significant levell but I don't believe it is: As a dog trainer and as a parent I know that polarisation helps nothing. I know that focussing on positive behaviour & ignoring negative behaviours is what produces the most long-standing and desirable behaviours.

In my view, history can teach us much but only if we stop focusing just on extremes in both collective and individual action and stop fearing rather than welcoming difference & pursuing rational dialogue, rather than creating polarised lists.


Expat Tyke in Australia. Dismayed & depressed at World conflict/poverty/disadvantage/hatred. Buoyed by music, art, literature, nature, animals & birds.

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