During your recent interview with Der Spiegel, you made a statement about Hitler, saying you love the man because he’s crazy, and also that he lived a life of a discipline just as a saint lives in a monastery. You also compared him with Mahatma Gandhi and called him as moral as Mahatma Gandhi. This has caused a great deal of concern and confusion in Germany, Holland, and other European countries.
My question is: is this an accurate reflection of your feelings about Hitler?
It is very easy to misunderstand me.
I did compare Adolf Hitler with Mahatma Gandhi. Obviously, it is difficult to understand because they seem to be totally opposite to each other; but that opposition is only seemingly so.
Adolf Hitler created the greatest violence in the world up to now. He killed one million Jews in gas chambers, in concentration camps, and for five years continuously invaded countries, butchered people – children, old men, women, who had nothing to do with the military. They were simple citizens.
To compare Adolf Hitler with Mahatma Gandhi seems to be absurd, but it is not. Mahatma Gandhi preached nonviolence, but Mahatma Gandhi was not a nonviolent man. Preaching is one thing, to live it is totally different. I will give you a few examples which can show you what I mean.
Gandhi used to have an ashram in South Africa, called Phoenix. His wife was continuously tortured by him for the simple reason that she was not willing to clean the toilets of other people of the ashram.
In India it is accepted that only a certain caste – the lowest, the untouchables – do that work. The higher caste people never do that kind of work. Kasturba, Gandhi’s wife, was a simple, traditional woman. It was hard for her. Because she refused – she was pregnant – in the middle of the night Gandhi threw her out of the house and told her that unless she feels that she has committed a sin, he will not allow her in the house.
A cold night, a pregnant woman in a country where she does not know any language to communicate with people – do you think of this act as nonviolence? I cannot see it as nonviolent. It is pure violence. In the first place, if Gandhi feels it right to clean toilets, he can do it. But to force it on the wife is trespassing on the freedom of the individual – which also is violence.
Gandhi had five sons. The eldest, Haridas, escaped from home because Gandhi would not allow him to go to any school. Gandhi was against modern education; he thought modern education – particularly science – had destroyed people’s religion, innocence, faith, so he was not going to educate his children.
Haridas was very interested in knowing more and more things. Naturally he wanted to be educated; and I don’t see that he was wrong. In fact, whatever Gandhi knew was through education, and Gandhi was educated in England. If British education could not destroy him, could not destroy his religiousness, why should he be afraid that his son would be destroyed?
But he was so much against it, that it came to a climax point. He told Haridas, “Either you stop asking to be educated, or just get lost. Then this is not your home.”