London, Oct 3: Had he been alive today, Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, may have overcome his aversion to technology and embraced the mobilizing power of software such as Facebook and Twitter to organize massive pro-democracy protests, claims George Paxton of the London-based Gandhi Foundation.
Gandhi, who advocated a return to a simpler way of life, "at times sounded very anti-technology," National Geographic quotes Paxton, as saying.
Gandhi's view was that technology was often used at the expense of the poor, Paxton said.
"In India there were massive numbers of unemployed, and the introduction of technology wasn't benefiting them," he said. "It was benefiting the owners of the factories, et cetera."
That's why Gandhi was often photographed next to a spinning wheel, Paxton said. The simple device could be used by India's rural poor to make cotton, which could supplement their incomes and offer an alternative to expensive, factory-made clothing.
But Gandhi's movement to free India from British rule, finally achieved in 1947, would have been impossible without the Googles of his day: the telegraph, the newspaper, the telephone.
Indeed, Paxton thinks Gandhi would have approved of such technology if it "empowered the ordinary person."
But Gandhi, a pacifist who advocated non-violent protest, would certainly not have approved of modern-day India's nuclear arsenal, Paxton said.