What would Mahatma Gandhi's IQ have been

The day Gandhi died

A skinny little man with round wire glasses, who seems to disappear into the folds of his wraparound robe, is still wandering through the western image of India. In the background, millions of people follow his ascetic form to nonviolent resistance against the British colonial system, which in the face of this concentrated pacifism will soon sink into the dust. From this rises a country that claims to be the greatest democracy in the world.

This man became the mythical figure who also showed the Europeans the way out of their colonial entanglement and rose unsullied from a century of catastrophes and mass murders. Every half-educated Westerner knew that his name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and that his honorary name "Mahatma" celebrated him as a "great soul". In India, however, every child who loves cinema could tell you that it was British actor Ben Kingsley, who played the father figure of Indian independence in 1982 in Richard Attenborough's film.

But no matter which incarnation it is - this skinny man has now disappeared in the bloody chaos of the Bombay attacks. Whether coming from within or from outside, such attacks are aimed at the sensitive and conflict-prone structure of the horizontally and vertically highly differentiated society of the nuclear power India. The fact that Western foreigners were now also being targeted shows us drastically what many Indians have endured for years.

Gandhi's aura is as outdated today as the faded dreams of the spiritual self-service shop India. What were those times when the Beatles made a pilgrimage to Rishikesh to get the enlightenment for their "White Album" from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. When the hippies set off for trips to the Orient in VW buses and Hermann Hesse's "Siddharta" showed the way.

That it was often about humbug became apparent at the latest when the sannyasins made a Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh a film star and high earner. What has remained is a flourishing esoteric scene and Ayurveda food, while the old hopes for enlightenment have given way to the fantasies of the high-tech wonderland India in recent years. But they also fade. With the financial metropolis of Bombay, the terrorists have chosen the place where the great synthesis of Indian cultural diversity and the technology of the 21st century should succeed above all others.

The wealth of antagonisms that would have to be brought under one roof has always been underestimated on the western side. The ascetic figure of a Gandhi symbolized a pacifist, simple denominator that India would have liked to have been reduced to. It would have been better to have believed the great skeptic V. S. Naipaul, who characterized India in 1990 with "India: A Million Mutinies Now" as a land of rebellions.

Caste and religious conflicts, political extremism, corruption, superstition, crime and a growing gap between urban and rural areas were among the problems that people in the West tend to dismiss under folklore. The history of modern India began in 1947 with the bloody separation of Muslim and Hindu parts of the country, during which millions of people were displaced and a million were murdered. The arms race between the nuclear powers India and Pakistan, the hotspot of Kashmir, the series of attacks in recent years and days are the result of this trauma. And his early victims included the supposed symbol of non-violence, Gandhi himself, who was murdered in 1948 by a fanatical Hindu of all people.

Indians in India do not enjoy the Western privilege of making use of India's breathtaking resources at will. "In India," wrote the Indian writer Khushwant Singh in his novel "The Train to Pakistan" in 1956, "there was a lot of humbug". Humbug, for example, is what people have made of religion, namely a means of demarcation and discrimination: "For the Hindu it means little apart from caste and holy cows. For the Muslim it means circumcision and kosher meat. For the Sikh, long hair and hatred of Muslims. " However, any ethics "which should be the core of a religious code had been carefully removed".

Singh describes a social differentiation that made every Indian a provocateur, a potential threat, but also a potential victim for his neighbors of different faiths. The catastrophe of 1947 and the countless bloodbaths between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims have unfortunately proven him right to this day. And India's problems with the prosecution of terrorism are probably due not least to the fact that for every terrorist there is a minority who, in case of doubt, feels that they are being followed.

That peaceful mass that was imagined to be peacefully united behind Gandhi was and is neither as peaceful nor as united as one would like to see them. The attacks of recent years have kept her in a state that could turn from extreme nervousness into hysteria at any time.

While there may be some saints and gurus in India who are above all earthly things, most Indians, like Europeans who earn a living, are not torn by bombs on the way to work and not by fanatical neighbors in their homes want to be burned.

So let's forget the deceptive figure of light Gandhi, let's get a more realistic picture. In a photo from the series of tees in Bombay, a security officer with his assault rifle lies amidst pigeons. He looks perplexed at this swarm of symbols of peace that surround him like a mockery of his own powerlessness.