Few people can claim to have played Trickster to a whole Empire… and won. In true Trickster style, he turned the most ordinary activities – making salt, spinning yarn – into highly subversive acts. In 1922 he was charged with sedition for two articles he wrote in his paper Young India. He not only pleaded guilty, but demanded of the judge ‘the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me, for what is in law a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen.’
This sort of aggrevation – forcing an unjust oppressor to see clearly what they are doing – is dangerous speech on a huge scale. James Fowler, in his ‘Stages of Faith’ talks about those who reach Stage 6, where their ‘universalising’ faith becomes incredibly threatening to society, and they are invariably killed for it. Gandhi was no exception; assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in 1948 many many of his followers paid the highest price for resisting British rule. But Gandhi knew the Trickster mantra: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
I wonder what his advice would be on fighting a new threat to our freedom now?
Reporter: "What do you think of modern civilization Mr Gandhi?"
Gandhi: "I think it would be a very good idea."