East Vs. West in Gandhi

After watching the movie Gandhi, I was reminded of our lecture about east vs west last week. Specifically, there was one scene that caught my attention, and it was the one early on depicting an argument between Gandhi and his wife. In the scene, Gandhi’s wife does not want to clean the bathrooms because based on the caste system and her upbringing, that is beneath her. This is the only time in the movie we see Gandhi using force and it is, in fact, against a woman. What I saw was a divide between the east and west in the scene.

Gandhi has been educated in London and although he understands the culture of India, we see this divide between him and his wife. In a way in the scene, we see the divide in India’s own culture and the difficulty  to grasp the western encroachment into the east. Gandhi asks his wife to do this because he wants everybody to be treated fairly, yet is hard for him to see his wife’s side. In her culture, she has been taught that this is not her duty. I thought this moment of the film was particularly important.

It reminded me what was said last class by Dr. Jani and how the term “Americanized” is used as pejorative. This term is used by first generation immigrants to criticize the second generation immigrants, but as Professor Jani mentioned, the first generation gets criticized themselves. This thought reminded me of the struggle in the movie Gandhi and this divide between east and west.


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