A photograph has come to light that has stunned the pseudo-scientific community and rekindled the stubborn question of whether Mahatma Gandhi was actually Indian. The photo is of a 16X20 painting (acrylic on canvas). It shows someone resembling the famous Indian leader wearing an elaborate headdress covering his normally bald head. The headdress is similar to one worn by the great Nez Perz Chief Joseph. The origin of the painting is obscure. The original is said to be in the possession of the Schiencism Institute (address unknown) but photos have been widely distributed (see below).
This reporter contacted Dr. Errar Von Berpen, chair and founder of the “Gandhi is no Indian” society. Von Berpen is perhaps best remembered as the 2006 spokesman for the “There is no state of South Dakota” society . The society maintains that South Dakota is not really a state. It is merely a place where “sunbirds“ from North Dakota migrate to get relief from the winter cold. “Oh, sure, I’ve seen it on a map,” von Berpen said, “but that doesn’t mean anything. Have you ever met anyone who actually lives in South Dakota?” Previously, Dr. von Berpen (graduate of St. Charlatan’s Online College in Universal Life Studies) surprised religious scholars with his ground-breaking paper entitled “There are no children in Heaven.” The thrust of von Berpen’s argument was that “it wouldn’t be heaven with a bunch of kids running around, would it?” The idea was thoroughly ignored by religious leaders at first but has recently been noted with approval by an Icelandic Islamic scholar.
Back to the photograph of Gandhi. Von Berpen and the society he represents have loudly insisted for years (starting in January, 2008) that Gandhi could not possibly be Indian for a variety of reasons. First, he advocated nonviolence, a practice unfamiliar to any Indian tribe except for a brief period annually near the end of November.
Second, there is the well established historical fact that Gandhi used and in fact was so addicted to salt that he led a movement against a British tax on it. Studies show Indians prefer curry, cumin, and salsa by a wide margin over salt. Third, Gandhi was a vegan whereas meat and fish were a main staple among Indians. These three factors are enough in themselves to make one wonder about Gandhi’s Indian ancestry, Von Berpen says, but he claims there is more.
Gandhi did two things no Indian male would ever do: for the last half of his life he wore nothing but a simple dress-like garment quite similar to that seen on Indian women. And, he made the clothing himself. This chore, along with farming, cooking, cleaning, trapping, building shelter, cutting wood, and rearing children, was only performed by Indian females. There is no record of a male Indian ever being involved in such activities. “It’s circumstantial but when you add all these things together you can see why we felt it was necessary to form the society,” Von Berpen says.
So, what happens in light of the new photographic evidence of Gandhi in what appears to be an Indian headdress, I asked. Von Berpen admits he was shocked and dismayed when he first saw it. “There is Gandhi, relaxed and smiling, appearing quite comfortable in this Indian outfit. It just about knocked me over.”
However, Von Berpen told a different story after meeting with his nephew, the other member of the society. “We studied the picture for a good ten minutes and then it hit us,” he said, beaming proudly. “Everyone knows that Indians, at least the men, all have perfect eyesight, right? That’s so they can hunt and the women do all that other stuff. Simple Darwinism. “
Von Berpen held up the photo and pointed. “So why is Gandhi wearing glasses,” he asked. “Have you ever heard of an Indian optometrist? There is simply no way a guy with thick glasses like that could possibly be Indian,” he concluded.
When asked about the headdress, he paused a moment then replied, “Well, Gandhi was a great leader all right so I suppose he could have been a chief but that still doesn’t make him an Indian. The glasses prove and all that other stuff prove it.”