DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 26 MK Gandhi (1869—1948)
Discuss the base of Gandhian ideology.
The fundamental bases of Gandhism is the conception of an omnipresent spiritual reality which can be called God or simply Truth. Gandhiji has immense and deep faith in God as truth. God he said is a “Self existent, all knowing living force which inheres every other force known to the world.
He is both immanent and transcendent. The supreme absolute ever-present spirit or God is the starting point of Gandian Thought. He wrote “I do perceive that wMIe everything around me is everchanging and everdying, there is, underlying all that change, a living power, that is changeless, that holds together that creates, dissolves and recreates. That power is God. God is life, truth and light”.
Gandhi spoke of truth not only as an ethical category but as the supreme being of the highest quality. It is not only a value or ideal but is the highest concrete reality. God as truth is the eternally perfect infinite consciousness. In place of physical pleasure Gandhiji stressed realization of God. He regarded it supreme reality and the supreme good. He said, “I cannot recall a single instance when at the eleventh hour God has failed me”. Gandhiji was thus a metaphysical idealist.
But it does not mean that he rejected earthly world as ‘‘illusion or Maya”. The majesty of God is expressed in this world also. He believed in a God who is kind to the prayers or the devotee. He believed that God is within all of us. Though he regarded God as above all attributes but still he claimed that ‘Ram Nam’ was his infallible remedy.
He believed in the stories of divine protection to the devotees. He accepted the truth conveyed by the concepts of ‘Karma and reincarnation’. He believed that death after a life truly lived is but a prelude to a better and richer life.
The spiritual truth, according to Mahatma Gandhi, was not to be realized by dialectical skill or abstract thinking but by spiritual experience obtained through pure and displined holy life and by practising non-violence in own actions. The wickedness of human heart was the greatest hindrance to the realization of God.
He preached the synthesis of knowledge and devotion. No worthy action for human good is possible without belief in an acceptance of God as truth. For the realization of God. it was essentially to realize unity with all the creatures of the world. It is only through faith and purity that the realization of God is possible. It is more Faith than reason that han help us in its realization.
Gandhiji had a faith in human nature. He believed in the inner goodness of man. According to him, the individual is an immortal spiritual entity. The human being has a sense of spiritual self-consciousness and morality. Everyman has the possibility for spiritual growth. The individual conceived in moral and spiritual terms is the supreme consideration of Gandhian political thought. Gandhi wanted to bring about a psychological regeneration of man.
He believed that there was something inherently divine in man’s nature. But the existing man is also imperfect. He is far from God. Hence the present man should be raised to his higher ideal self. He was optimistic and was never despaired of man’s emancipation. He advocated a moral change of human heart. He even believed that the heart of the enemy also can be won over. He always appealed to the element of divinity in man. He felt that a disciplined individual can do a lot in reforming the institutions of which he was a member.
He always laid stress on the moral and spiritual side rather than on the intellectual and scientific side of man’s nature. As such he laid emphasis on the performance of one’s own duties without meddling with the duties of others. This is what the concept of ‘‘SVADHARMA AND SWADESI” teach.
Thus he constantly laid stress on the necessity for the moral and spiritual uplift of man. He was opposed to all those thinkers who believed that human beings can be reformed by objective forces. According to him social better meat depends upon individual efforts for self-purification. Thus the revelation of moral powers of the individual is an important point in the political thought of Gandhiji.
That is why that spiritual realization and social service are integrally connected in Gandhian thought. There is no antithesis between social servance and self-development. To quote Gandhiji “Man is higher than the brute and has divine mission to fulfil. To find truth completely is to realize oneself and one’s destiny”.
Gandhiji did not think that society as such in any way corrupts the individual. He traces the evil in man to his own evil tendencies. This evil is not social but psychological. He did not think that human nature is sinful. Man can be cured of his evil tendencies by prolonged efforts. Gandhiji believed in innate goodness of man and stressed the realization of human perfection.
Hence he laid emphasis on non-violence and other virtues. Man can reform himself by performing good actions. Gandhiji was an optimist who had faith in the psychological regeneration of man. He was firm in his belief that the superior wisdom of God will ultimately triumph.
Gandhiji considered the religious remarking of human nature as prior to social and political transformation. The theory of spiritualization of politics demands the fundamental remaking of human nature. Human nature is not something static and immutable but is dynamic and amenable to changes.
Gandhiji wrote, “My belief in the capacity of Non-violence rejects the theory of permanent inelasticity of human nature”. As compared to the primitive tribes there has been improvement in human nature. Gandhiji accepted that man can change his temperament and can control it by a process of prolonged purification (Tapasya). It is possible to remake human remaking of nature.
If there has to be a change in human nature, it is to be brought about not over by institutional mechanics but by energization of moral feeling. Gandhiji thus had a supreme faith in the nobility and decency of human nature.
Gandhiji was a moral and spiritual humanist. Service to mankind was his mission. He did not want to use force or coercion for making people good. Moral. goodness is acquired by a process of introspective scrutiny and cultivation of character. Force can hardly make the individual moral. Gandhiji emphasised the purification of the conscience of the individual.
He would not consider structural changes to be sufficient. He said that there should be no co-operation with evil. But it did not mean he was opposed to structural changes. He wanted changes in she structure of society and the state. In short Gandhiji though accepted the necessity of social and political changes but the root of the matter was the psychological remaking of man.
Gandhiji was a great devotee of God but he had also great faith in man. Gandhiji was a great humanist for two reasons.
First he attributed a significant character to the ideals and aspirations of common man. He was the spokesman of their aspirations. He taught to world the sacredness of feelings even in the hearts of the most distressed individuals. He identified himself with the lowest man. He had everflowing love for humanity.
Secondly, he was a humanist because he had faith in the regeneration of man. He pointed out that no human being is so bad as to beyond redemption. Gandhiji’s humanism may be termed a spiritual humanism. His belief in God was no anti-thesis with his belief in humanism. Gandhiji said, “My faith is in God and therefore, in the people.
God is bound up with mankind and all living beings. Love for man is love for God”. Gandhiji believed in the ennoblement of man who had a divine spark. Every human life is entitled to dignity and love. Mahatma Gandhi was never despaired of man, he wrote “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty the ocean does not become dirty”.
Gandhiji’s humanism can thus be characterised as base on spiritual rather than materialistic considerations. In this regard he is different than Karl Marx whose humanism is materialistic. It may also be pointed out that Gandhiji’s humanism is different than that of the West. In the West, humanism is meant to rise man against the imperialism of God. But in Gandhian humanism that is not so.
Gandhiji was not a philosopher of history but we find in his ideas a philosophy of theological determinism. He wrote, “Nothing can happen but by His will expressed in His eternal changeless law which is He.” God signifies an unchanging and living law. Gandhi believed that not a leaf moves without His will. God was the supreme determinant of things and movement in the world. His faith in the divine governance of this world was unshaken. He also felt that for the moral sins. of man even physical catastrophies like earthquake occur.
But this belief in divine determinism did not degenerate him into fatalism. He was a strong advocate of the theory of Karmayoga and believed in hard work. His own life was full of ceaseless actions inspired by the vision of a spiritual whole. Gandhiji combined a faith in the supremacy of God with the insistance on constant action. Man is to have faith in God and also to perform the actions that fall his way. This is the essence of the teachings of Gita which was interpreted by Gandhiji.
Gandhiji was a critic of the materialistic conception of the Western philosophers who did not recognise the operations of the spiritual force in human history. Gandhiji advocated a spiritual and moral interpretation of history. He repudiated the analysis of his history merely in terms of objective forces. He saw the hand of God behind all changes and movements in history. Thus Gandhiji was a philosopher different in his assumptions from the Western philosophers.
What place did Gandhiji assign to religion ? Discuss.
Gandhiji was a great believer in the mighty force of religion in human history. But his religion was not of a dogmatic Sectarian or Orthodox. He was a practical idealist and did not interest himself in the supernatural mysteries of the world beyond this earth. His interest in religion was ethical. He always spoke of religion in terms of ethical idealism.
Religion, according to Gandhiji, meant an emphasis on the moral values of man. He always talked of ethical religion. He wrote, “For me morals, ethics and religion are convertible terms. A moral life without reference to religion is like a house built upon sand. And religion diversed from morality is like a sounding brass gong only for making a noise and breaking heads”.
As soon as the moral basis of religion is lost it ceases to be religion. Gandhiji’s religion has made up laws which bind men all over the world. He said that he was essentially a religious man in search of ‘moksha’ (Emancipation). But emancipation did not mean isolation. It did not mean the repudiation of the claims of society. Gandhiji repeatedly said that for him there could be no realization of the soul apart from the service of mankind.
The true religious attitude of Gandhiji meant the voluntary acceptance and conscientious performance of duties. He felt that the life of Karmayoga was the only way to attainment of Moksha. Such a life would lead to the progressive expansion of the humanself. Karmayoga signifies the elimination of the evil from within the human heart, and the Victory of truth, good and the virtue Gandhiji’s conception of Karmayoga is an important contribution in the present materialistic stage of human civilization.
Gandhiji’s political philosophy is based on ethical idealism. He advocated an ethical and religious approach to politics. He wrote “Supestitions, evil customs and other imperfections creep into society from age to age and mar religion for the time being. They come and go but religion Itself remains because the existence of world depends upon the religion.
The ultimate definition of the religion may be said to he obedience to the law of God”. Gandhi found that the moral clement -was common to all the religions of the world. His aim was to raise political structure to higher moral plane. He was not a Champion of the divine right of political authority, but he stood for purifying the structure of politics.
Gandhi had a more penetrating grasp of the depths of religious experience than Plato and Rousseau, who were at best intellectuals and philosophers. Gandhiji on the other hand aspired for the personal realization of God. He practised what he preached. He led a purified life. In his moralization of politics there is the presence of the convincing power of his personality.
He believed in God, Karmayoga and the supremacy of moral laws. Gandhiji did not believe in coercion. He made an appeal to the conscience of an individual. According to him, what was fundamental was a personal realization of religious truth. Mere verbal professions were not of much avail. He stood for the development of the purity of personal character. According to him, it was ridiculous to fight in the name of religion.
All religions were to him equal believing in the same fundamental maxims of morality. He often said in his prayer meeting, “All religions were equal. Religions were like leaves of the same tree. There was nothing to quarrel among Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others”.
Gandhi wished to incorporate moral values in politics. He once said, “For me there are no politics devoid of religions. Politics bereft of religion are death trap because they kill the soul”. By this kind of a statement it should not be presumed that Gandhiji wanted j to establish a theocracy. His conception of the religious basis of politics is far removed from any dedievalism or Communalism. Religion to Gandhiji meant the assertion of unity with God, It was dynamic moral force.
Hence the incorporation of religions in politics meant a progressive movement towards Justice and Truth. For Gandhiji politics was the pathway to the service of God. The central principle of Gandhian political philosophy is that the fundamental religious ethics has to be made concrete in the individual and political life.
He said, ‘My devotion to truth has drawn me into the field of politics and I can say without the slightest hesitation that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means. In Gandhian political thought religious considerations have priority over political considerations. Gandhiji said, “Most religious men I have met are politicians in disguise. I however who wear the guise of a politician am at heart religious man”.
The religious basis of politics as enumerated by Gahndhiji signified the stress on moral values. He wanted to free politics from Machiavellian implications (ends justify means). He wrote “My motives have been purely religious.. I could not be leading a religious life unless I identified myself with the whole mankind And this I could not do”.
For Gandhiji religion did not mean Hinduism (Hindu religion) though he considered it was certainly above ail other religions. To him a religious life meant a purified fife. Religion aims at suppressing what is beastly in man and bring about his rational and moral
will. Thus when Gendhiji talked of three religious basis of politics he was not preaching primitivism but emphasising a life of dynamic activity in search of the good of one’s soul and mankind.
He pointed out that the lives of Buddha and Christ were inspired by activity. They had great social interest. Religion was not merely a means for personal purification but it was an immensely powerful social bond. Gandhiji said. “Religion binds man to God and man to man. Religions are not for separating men from one another. They are means to bind them”.
According to Gandhiji, religion is not to be identified with any particular dogmatic theory. He condemned superstitions. He wrote, “Politics divorced from religion has absolutely no meaning”. While referring to it he did not mean thereby the alliance between the secular and religious powers. He did not want any political exploitation in the name of religion. ‘ What he meant by the religious basis of politics was a concept of moral right in place of divine right of rulers.
He wanted a moral orientation of political action. He was opposed to the use of religion for the support of an irrational political authority. He wrote, “It was a sign of religions atrophy to sustain an on- just Government that supported an injustice by resorting to untruth”. A religious man will ever be ready to lay down his life for the vindication of Justice. In Gandhiji’s political thought loyalty to the Supreme virtues of truth anti Justice take precedence over loyalty to any unjustified totalitarian system. To Gandhiji truth was the uppermost thing.
Gandhiji wanted to strengthen religious basis of politics without tolerating any discrimination. He wanted that the state should be secular., He did not accept the ideal of stale religion. Religion was purely a personal matter. He rejected coercion in the field of reli¬gion. He did not want ethics to be mixed with religion. He believed that fundamental ethics is common to all religions and therefore it can be taught in schools and colleges without bringing in the name of denomination.
To conclude, Gandhiji idealized political actions. Moralisation of politics by incorporating into it the values of love and justice in place of power and glory is his fundamental contribution to human thought. Politics is not the art of getting power but is the path way to a social service. He wanted it to be raised to a dignified and moralized plan.
He wanted politics to be used for social good. All actions should be based upon moral canons. He felt that the world could be perfected only if men become determined to practize moral values. For the regeneration of political actions Gandhiji believed there was the need of pure and holy life. Social service, according to him, is a path to the illumination of soul.
Write a note on Gandhiji’s concept of rights and duties.
Gandhiji’s concept of rights and duties.
Gandhiji is both a deductive and empirical political philosopher. He deduces certain conclusions from his metaphysical assumptions. He believed in the universality of God and so he accepted the theory of human equality. From his belief in the ultimate reality of truth he deduced his theory of Satyagraha. But along with it his approach is also empirical. Because many of his political propositions are derived from his own observation and experiences, his emphasis on the removal of untouchability, his plea for Swadesi, are based upon his experiences as a social and political leader.
Gandhiji takes a religious and moral approach to politics. He looks at life in its whole. The problems of political science and Economics are to be studied in the context of life itself. To him there is no compartmentisation between political and moral life. This moral orientation is apparent in his different political ideas. His approach to political science is moral.
Gandhiji was a strong champion of the rights of man. He was a born democrat from his earliest years. He accepted the principle of human equality. He was opposed to imperialism and hence he always laid stress on the right of Freedom. His theory of Satyagraha is based upon the concept that the individual has an inalienable right to resist a coercive social and political system. The entire life of Gandhiji was a struggle for the rights of men.
The two rights on which Gandhiji laid particular stress were the rights of human equality and freedom. He was a political individualist. Gandhiji was a man of the people and was strongly opposed to the policy of racial discrimination. For the removal of this evil he ^ fought a battle in South Africa and then in India,. According to him, man cannot attain God without certain rights which are essential for it.
Likewise he stood for the freedom of the individuals. He was never convinced of the glories of racial imperialism. He himself had to fight a mighty imperialistic power. He interpreted the right to „ freedom as equivalent to Swaraj. His condensation of the Rowlatt Act brings out his firm belief in the right of the people.
Thus Gandhiji is a firm believer in the civil rights of the individual. But he was not forgetful of the close relationship between right is and duties.
Although Gandhiji was a great champion of the rights of the individuals groups and nations, he was not unconscious of the relation between rights and duties. He laid stress upon the acquisition ‘ of those powers and faculties which are necessary for the realization of rights.
Rights are essential because they contribute to the development of personality but moral training is a prior condition for the enjoyment of rights. In order that a man could get recognition of his rights, his actions had to be in accordance with the norms of life. Gandhiji’s conception of rights was valuational. It was therefore essential to integrate the rights of a person with his moral duties.
Gandhiji laid great emphasis upon the performance of duties or the theory of Karma. He always said that true rights do not follow from legal recognition but from social service. If man performs his obligation, rights will themselves follow.
Gandhiji was also of the view that it was not proper to demand the right to do as one likes. A right is the liberation of man’s faculties to enhance the good of all. Rights are not for one’s ownself They have a social value and significance. Sarvodaya is the basis of. rights Once he wrote to H.G. Wells in reply to his letter on the rights of man as follows: “Begin with a charter of duties of a man and I promise the rights will follow duties as spring follows winter.
As a young man I began life by seeking to assert my rights and I soon dis-covered that I had none, not even over my wife. So I began by discovering and performing my duty by my wife, my children, friends and companions and society and I find today that I have greater right perhaps than any living man I know”. Thus according to Gandhiji only . the-rights obtained by service are true rights. If people insist on rights and not on duties there will be social disruption. In short, Gandhiji’s philosophy of rights represents a synthesis of the individualistic and teleological conception of right.
Discuss Gsindhiji’s idea of civil-disobedience.
The Gandhian philosophy of Satyagraha is natural outcome from the supreme concept of truth. If truth is the ultimate reality it is imperative for a votary of it to resist all encroachments against it. Satyagraha as it means is Agrah or moral pressure for the sake of Truth. A Satyagrahi makes endless endeavours for the realization of truth through non-violence.
Satyagraha means the exercise of the purest soul force against all injustice, oppression and all exploitation. It signifies literally “truth pressure’. It denotes the operation of the force of the soul or spirit suffering and truth are attributes of soul force. Gandhiji upheld the conception of the sanctity of positive love. Satyagraha is inconsistent with jealousy or hatred.
The opponent has to be converted and not coerced Soul-force is the force of love. A Satyagrahi makes an appeal to the heart of the opponent. He wants not to endanger the opponent but overwhelm him by the overflooding power of innocence. Satyagraha does not flourish on the basis of malice or illfeeling but it is the application of the gentle process of conversion by love.
The Gandhian theory of satyagraha is a philosophy of life and politics. It is an inherent birth right of a person. Satyagraha is thus an inalienable right which may be considered as a right antecedent to the state. Gandhiji regarded Satyagraha as a moral prerogative of the human being. It is not merely a sacred right but also a sacred duty. If the Government does not represent the will of the people it should be disobeyed.
A Satyagraha should be prepared, according to Gandhiji, for all kinds of suffering. Gandhiji wrote, “Suffering is the mark of the human tribe. It is an external law. The mother suffers so that her child may live. Life comes out of death. No country has ever risen without being purified to the fire of suffering. The purer, the suffering, the greater- is the progress.” Gandhian theory of Satyagraha is based on the concept of suffering. Suffering serves three purposes :
- It purifies the sufferers.
- It intensifies favourable public opinion.
- It makes a direct appeal to the soul of the oppressor.
Satyagraha and Passive Resistance.
Sometimes the Gandhian Satyagraha is confused with the passive resistance. But there are vital difference between the two. Satyagraha is a dynamic force because it completes action in resistance of injustice, passive resistance does not do so.
Passive resistance is mainly contemplated at a political level, while Satyagraha can be practized at all levels, domestic, social and political. Satyagraha goes beyond that passive resistance because it lays stress on a spiritual and moral end.
Gandhiji wrote, Satyagraha differs from passive resistance as the North pole from the South. The latter has been conceived as a weapon of the weak and does not exclude the use of physical force or violence for the purpose of gaining of own’s and whereas the former has been conceived as a weopon of the strongest and excludes the use of violence in any shape or form.”
Techniques of Satyagraha.
There are different techniques of Satyagraha :
1. Fasting can be one form of Satyagraha. Gandhiji took to 1 this technique many a time. His fast has purifying social and political influencings. Gandhiji, however, held that fasting should be used as the last resort, when all other techniques have failed. It is to be resorted only when absolutely necessary. Ridiculous fasts should be avoided at all costs. Only he who has inner strength should take recource to it.
2. The second techniques of Satyagraha may be voluntary migration. Gandhiji also supported Hizrat (Exodus).
3. Hartal is anothei form of Satyagraha.
4. Peaceful picketing is a valid and useful form of Satyagraha. Gandhiji ruled out underground activities. There are other techniques of Satyagraha also.
5. Non-co-operation with the evildoers is one such another techniques. Gandhiji started non-co-operation movement in 1920 under which, he included the programme .of surrendering titles and honorary offices, refusal to attend Government functions withdrawal of children from schools and colleges owned and controlled by Government. Boycott of British courts by lawyers and people, boycott of foreign goods and refusal to offer themselves as recruits.
6. Civil Disobedience is another form of Satyagraha. It meant disobedience of the laws of the Government. Such dis¬obedience was to be peaceful and non-violent and disciplined. It may be individual as well as mass civil disobedience. According to Gandhiji, no state has the right to make laws which run against the will or aspirations and traditions of the people. Hence it is necessary to disobey the laws.
There is nothing like defeat in Satyagraha what looks like defeat is only an occasion for additional preparation. The power of Satyagraha is stupendous.
Conditions for Success.
According to Gandhiji, Satyagraha to be effective requires certain psychological and sociological conditions :
- First, the Satyagrahi should not harbour any hatred in his heart against the opponent.
- Secondly, he must be prepared to undergo all kinds of humiliations and sufferings.
- Thirdly, he should be prepared to suffer the anger of his opponent. He should never retaliate but he should submit. He also should not resist his arrrest rather should voluntarily submit it.
- Lastly, the issue for which Satyagraha is launched should be true and substantial one.
The cause of Satyagraha should be legitimate and just. The Satyagrahi who is resisting the laws of Government should see that the social structure is not subverted.
Thus, the Gandhian concept of Satyagraha is spiritualistic. It is in accordance with the teachings of Democracy and the idea of truth. It is a permanent vindication of the individual’s right of resistance against coercive authority. It is a plea for the sanctity of individual conscience.
Explain briefly the meaning of Non-violence in Mahatma Gandhi’s social philosophy. How far can this technique feasible in the present day world ?
Gandhiji was a spiritual and ethical idealist. He believed in the moralization of politics. He was not a metaphysical dreamer tut a moral realist who wanted to reform the structure of modern social and political life. His greatness as a leader and thinker lay in his emphasis on Non-violence which he sought to apply on social and political level.
Non-violence or Ahimsa has been preached as a rule of individual behaviour by old prophets like Buddha, Mahavira and others. What Gandhiji did was to transform it into a social and political technique. In his non-violence is a comprehensive concept. Violence can be manifested both at the personal and institutional levels.
I may take various form like evil thoughts, sentiments of revenge and brutality, falsehood, deceitfulness, physical punishment etc. Gandhiji included in his concept of violence every act which infused an individual or the society. Thus, access of competition, economic exploitation, unnecessary accumulation also represented violence.
Non-violence (Ahimsa) is not merely the negative act of refraining from doing offence, injury and harm to others but it is also the positive act of doing good to them. It is equivalent to positive love. It means the happiness involved in suffering for other. It is the substitution of hatred by love.
It is vitally integrated with the idea of truth and God. It is the attitude of harmlessness even to the wrong doer. Vengeance belongs to God and not to man. Gandhiji accepted the absolutism of non-violence. He interpreted it as signifying utter selflessness and universal love. He told five simple principles of non- violence :
- Non-violence implies as complete self-purification as is humanly possible.
- Man for man, the strength of non-violence is in exact proportion to ability, not the will of non-violent person to inflict violence.
- Non-violence of Superior to violence.
- There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.
- The ultimate end of non-violence is sure victory.
Gandhiji summarised the implications and conditions of the success of Ahimsa as follows:
- Non-violence is greater than and superior to the physical force.
- It does not avail to those who do not possess as living faith in the God of love.
- Non-violence provides full protection to one’s self respect and sense of honour.
- Individuals or nations who practise non-violence must be prepared to sacrifice their all except honour.
- Non-violence is a power which can be wielded equally by all.
- Non violence is good for society also.
Gandhiji had thus a firm faith in the efficiency of non-violence as an instrument of an individual and social behaviour. Gandhiji’s faith in Ahimsa, however, did not mean a plea for sentimental uptopianism. He made certain concessions to Ahimsa in applying it on a group scale. He was ready to recognize the use of force against those who violate law. He wrote, “I have conceded that even in a non-violent state a police force is necessary. This I admit is a sign of my imperfect Ahimsa”.
But police should act as the servant and not as the master of the people. He recommended punishment to law breakers. Thus, Gandhiji made concessions to the absolutism of non-violence. Since he was realistic enough to the imperfect structure of our world. Gandhiji also dreamt of the application of Ahimsa on an international scale. He wanted the world-statesmen to use it. He was sure that India could resist Japan non-violently.
Evaluation of Gandhi’s theory of non-violence of criticism.
Some persons have looked at Gandhian theory of non-violence from a critical point of view.
First, it is said that Gandhiji was not right to say that nonviolence is the root of Hinduism. Hinduism has sanctioned just war though Ahimsa occupies an important place in Hindu Ethics. There is reference in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Gita and Rigved to the righteous wars. Hence, it would be more correct to say that in Hinduism there is place both for violence and non-violence.
Secondly, Gandhiji conceived of applying Ahimsa on an in international plane. He thought it would solve all the problems of world diplomacy but it is doubtful if it can be so. Some of the suggestions of Gandhiji for the use of non-violence in the world diplomacy appear unrealistic and unconvincing. Non-violence can hardly solve the problems of nuclear armaments. His solution seems to be unsafe and hazardous in the modern world politics.
Thirdly, another limitation of Gandhi’s theory of non-violence is that it does not adequately look into the aspects of group behaviour. The groups according to sociologist behave in a way different from the individuals. The same individuals who behave most rationally behave irrationally when they are members of a crowd. Thus, what holds true in the case of individual behaviour may not hold true in group behaviour.
Fourthly, Gandhiji believed that non-violence may lead to the realization of truth. He sometimes identified the two. But Gandhiji’s formula that non-violence is the sole means of attaining truth can hardly be accepted. Gandhiji himself recognised it. Truth is too momentous an element to be realized solely through Ahimsa. Truth is timeless and spaceless.
However, Gandhian doctrine of non-violence is a great ideal. Inspite of its shortcoming it can serve greatly the goal of democratic behaviour. It is a great counterpoise to bloodshed. If nations can make it a guiding principle of their behaviour towards each other it can rid mankind of war. Gandhiji thinks that our institutions are far from being ideal.
And hence he prescribed the methods of their perfection. Ahimsa if. practized as a moral value is neither unrealistic nor speculative, although as a solution of the present chaotic condition of world politics it may appear to be wishful thinking.
What was Gandhi’s ideas about Swaraj ? Discuss brifly.
Gandhiji had an idealist approach to politics. Hence we find in him a comprehensive concept of freedom. His own life was a struggle for freedom of India. Gandhiji regarded freedom as au essential attribute of man’s personality. The renunciation of freedom according to him would be the repudiation of human conscience.
Gandhiji emphatically pleaded for freedom in the sense of national independence. He wrote, ,‘We are challenging the might of this Government because we consider its activity to be wholly evil. We desire to show that the Government exists to serve the people, not the people, the Government.
Free life under this Government has become intolerable”. Gandhiji was primarily in abolishing unjust economic and political exploitation in India. He condemned British imperialism because it resulted in the political and economic suffering of India. He dedicated his whole life to secure the freedom of India from imperialism. Gandhi used the word Swaraj to designate his idea of national freedom.
His concept of Swaraj was democratic. “The Swaraj of my conception recognises no race or religions distinctions nor is it to be the monopoly of lettered persons nor yet of moneyed men. Swaraj is to be for all, including the farmer, but em pbatically including the starving, toiling millions.” He agreed with Lokmanya Tilak who said, “Swaraj is my birth right”.
Emphasis on Personal and Civil Liberties.
Gandhiji had a firm belief in the personal and civil liberties of the individual. He was closely associated with securing the passage of a resolution on funda¬mental rights by the Indian National Congress in 1931. He stood for the freedom of the person. He declared the person or a citizen must be held inviolate. It can only be touched to arrestor prevent violence. He also stood for the freedom of speech and expression. In his opinion civil liberties are the very foundations of democracy.
In 1940, he wrote, ‘ Freedom of a speech and corresponding action is the birth of democratic life. He pleaded for the freedom of speech, a free press and pure justice even for the people of Indian States. He also wanted the independence of Judiciary and complete Civil liberties. He recognised the right of the accused to defend himself an important civil right.”
Besides, Gandhiji also believed in economic freedom. He wrote, “Political freedom has no meaning for the millions if they do not know how to employ their enforced idleness. He felt that political freedom was bound to remain mere philosophical abstraction unless the vast masses had some gainful employment.
Gandhiji also accepted the principle of equal distribution. He stood for equality of wages of ail, the lawyer, doctor, the teacher, and the sweeper.” This according to him would provide the basis for the reconstruction of ideal Society. Until this ideal of equal distribution was realized Gandhiji said that every labourer should get enough to feed himself and his family.
Morality and Liberty.
Gandhiji’s concept of freedom is intimately related to morality. Freedom to him means conquest of demands of the senses for tire realization of moral self-indulgence,: leads to destruction. The conquest of physical desires is the path to immorality. Hence he stressed rigid adherence to eleven great vows. He distinguishes between freedom and licence.
He wrote, “Freedom is a fruit of suffering. Licence is born of violence. Freedom impose restraints upon itself, for the sake of society, so that it may enjoy exclusive privileges. Genuine Swaraj is a function of the development of the inner sources of power.” ‘ Gandhiji even said that Swaraj is part of truth. For him the ethical and spiritual, social and political had a significant moral dimension.
He interpreted Swaraj as moral freedom He said that material freedom is included in the spiritual. In short Gandhiji did not make any separation between inner freedom and outer freedom. Moral freedom must become the basis for political freedom. For him freedom was a whole; his conception of freedom is a synthesis of political freedom, moral freedom and the natural right of the individual to attain his best self.
How did Gandhiji seek to resolve the ‘Mean and End’ debate ? Discuss.
Gandhiji was an ethical absolutist. He considered truth and Non-violence to be absolute ethical values. His own experiences of life convinced him of these values in any scheme of social reconstruction. These values were to govern universal human action. He believed in the sanctity of eleven great vows which were :
- Asvada (Control over appetite).
- Asteya (Non-stealing).
- Aparigraha (Non-accumulation).
- Abhayam (Fearlessness).
- Shrama (Dignity of labour).
- Sarva-Dharma Samabhava (Respect for all equal religions).
- Asprishyata Niwarna (Removal of untouchability).
Thus Gandhiji was an ethical idealist who laid great stress upon moral values. He idealized social and political action.
Gandhiji’s fundamental contribution to human thought is his emphasis on the marality, the values of love and justice in politics. Politics to him was not the game of manipulation or acquisition of power. According to him, the principle of moralty should guide all our actions, moral or otherwise.
The world could be perfected only if man became determined to practice ‘ moral values. He regarded Ahimsa as the ultimate basis of obligation. He advocated the dynamic morality based on the eleven vows. He always stood for safeguarding truth.
Being an ethical absolutist Gandhiji was never prepared to make any compromise with what he regarded as essential and fundamental principles. He had a religious approach to the problems and hence refused to glorify the cult of expediency. He held that the highest – morality is the highest expediency.
He claimed no infallibility for himself. He was conscious of his mistakes. But he always laid emphasis upon the purification of means. According to him good ends cannot be achieved by evil means (methods). He stressed the nobility of methods. Only by noble actions could a worthy goal be realized.
He never agreed to any policy which led to a compromise of the basic moral values. Loyalty to these values was the supreme consideration for him. Throughout his life he continued to lay stress upon the purity of means. He said, “For me it is enough to know the means, means and ends are convertible terms in my philosophy in life,”
According to Gandhiji what can not be justified by conscience, cannot be justified on political or patriotic grounds. The politician should not try to defend the interests of the country by violating the principles of morality. Gandhiji stressed that behind social and political actions there should be the pure human spirit.
Only an action which is morally justifiable can be regarded as the correct course of action. He wrote, “Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so Ahimsa is our supreme duty. If we take care of the means we are bound to reach the end sooner or later”. He j said, “Where the means are clean there God is undoubtedly present with his blessings.”
Gandhiji was opposed to the lowering of the standards for suiting personal convenience. He regarded the Benthamite formula of the greatest good of the greatest number as imperfect and inadequate. He wrote, “The fact is that a votary of Ahimsa can not subscribe to the utilitarian formula. He will strike for the greatest good of all and die in the attempt to realize the ideal”. As an ethical absolutist Gandhiji also believed in the purification of human motives.
It is not sufficient that our action should be noble and good but our motives also should be sc. According to Gandhiji it is not possible to pursue a correct course of action without control over one’s will and thought.
In short by laying emphasis on the nobility of means Gandhiji did a great service to man. In the present bewildered and chaotic world Gandhiji laid emphasis on the purity of means. We know how under the guise of serving the masses, the rulers have indulged in tyrannical acts and corrupt methods. Gandhiji’s message on the purity of means will help in transforming the present society and raising it to a noble plane. There is a great realism in what Gandhiji said.
Discuss the role of Sarvodaya in building the society in light of Gandhian ideology.
Sarvodaya today has assumed the dimension of a movement and is a social force of great potentialities and power. It has been regarded as a dynamic philosophy which can make possible the advent of a radically transformed humanity.
Sarvodaya, as an ideal, seeks to build a new society on the foundations of the old spiritual and moral values of India. Its philosophy is integral and synthetic in character. It takes up the Gandhian synthesis of the ideas of Vedanta, Buddhism, Christianity, Ruskin, Tolstoy, Thoreau and tries to incorporate his ideas at more critical and analytical levels.
Besides Gandhism, it has also taken some of its ideas from the socialist philosophy. Thus, Sarvodaya represents a synthesis of Gandhian and socialist philosophy, a synthesis of theoretical abstractions and political and economic generalizations. Vinoba, a true Gandhian and J.P. Narayan, a true socialist are the two main leaders associated with Sarvodaya movement.
The fundamental concept in Sarvodaya philosophy is the primary and ultimateness of the spirit. Gandhiji’s main ambition was to realize God. His political, economic and social programme were oriented towards progressive enlargement of the human consciousness through the service of the poor. Gandhiji had since faith in divine being.
The overwhelming belief in the supremacy of the spirit provided the first philosophical foundation of the movement of Sarvodaya. J.P. Narayan said, “This movement is based on the principle of change of heart. It is being conducted in the belief that man is amenable to change. That is so because all of us are essentially one fragment of ^the same almighty father”.
He further said, “I feel convinced that man must go beyond die material to find the incentive in goodness. As a corollary I further feel that the task of social reconstruction cannot succeed under the inspiration of materialistic philosophy”.
Sarvodaya lays emphasis on moral values which are of an abiding nature. One of the most distressing phenomenon of modem times is that success has come to be measured in terms of efficiency. There is repudiation of the significative of the human spirit. Service is being given up for personal aggrandisement. Humanity is undergoing moral collapse. There is mad rush for power and wealth People run after superficial glamour.
In short, the chief melody of out times is the mad quest for power. Sarvodaya lays stress on self-abnegation. It wants to replace jealousy and competitions by mutuality and altruism. It appeals to our minds and hearts in terms of values and goals which are ingrained. It lays emphasis on the primacy of goodness and character in place of skill and self-assertion, It wants to incorporate moral and spiritual values in social, political and economic life. In short, it stands for the supermacy and absoluteness of mroal values.
As J.P. Narayan said, “Sarvodaya represents the highest socialist values. It takes a balanced or whole view of life. It is naturally opposed to capitalism and stands for decentralisation of the forces of production.
Sarvodaya pleads for self-sufficient village communities, it claims to establish a society of producers. ‘Bhoodan’, ‘Sampattidan’ and ‘Gramdan’ are some of the basic techniques of Sarvodaya. Bhoodan and gramdan are techniques of agrarian revolution based on moral forces ; sampattidan is a technique of transforming capitalism into a Sarvodaya society.
The two movements of Bhoodan and Gramdan visualise vellage ownership of land as well as individual cultivation by the villagers. They will promote among the villagers a sense of community strength, cohesiveness and initiative. The villages will be self-sufficient and self-reliant. It pleads for what may be termed,‘VdlagisatioiT. To the philosophy of village reconstruction it has added the gospel of the ownership of all lands of village in the village community and the erection of decentralised village common wealth.
Hence Sarvodaya is a synthesis of the old and the new. Though it pleads for villagisation it does not, however, seek to establish the old patriarchal village system where there were caste distinctions and .which depended mainly on agriculture. Sarvodaya is not opposed to industries. Of course, it believes in small scale industries.
Sarvodaya has much in common with socialism. Like socialism it lays stress upon equality of economic opportunities and equitable and just distribution of resources of society. It believes in social justice and collective ownership. It like socialism holds that it is not sufficient to increase production but it is also nessesary to ensure an equitable distribution.
But unlike socialism its approach is predominantly moral and spiritual. The economic comforts have to be so used as’ to serve the needs of the human spirit. Sarvodaya is a theory of ethical justice. It would like to use the external goods for the satisfaction of the human spirit. It would regard them as means and not as an end in themselves.
Sarvodaya philosophy is opposed to an outlook of life that feels insatiable hunger for material goods. Thus, it may be noted that Sarvodaya philosophy is not negativistic in its approach. It does not negate the importance of material goods ; however, it refuses to regard them as the dominant goal of all human endeavours. Thus, whereas socialism is materialistic in its approach, Sarvodaya is spiritual.
Secondly, whereas the main technique of socialism is nationalisation. that of Sarvodaya is villagisation. Socialism believes in nationalising the means of production for increasing production. In other words, socialism believes in the power of the state and wants to make it sovereign. Sarvodaya, on the other hand, believes in the goal of stateless society. As Vinoba Bhave writes, “Gradually we will reach a stage when all authority in every form will have become unnecessary and will, therefore fade away giving rise to a perfectly free society”.
Thirdly, the radical type of socialism i.e. communism believes violence as a proper technique of destroying the existing capitalistic structure. But Sarvodaya has no place for violence in its philosophy and technique. It is highly critic of the methods of violence. It
believes in the nobility and purity of means and holds that only non-violence can be the foundation of the society free from exploitation and injustice. Vinoba and J.P. mercilessly criticised the totalitarian techniques of the Russian Politics.
To conclude, Sarvodaya is a philosophy based on moral approach to the problems of mankind. It believes in a regeneration of human heart and mind- That is the main idea behind Vinoba’s movements of Gramdan and Sampattidan. It wants to perfect the mechanism of representative democracy by utilising moral idealism. Its approach is not institutional.
It is valuational. It regards’ ethical idealism as necessary for political and economic reconstruction. The existing institutions, political or otherwise, should be perfected by incorporating into them the spirit of ethical idealism. The great contribution of Sarvodaya lies in the assertion of a moral app¬roach to the problems of man.
Discuss Gandhiji’s ideal society.
Gandhiji’s concept of “State” Gandhiji considered the state as an organisation of violence and force. He said, “I look upon the state with the greatest fear. Because, although while
apparently doing good, by minimising exploitation, it does the greatest harm by destroying individuality which lies at the root of all progress”.
Thus, Gandhiji’ did not regard state as necessary or divine creation. He regarded it as an organisation of violence and being votary of non-violence did not regard it as the actualization of reason and freedom. He was repelled by the coercive character of the state. He does not regard it as being almost the second nature of the individual in the world.
In short, Gandhiji had a hostile attitude towards the state. For such an attitude the brutalities committed by South African Government betrayed by Smuts during the South African -Satyagrah movement, the atrocities committed by England in India were, responsible. From these incidents Gandhiji came to regard the entire structure of the State with deep suspicion and hostility.
Gandhiji’s conscience revolted against the very idea of state sovereignty. Any concept of the exaltation of the absolute, uncontrolled and unlimitable power was according to him an attack on the moral fibre of civilization, He regarded it as the challenge to the moral right of man to shape his destiny. As against Hobbes, Austin and Hegel, Gandhiji appeared as the spokesman of the moral sovereignty of the people.
According to him, what can be sovereign is not the state but the moral will of the community. This view of moral will of the people being sovereign was based upon three considerations. First,’ Gandhiji was a spiritual being and so regarded spiritual authority as higher than the spiritual being. According to him no rider could set himself against God.
‘ Secondly, being a Satyagrahi, he preached right of inner con-science to oppose an unjustified law for order of the state.
Thirdly, he stood as the prophet of the moral authority of the people.
However, Gandhiji did not contemplate the destruction of the state, what he stood for was not stateless society but for a non-violent State.
‘ He wrote: “It is claimed that a state can be based on non-violence, i.e., it can offer non-violent resistance against a world combination based on armed force.” According to him, the non-violent state must be based on the willing allegiance of an intelligent body of citizens. The government in such a state will represent the will and ideals of the overwhelming majority of the people.
Gandhiji propounded the concept of a progressively non-violent state. He wrote, “I believed that a state can be administered on a non-violent basis if the vast majority of the people are non-violent. So far as I know India is the only country which has a possibility of being such a state.” But as a realist he was not very hopeful of the immediate acceptance of non-violence as a principle of state policy.
However, the establishment of a non-violent state was the goal of his ideology. Gandhi was not in favour of the immediate ending of the state power. The immediate goal should be moulding of the state according to the principles of non-violence. In his concept of the state what Gandhiji had in mind was the vision of the perfection of mankind and hence he was hostile to the modern state which to him represented organised violence. He refused to see in the state, the manifestation of any superior reason.
He did not regard it the self-actualisation of conscious reason. He was opposed to the western idealists. His ideal was the establishment of a society based on non-violence. It may be said that Gandhiji was a sort of religious anarchist who wanted to establish ‘Ram Rajya’ or the ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth. We may call it if we like by the name of enlightened anarchy.
Gandhiji wrote, “Political power means capacity to regulate national life through national representatives. If national life becomes so perfect as to become self-regulated, no representative becomes necessary. There is then a state of enlightened anarchy. In such a state everyone is his own ruler.
He rules himself in such a manner that he is never a hindrance to his neighbour. In the ideal state, therefore, there is no political power, because there is no state. Bnt the ideal is never fully realised. He wrote : “Such a state is perfect and non-violent where the people are governed the last. The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democracy based on non-violent.
But Gandhiji was not an anarchist of Bakunin type. He did not preach the abolition of state immediately and through violence. He laid stress on cultivation of moral strength and discipline. Gandhiji’s stress on moral rules has parallel in the thoughts of Bakunin. Anarchism to Gandhiji was not a negative plan. He felt that slowly but certainly the obedience to moral laws would render unnecessary and even useless any state.
Thus Gandhiji did not believe in any deliberate and violent destruction of the state but on truth and non-violence through which alone a stateless society could be brought about. He wrote : “A society organised and run on the basis of complete non-violence would be the purest anarchy.”
Explain fully Mahatma Gandhi’s conception of democracy.
Gandhiji was a humanist philosopher and being as such he believed in the rights of freedom and equality of the individuals which are possible only in a democracy. Gandhiji, therefore, was a believer in democracy. His own life was spent for safeguarding the democratic freedoms of the individuals. He always stood up for the rights of the citizens.
Gandhiji himself firmly believed that power belongs to the people. He wrote “Truth is that power which resides in the people and it is entrusted for the time being to those whom they may choose as their representatives. Parliaments have no power or even existence independently of the people.”
However, Gandhiji was opposed to the procedures and practices of British parliamentary democracy. He regarded British parliament as sterile and barren and criticised the apathy and selfishness of the members of that assembly, He regarded it as a talking shop.
He felt too much the hopeless surrender of the parliament into the hands of Prime Minister who often lacked honesty and purity of feelings. He emphasised that Western democracies were dominated by the ruling classes which carried on the exploitation of its interests at the cost of the people. He wrote, “The people of Europe have no doubt political power, but no swaraj”.
Thus, while a believer in democracy Gandhiji was not a blind follower of what passed on in its name. He was a bitter critic of the Western democratic politics. He condemned western democracies for their imperialistic and capitalistic teudencies. He himself had to carry on a struggle against the imperialism by Britain, the so-called democracy.
According to Gandhiji, some of Western- democracies even took recourse to fascistic techniques. He wrote, “Western democracy as it functions to-day is undiluted Nazism or fascism. At best it is merely cloack to bide the Nazi and the fascistic tendencies of imperialism”. Hence, Gandhiji did not see any good in the Western democratic system.
He even went to the extent of saying, “The European democracies are to my mind a negation of democracy,” Gandhiji also did not believe in the majority principle of democracy. He was not satisfied with the external mechanism of democracy. He wanted a democracy where even the minority would not be coerced, but persuaded, respected and converted. He believed in the conversion of the minority to the wijl of the majority and not to their being forced to accept it.
He believed in the good of all the human beings. He would have never agreed to an arrangement in which the interest of the majority were sacrificed. He regarded it as an unfounded dogma of political science that the majority should yield always to the majority. He declared it a slavery to be amenable to the majority, no matter what its decisions are.
Explaining bis concept of democracy Gandhiji said, “The way of approaching to a question is not to examine the numerical strength of those behind the opinion but to examine the soundness of the opinion on merits or else we will never reach a solution and if we reach one it will be a blind solution simply because it is the wish of the largest body.
If the largest body goes wrong it is up to me to say yoh are wrong and not to submit. The rule of majority does not mean that it should supress the opinion of an individual even if it sound. ‘ An individual’s opinion should have greater weight than the opinion of many if that opinion is sound on merits, that is my view of real democracy.”
Gipidhiji’s principal contribution to the concept of democracy lies in his attempt to provide a moral bulwark to democracy. He had an ethical approach to democracy. He wanted to make democracy citadel of autonomy and progress and he felt that courage and resistance were only bulwarks of democracy.
A democracy which depends upon military force is a poor democracy. A pure democracy must cease to rely on the army. Democracy and violence can not be reconciled. He even went to the extent of defining democracy as the rule of the unadulterated non-violence.
If a democracy becomes non-responsive to the public needs it should be resisted through Satyagraha. The true use of democracy, according to Gandhiji, is that it attempts to replace force by social will. He wrote, “In democracy the individual will was governed and limited by the social will which was the state, which was governed by and for democracy.”
Describe the contribution of Gandhiji to political thought.
Mahatma Gandhi was -not a systematic thinker in the field of Political Philosophy. But since lie has stressed some fundamental ideas for the reconstruction of Society, he may, therefore, be regarded a political thinker. He was an inspired leader and prophet. But he was neither a Sankara nor a Kant. Instead he is more near to Socrates and Buddha. His rich personality adds weight to his ideas.
Mahatma Gandhi was not a theoretical analyst but he was a. man of action and also a writer of great force and power. He has written numerously. His writings reveal his personality. His greatness, lay more in his pre-eminently lofty character and his political and moral leadership than in his political ideas. He was humble enough not to claim to have originated any new system of thought; what he did was to put into practice the eternal truths, contained in the great religious books.
He himself said that there was not specificism like Gandhism in the sense of certain dominant philosophic assumptions as We find in Plato or Aristotle. Gandhiji devoted all his time to the pressing problems. Though not an academic philosopher or a systematic conceptual (philosophical) thinker – he had however a scientific spirit and was always experimenting with truth. Gandhism is not a well worked out political philosophy – with clear theoretical assumptions and clearly drawn out political propositions but it is very comprehensive and synthetic.
The problem of the regeneration of humanity has been a subject of enquiry and attention at the hands of several thinkers . Gandhiji also wanted the moral emancipation and ennoblement of man. He felt that social sciences should have an ethical orientation like some western social scientists.
Gandhiji in this respect did not differ ‘much from the Western Social idealists, Pacifists and humanists. Gandhiji achieved great magnificence by making the traditional moral techniques the effective instruments of political action. Gandhiji combined in himself moral virtue and political grandeur.
He was a great nationalist leader for whom political opportunism had no place in life. He was not merely a politician or a statesman but a mighty power in world politics. He was great like Asoka and Lincoln and a prophet like Buddha and Saint Paul. ”
The uniqueness of Gandhi’s leadership lay in his successful application of the techniques of non-violence at a political level. The Satyagarah in South Africa was the first example of the political application of non-violence on a great scale.
But it was only the preface to Gandhi’s far bigger work in India. Gandhi came back to India on January 9, 1915 from South Africa. In 1917 in the Champaran Satyagrah, he demonstrated the political efficacy of Satyagrah in action : there after he started several non-co-operation and civil disobedience movements.
Gandhiji will ever be regarded as the liberator of 400 million human beings. Though Gandhiji was a lean and frail but he had mighty and fearless spirit with him. He symbolized the fearless quest for Swarajya. His stress on fearlessness was aimed to bring about a psychological revolution in India.
He infused into the people of India courage and the capacity of resistance to authority, against the forces of reaction, he stood firm for freedom. He was an irrepressible optimist and a fearless fighter. He was opposed to British imperialism.
His fight against untouchability and his leadership of Indian Independence movements were based on ideals of social, political and economic justice. Thus, there were major liberalist and humanist orientations to Gandhi’s concept of nrtion- alism. His cry of Swarajya was not gospel of a aggressive isolation.
It was call for the cindication of denied justice. He. did not want to take advantage of the opponents rather he inculcated love for, them. He stood for universal justice and regarded it as an attribute of soul. He was devoted to the ideals of liberty, equality, justice and welfare. He was a solid political realist.
Gandhi’s political leadership was re-enforced by his spiritual personality. He pleaded for the incorporation of moral and spiritual values in politics. He advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, village re-generation, Khadi and cottage industries, the abolition of untouchability and winning of Indian Independence. – He was one of the greatest embodiments of the Indian values – spirituality, morality, austerity and integrity.
He reminded, the Indian people of the moral precepts. But he was not a mere conserver of the dominant moral values contained in the scriptures. He combined the two aspects of conservation and new creation in his works. His technique for social change was peaceful. He was not a visionary and an utopian philosopher. He believed in Karmayoga and was Karmayogi toiling for the realization of his ideals. He was both a moral philosopher and a political leader. He was absolutely devoted to truth.
Gandhiji was not only political leader but also a social reformer. He was opposed to reactionary cultural traditions and old meaningless social customs. He fought against the system of untouchability sanctioned by centuries old conservatism. His campaign against untouchability was an advance in the direction of the recognition of human rights.
The evil of untouchability deeply touched his heart. He devoted all his life to its removal. Though a Hindu by birth but he was not orthodox. According to him untouchability had no integral connection with the sense of Hinduism. He wanted the brotherhood, of all human beings realized.
Although a great nationalist leader Gandhi was a noble humanitarian. He believed in the unity of mankind.He was a world leader. He was the friend of the poor and the oppressed everywhere. His personality was a synthesis of great action and prayerful contemplation. He taught the sanctity of social and political service. He was a noble soul. He was humble and generous. He attempted to combine the spiritual and the temporal.
He was the enemy of imperialism. For the solution of the problems of the world he advocated a spiritual and moral approach. His message of Truth an J Non-violence, liberty and equality, justice and welfare, peace and prosperity has moved the hearts of the people everywhere. He was a profound believer in the values of soul. He had no arrogant pretentions to any supermanhood.
He was a saint who wanted to atone for his own sins and faults. He took delight not in discussions with diplomats and big people but in serving the sick * and the poor. He was not a politician in the narrow sense of term. People compared him to Christ and Lord Krishna and never put him in the category of Alexander and Bismarck.
He was the prophet of human perfection. He pleaded for spiritual values and illumination. He was deeply humble and simple. He was a champion of freedom and moral emancipation. He inculcated the’ simple virtues of love, truth and devotion to God. His approach was spiritual and moral. ‘ He preached a brotherly union of hearts and taught the importance of personal purification as the necessary foundation of national and international harmony.
He constantly endeavoured for the realization of brotherhood, peace and justice. He became a world teacher because of his eminent spirituality. He was a champion of moral will and ethical consciousness. His constant aim was the realization of God through the service of mankind.
The life of Mahatma Gandhi was manifestation of the Truth. His theory of Satyagrah’ is based on the sanctity of truth. He said that even one true Satyagrab is enough. He was the spokesman of the consciousness of mankind. There was spiritual unity running throughout his life which made him a prophet. In his action he was guided by the simple principles of charity and love.
Gandhiji belongs to the category of the elite of world history. He was not only the prophet of peace and the advocate of unity of brotherhood, he has been the martyr of his ideals. His death gave a dramatic finale to his teachings and ideals.