Current Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi's Political Views

 

Dr. Satyabhama Sauraj

Research Scholar, Political Science, Vikram University, Ujjain, M.P.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: dr.satya@ymail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

The research paper is current relevance of Mahatma Gandhi political views on the overall world impact on his political thought. For  Gandhi ji morality and religion are two faces of the same coin from which neither of them can be separated. According to him, religion is to morality what watch is to seed that is sown in the soil . Thus morality and religion would go together Neither morality precedes religion nor religion precedes morality. They are intertwined and interdependent on each other. Morality emphasizes the relation of the individual to society and religion emphasizes the relation of individual to God. Gandhiji advocated that religion % and morality would pervade the whole of human life. He did not perceive religion as something more than morality. Morality is a way of life. Without it, we cannot respect and accept the rights of others. Gandhiji strictly followed morality in all his actions and performances. He  tried to confine the national independent movement to the strict principle of Non-violence. It is the core of morality. And moreover, Gandhiji tried to moralize all religions and thereby to avoid hatred, fanaticism,  and religious orthodoxy.

 

KEYWORDS: Relevance, Interdependent, Emphasizes, Intertwined, society and religion, Non-violence, fanaticism.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

Gandhi ji dreamed that the Indian society must be based on social justice and equality. The Indian constitution puts seal of legality on social equality for which Gandhij  fought relentlessly. Article 15 could, therefore be traced to the teachings of Gandhiji who believed that "democracy can only exist and llourish amongst a society of equals. Without economic equality, political and social equality sound lifeless. Gandhiji accepts thc doctrine on equitable distribution and equality of status and of opportunity. Economic equality would he without any substance if in a country, a large section of fellow citizens is treated at the sub-human level and is deride elernentary human rights.

 

Gandhiji's personality has mainly two dimensions. On the one hand, it is the integrated growth of body, mind and spirit - Personal-dimension, and on the other this integrated sell is co-ordinate with his Yellow beings through service - social discussion. 'l'he social dimension of Gandhiji's personality was very close to his human rights activities. He was a social activist regarding the various rights of the people. He was a man of action. A man who practiced what he preached. Gandhiji writes: "It is better to allow our lives to speak for us than our  word

 

OBJECTIVES OF STUDY:

1.   A Study on political thought of Mahatma Gandhi.

2. A Study on current relevance and importance of Gandhian thought in india.

 

METHODOLOGY:

The research paper is based on primary and secondary data the Metter is current relevance political though Gandhians approach. Gandhi ji dreamed that the Indian society must be based on social justice and equality. The Indian constitution puts seal of legality on social equality for which Gandhiji fought relentlessly. The Metter collected to the working research paper, economic statistics Raipur, Dainik Bhaskar Raipur Chhattisgarh.

 

CURRENT VIEWS OF POLITICAL THOUGHT:

First of all the conceptualization of swaraj needs to be contextualized in the larger social processes of the nineteenth and twentieth century's. The two most obvious influences are nationalism and democratization. In the context of the first, the question that deserves careful attention is why the idea of swaraj gained ground. Simply put, after the late nineteenth century the claim to any form of self-government was shelved so long as it was not articulated as the claim of a nation. Colonial sovereignty in part rested upon denying that India was a nation. The nationalist project was not simply something that elites dreamt up to define others in their image, it also sought to identify and highlight the distinctive features of a population to justify its claim for nationhood. And the idea of swaraj provided the nationalists with a clearly defined socio-political economic vocabulary, meaningful for a subject nation. The belief in an Indian nationhood as a historical fact was based on Western models. But it ‘was also an emotionally charged reply to the rulers’ allegation that India never was and never could be a nation’. The construction of even a vaguely defined Indian nationhood was a daunting task simply because India lacked the basic ingredients of a conventionally conceptualized notion of nation. There was therefore a selective appeal to history to recover those elements transcending the internal schism among those who were marginalized under colonialism. Hence a concerted attempt was always made to underline ‘the unifying elements of the Indian religious traditions, medieval syncretism and the strand of tolerance and impartiality in the policies of Muslim rulers’. So the colonial milieu was an important dimension of the processes that led to a particular way of imagining a nation in a multi-ethnic context like India, which is so different from perceptions based on Western experience. The political sensibilities of Indian nationalism ‘were deeply involved in this highly atypical act of imagining.

 

Importance of Political thought-Non-violence:

(a) Non violence is the law of the human race and is infinitely greater than and superior to brute force. (b) In the last resort it does not avail to those who do not possess a living faith in the God of Love. (c) Non-violence affords the fullest protection to one’s self respect and sense of honors, but not always to possession of land or movable property, though its habitual practice does prove a better bulwark than the possession of armed men to defend them. Non violence in the very nature of things is of no assistance in the defiance of ill-gotten gains and immoral acts. (d) Individuals or nations who would practice non-violence must be prepared to sacrifice (nations to the last man) their all except honors. It is therefore inconsistent with the possession of other people’s countries, i.e., modern imperialism which is frankly based on force for its defence. (e) Non-violence is a power which can be wielded equally by all–children, young men and women or grown-up people–provided they have a living faith in the god of love and have therefore equal love for all mankind. When non-violence is accepted as the law of life it must pervade the whole being and not [be] applied to isolated acts. (f) It is a profound error to suppose that whilst the law is good enough for individuals it is not for [the] masses of mankind.

(Harijan, 5 September, 1936, CWMG, Vol. 63, p. 262)

 

How non-violence works:

My faith in non-violence remains as strong as ever. I am quite sure that not only should it answer all our requirements in our country, but that it should, if properly applied, prevent the bloodshed that is going on outside India and is threatening to overwhelm the Western world. My aspiration is limited. God has not given me the power to guide the world on the path of non-violence. But I have imagined that he has chosen me as His instrument for presenting non-violence to India for dealing with her many ills. The progress already made is great. But much more remains to be done. And yet I seem to have lost the power to evoke the needed response from Congressmen in general. It is a bad carpenter who quarrels with his tools. It is a bad general who blames his men for faulty workmanship. I know I am not a bad general. I have wisdom enough to know my limitations. God will give me strength enough to declare my bankruptcy if such is to [be] my lot. He will perhaps take me away when I am no longer wanted for the work which I have been permitted to do for nearly half [a] century. But I do entertain the hope that there is yet work for me to do, that the darkness that seems to have enveloped me will disappear, and that, whether with another battle more brilliant than the Dandi March or without, India will come to her own demonstrably through non-violent means. I am praying for the light that will dispel the darkness. Let those who have a living faith in non-violence join me in the prayer.

(Harijan, 23 July, 1938, CWMG, Vol. 67, pp. 197–8)

 

I hold that non-violence is not merely a personal virtue. It is also a social virtue to be cultivated like the other virtues. Surely society is largely regulated by the expression of non-violence in its mutual dealings. What I ask for is an extension of it on a larger, national and international scale.

(Harijan, 7 January, 1939, CWMG, Vol. 68, p. 278)

 

Let us confine ourselves to ahimsa. We have all along regarded the spinning wheel, village crafts, etc. as the pillars of ahimsa, and so indeed they are. They must stand. But have now to go a step further. A votary of ahimsa will of course base upon non-violence, if he has not already done so, all his relations with his parents, his children, his wife, his servants, his dependants, etc. But the real test will come at the time of political or communal disturbances or under the menace of thieves and dacoits. Mere resolve to lay down one’s life under the circumstances is not enough. There must be the necessary qualification for making the sacrifice. If I am a Hindu, I must fraternize with the Mussalmans and the rest. In my dealings with them I may not make any distinction between my co-religionists and those who might belong to a different faith. I would seek opportunities to serve them without any feeling of fear or unnaturalness. The word ‘fear’ can have no place in the dictionary of ahimsa. Having thus qualified himself by his selfless service, a votary of pure ahimsa will be in a position to make a fit offering of himself in a communal conflagration. Similarly, to meet the menace of thieves and dacoits, he will need to go among, and cultivate friendly relations with, the communities from which thieves and dacoits generally come.

(Harijan, 21 July, 1940, CWMG, Vol. 72, pp. 281–2)

 

CONCLUSION:

Gandhi was perhaps the only effective nationalist leader who ‘truly attempted to transcend the class conflicts [by] devising a method which, for the first time, brought about the national aggregation of an all-India character’.  This is where Gandhi was unique. Not only did he articulate the peripheral voices, he also translated them into action by linking with the obvious adverse consequences of colonialism. His social and political ideas are therefore dialectically constituted in the context of foreign rule. Gandhi simultaneously launched movements not only against the British rule but also against the atrocious social structures, customs, norms and values, justified in the name of India’s age-old traditions. While defining the character of the Gandhi-led nationalist movement, Nehru thus stated that Gandhi had a twofold aim. Apart from challenging and resisting foreign rule, Gandhi launched a serious campaign against, to quote Nehru, ‘our social evils’. Besides the freedom of India, the principal planks of the Gandhian non-violent struggle were ‘national unity, which involved’, he argued further, ‘the solution of the minority problems and the raising of the depressed classes and the ending of the curse of untouchability’. Hence, Gandhian thought is neither purely political nor absolutely social, but a complex mix of the two, which accords conceptual peculiarities to what the Mahatma stood for. Gandhi was primarily a political activist whose writings emerged mainly during the process of social, economic and political actions. He never claimed ‘to have originated any new principle or doctrine. simply tried to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems’ although he wrote on every subject of human life in an attractive and easily comprehensible prose style. Most of his writings were situational and they constituted only a fraction of his activities. Hence, as Bondurant argues, The Congress gained ground and Gandhi appeared to have infused new life into it. The growing strength of the nationalist movement is attributed to Gandhi’s role in mediating between various groups and forces. Even before he became a Congress member, he had become the acknowledged leader and symbol of the anti-British movements in India. As such, he held together ‘a group of political leaders, mediating between their diverse ideologies and aims’. This was certainly a major factor that contributed to his increasing importance in the Congress even when it was terribly faction-ridden. What was also remarkable was the easy acceptance of his ideas by the rank and file of the political activists who participated in the freedom struggle in response to the call by Gandhi. While admitting that ‘the innocent-seeming term, non violence’ was most effective in political mobilization by Gandhi, R. Palme Dutt also underlined the ideological vacuum that it created in the mass struggle, of which freedom from the British rule was just one objective. Hence in his critique of the ‘non violent struggle’ of Gandhi, Dutt argued that the subsequent experience of events and the ever-developing interpretation of [this form of struggle] were to demonstrate, that seemingly innocent humanitarian or expedient [form] contained concealed within it, not only the refusal of the final struggle, but the thwarting also of the immediate struggle by the attempt to conciliate the interests of the masses with the big bourgeois and landlord interests which were inevitably opposed to any decisive mass struggle. Herein lay the contradiction which was to lead to the collapse of the movement   and the failure to win that speedy victory of Swaraj which was freely promised as the certain and rapid outcome of the new policy.

 

REFERENCE:

1.        Chatterjee, Partha, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: a derivative discourse, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1986

2.        Chatterjee, Partha, ‘The nation in heterogeneous time’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 38 (4), 2001

3.        Chatterjee, Partha, A Princely Impostor? The kumar of Bhawal and the secret history of Indian nationalism, Permanent Black, New Delhi, 2002

4.        Chatterjee, Partha, The Politics of the Governed: reflections on popular politics in most of the world, Permanent Black, New Delhi, 2004

5.        Chaudhuri, Nirad C., The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1968

6.        Chaudhuri, Nirad C., Thy Hand Great Anarch: India, 1921–52, Chatto and Windus, London, 1987

7.        Choudhury, Khaliquzzaman, Pathway to Pakistan, Longmans, Lahore, 1961

8.        Cohn, B., Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: the British in India, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1996

9.        Dalton, Dennis, Non-violence in Action: Gandhi’s power, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1998

10.      Joseph, 3. Doke, 'M.K. Gandhi: An Indian Patriot in South Africa, London Indian Chronicle, 1909, p. 7.

11.      Kri shna Kirplani, (Ed.), A// men are Brothers, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1960, p. 123.

12.      Shriman Narayan, Mahatma Gandhi: The Atomic Man, p. 6. Gandhi to Irwin, 2 March, 1930 in B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, The History of the Indian National Congress, S. Chand & Co., Delhi, pp. 633–4.

 

 

 

 

Received on 11.11.2018         Modified on 15.12.2018

Accepted on 05.01.2019      ©AandV Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2019; 10(1):07-10.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2019.00002.0