Gandhi in His Time and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas

Gandhi in His Time and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas

David Hardiman

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0231131143

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Gandhi was the creator of a radical style of politics that has proved effective in fighting insidious social divisions within India and elsewhere in the world. How did this new form of politics come about? David Hardiman shows that it was based on a larger vision of an alternative society, one that emphasized mutual respect, resistance to exploitation, nonviolence, and ecological harmony.

Politics was just one of the many directions in which Gandhi sought to activate this peculiarly personal vision, and its practice involved experiments in relation to his opponents. From representatives of the British Raj to Indian advocates of violent resistance, from right-wing religious leaders to upholders of caste privilege, Gandhi confronted entrenched groups and their even more entrenched ideologies with a deceptively simple ethic of resistance. Hardiman examines Gandhi's ways of conducting his conflicts with all these groups, as well as with his critics on the left and representatives of the Dalits. He also explores another key issue in Gandhi's life and legacy: his ideas about and attitudes toward women.

Despite inconsistencies and limitations, and failures in his personal life, Gandhi has become a beacon for posterity. The uncompromising honesty of his politics and moral activism has inspired such figures as Jayaprakash Narayan, Medha Patkar, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Petra Kelly and influenced a series of new social movements―by environmentalists, antiwar campaigners, feminists, and human rights activists, among others―dedicated to the principle of a more just world.

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One of the greatest disciplines without which the mind cannot attain requisite firmness.'61 In an important article in Young India of 1920, he demanded that celibacy be central to national reform.62 Sexuality was for him a very public concern. In this, he tapped a chord among the literate public in India. When he published a booklet in 1927 called Self-Restraint vs. Self-Indulgence, the first edition sold out in one week, and it was reprinted many times. In his preface to the second edition of.

Taken outside the realm of mass assertion to that of an individualistic sadomasochistic sexuality, in which—in this case—the young man desires violent discipline from patriarchal father-figures. It is hard to describe this as a commitment to the principles of Gandhian non-violence, as Lanza del Vasto, who recorded the statement, seeks to do.73 There has been a tendency for many self-perceived 'Gandhians' to apply a mechanical, narrow-minded and self-righteous discipline to themselves and others.

This with the fetishising of economic growth by neo-classical and Keynesian economists, and the 'idolatry of giantism' of twentieth-century governments.65 Economists, he argued, claimed to be putting forward value-free 'truths', while failing to understand their own metaphysics. What he proposed instead was a 'Buddhist economics', though he noted that the teachings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other great religion would do as well.66 An ethical economics put humans and their needs.

(father). He often signed off his letters to such people with 'Bapu's blessings'. He claimed that he treated all women as he would a 'sister or daughter'.1 He ran his ashrams as a benevolent but authoritarian patriarch. In his own family life he demanded obedience from his wife, Kasturba, and his four sons and their wives. It was hard for him to accept when a 'daughter' or 'son'—real or adopted—sought to assert their independence; there were acrimonious quarrels, leading in some cases to sharp.

It ignored the fact that the majority of Indian women of his day earned their livelihood through field-labour and factory-work and that most were compelled to do so through necessity. The only source of earning he could suggest for women was hand-spinning—something which could earn only very small sums of money in practice. Gandhi thus failed to provide any space within his movement for the economically independent woman.88Patel is also highly critical of his opinion that a woman had to make a.

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