ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Gandhi's Twin Fasts and the Possibility of Non-violence

Gandhi died a sorrowful man, following his discovery that the freedom struggle led by him was not non-violent. It was passive resistance, which is always "a preparation for active armed resistance". The violence which had lain repressed had erupted on the eve of Independence. Gandhi's insight seems to have left academic wisdom and popular memory unaffected. This study of two "twin" fasts by Gandhi is part of a larger attempt to use that insight to make sense of his 30-odd years in India and of his undying faith in non-violence. It asks: Can non-violence be more than an impossible possibility?

G andhi dared dream a dream for humankind. And he sought to realise it in real life. In the process, he even felt driven more than once to stake his own life. Unprecedented as his grand effort was, it ended tragically. I wish here to talk about two fasts of Gandhis to point towards the inherent tragedy of his dream. That tragedy, it would seem, inheres in the very state of humankind that Gandhi dreamed of altering. The two fasts, which Gandhi undertook within a space of eight months (September 1932-May 1933), were for him a single fast. The second fast (8-21 May 1933), in his reckoning, was actually a resumption of the rst (20-26 September 1932).

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.