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

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Non-Brahmin Labour Movement in Bombay and Indian National Movement

The development of the mill industry in Bombay[1] heavily relied on family, kinship, caste and patronage. Labour recruitment and organisation were also correlated to family, kinship, caste and patronage. The rise and growth of the Indian National Movement in Bombay was largely connected with caste politics. The early growth of the Indian National Congress was connected with the society's elite and oppressor caste community. Prominent leaders from the Indian National Congress were mainly from the Brahmin caste. M K Gandhi and his various movements had created space for the non-Brahmin in the national movements. But it was not an easy task to convince the non-Brahmin masses to join the Indian national movements. This article explains the initial phase of Gandhi and his early attempts to organise non-Brahmin labour unions and encourage their participation in national movements. Further, it explains how these non-Brahmin leaders joined the Congress party and its various significant movements. This process primarily affected the labour unrest and national movement in Bombay.

A Tale of Two ‘Gujarat Models’

Walking from Dandi: In Search of Vikas by Harmony Siganporia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022; pp xvi + 292, `1,495.

Gandhi and the Development of Public Health Infrastructure in Interwar Bombay

The fight for independence from the colonial yoke gained momentum in the early 20th century. Anti-colonial sentiment reached its peak in the interwar period as a result of the mass movements initiated by Gandhi, and his ideas of “non-violence,” ‘boycott’ and ‘swadeshi’ had a significant impact on the minds of the native population. This essay examines the impact of Gandhian ideology on the development of public health infrastructure in Bombay city during the interwar period. It highlights the contribution of the medical professionals and students in Bombay, challenging the colonial authorities and constructing a national identity through the lens of public health infrastructure.

Underscoring the Perils of Majoritarianism

Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here by Aakar Patel, Westland Books, 2020; pp 368, 799.

 

The Call of the Funeral Pyre

Burning the Dead: Hindu Nationhood and the Global Construction of Indian Tradition by David Arnold, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021; pp 268, $70.

 

Gandhi and the Re-enactment of Racism

Examining M K Gandhi’s attitude towards South African natives during his sojourn in South Africa, Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, in their book The South African Gandhi, have accused Gandhi of racism, arguing that Gandhi kept his struggle for British concessions for indentured Indians in South Africa separate from the struggle of Zulu people for freedom from colonial rule, because Gandhi considered the natives racially inferior and called them Kaffirs—a derogatory term used against them by the Whites as well as Indians. However, accusing Gandhi of racism indicates a misrepresentation of his ideas in transition, and the word Kaffir does not connote a racial slur.

Mahatma of the Mountains

Sundarlal Bahuguna, who applied Gandhi’s non-violent tools to fight environmental injustice, holds a special place in independent India’s environmental history.

Ambedkar, Gandhians and the Indian Village

The paper attempts to understand the two competing models of postcolonial modernity on the issue of the village, that is, one representing a Gandhian perspective and the other a liberal Western perspective led by B R Ambedkar. M K Gandhi’s idea of the village was developed through his imagination of an ideal state that had an appeal from the masses and was also sought as the rightful response to the British colonial rule, whereas Ambedkar’s idea of the village was derived from his existential experience of living in Western countries as well as in Mumbai. The idea of modernity as comprehended by Ambedkar envisioned the end of community and emergence of a society where anonymity of the individual’s birth-based status would be the dominant feature of social life. These contrasting models of postcolonial modernity on the status of the village were apprehended and expressed by the members of the Constituent Assembly from 9 December 1946 to 26 November 1949.

Researching Gandhi’s Ideas on Women

This paper uses this author’s earlier paper from 1988 on M K Gandhi’s ideas on women in order to reinterpret it in terms of contemporary feminist perspectives. It lays bare the theories and methodologies used in the earlier paper and suggests that such reflexive interventions are necessary when assessing the thoughts and practices of figures such as Gandhi, whose ideas have been given new meanings in and through contemporary commentaries. It argues that Gandhi’s perspective on women needs to be situated within his project of structuring a new modernity for the emerging and evolving Indian nation, and should be perceived through the lens of hegemonic masculinity.

V N Datta: ​A Student’s Reminiscence

V N Datta, Professor Emeritus of History, Kurukshetra University, breathed his last on 30 November 2020. He was 94.

Gandhi and Saintliness

An integrated reading of Gandhi’s ideas, images, personal life, and political activities, at times inflicts considerable damage to the understanding of his thoughts. George Orwell’s (1949–2000) view of Gandhi as a moral saint and his ideas as “anti-humanistic” is a striking example. Adopting Orwell’s image, the philosopher Susan Wolf (1982), in an influential paper, questioned the very idea of moral saints. His saintly image is an important reason why there is little mention of Gandhi in academic moral philosophy. By showing that the image does not apply to his thoughts, we rescue Gandhi’s moral concepts from the perceived image of a saint.

Seeking Truth and Practising Satyagraha

Tracing Gandhi: Satyarthi to Satyagrahi by Samir Banerjee, Routledge, Oxon and New York and Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, 2020; pp ix + 205, 995.

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