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

Articles By M K Gandhi

Gandhi as an Exemplar?

Akeel Bilgrami’s theorisation of M K Gandhi as an exemplar who, by his actions, sets “examples” for others explains the exemplar morality of Gandhi as non-violent, as no moral criticism is generated when examples are not set, and contrasts it with the morality based on universalisable principles, which causes contempt, hostility, and violence when the principles fail to universalise. This paper questions the exemplar thesis and shows that it does not explain how satyagraha as a political strategy could be both exemplary and political, that the conception of non-violence which inheres the thesis is deficient, and that the assumption that universalisable principles coerce others is not true insofar as Kant’s categorical imperative is made to represent the principle-based morality. It also argues that reading Gandhi as an exemplar is inconsistent with his view of swaraj.

 

Vernacular Communism

Satyabhakta’s engagements with communist politics, the Hindi print public sphere, and workers’ movements in the Gangetic heartland often intermeshed caste, gender, and nationalism, with an indigenous communism. Signifying a strand of the Hindi literary project, he represents some of the suppressed traditions of left dissent, and takes us back to debates between internationalism and nationalism, materialism and spiritualism, class and caste. Even if his ideas were, at times, amateur, they provide us with the everyday lived realities of communist lives, and utopian dreams of equality, which need to be taken into account and historicised seriously.

 

Thinking of Gandhi Today

Learning to think without being hindered by fear or temptation will, among other things, help those who want to emulate M K Gandhi deal with the gravest challenge that they face. That challenge is posed by those who, behind their deviously articulated public lip-service to him, are tirelessly engaged in realising that vision of India which is diametrically opposed to Gandhi’s humane vision.