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

Articles By Mahatma 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.


Dreaming in English

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

Gandhi's Hinduism and Savarkar's Hindutva

The present national crisis of violently conflicting communal identities represents a choice between the inclusiveness of Gandhi and the exclusions of Savarkar. Gandhi did not separate religion from politics. He brought a religious ethic to politics rather than political militancy into religious communities. Meanwhile, Savarkar's Hindutva ideology was narrow and exclusivist in its conflation of janma bhoomi (motherland) and punya bhoomi (holy land). In spite of its pretensions to be nationalist and modern, its militant chauvinism and authoritarian fundamentalism make Savarkar's Hindutva the antithesis of Gandhi's Hinduism. Hindutva defines India as Hindu and wants all Indians to be Hindus. In contrast, Gandhi's Hinduism gives space to all. This paper argues that the future of our multicultural, pluri-religious people can only be even bloodier with the preclusions of Savarkar's Hindutva. Only Gandhi's sarva-dharmasamabhava can possibly be an effective basis for a tolerance on which to premise a just inter-religious peace and harmony.

Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and What the Historians Say

Ever since the death sentence for Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the Lahore conspiracy case-II was pronounced on 7 October 1930 by a controversial three-member special tribunal established by British colonial government, the imperative to save their lives became a national issue. The general perception was that Mahatma Gandhi, who was thought to be the tallest national leader of India at that time, could have achieved this imperative. But it was not to be.