Gandhian Perspective on the Indian State

Gandhian Perspective on the Indian State

  • Submitted By: vidyotma
  • Date Submitted: 02/02/2009 8:50 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 1646
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Gandhian perspective on Indian Nation State

Gandhi’s political and moral thought is based upon a simple metaphysics. For him the universe is regulated by a supreme intelligence or the principle which he called TRUTH or GOD. It is embodied in all living beings and above all in Man, in the form of as self conscious soul or spirit. The spirit constitutes man’s essence. Since all men have a share in the divine essence, they are ultimately one. They are not merely equal but also identical. Since they have a spark of divinity in them, man is inherently good and the discovery and cultivation of this goodness is man’s purpose in this earthly life – a realization of true self through self discipline and ahimsa. In other words there is not only the perfectibility of the human self, but also an inherent urge in man to achieve it. The social and political life of man ought to be guided by the knowledge and the light of that goodness or virtue. In search of this goodness and truth, the knowledge and acceptance of evils — whether social, economic or political – and correcting and curing them were the challenges to the creative best of man. It is this context that his view on Indian social structure, religion, untouchability, property, industrialization, politics or state can be understood.

Criticism of the Modern State Like many other Indian leaders, Gandhi had great difficulty in accepting the modern and liberal capitalist state. He took great pains to point out the imperfections and dangers of modern state and sought to cut it to size by propounding a social theory where the state largely loses its deceptive luster and turns into a necessity. He did not consider the state more than a mechanical arrangement superimposed on the nation. It was impersonal, ruling by rules, functioning more or less like a machine with no human beings apparently in charge of it or accepting responsibility for its action. He viewed the power of the state not as an end in itself but as one of...

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