Gandhi: An Autobiography Gandhi question

Contemporary relevance of Gandhi
Lit Bug Lit Bug Mar 13, 2013 12:30AM
What, do you think, is Gandhi's relevance today, anywhere in the world?

Especially with reference to his ideas on 1. Non-violence 2. Self-reliance economically and simple life-style 3. Peaceful non-cooperation against oppression 4. Physical suffering as a path to spiritual cleansing.

Especially, for those who are aware of Ambedkar, Gandhi and Ambedkar agreed on the need of freeing lower castes from oppression, but vehemently disagreed on the method of achieving them. Gandhi insisted on keeping the caste system intact, only removing oppression, while Ambedkar cited the basic texts that are the foundations of Hinduism and argued how keeping the structure intact would never allow the lower castes to be relieved from oppression. What are your thoughts on it???

Third, I have a few serious problems with a part of Gandhian ideology, especially with reference to his path-breaking text "Hind Swaraj". Any people disagreeing with Gandhi's thoughts???

Personalities like Gandhi are relevant at all times. One may agree or disagree with the ideology that these personalities propagated but the sheer force of conviction that people like Gandhi have in their own methods and the ability to face the world to actualize what they think is correct is eternally inspirational. I guess with this yardstick even Hitler would rank really high and people would obviously have opposition to that. But reading about them makes one believe the sheer power of these men/women and that is what makes them relevant. The problems of the world will change with time, what does not change is the necessity to act to make things right. What is required is the will to do what one thinks is right and then face anything in the process.

Lit Bug I was not referring to the immense hold they have on the masses, Rajat... I believe in doing something because I think it is right, not because someon ...more
Mar 13, 2013 02:49AM · flag

1. Non-violence:
This is an ageless thought. Non-violence has very deep implications...
Refusing to accept injustice through peaceful means and striking the thought which gave birth to this injustice is non-violence. As long as there is injustice happening in this world, non-violence is valid.

2. I don't know how valid the self-reliance is to this date, but we should not confuse Gandhian idea of economy with communist ideology. Gandhi's idea of villege-self-relience was actually the age old model of Indian villege, also this is the precise reason why Gandhi refuse to give up the cast identity. In these self-sufficiant villeges the casts were actually the professions of people. And whole economy depended on every piller of casts. What he wanted to remove was the idea of one perticular cast being higher than other. Also Gandhi refuse to accept cast by birth...hence what he supported was actually 'Varn-vyavastha".

3. peaceful non-cooperation against oppression is nothing but satyaghraha which are still performed in India (Anna Hazare movement, Narmada Bachao Abhiyan etc.). Hence it proves their validity.

4. Physical suffering?? I am doubtful whether Gandhi's idealogy supported this kind of suffering....

Lit Bug He did. Refer to Hind Swaraj. He explicitly said that if one's health deteriorates, it is because of one's mistakes in taking care of one's health, an ...more
Apr 15, 2013 03:29AM

If we are to discuss the 'relevance' of Gandhian ideas today, we cannot ignore that Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela followed the Gandhian ways. Isn't it possible and quite predictable that the Protestant culture and Nelson Mandela's work in South Africa have Gandhian undertones? These two leaders thoroughly followed Non-violence and peaceful noncooperation against oppression, though the latter comes under the former, only with another name 'Satyagraha'. We may say Satyagraha is the tool used for materializing Non-Violence in a political struggle.

Also, Gandhi's life and his ideas have been studied by the international academia in great detail. Non-violence may have a validity of thought because it has been further been accepted by credible personalities and the value itself has multiple cultural undertones. For example, Non-violence is central to Buddhism.

Moving forward to the second point of self-dependence. As one of the above comments rightly mentions that the Panchayat Raj was once an ideal model for an Indian village. I personally believe that this model is integral to preserving the culture and growth of rural India. Being an anti-capitalist, I am certain that self-dependence of rural India will empower the Indian society as a whole and also preserve its diversity. However, I am not aware of the contemporary relevance of this. To conclude this point, in this matter, I believe in what Gandhi believed in i.e. "India doesn't need Mass Production, it needs Production by the masses."

I choose not to cover the last point in this comment because its implications are individualistic.

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