IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 2nd Oct 2020
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”―
EDITORIAL HUNT #167 :“Mahatma Gandhi | MultiCultural Indian | UPSC“
Mahatma Gandhi | MultiCultural Indian | UPSC
Ramin Jahanbegloo is Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana
The Mahatma as an intercultural Indian
His proximity to the East and the West proved to be fruitful; his intellectual openness helped him to live up to his ideals
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Personality
Even after so many years , Gandhi’s ideology and ideals are far ahead of our time . Discuss -(GS 1)
- Gandhi’s Principles
- Ethical Mode of Conduct
- Approach of MK Gandhi.
- SANCTIFYING PRINCIPLES : The odd thing about this affirmation is that it tends to sanctify Gandhi while rejecting his principles.
- PERSONALITY : However, Gandhi was not a saint; nor was he a religious leader.
- ONE AND ONLY THINKER : He was, first and foremost, an original thinker and an acute political strategist, who believed in introducing humanity to the principle of non-violence.
A REALISTIC HOPE
- A DOSE OF IDEALISM : Gandhi’s idea of non-violence was not a dream; it was a realistic hope, armed with a dose of practical idealism; that of the global welcoming of the law of love.
- INFLUENCES : He presented himself as an Asian who was influenced by Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and as a person who was deeply influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ, Socrates, Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau.
- PROXIMITY : Maybe so, but it is not because Gandhi learnt many things from the West that he had necessarily become a stranger to his own culture and to the traditions of the East.
- IMMEDIACY TO WEST : On the contrary, his vicinity to the East and the West proved to be very fruitful and made of him, what we can call, “an intercultural Indian”.
- EMINENT SCHOLAR : Gandhi was endowed with an intellectual openness, which helped him to learn from others, and, as a result, live up to his ideals.
- FATHER OF MODERN NON VIOLENCE : As such, he was not only an Indian political and moral leader but also the founding father of modern non-violence as it has been practised for the past 100 years around the globe.
ETHICAL MODE OF CONDUCT
- TOOLS AND DOCTRINES : As such, with Gandhi, the philosophy of non-violence turned into an instrument of public dissent and a pragmatic tool of the powerless against the powerful.
- UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD : However, in the eyes of Gandhi, while being an instrument of conflict resolution and universal harmony, non-violence was also an essentially moral exercise.
- ADHESIONS : As a matter of fact, he viewed non-violence essentially as an ethical commitment and a constructive political action.
- FIRMNESS : For Gandhi, the ethical and the political were the same.
- SATYAGRAHA : For him, the struggle against violence and fanaticism was at the same moral level as disobeying unjust laws: it was expressed by the soul force and the pursuit of truth to uplift others.
- SELF-RIGHTEOUS : Gandhi had a profoundly ethical view of life: he recognised neither the infallible authority of texts nor the sanctity of religious traditions.
- ANALYST : He was also the foremost critic of modern politics and its authoritarian practices.
- CONVENTIONAL DISTINCTION : Reading Gandhi today is unavoidably to rethink modern politics as a new relation between power and violence .
- ACTION IN DEMOCRACY : Gandhi believed that democratic action is not limited by mere constitutionalism and representation.
- SULTANIZATION OF POLITICAL POWER : Gandhian meaning of Democratic politics – was to be vigilant about the abuses of power by the state and to struggle against the “Sultanization” of political power in our contemporary societies.
ESTABLISHING A JUST SOCIETY
- CONCEPT OF IDEAL SOCIETY : On the social level, Gandhi envisioned an ideal society where social justice is done, including for the last person.
- A JUST SOCIETY : The entire Gandhian thought in the realm of citizenship and democracy revolves around the establishment of a just society.
- GANDHI’S REPUBLIC : Gandhi’s idea of democracy hinges on moral growth in humankind, where an undisciplined and unrestrained individualism gives its place to an empathetic humanism.
- GANDHI ON HUMANISM : Moreover, while speaking on non-violence and democracy, Gandhi believed that humanity had to develop certain qualities such as fearlessness, non-possession and humility.
- MULTI-CULTURAL HUMAN BEINGS : The main aim was to restructure humans to suit to an inter-cultural and pluri-dimensional democracy.
- GANDHI ON WORKMANSHIP : Gandhi’s repeated emphasis on service to all human beings from all traditions of thought was the essence of his non-violent democratic theory.
AN APPROACH AHEAD OF ITS TIME
- PLURALISTIC APPROACH : In his approach to the dialogue of cultures and faiths, Gandhi was far ahead of his time.
- A MOUNTAIN MAN : Gandhi was not a dogmatic nationalist but essentially a pathfinder towards a common ground among different cultures and diverse mentalities.
- PHILOSOPHY OF DEMOCRACY : Therefore, his philosophy of democracy remains neither mono-cultural nor essentialist. It is essentially pluralistic and empathetic.
- POLITICS VS RELIGION : For Gandhi , attachment to politics is more ethical than religious. Consequently, religion for him is identified with ethics rather than theology.
- TRUTHFULNESS : And he was a person who pursued truth in all aspects of life, not only spirituality, and encouraged others to join him in this pursuit.
- MANY SIDED TRUTH : He did not reject different traditions of social life; he simply affirmed what he considered to be most authentic in them !
- TWO SIDES OF THE COIN : Gandhi, therefore, speaks of democracy and non-violence as two sides of the same reality.
IDEA OF ‘INDIANNESS’
- BAPU’S MISSION : He defined his mission of promoting non-violence and democracy in India beyond all political and philosophical sources of hatred, exclusion, suspicion and war.
- CAUTIOUSNESS : He was well aware of the fact that politics is a fragile concept and is vulnerable to nationalist justifications of violence and war.
- ONE INDIA AND INDIANNESS : Gandhi’s philosophy of democracy introduced an anti-monistic and pluralistic dimension into a primarily territorial rootedness of Indianness.
- COMPASSION : For Gandhi, there was no sentiment of loving one’s country (namely India) without loving the culture of the other.
“The golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one.”
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Mahatma Gandhi | MultiCultural Indian | UPSC