Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was ‘a man of millennium’ who imparts the lesson of truth, Non- violence and peace. The philosophy and ideology is relevant still today.The philosophy of Gandhi was based on truth, sacrifice, non- violence selfless service and cooperation. In modern times, nonviolent methods of action have been a powerful tool for social protest. According to Gandhi one should be brave and not a coward. He should present his views, suggestions and thoughts without being violent. One should fight a war with the weapons of truth and non violence. Gandhi said that ‘There is no god higher than truth’. According to Gandhi’s thoughts nonviolence is ultimate solution of every kind of problem in the world. Gandhi was single person who fought against the British with the weapons of truth and Non-violence by persuading countrymen to walk on the path of non-violence. Gandhi leading a decades-long nonviolent struggle against British rule in India, which eventually helped India, wins its independence in 1947. By the efforts of Gandhi India became independent. Gandhi initiated non violence activities like Quit India movement and non-operation movement. Gandhi could never have done what he did alone, but with his ability to identify a seed here, a seed there and nurture it, he was able to create a forest of human change. He understood that it was not enough to be a leader, but to create leaders.
In quite simple and clear words, Gandhism consists of the ideas, which Mahatma Gandhi put forth before human world. Along with that, to the maximum possible extent, Mahatma Gandhi treated his individual life in accordance with these ideas. Clearly; Gandhism is a mixture of Gandhi’s concepts and practices. The basic ground ship of Gandhism happens to be non-violence. The non-violence is the most ancient eternal value. This non-violence is the ground of ancient-most civilization and culture of India.Mahatma Gandhi said on this very account while making his concepts and practices based on non-violence: ‘I have nothing new to teach you’ Truth and non-violence are as old as hill. As we know, non-violence and truth are two sides of the same coin. After knowing Gandhism, it is imperative for us to know clearly the concept of non-violence also as it accords the ground for Gandhism. Gandhi’s importance in the political world scenario is twofold. First, he retrieved non-violence as a powerful political tool and secondly manifestation of a higher spiritual goal, culmination in world peace. For Gandhi, means were as important as the end and there could be only one means – that of non-violence.
As a situation opposite to violence is non-violence, we can firmly state, total nonviolence consists in not hurting some other one’s intellect, speech or action per own thought, utterance or deeds and not to deprive some one of his life. Mahatma Gandhi fully agrees with above-mentioned derivation of non-violence. He himself has said, Non-violence is not a concrete thing as it has generally been enunciated. Undoubtedly, it is a part of non-violence to abstain from hurting some living being, but it is only an iota pertaining to its identity. The principle of nonviolence is shattered by every evil thought, false utterance, hate or wishing something bad unto someone. It is also shattered per possession of necessary worldly things. In this chain Mahatma Gandhi clarified in an edition of Young India: ‘To hurt someone, to think of some evil unto someone or to snatch one’s life under anger or selfishness, is violence. In contrast, purest non-violence involves a tendency and presuming towards spiritual or physical benefit unto every one without selfishness and with pure thought after cool and clear deliberations’. The ultimate yardstick of violence or non-violence is the spirit behind the action. There are many examples of their use like resistance, non-violent resistance, and civil revolution. Mahatma Gandhi had to struggle in his whole life, but he never disappointed, he continued his innate faith in non-violence and his belief in the methods of Satyagraha. The significance of Satyagraha was soon accepted worldwide. Martin Luther King adopted the methods of Satyagraha in his fight against the racial discrimination of the American authorities in 1950. Gandhism is very much contextual today on this accord. It is significant. We should grasp importance of Gandhism while analyzing it.
Presently a big portion of the world happens to be under Democratic system of Government. Theoretically, this system stands out to be the best up to now. This is a truth. It is the best because people are connected with it directly or indirectly at every level. Not only this, it is this very system, which provides maximum opportunities of public progress and development. People can themselves decide in this system the mode of their welfare. However, even though being theoretically the best system of government, if we peruse the democratic nations, we first of all find that there is non-equal development of the citizens. We subsequently find that these nations are more or less victimized by regionalism. They have problem relating to language. They are under clutches of terrorism and communalism. There is also the problem of negation of human rights in these nations. There are other vivid problems akin to mention above and peace is far away so long as these problems exist. All citizens must have equal development and they should have communal harmony towards making all citizens collective and unified partners in progress. But, in reality, it is not so. It is essential that the nations of democratic system of government should be free from above-mentioned problems, must be capable of ensuring equal development of their all citizens and the citizens concerned must march forward on path of progress in unified way along with rendering contribution to world peace.
Gandhi demonstrated to a world, weary with wars and continuing destruction that adherence to Truth and Non-violence is not meant for individuals alone but can be applied in global affairs too. Gandhi’s vision for the country and his dreams for the community as a whole still hold good for India. He got the community to absorb and reflect true values of humanity and to participate in tasks that would promote the greater good. These issues are still relevant to what free India is and represents. The main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence and it is here the values of Gandhi need to be adhered to with more passion.
Gandhian strategy is mainly comprised with:
Truth and honesty
Peace and love
Satyagraha – A holistic approach towards life, based on the ideals of truth and moral courage.
Satyagraha’s goal is winning over people’s hearts, and this can be achieved only with tremendous patience, Satyagraha is more than a political tool of resistance. The similarities of the Satyagraha to some of the greatest philosophical and religious tenets of the world have been observed and much written about. However, in the specific context of India, Satyagraha was an immense influence. It went a long way in instilling among the Indians a dignity for hard labor and mutual respect. In the traditional Indian society torn apart by caste and creed based discriminations, Satyagraha stated that no work was lowly. It championed secularism and went a long way in eradicating untouchability from the heart of India’s typically stratified society. Satyagraha glorified the role of women as an important member of the society. All in all, Satyagraha instilled in the Indian mind a dignity and a self respect that is yet unprecedented in its modern history. Gandhi’s system of Satyagraha was based on nonviolence, non-cooperation, truth and honesty. Gandhi used non violence in India’s freedom struggle as main weapon and India became independent from British rule.
Truth – The most powerful weapon.
Gandhism is more about the spirit of Gandhi’s journey to discover the truth, than what he finally considered to be the truth. It is the foundation of Gandhi’s teachings, and the spirit of his whole life to examine and understand for oneself, and not take anybody or any ideology for granted. Gandhi said: ‘The Truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction’. Truth or ‘Satya’ was the sovereign principle of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. The Mahatma’s life was an eternal conquest to discover truth and his journey to that end was marked by experiments on himself and learning from his own mistakes. Fittingly his autobiography was titled ‘My Experiments with Truth.’ Gandhi strictly maintained that the concept of truth is above and beyond of all other considerations and one must unfailingly embrace truth throughout one’s life. Gandhi pioneered the term Satyagraha which literally translates to ‘an endeavor for truth . ‘In the context of Indian freedom movement, Satyagraha meant the resistance to the British oppression through mass civil obedience. The tenets of Truth or Satya and nonviolence were pivotal to the Satyagraha movement and Gandhi ensured that the millions of Indians seeking an end to British rule adhered to these basic principles steadfastly.
Non-violence is ever lasting.
Gandhian strategy is the collection of inspirations, principles, beliefs and philosophy. The fundamentals of Gandhi’s non violence theory, Jainism and Buddhism were the most important influence. Both Jainism and Buddhism preached non-violence as the basic principal of existence. Gandhi was also influenced By Bhagvad Gita with its stress on non attachment and selfless action, Christianity, along with its massage of love and compassion, extended even to one’s enemies, was another important influence on Gandhi’s life. Gandhi’s life was based on truth, honesty and moral courage.
Mahatma Gandhi was great national hero, who served the nation with truth and non violence. Gandhi was against violence. He always disliked war on the ground of its violent nature. That’s why when the Second World War began in 1939; he opposed the stand of British government dragging India into war without consulting Indian leaders. Gandhi was in favor of non violence; therefore he was against in any cooperation in war efforts. According to Gandhi the use of non violence consists of anger, selfishness, hatred and enmity. According to him violence cannot do anything good to human beings. A Gandhian strategy for confronting terrorism, therefore, would consist of the following:
Stop an act of violence in its tracks. The effort to do so should be nonviolent but forceful. To focus solely on acts of terrorism, Gandhi argued, would be like being concerned with weapons in an effort to stop the spread of racial hatred. Gandhi thought the sensible approach would be to confront the ideas and alleviate the conditions that motivated people to undertake such desperate operations in the first place. As we know, non-violence and truth go side by side. After knowing Gandhism, it is imperative for us to know clearly the concept of non-violence also as it accords the ground for Gandhism.
For Gandhi, means were as important as the end and there could be only one means- that of non-violence. What is non-violence? Ordinarily, we attribute nonviolence as a dictum that prescribes non-snatching of anyone’s life. Really, this is not complete derivation pertaining to the concept of non-violence. Non-violence is quite opposite to violence. As such, it would be better to know the position relating to violence in order to know non-violence and to be in knowledge of its meaning. According to a Jain scholar: ‘Whenever, we hurt some other living being through our thought, utterance or action under non-cordial stipulation and non-apt learning, such an impure spirit or act of destroying life of some other one, including the impure tendency, utterance or presuming, is taken to be full of vice of violence. In such a situation, even if there is no sort of violence externally, it intrinsically ipso facto remains a tendency of violence’. There are three categories of violence:-
When we hit physically anybody.
When we think wrong and feel jealous with anybody.
When we aggressively speak and abuse to anybody.
All these categories create negative energy in human body. The negative energy has adverse affect on human body. Gandhi criticized violence. It is a body of ideas and principles that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Gandhi. It is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea and practice of non violence resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance. The term “Gandhism” also encompasses what Gandhi’s ideas, words and actions mean to people around the world, and how they used them for guidance in building their own future. Gandhism also permeates into the realm of the individual human being, non-political and nonsocial. A Gandhian can mean either an individual who follows, or a specific philosophy which is attributed to, Gandhism.
In context of non-violence being perpetual, Mahatma Gandhi states, ‘When we peruse the era from beginning unto now relating to the period for which we gain historical evidence, we find that man has been ultimately treading path of nonviolence’. It is, as such, that non-violence came into existence along with man. In case it has not been with man from the very beginning, there might have been self-doom by man. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and non-existence.”
However, it has not been that and not only human race is alive in such a huge number but there has been gradual enhancement in development and nearness in spite of presence of various obstacles and nuisances. This could never have been, but because non-violence is perpetual, it happened. Mahatma Gandhi was against any form of exploitation and injustice. According to him, evils must be opposed at any cost. But he insisted that the weapons must be non violent and moral ones. The adoption of peaceful method made one superior and put the enemy at a disadvantage but the condition is the opponent must be dealt with mutual respect and love. Gandhi believed that only through love an enemy could be permanently won. Non violence is not passive. It is active, creative, provocative and challenging. Gandhi described non-violence as ‘A force more powerful than all the weapons of world combined’. Non violence is the greatest and most active force in the world. Gandhi wrote, It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of humanity. When we tap into the spirit of non-violence, it becomes contagious and can topple empires. In relation to violence, there are two options in the world. These options are, we fight back or run away. Non violence gives us third option: creative active, peaceful resistance to injustice. Non violence means standing unmoving against injustice until injustice is transformed into justice. Non-violence dose not harm to others and does not adversely affect other directly .but it works internally. Instead of killing others, we should do in the nonviolent struggle for justice and human rights. Non-violence begins in the heart then it moves out to our families, local communities, cities, nation and world.
Gandhi thought, debased those who adopted it. A violent posture adopted by public authorities could lead to a civil order based on coercion. For this reason Gandhi insisted on means consistent with the moral goals of those engaged in the conflict.
Gandhi dreamed of a new world of non-violence with overall peaceful environment. Non-violence is a universal phenomenon and it has great relevance and significance. It is the ultimate solution of all kinds of problems and conflicts in the society, nation and world. However, its result depends upon its understanding and proper application. The present scenario of violence and exploitation all over the world has raised an important issue. Any nation which has been suffered with communalism, dictatorship, corruption and power games really needs to go back to Gandhi’s conviction of nonviolence and truth as his mission. By adopting nonviolence, social, political, economic and religious conflicts shall be removed. Undoubtedly, the social doctrine of non violence that has emerged from Gandhian ideas has now become the key to forge and sustain the new social and political order. Today, there is need to adopt Ghandhian philosophy and ideology in overall world to remove all kind of problems and creating peaceful environment. Gandhi is not the past, he is the future. He is an early sign of what we can be.
Presently a big portion of the world happens to be under Democratic system of Government. Theoretically, this system stands out to be the best up to now. This is a truth. It is the best because people are connected with it directly or indirectly at every level. Not only this, it is this very system, which provides maximum opportunities of public progress and development. People can themselves decide in this system the mode of their welfare. However, even though being theoretically the best system of government, if we peruse the democratic nations, we first of all find that there is non-equal development of the citizens. We subsequently find that these nations are more or less victimized by regionalism. They have problem relating to language. They are under clutches of terrorism and communalism. There is also the problem of negation of human rights in these nations. There are other vivid problems akin to mention above and peace is far away so long as these problems exist. These nations should get themselves rid of these problems, all citizens of them must have equal development and they should have communal harmony towards making all citizens collective and unified partners in progress. But, in reality, it is not so.
It is essential that the nations of democratic system of government should be free from above-mentioned problems, must be capable of ensuring equal development of their all citizens and the citizens concerned must march forward on path of progress in unified way along with rendering contribution to world peace. Gandhism is very much contextual today on this accord. It is significant.
Gandhi inspires an alternative vision of politics and resistance at a time when oppression is not only getting more overt and physical but also more insidious. His ideology of nonviolence is a good point to start from. It may not succeed, but it opens a world of possibilities and encourages us to think outside the box. His life also illustrates how radical ideas are first dismissed, only to be tested and embraced later. Gandhi demonstrated to a World, weary with wars and continuing destruction that adherence to Truth and Non-violence is not meant for individuals alone but can be applied in global affairs too. Gandhi’s vision for the country and his dreams for the community as a whole still hold good for India. He got the community to assimilate and reflect true values of humanity and to participate in tasks that would promote the greater good. These issues are still relevant to what free India is and represents. The main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence and it is here the values of Gandhi need to be adhered to with more passion. He is relevant not yesterday or today but forever!!
- Gram swaraj, or village self-rule, was a pivotal concept in Gandhi’s thinking. It was the centerpiece of his vision of economic development in India. Gandhiji’s Gram Swaraj was not the reconstruction of the old village but the formation of fresh independent units of villages having self-sufficient economy.
- Self-sufficiency in basic needs was one of the fundamental conditions of Gandhian village reconstruction. Food, clothing and other basic necessities should be produced at the village itself, which would lead to full employment of almost each able-bodied person and would prevent the rural-urban migration in search of employment and better opportunities.
- Gandhi really wanted ‘Swaraj’ of self rule by the people of India who represent the rural mass. He observed “India’s soul lives in the village.” He wanted that power structure should be begin from the below. Gandhi wanted true democracy to function in India.
- He observed.” True democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the centre. It has to be worked from below by the people of every village.”
- He dreamt of village republics in term of Panchayat in the free India.
- Gandhi said, “Panchayat Raj represents true democracy realized. We would regard the humblest and the lowest Indian as being equally the ruler of India with the tallest in the land.”
- Mahatma Gandhi advocated Panchayat Raj, a decentralized form of government where each village is responsible for its own aﬀairs, as the foundation of India’s political system. He term of such a vision was Gram Swaraj.
- Gandhi wanted political power to be distributed among the villages of India. Gandhi preferred the term ‘Swaraj’ to describe what he called true democracy.
- His democracy based upon freedom. Individual freedom in Gandhi’s view could be maintained only in autonomous, self-reliant communities that oﬀer opportunities to the people for fullest participation
- Gandhi called his overall method of non-violent action Satyagraha. This translates roughly as “Truth-force.” A fuller rendering, though, would be “the force that is generated through adherence to Truth.”
- Nowadays, it’s usually called non-violence. But for Gandhi, non-violence was the word for a different, broader concept-namely, “a way of life based on love and compassion.” In Gandhi’s terminology, Satyagraha-Truth-force-was an outgrowth of nonviolence.
- It may also help to keep in mind that the terms Satyagraha and nonviolent action, though often used one for the other, don’t actually refer to the exact same thing. Satyagraha is really one special form of nonviolent action-Gandhi’s own version of it. Much of what’s called non-violent action wouldn’t qualify as Satyagraha. But we’ll come back to that later.
- Gandhi practiced two types of Satyagraha in his mass campaigns.
- The first was civil disobedience, which entailed breaking a law and courting arrest. When we today hear this term, our minds tend to stress the “disobedience” part of it. But for Gandhi, “civil” was just as important. He used “civil” here not just in its meaning of “relating to citizenship and government” but also in its meaning of “civilized” or “polite.” And that’s exactly what Gandhi strove for.
- But the basic principle was the same: Gandhi’s most decisive influence on his opponents was more indirect than direct.
- Gandhi set out a number of rules for the practice of civil disobedience. These rules often baffle his critics, and often even his admirers set them aside as nonessential. But once you understand that civil disobedience, for Gandhi, was aimed at working a change of heart-whether in the opponent or the public – then it’s easy to make sense of them.
- One rule was that only specific, unjust laws were to be broken. Civil disobedience didn’t mean flouting all law.
- In fact, Gandhi said that only people with a high regard for the law were qualified for civil disobedience. Only action by such people could convey the depth of their concern and win respect. No one thinks much of it when the law is broken by those who care nothing for it anyway.
- Other rules: Gandhi ruled out direct coercion, such as trying to physically block someone. Hostile language was banned. Destroying property was forbidden. Not even secrecy was allowed.
- All these were ruled out because any of them would undercut the empathy and trust Gandhi was trying to build, and would hinder that “change of heart.”
- The second form of mass Satyagraha was non-co-operation.
- This is just what it sounds like. Non-co-operation meant refusing to co-operate with the opponent, refusing to submit to the injustice being fought. It took such forms as strikes, economic boycotts, and tax refusals.
- Of course, non-co-operation and civil disobedience overlapped. Non-co-operation too was to be carried out in a “civil” manner. Here too, Gandhi’s followers had to cheerfully face beating, imprisonment, confiscation of their property-and it was hoped that this willing suffering would cause a “change of heart.”
- But non-co-operation also had a dynamic of its own, a dynamic that didn’t at all depend on converting the opponent or even molding public opinion. It was a dynamic based not on appeals but on the power of the people themselves.
- Gandhi saw that the power of any tyrant depends entirely on people being willing to obey. The tyrant may get people to obey by threatening to throw them in prison, or by holding guns to their heads. But the power still resides in the obedience, not in the prison or the guns.
- Gandhi said, “I believe that no government can exist for a single moment without the co-operation of the people, willing or forced, and if people suddenly withdraw their co-operation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill.”
- That was Gandhi’s concept of power-the one he’s accused of not having. It’s a hard one to grasp, for those used to seeing power in the barrel of a gun. Their filters do not pass it. And so they call Gandhi idealistic, impractical.
- The Bhoodan-Gramdan movement initiated inspired by Vinoba brought Vinoba to the international scene.
- In 1951, the Third Annual Sarvodaya Conference was held at Shivarampali, a village a few miles south of the city of Hyderabad in South India.
- Vinoba was persuaded to leave his community center (Ashram) at Pavnar, near Nagpur & attend the meetings. Vinoba decided to walk three hundred miles to Hyderabad.
- Telangana had been the scene of violent communist rebellion which was still smouldering in April 1951. For Vinoba the future of India was essentially a contest between the fundamental creeds of Gandhi & Marx. In coming to Hyderabad, Vinoba & other Gandhians were confronting a challenge & testing their faith in non-violence.
- On April 11th 1951, the final day of conference, Vinoba announced that on his walk home to Pavanar he & a few companions would tour the Communist infested areas of Telangana to spread the message of Peace i.e. Non-violence. Once in Telangana, Vinoba quickly showed his sensitivity to the new situation. On April 17th, at his second stop, Vinoba learned at first hand that village people were afraid of the police as well as the Communists & that the village was torn along class-lines.
- On April 18th 1951, the historic day of the very genesis of the Bhoodan movement, Vinoba entered Nalgonda district, the centre of Communist activity. The organizers had arranged Vinoba’s stay at Pochampalli, a large village with about 700 families, of whom two-thirds were landless. Pochampalli gave Vinoba a warm welcome. Vinoba went to visit the Harijan (the Untouchables) colony. By early afternoon villagers began to gather around Vinoba at Vinoba’s cottage. The Harijans asked for eighty acres of land, forty wet, forty dry for forty families that would be enough. Then Vinoba asked,”If it is not possible to get land from the government, is there not something villagers themselves could do?”
- This movement later on developed into a village gift or Gramdan movement. This movement was a part of a comprehensive movement for the establishment of a Sarvodaya Society (The Rise of All socio-economic-political order), both in India & outside India.
- The movement passed through several stages in regard to both momentum & allied programmes. In October 1951, Vinoba was led to demand fifty million acres of land for the landless from the whole of India by 1957. Thus a personal initiative assumed the form of a mass movement, reminding the people of Gandhi’s mass movements. This was indeed a very remarkable achievement for a constructive work movement. The enthusiasm for the movement lasted till 1957 & thereafter it began to wane.
- Meanwhile the Bhoodan Movement had been transformed from a land-gift movement to a village-gift or Gramdan movement, in which the whole or a major part of a village land was to be donated by not less than 75% of the villagers who were required to relinquish their right of owner-ship over their lands in favour of the entire village, with power to equitably redistribute the total land among village’s families with a proviso for revision after some intervals. The Programme of individual land-gifts was still there, but henceforth became a neglected activity.
- But there was another aspect as well & it related to allied programmes unfolded from time to time. Those progammes were Sampattidan (Wealth-gift), Shramdan (Labour-gift), Jeevandan (Life-long commitment to the movement by co-workers), Shanti-Sena (Peace-army), Sadhandan (gift of implements for agricultural operations).
- As regards attitudinal transformation, the propagation of ideas combined with the above material achievements, could not but affects the mind of the thinking people.
- The movement directly influenced the life-style of the co-workers, especially the life-long co-workers & through them many workers & associates or fellow-seekers.
- By adopting Gandhi’s ideas to the solution of the basic economic problem of land collection & equitable redistribution among the landless, the Movement kept Gandhi’s ideas of socioeconomic reconstruction alive at a period when the tendency of the educated elite was to overlook, if not to reject Gandhi’s ideas as irrelevant.
- The Movement kindled interest in the individuals to study Gandhi’s ideas & to assess their relevance.
- To conclude taking an overall view it cannot be gainsaid that the Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement, despite all its real & apparent limitations, it would ever be deemed as a glorious attempt for a peaceful & non-violent solution of the basic land problem of Indian society & through it for a non-violent reconstruction of the Sarvodaya socio-economic-politico order of universal relevance & significance.