ARTICLES : Relevence of Gandhi

Read articles written by very well-known personalities and eminent authors about their views on Gandhi, Gandhi's works, Gandhian philosophy and it's relevance today.

Gandhi Meditating


Relevance of Gandhi

  1. Ibu Gedong Bagoes Oka - A Study of Gandhian Influence in Indonesia
  2. Global Peace in the Twenty First Century: The Gandhian Perspective
  3. Relevance of Gandhi in Modern Times
  4. Gandhi is Alive and Still Relevant
  5. Taking up Sarvodaya As Our Duty
  6. Gandhi Will Live On
  7. Mahatma Gandhi Today
  8. The Influence of Mahatma Gandhi
  9. Gandhi's Message and His Movement 50 Years Later
  10. The Relevance of Gandhi
  11. Good Bye Mr. Gandhi- Awaken Thy Moral Courage
  12. Relevance of Gandhian Ideals In The Scheme of Value Education
  13. Gandhi And The Twenty First Century Gandhian Approach To Rural Industrialization
  14. Gandhi's Role And Relevance In Conflict Resolution
  15. Gandhi In Globalised Context
  16. The Gandhian Alternatives And The Challenges of The New Millennium
  17. Gandhian Concept For The Twenty First Century
  18. Champions of Nonviolence
  19. Science And Technology In India: What Can We Learn From Gandhi?
  20. Passage From India: How Westerners Rewrote Gandhi's Message
  21. Time To Embark On A Path To New Freedom
  22. Increasing Relevance of The Mahatma
  23. Gandhi's Challenge Now
  24. The Legacy of Gandhi In The Wider World
  25. Quintessence of Gandhiji's Thought
  26. Recalling Gandhi
  27. Mohandas Gandhi Today
  28. The Relevance of Gandhian Satyagraha in 21st Century
  29. Relevance of Non-Violence & Satyagraha of Gandhi Today
  30. India, Gandhi And Relevance of His Ideas In The New World
  31. Relevance of Gandhi's Ideas
  32. The Influence of Mauritius on Mahatma Gandhi
  33. Why Gandhi Still Matters
  34. The Challenge of Our Time: Building Sustainable Communities
  35. What Negroes Can Learn From Gandhi
  36. Relevance of Gandhi
  37. Towards A Non-violent, Non-killing And Peaceful World : Lessons From Gandhi
  38. Gandhian Perspective on Violence And Terrorism
  39. GANDHI - A Perennial Source of Inspiration
  40. An Observation on Neo-modern Theories of Global Culture
  41. The Techno-Gandhian Philosophy
  42. Global Peace Movement and Relevance of Gandhian View
  43. Technology : Master or Servant?
  44. Gandhis of Olive Country
  45. Gandhian Strategy
  46. The Effect of Mass Production and Consumerism
  47. Gandhi's Relevance Is Eternal And Universal
  48. Service To Humanity
  49. Relevance of Gandhi: A View From New York
  50. Gandhi And Contemporary Social Sciences
  51. India After The Mahatma
  52. Pax Gandhiana : Is Gandhian Non-Violence Compatible With The Coercive State?
  53. GANDHI : Rethinking The Possibility of Non-Violence
  54. Aung San Suu Kyi : In Gandhi's Footsteps
  55. Gandhi: Call of The Epoch
  56. Localization And Globalization
  57. Significance of Gandhi And Gandhism
  58. Understanding GANDHI
  59. Gandhi, Peace And Non-violence For Survival of Humanity

Further Reading

(Complete Book available online)
  1. Why Did Gandhi Fail?
    from GANDHI - His Relevance For Our Times
  2. Gandhi's Political Significance Today
    from GANDHI - His Relevance For Our Times
  3. India Yet Must Show The Way
    from GANDHI - His Relevance For Our Times
  4. The Essence of Gandhi
    from GANDHI - His Relevance For Our Times
  5. The Impact of Gandhi on U. S. Peace Movement
    from GANDHI - His Relevance For Our Times

Relevance of Gandhi

Dr. R. P. Pal
Faculty of Edu. University of Lucknow

The last interview which Mahatma Gandhi gave to Margrate Bourka White in the early afternoon on 30th January, 1948 was on “His persistence in his theory of non-violence in the event of a nuclear attack on a city.” The Mahatma’s reply was that if the defenseless citizens died in a spirit on non-violence, their sacrifice would not in vain; they might all pray for the soul of the pilot who had thoughtlessly sprayed death on the city. This was the last message of compassion to mankind. Gandhi had said,” Non-Violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mighter than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”.
Gandhi had further said,” I do not believe in shortcuts which involve violence. However, much I sympathize with admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest causes. There is, therefore, really no meeting ground between the school of violence and myself.”1
The heart that bled at the sight of the misery of others was bled to death on 30th January, 1948 with the three death dealing slugs buried deep in it. The Mahatma has given the way of all saints? India has lost her soul, but his spirit lives and that spirit will continue to live among us as long as India survives.2
Hence, relevance of Gandhi is unquestionable and it is so much time tested that in spite of the global apprehension and debate about it, the last hope of human kind is Gandhi and Gandhi alone, but Gandhi is so humble and docile that he warns the posterity to refrain from his views, ideas and thoughts as “ Gandhism.” Gandhi rightly said, “There is as yet nothing like Gandhism” but Kripalani prefers the title “The Gandhian Way.” Gandhi all through, went on his experiments in the practice of Truth and Non-violence. Gandhi was neither an academic philosopher nor a system builder. He was essentially a freedom fighter, a social reformer and a practical man. Not like a social scientist, but like a scientist, Gandhi was highly experiment oriented. So his aim was to bring every problem, social, political, economic or otherwise, face to face with truth as it may present itself at a given moment.
Gandhi’s autobiography is called “The Story of My Experiment with Truth.” His close associate, Dhirendra Majumdar says that philosophy is nothing but only a way of life. So is the case with Dada Dharmadhikari, one of the greatest interpreters of Gandhian ideology, when he says that there is nothing like “ism” with Gandhi.
As a freedom fighter, as a philosopher, as a moralist, as a spiritualist and above all as practitioner of truth, the Mahatma is relevant not for today only but for tomorrow as well. At a global level, when violence is being condemned, religious fundamentalism is rebuked, high technology with its high profile is not going to solve the problem of the teeming millions of people of the world, Gandhi is the only hope of survival for the whole of the humanity at large. We see E. M. Sumachar’s “Small is beautiful” in Gandhi’s thought, which is the only hope for survival.
In the preceding paras, a detailed study of relevance of Gandhian Thought from different angles shall be presented as follows:-
1. How to Make Religion Relevant?
From time immemorial, human being is practicing some religion or other in their day to day life. Every body considers his religion as the supreme and others religion as inferior. This feeling of superiority of one’s own religion has manifested into a number of wars to prove one’s own superiority and thus killings of innocent persons at the alter of religion is so dangerous that even now terrorism is vividly viewed from the angle of religion. Recently Osama Bin Laden and his Al-quiada have advised President Bush and his men to accept Islam or face the music. This dreaded approach has made human being savage and brutal but Gandhi has a beautiful answer to such an evil. He says, “All religions adhere to the fact that “his God is the Truth.” If it is so with one religion, it is true with other religions also. Thus Gandhi brings out the common point from all religions and for him “Truth is God.” If this concept is accepted by all there shall be no war/ hatred or ill-will against any religion. Why not adhere to this beautiful principle? If this is brought into practice, religions of all will be respected by all. Hence, Gandhi has to be studied in a simple way as regards religion is concerned.
However, over and above this, Gandhi has more to say about religion. After a long study and experience, Gandhi came to conclusion that “ (1) All religions are true; (2) All religions have some error in them;(3) All religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism”3 Gandhi upholds different religions like different roads coming to the same point.”4 However it is useless to make distinction between different abodes of god-temples, mosques and churches. Though religions are many but Religion is one. As a tree has single trunk but many branches and leaves, so there is one true and perfect religion but it becomes many, as it passes through the human medium.5
Here, there is no scope for fanaticism or exclusiveness in religion. Gandhi Ji rightly said that ‘Mine is not a religion of the prison house.6 This statement is a proof against insolence, pride of race, religion or colour. He never subscribed to the fanatic view “that there can or will be on earth one religion.”7 He was always adhering for mutual tolerance. His religion is“ Sarva Dharma Sambhava (Equal Approach to All Religions.) It is very near to Swami Vivekanand’s ‘Universal Religion’ or Tagore’s ‘Religion of Man’. His Religion unites men of different faiths and brings them on the same platform to reach the ultimate truth i.e. the spirit of huminity and thus conflict shall be resolved amicably and with temperance and not with superiority of one over other. Gandhi’s Religion makes a man spiritual and scientific. As Vinoba rightly describes that spirituality plus science means Sarvodaya (total upliftments) but spirituality minus science means Sarvanas (total destruction).
Thus, if Gandhi’s concept of religion is practiced, there shall be no scope of hatred, animosity, enmity, war and destruction. If we have to save the world of today from catastroph, there is only way and that is the Gandhian way to practice the universal religion which shall herald an era of peace, tranquility and harmony on earth. This is how Gandhi’s concept of Religion is of eminent value for all time to come.
2. Changed Concept of Politics
Politics has regarded as a game to achieve power, to regain power and to retain power. In the western concept, politics till date, has been viewed as power politics, where morality or value had no place but now this concept has almost been abandoned. Now even western thinkers have started talking about the moral values in politics, whereas from the very beginning, from Gandhi, politics was all pervading and hence, his war of Indian Independence had to be fought with the twin weapons of Truth and Non-violence, which ultimately became a movement and he called it Satyagrah. For him, politics opens the door of ‘service’ and not for using or usurping power.
For Gandhi, politics is moral problem of value. This has been beautifully described by Arnold Brecht as “Scientific Value Relativism”8. Need of the hour is to revolutionise politics by ethics. “Unless the moral and spiritual qualities of the people are appropriate, the best of political system and constitutions will not work.”9 “Morals serve the cause of progress. Morality serves the great task of the social revolutions of our times” – Prof. A. Shishkin of the Institute of Philosophy of Academy of Sciences (Moscow).10
In Modern times, we see that politics is rooted in deceit and dishonesty and is bound to create greater deceit and greater dishonesty. Hate must generate hate and violence greater violence. Thus the need of the hour is to “moralise politics.”11 Gandhi’s prophetic emphasis is “there is no politics devoid of religion.”12 All through the Indian Freedom Movement, it was Gandhi and Gandhi alone who, in reality, practiced politics on religious foundations as he always used to put emphasis on his often repeated saying i.e. “ Politics bereft of religion is a death trap.”13
So far, the world has seen only the use of physical force and the force of law but Gandhi had carved out the Third Force14 or the self reliant moral power of the people.15
Gandhi stands for people’s politics and not Party Politics. Actually, power must pass into the hands of the people at all levels; initiatives must pass to the people. He pleads for partyless democracy. Emergence of people’s democracy will herald a new era of democratic decentralization i.e. the Swaraj (Self Rule) is needed from below.16
In Gandhian Politics, democracy becomes the rule of the people and depends more and more upon the power of the people and not upon the power of the police or military. Thus democracy and violence can not go together.17 Hence Gandhi pleads for the “Moralisation of Wishes.”18 and “Voluntary Action19 must remain the basis of democratic life and culture.
Through Satyagrah (Non-Violent Resistance), Gandhi resists injustice and exploitation and thus purifies the politics. This gives an alternative to the bullet20 Dr. Martin Luther King II in the USA and the Norwegians School Teachers in 1942-43 against the Quisling Government amply demonstrates the power and strength of the Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagrah) against the authoritarian regimes.
Thus Gandhian Politics has a dominant and constructive role to play. He was against narrow nationalism. His concept of politics was for higher values. “Through deliverance of India”, he said, “I seek to deliver the so called weaker races of the earth from the crushing wheels of western exploitation.”21 And it happened so and in due course most of the weaker nations emerged as free nations after India achieved Independence. We fought for others Independence also and the latest in the series is the war of Bangladesh’s freedom in 1971. Now, the politics of exploitation has been uprooted and the politics of service is visualized through democratic ideals. Party Politics is being replaced by people’s power. Service to the people and their amelioration is gradually becoming the summum bonum of the states all over the world and hence relevance of Gandhian Politics can not be minimized.
3. Is Gandhian Democracy Acceptable? Gandhian concept of Self Rule (Swaraj) is real democracy, where people’s power rests in the individuals and each one realizes that he or she is the real master of one’s self. Thus people are sovereign in a democracy but in a parliamentary democracy, party system has a vital role to play. However, Gandhi was highly critical of the parliamentary democracy and in his monumental book “Hind Swaraj” (Self Rule or Home Rule, he has called the British Parliament as a “sterile women and a prostitute”22, though for him “good government is no substitute for self-government.”23
There is contradiction in the statement of Gandhi about parliamentary democracy but while diving deep into the democratic ideals, he has said, “Democracy, disciplined and enlightened is the finest things in the world.”24 At the same time, he also cautions people against a whole-sale copying of the Western Model of democracy, where there are only nominal democracies. However, he has highest regards for Democracy and he calls it as “a great institution” and again conscious people and says, “It is liable to be greatly abused.”25 Even today, all over the world, democracy is widely accepted principle of the system of governance and there is no alternative to democracy.
Thus it is abundantly clear that for future, Gandhian concept of democracy is the only hope, where it must be practiced at the grass–root level, party system to be built up on accepted principles and not on partisan line, defection should be done away with and recall of recalcitrant representatives must be adhered to. Defects and demerits must be removed from the present democratic form of governance. People’s power must be accepted to make democracy safe, otherwise if the democracy is abused or misused, the future of people is doomed.
4. Foundation of Social Dynamics
Dr. V.P. Verma discusses thoroughly about the social philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and he says, “Gandhi never sanctioned the doctrine of caste war, class struggle and fight between races. The very survival of mankind amidst all adverse challenges and antithetical impediments is a testimony to the significance of non-violence and he stated that Rishis (Saints) who affirmed the efficacy of ahimsa (non-violence were greater geniuses than Newton, the celebrated founder of the laws of gravitation and motion. Hence, Gandhi wanted to solve problems of social tension, social disharmony and social disequilibrium by resorting to the techniques of collaboration, sympathetic accommodation and genuine brotherly solidarity.”26
For Gandhi, removal of untouchability was not a matter of political arithmetic but it was to be the genuine transformation of the heart. Like a devotee of the Gita, he was trying to see the Eternal Sprit in the suppressed populations and sub-human creatures.” Says V.P. Verma.27
“Gandhiji’s unremitting crusade against social inequality and the humiliating conditions to which the backward sections and the so called untouchables were exposed in Indian society and this has been epoch-making. No other social prophet in the long span of India’s history has been so Catholic, so universal and as humane in his attitude to the untouchables as Gandhi.”28 Gandhi was a protagonist of the common good of all the inhabitants of India because as a religious man, he believed in Hindu-Muslim unity on moral grounds.29 He never made distinctions among people on social, religious and caste consideration. His Satyagrah in South Africa was launched to redeem the civic rights of the Indian community amongst whom the Muslims constituted a majority and controlled the larger share of wealth.”30
Gandhi all through his life practiced and stood for the communal harmony. This was the cardinal philosophy of his social dynamics. He was of the opinion that without communal harmony, nation can not progress because in its absence, communal hatred would eat away the vitals of the society. He always stood for communal peace and he wanted to teach through his life and activities that society without peace and tranquility can not progress and development shall remain a far cry. Even now, this is but essential as we know that terrorist tries to create communal disharmony and tensions in the society. The recent series of bomb explosions in many parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai and Maleogoan must be eye opener for all of us that without Gandhian approach to social dynamics, India can not progress. This is not true for India alone but for the whole universe as communal harmony is the need of the hour for all round progress, peace and prosperity. Thus, here also, Gandhi seems to be relevant for all time to come. If we ignore Gandhi, we are ignoring our future and posterity will take serious note of our failure to establish communal harmony.
Gandhi was candid enough to recognize the grave social evils with which the original vedic Varna (caste) had become encumbered in the course of its evolution, and he condemned in unmeasured terms the social enormities and perverse exploitation practiced in the name of caste superiority.
Untouchability, too, for him was irrational and denial of Ahimsa (non-violence). As a Vedantist and a Vaishnava, Gandhi believed in the spiritual oneness of all lives, and hence, he was absolutely opposed to untouchability. The eradication of untouchability, root and branches, was a matter of atoning for the sins of the cruel sections of the Hindu World. Eradication of untouchbility was an issue of transcendental value, surpassing even political independence. All through his life, he fought for this noble cause and spent sleepless night with the scavengers and he considered it as a slur on Hinduism and therefore, he has said out of aguish that if he takes rebirth, he would like to be born in the Scavengers family. Against Communal Award, he went unto the fast unto death and ultimately, it was Dr. Ambedkar, who saved his precious life through the historic Poona Pact as the Macdonald Award would have fragmented India into many parts.
Gandhism is an inarticulate and mostly unwritten philosophy but nevertheless, it presents a definite pattern of beliefs and the world, capable of generating very active force forwards ‘social change’ or social revolution’. For developing Gandhian Thought, Acharya Vinoba and to great extent, Jai Prakash and Dada Dharmadhakari adhered hard to bring about social changes purely on Gandhian pattern and principles. Hence, Vinoba puts emphasis on Third Force (Tisri Shakti) and women power (Stri Shakti) and J. Ps. emphatic pursuit of people’s power (Lok Shakti) and Youth Power (Yuva Shakti) have to be studied very carefully. It is in the fitness of things to accept the fact that it was imperative to strengthen peoples power through the formation of ‘Peoples Committees’ (Lok Samiti) as a safety-value against civilian or military dictatorship. To strengthen the Youth Power (Yuva Shakti), Youth Peace Force (Tarun Shanti Sena) was to be formed at all levels to bring about social changes. In 1974, Revolution, Youth Force (Yuva Shakti) was renamed as Chatra Yuva Samgarsh Vahini (Student-cum-Youth Action Force). This organization became the vanguard of total revolution during 1974-77.
Now, it is an accepted fact that, Sarvodaya concept of social change is multidimensional and a safety valve against abuses of State Power. Intellectually, it is a better guarantee of democracy than any thing else. However, this is still not mature enough to bring about social changes as per expectations of Gandhian Thought. Hence, the information of a World Peace Force (Vishwa Shanti Seva) has been conceived to bring about desired social change on Gandhian Principles at the World level. Cautious efforts in due course will bring expected results when peaceful and non-violent social order could be visualized. The road is difficult but aim is laudable and we have no alternative also as we have either to live together or perish together.
5. Economic Relevance including Trusteeship:
Gandhi’s economic philosophy is inspired by John Ruskin (1819-1900) and he was immensely inspired, almost ‘captured’ by his book “Unto This Last”32 He established Phoenix Settlement in 1904 near Durban in South Africa based on Economic Philosophy of John Ruskin. This settlement was ultimately converted into a Public Trust.
Gandhi Condemned the nineteenth century doctrine of laissez-faire which is the political basis of capitalism33 and he said that labour was superior to capital.34
As we all know by now that Gandhi was against industrialism and Big Machines and not against machines as such.
Gandhi was firm believer in Rural Economy and ownership of the land by its tillers.
His heart bled to see the misery of the Indian villagers and hence he formulated his famous “Constructive Programme” for thorough improvement in the life of the simple peasant. He was an eloquent prophet of cottage industries.
Khadi stood for the revival and rejuvenation of the Indian Village communities. For him, khadi was the symbol of Swadeshi.35 Man should earn his bread by the sweat of his labour. This idea was initially sponsored and supported by St. Paul, St. Augustine and T. M. Bonareft. Gandhi not only preached but also practiced this concept of bread labour in his South African days.36 Here, he was inspired by Leo Tolstoy and even Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist.
Concept of Trusteeship was derived from the conception of Aparigrah (non-possession) of the Gita. With the passage of time, Gandhi37 went on adding on economic and sociological content to the rather moralistic conception of trusteeship. He stated that in case, the rich would not become willing trustees, satyagrah was to be resorted to, against the holder of wealth. In 1938, he said, “A trustee has no heir but the public.”38
This implies that the community or the state has also a right in the prosperity of the moneyed classes. He wanted that the rich should become trustees of their surplus wealth for the good of the society. Thus the society was to be regarded as an extension of the family.39
Modern economics has solved almost all the problems of the production but the problem of distribution is a far cry even today. According to the Gandhian Theory in the ideal society, there should be equality of wages not only for labourer but also for the other members of the different professions. All persons should be supplied with the necessaries to satisfy their natural needs. Thus Gandhi inculcated the revolutionary doctrine of equality of wages for lawyer, the doctor, the teacher and the scavenger as the panacea for socio-economic evils. He extends Ruskin’s conception40 of the equality of wages to all kinds of labour and pleads for equal distribution41. Thus, it is amply proved that only through Gandhian Economic thought the gigantic problem of distribution could be solved, which is the heart searching difficult exercise among the well wishers of the society as without this, the future of humanity seems to be dark and the greatest catastrophe is an on anvil and no one could avert it for all time to come. Hence, the relevance of Gandhian Economic Thought and Trusteeship principles has to be given a serious exercise.
6. Educational Relevance
True education is that which draws out and stimulates the spiritual, intellectual and physical faculties.42 According to Gandhi, the aim of education should be build the whole man and develop his integral personality. “Literacy in itself is no education. It is no the end of education nor even the beginning.”43 Aim of education should be to develop to the full potentialities of energy of the children. Education is simply the process of bringing out what is latent is man.
External education is neither Sat (True) nor Asat (Untrue), but different from both, hence Anirvachaniya (beyond explanation). Therefore, it is an illusion to think that education alone can develop the soul. In that sense, it has very little reality.44 Learning without courage is like a waxen statue, beautiful to look at but bound to melt at the least touch of a hot substance.45 On the other hand, if the foundations of moral training are firmly laid “the children could learn all other things themselves.”46 Gandhi wanted to build up a new society but he was apprehensive that it cannot be build up with old educational system. Education is worthless, if it fails to inculcate the spirit of service and sacrifice. ‘Education, if it is vital thing, it must shed its fragrance on its surroundings.”47 It must reflect and respond in a genuine way to the life of the people living around.48
A school should not be attached to workshop. The workshop itself is the school. We should learn while we earn and vise-versa. The whole of general education should come through crafts and simultaneously with their progress. This is the only method of producing49 fully developed human beings.50 Except for the scholastics all others agree that work should find a place in the educational curriculum. Some regard work merely as an appendage51 without accepting its needs. However, the real technique of education should be the technique of correlation.52 Activity draws out the latent capacities of the child which is the aim of education. Hence, it is the best technique of education judged even from the purely educational and psychological view points.54 So, on the one hand, there is the explosion of knowledge, on the other, there is the explosion of man himself. Jawaharlal Nehru speaks the Gandhian language, when he says “Education must develop individuals with harmonious personalities for the establishment of a peaceful and harmonious world.”55
Gandhi’s concept of Basic Education has got the maximum attention. It aims at all round development of human personality. His primary emphasis is on the 3’H’s i.e. – Head, Heart and Hand, rather than on 3 R’s i.e. – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. For Gandhi, The true development of head, heart and soul are necessary for a satisfactory system of education.”56 “In his scheme, vocational training or work experience occupied a central position as he wanted education to be responsive to socio-economic need of the Indian society. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons for his aversion to book oriented/Central Education at the expense of education through crafts.”57
The Basic Education envisaged by Gandhi aimed at producing self reliant and good citizens. In order to regain India’s lost glory and prestige, Gandhi’s educational ideas based on value-orientation have to be reemphasized. The education curricula should be value laden as well as information oriented. Eradication of illiteracy and spread of education is the prime need of the hour so that the citizens of Twenty First Century can be alert and enlightened.”58
Before, Gandhi’s concept of education through “Basic Education” could take off and materialized, it could not be implemented with true spirit and hence, there is apprehension in the mind of the educationists about its efficacy, usefulness and relevance for modern time. However, men of higher thinking always ponder over the failure of the present educational system, which has simply multiplied the number of so called educated unemployed and this huge army of educated unemployed is becoming a menace for the polity and society both. Still there is a ray of hope to get the Gandhian concepts of value education implemented to save the society from peril and total destruction.
7. A Gandhian Idea of World Government and World Peace
Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “Nationalism is not the highest concept; the highest concept is world community. I would not like to live in this world, if is not to be one.” The quintessence of divine wisdom, “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkum”or (“Mankind is one family”), proclaimed by India millennium ago, was the ultimate aim of Mahatma and his thought. Hence, his greatest follower, adviser and interpreter, Achary Vinoba Bhave has a great slogan ‘ Jai jagat ‘ or ‘Hail one World.”
Nation States have seen a plethora of wars and devastations on large scale and hence idea of world government, if materialized will end the disparity a real cause of disharmony among the people of the different nations. This is why supra- national institutions like the E-E.C. are becoming more necessary today than before. The institutions like the IMF, G.A.T.T., IBRD, FAO, WHO, ILO etc. are charged with the solution of humanity pressing problems of hunger, disease and illiteracy. At the same time compulsion of war expenditure is another constant reminder for us, to consider seriously the question of bringing the whole world under one government. So Prof. Arnold Toynbee also said, “If we do not abolish war, war is going to abolish us.” The warning of the Father on the Nuclear Bomb, Albert Einstein is much more serious: “I do not know about the Third World War but in the Fourth World War, they will fight with sticks and stones.”
“Peace is after all indivisible. There can not be peace in one part of the world and war in another. Peace can be ensured in the world if a single government wields control over the armaments. In fact, no sacrifice would be too big to achieve world peace – be its surrender of a part of the national sovereignty or renunciation of the use of force in settling, international disputes. And, if humanity is to survive, it will have to bring itself under the control of one authority and the sooner it is done, the better will be for its own sake.”59
Gandhi’s nationalism, fierce though it is, is not exclusive, not designed to harm any nation or individual.60 His nationalism was the essential precondition of sound internationalism. “Through Swaraj (Home Rule), we would serve the whole world.”61 Indian nationalism is not exclusive, or aggressive nor destructive. It is health giving, religious and therefore, humanitarian, “India must learn to live before she can aspire to die for humanity.”62 He further said, “ I would like to see India free and strong so that she may offer herself as a willing and a pure sacrifice for the betterment of the world.”63 He went further….. “My idea of nationalism is that my country may die so that the human race may live.64 Gandhi frankly hints at some sort of world federation, when he says: “ The better mind of the world desires today not absolutely independent states warning one against another but a federation of friendly interdependent states.”65 Further he said, “ The only condition on which the world can live is being united under one central governing body composed of representatives of the component parts.”66
In 1931, while speaking about the League of Nations at Geneva, he said, “It is expected to replace war, and by its own power to arbitrate between nations.”67 but the same time, he candidly said, “That League lacks the necessary sanction.”68 As the arch patriot of his own ideology of non-violence, Gandhi was against any sanction of brute physical force. At the same time of San Francisco Conference for the formation of the UNO, Gandhi had said, “The retention of an International Police Force is by no means an emblem of peace. Shedding of belief in war and violence is essential to the establishment of real peace based on freedom and equality of all races and nations”(17.04.1945). He was dead against an armed peace imposed upon the forcibly disarmed.69 Thus, Gandhi had categorically pleaded for a world government because it would have heralded an era of peace. However, peace keeping force is not supported by him, Vishwa Shanti Sena (International Peace Force) is the only solution. In the present Uni polar world, its importance has further increased and Gandhi is becoming relevant day in and day out.
Gandhi was a perpetual moral rebel who called for organized movement against imperialistic, virulence, social exploitation, economic oppression and slavery to immoral propensities.
At a time when thinkers in the realm of philosophies and social sciences are trying to take stock of the Eastern Heritage and Western Thought, Gandhi stands as a symbol of the conjunction of the East and the West. The service of Gandhi in awakening the soul of Asia and Africa is of immense importance. Ho-Chi-Minh and Nelson Mandela have testified to the inspiration of the leaders and activists of the two continents Asia and Africa, received in their work from the trials, sufferings and teachings of the Mahatma. Even the Negro liberationists in North America under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King II received inspiration from him.
Romain Rolland had recognized the moral significance of the work of the Mahatma. Both Einstein and Tagore testified to the spiritual eminence of Gandhi. At a time, when cultural norms are collapsing and structure of civilization is imperiled, the deathless spirit of Gandhi stands as a mighty Himalaya an immense source of strength to those devoted to the emancipation of mankind.70
Now in the twenty first century, Gandhi is a world phenomenon. It means, as if he has been reborn. The world knows that Dr. Martin Luther King II, Lekh Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Ho-Chi-Minh, Yung – Su –Ky, Mr. Aryaratna, Daisaku Ikeda and a host of the geniuses of the world have followed the footprints of the great Mahatma. In 1981, 53 Nobel Prize winners’ men and women of the both Hemisphere warned us of an unprecedented holocaust, encompassing all the horrors of exterminations and extending the frontiers of barbarism and death. Strangely enough, they all unanimously look to one man-Gandhi and his non-violent action to fight the most fundamental battle of human rights- the right to life.
After almost 60 years of martyrdom, Gandhi is now more relevant on global level than before. Specially, after 9/11 of 2001, the terroristic attacks on Twin Tower World Trade Centre and Pentagon buildings of the USA, Gandhi is remembered more with reverence than merely casually. He is being recognized as a great leader of action, a Liberator and a Prophet Martyr all over the universe. What is needed at the hour is to implement his deeds, actions and thoughts into practice and thus, his relevance in different fields is unquestionable and unchallengeable. For the very survival of human being, it is imperative on our part to act upon his advice because only on his relevance, we shall survive together or if we fail in our venture, we are bound to perish together. He is the only hope of the future as he is the only Shining Star on the Horizon.

  1. L. M. Singhvi, M. R. Rai and Ramakrishnan (Eds)’ Nani Palkiwala-selected works” Viking, Bhawan’s Book University, New Delhi, pp-238-243.
  2. Ibid-237
  3. Gandhi, M. K., - Sabarmati-1928. (Report of the 1st Annual Meeting of the Federation of International Fellowship held at Sabarmati Asharam, 13-15 January, 1928.
  4. Gandhi, M. K.,- Hind Swaraj, Ahmedabad Navjeevan 1944, page-24.
  5. Gandhi M. K., -Yervada Mandir, Ahmedabad, Navjeevan,1935, pp-55
  6. Gandhi, M. K.,- The mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p-81
  7. Ibid,p-82
  8. Brecht, A.,-Political Theory- The Foundation of Twentieth Century Political Thought, (Princeton University Press, 1959, Chapter-XI).
  9. Narayan, J.P., - A plea for reconstruction of Indian Politics- op.cit-p-3.
  10. “Contemporary Philosophy of Indian Philosophical Congress(Srinagar, 1957), p-88
  11. Kunzru, H. N., -“ Spiritualise Politics”,Mahatma Gandhi -100 years, op.cit.,p-224.
  12. Malik, B. K.,- Gandhi-A Prophecy (Bombay, Hind Kitabs Ltd., 1948-p-90)
  13. Radhakrishnan, S. (ed.)-Mahatma Gandhi, Essays and Relections, Op.cit. p-14.
  14. Bhave, V., - Democratic values (Kashi Sarva Seva Sangh, 1962)page-213.
  15. Suresh Ram- Vinoba and His Mission (Sevagram,ABSSS), 1954-p-178.
  16. Narayan, J. P.,- Swaraj for the people (Kashi ABSSS 1963), Ch-I,II &III.
  17. Gandhi, M. K.,-Harijan, 12.11.1938.
  18. Yahuda, J., This Democracy (Pitam,1973), p-12
  19. Narayan, J.P.- A plea for reconstruction of Indian Politics-op.cit.p-11.
  20. Lhia, R.M., -op.cit.pp-127-28.
  21. Gandhi, M.K.,- Young India,12.1.1928.
  22. Hind Swaraj-Ch-V,p.12
  23. Tendulkar, DG, Mahatma, Vol.II, p.24
  24. Prabhu,R.K., and Rao, UR,-The Mind of Mahatma, Oxford University Press, P-130
  25. The Mind of Mahatma-p.345.
  26. V.P. Varma ,- The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarvodaya(Patna Bharti Bhawan),1994)pp-404-18.
  27. Ibid,pp-404-418.
  28. Ibid, page-100.
  29. Rajendra Prasad,- Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar(Bombay, 1949),p-129.
  30. V.P.Varma-Political Philosophy Mahatma Gandhi and Sarvodaya p-100.
  31. Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary, ed. WT Harria (London G. Bell & Sons, 1928, 2 Vols), Vol.II, p-1826.
  32. John Ruskin,- Unto This Last(1860), Munora Pulveris.(1826)
  33. V.P. Varma- Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarovdaya,p. 110.
  34. Ibid, page-110as quoted from Harijan, September 7, 1947.
  35. Ibid, p-118.
  36. Ibid, p.125.
  37. Bhagwadgita – VI-page-10.
  38. Harijan, - April,13,1938.
  39. Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Young India – March 17,1927(My ideal is equal distribution,) page-112.
  40. Ibid, p. – 126.
  41. M. K. Gandhi, - Young India, March17, 1927(My ideal is equal distribution).
  42. M. K. Gandhi-Harijan,9.9.1937.
  43. Ibid, 31.7. 1937.
  44. Vinoba Bhave,-Thoughts on Education (Varanasi; Sarva Seva Sangh) Prakashan, 1964), p.-7.
  45. M. K. Gandhi, -Young India, 21.6.1928.
  46. M. K. Gandhi,- An Autobiography(Ahmedabad Navjeevan, 1948, p-408.
  47. M. K. Gandhi,- Young India, 14.11.1929.
  48. Ibid,4.12.24.
  49. M.S. Patel, - op.cit., p-71.
  50. M. K. Gandhi, - Harijan- 18.9.1937.
  51. M. K. Gandhi,- Young India, 1.9. 1921.
  52. Vinoba Bhave,- Sikshan Vichar, Ch. -13.
  53. B. Kumarappa,-Basic Education,pp-5-6(preface)
  54. A. B. Solanki, - The Technique of Correlation, Ch.-9.
  55. Speech by Jawahar Lal Nehru, Quoted in the Report of the Education Commission, p-22.
  56. J. Pandey (ed.)- Gandhi and 21 Century, Page-223 on Gandhi’s Views on Value Education.
  57. Ibid, 223.
  58. Ibid, 224.
  59. Dr. Ramjee Singh, - The Relevance of Gandhian Thought, page.98.
  60. M. K. Gandhi,- Young India-26.3.1918.
  61. M. K. Gandhi, - Young India-16.4.1941.
  62. M. K. Gandhi,-Young India-13.10.1921.
  63. M. K. Gandhi,- Young India-19.9. 1925.
  64. Desai, Mahadev,- Gandhijee in Indian Villages, p-170.
  65. M. K. Gandhi,-Young India-26.12.1924.
  66. M. K. Gandhi,-Harijan, 8.6.1947.
  67. Sharma, B.S.,- Gandhi as a Political Thinker,pp-389-90.
  68. Ibid
  69. M. K. Gandhi,-Harijan-14.10.1939.
  70. V.P. Varma,- The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarovdaya, (Patna, Bharti Bhawan, 1994), pp-404-18.