Gandhi: Selected Political Writings

Hackett Publishing
Free sample

Based on the complete edition of his works, this new volume presents Gandhi’s most important political writings arranged around the two central themes of his political teachings: satyagraha (the power of non-violence) and swaraj (freedom). Dennis Dalton’s general Introduction and headnotes highlight the life of Gandhi, set the readings in historical context, and provide insight into the conceptual framework of Gandhi’s political theory. Included are bibliography, glossary, and index.
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About the author

Mohandas Gandhi is well known as a political activist and pacifist who played a key role in achieving India's independence from Great Britain. Although born in Porbandar, India, to parents of the Vaisya (merchant) caste, he was given a modern education and eventually studied law in London. After returning briefly to India, Gandhi went to South Africa in 1893, where he spent the next 20 years working to secure Indian rights. It was during this time that he experimented with and developed his basic philosophy of life. Philosophically, Gandhi is best known for his ideas of satyagraha (truth-force) and ahimsa (nonharming). Intrinsic to the idea of truth-force is the correlation between truth and being; truth is not merely a mental correspondence with reality but a mode of existence. Hence, the power of the truth is not what one argues for but what one is. He developed this idea in conjunction with the principle of nonviolence, showing in his nationalist activities that the force of truth, expressed nonviolently, can be an irresistible political weapon against intolerance, racism, and social violence. Although his basic terminology and conceptual context were Hindu, Gandhi was impressed by the universal religious emphasis on the self-transformative power of love, drawing his inspiration from Christianity, Western philosophy, and Islam as well.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Hackett Publishing
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Published on
Dec 1, 1995
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Pages
172
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ISBN
9781603845557
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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More than half a century after his death, Mahatma Gandhi continues to inspire millions throughout the world. Yet modern India, most strikingly in its decision to join the nuclear arms race, seems to have abandoned much of his nonviolent vision. Inspired by recent events in India, Stanley Wolpert offers this subtle and profound biography of India's "Great Soul." Wolpert compellingly chronicles the life of Mahatma Gandhi from his early days as a child of privilege to his humble rise to power and his assassination at the hands of a man of his own faith. This trajectory, like that of Christ, was the result of Gandhi's passion: his conscious courting of suffering as the means to reach divine truth. From his early campaigns to stop discrimination in South Africa to his leadership of a people's revolution to end the British imperial domination of India, Gandhi emerges as a man of inner conflicts obscured by his political genius and moral vision. Influenced early on by nonviolent teachings in Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, and Buddhism, he came to insist on the primacy of love for one's adversary in any conflict as the invincible power for change. His unyielding opposition to intolerance and oppression would inspire India like no leader since the Buddha--creating a legacy that would encourage Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and other global leaders to demand a better world through peaceful civil disobedience. By boldly considering Gandhi the man, rather than the living god depicted by his disciples, Wolpert provides an unprecedented representation of Gandhi's personality and the profound complexities that compelled his actions and brought freedom to India.
Mohandas Gandhi gained the deep respect and admiration of people worldwide with both his unwavering struggle for truth and justice and his philosophy of non-violent resistance — a philosophy that led India to independence and that was later taken up by the American civil rights movement. This volume presents Gandhi's own clear and consistent vision of that philosophy, which he calls Satyagraha — literally, "holding on to the truth." Through Satyagraha, one brings about change by appealing to the reason and conscience of the opponent and puts an end to evil by converting the evil-doer.
The book begins with an introductory explanation of Satyagraha, including a description of how it differs from passive resistance and what it has in common with the civil disobedience of Thoreau and non-cooperation in general. It proceeds with detailed discussions of discipline and self-control, including living simply, recognizing the unity of all loving beings, and serving one's neighbors wholeheartedly; the courage and training necessary for the Satyagrahi; successful on-cooperation and civil disobedience; political power and Satyagraha, the development of a non-violent army; the use and effectiveness of such techniques as non-payment of fines and taxes, social boycotts, fasting, sympathetic strikes, and other forms of non-cooperation; women and picketing; and many other topics.
Invaluable to ethicists, political philosophers, students, and participants in the ongoing struggle for human rights, this inspiring book is as relevant today as it was when first published half a century ago.
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