The Legacy of Gandhi

Really good work where you examine the legacy and methodology via extended reference to the case of Afghanistan. This is interesting and offers a good perspective on the issues and contradictions involved. the reflections on the nature of British imperialism and its advanced techniques of divide and conquer (which have left a legacy of catastrophic division and conflict all across this planet) are cogent and clear. This destructive legacy has produced innumerable examples of sectarianism, division and discrimination. Comment !

The Legacy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

“Gandhi Je”

The legacy of the work of Gandhi

Under a wider school of none-violence; Gandhi struggle for the liberation, unification and construction of a democratic and pluralistic nation, the examples of goods and so many philosophical thoughts and seeds he left behind so people can grow to live in a violence free world. The deteriorating situation in the world including the insurgency in middle-east, Iraq, Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism to the world has only one response and unified strategy which is known to many is “NO VIOLECNE” and that comes from Gandhi.

Relevance of Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi represents a figure of unique integrity, consistency and humanity. The point of departure of his life philosophy and the basis of his theory and activity in practice are freedom and welfare of any human being and prosperity of peoples and nations of the whole mankind. Non-violence is the elementary and indispensable condition for the materialization of these noble goals. These principles and values represented a permanent source of inspiration in Gandhi’s guidance in his imaginative undertakings both in the struggle for freedom and independent development of India and the promotion of her role in the international community. As a matter of fact, Gandhi’s firm belief in the creativeness and openness of the people of India and his own active engagement for a peaceful and friendly cooperation among nations on equal footing, without any interference or imposition were inexhaustible sources of his personal wisdom and high credibility both as the father of modern India, as well as one of the major moral, spiritual and political international authorities of our times. In Afghanistan three names are mostly whispered on Afghans lips of which Gandhi comes first and then followed by Pacha Khan and Nelson Mandila.

Today, largely due to the work of Mahatma Gandhi, India has its political independence and the work of building that greater freedom which he set in train in continuing by non-violent workers all around India. But Gandhi himself had altered his successors that they would face a more daunting journey on the road to the betterment of the people of India, than he himself had done. His 50 years struggle for national independence reached a culmination in August 1947, but he could see that national independence of India was really only the first step towards ultimate goal-equality of opportunity for all through non-violent action. That is the reason why Gandhi represents today not only the collective conscience of India, but also the collective conscience of all humanity. My claim is that Mahatma Gandhi remains a relevant thinker today because of his theory and practice of non-violence, but also because of the way he defended all his life political tolerance and religious pluralism.


Afghanistan is a Multi-ethnic country. In two and a half century since the rule of tyrant tribal dynasties, as the territory is given the name of Afghanistan (land of Afghans or Pashtoons) there have been political and social oppression on other ethnic groups who had to live under this name and banner. They have been forced to accept their destiny under the rule of corrupt, inefficient and selfish princes as the “will of God”. Those who have challenged this political oppression have been brutally dismissed, killed and annihilated. However, these so-called “Pashtoon” rulers (as they proclaimed themselves to be called in the name of ethnicity) have been no good to their own tribesmen either. At the same time, all the foreign powers, imperialist forces and rivals of the nation, who had in interest in Afghanistan, helped this national segregation and ethnic cleansing be more robust and vibrant so that the nation be fragile and easy to conquer. The tribal rulers have been supported to hold political power and suppress other ethnicities. As generally believed and propagated that the Pashtoons maintain majority of the national population, which was a baseless perception as there has been no reliable evidence to support this conception.

Let us now analyze the situation of India in which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi started his civil rights movement. India was a multi-cultural with most cultures based on religions. The Hindus were the largest group, with most of political and economic power in hand, followed by the Muslims, who constitute a large minority. Then came a much smaller number of Sikhs. Many other religious groups existed, but they were very small in numbers. As the British became established politically and economically, they started an insidious campaign to divide the Indian people along religious lines; especially by planting in Muslims fear of discrimination from Hindus. The British were quite successful in promoting disunity between the Hindus and Muslims, a legacy that to this day engenders hatred and bloodshed. The Sikhs were selected to be the native component of the British-controlled police force. The Sikhs were a large enough minority to provide enough police for British purposes, and yet a small enough group that Sikh police were patrolling and incarcerating primarily Hindus and Muslims. After a couple of hundred years of British encroachment on the cultures, inter-cultural fear and suspicion became the norm

In late 19th and early 20th century as the British maintained supreme political influence in Afghanistan, during Abdul ur Rahman Khan and his son Habibullah khan’s governments, they had simply bought the Afghan “Amir”s even by providing the salaries of their civil servants; Ostensively they picked the notion of ethnic fragility from the scattered Afghan society. They encouraged Afghan “Amir”s to enforce their power by suppressing other ethnic groups. Hence, the political doctoring of the Afghan ruling class became much clearer, which was strictly based on ethnicity and race. If anyone should be in power in the country must be an “Afghan” which is interpreted by the tribal politicians, a “Pashtoon”.  According to this “Afghanized” perception, any king, president and head of state must be Pashtoon. Tajiks (Farsi speakers soni ethnicity) should be secretaries, assistants and supportive to the Pashtoon “Amir” or king. But Hazaras, Uzbiks, Pashaees, Nooristanies etc, should serve the government as low “caste” citizens.

Now let us see how Gandhi went forward with his India. Gandhi was born a Hindu. The Hindu society is stratified or “calcified” into classes referred to as castes. The caste into which one is born determines the jobs one may have, the education one may pursue, the privileges one is allowed, the places one may gather water, the people with whom one may eat, etc. The highest caste is the Brahmans; the lowest, the untouchables. Outside of these are the outcastes. The outcastes are those who violated the rules of their caste to the extent that the authorities within the caste cast them out. Thereafter, they are to be kept away by others in the caste. No one may help them, they are not allowed to work within the caste, etc. Gandhi was a member of the Bania caste, which participated in business and government in his home state

Gandhi enduring impact and the legacy he left to both political struggle and methods of social transformation.

Gandhi’s influence on the peace movement in the United States was felt as early as the 1920s. An early and effective exponent of Gandhi’s ideas here was John Haynes Holmes, a prominent Unitarian minister and reformer, and an outspoken pacifist in World War I. He first set forth his discovery of Gandhi in a sermon titled “The Christ of Today” which was widely circulated. In another sermon in 1922 called “Who is the Greatest Man in the World Today?” his designation of Gandhi amazed many listeners, most of whom had never heard the name before. Gandhi’s autobiography was first published in America in the magazine Unity of which Holmes was the editor.

There were landmark books: by Romain Rolland in 1924, and three by C.F. Andrews published here in 1930 and 1931. The Power of Nonviolence by Richard B. Gregg first appeared in 1934 (two revised editions have subsequently been published). Probably no other book on nonviolence has been so widely read by U.S. pacifists, or used as a basis of a study program. Krishnalal Shridharani’s War without Violence was a valuable exposition of the methods of nonviolent direct action. He was sharply critical of Western bourgeois pacifism, and emphasized that satyagraha was as much a method of struggle as of persuasion.  A popular lecturer in America was Muriel Lester, an English friend of Gandhi with whom he stayed at Kingsley Hall when he attended the Round Table Conference in London. In the early 1930s, she began a series of lecture tours in the U.S., speaking widely to groups outside the traditional peace ranks, and gave vivid accounts of Gandhi’s nonviolent undertakings. C.F. Andrews also came on a nation-wide lecture tour.

Spiritual and Political Leader

When Gandhi arrived in South Africa, he was quickly appalled by the discrimination and racial segregation faced by Indian immigrants. Upon his first appearance in a Durban courtroom, Gandhi was asked to remove his turban. He refused and left the court instead. The Natal Advertiser mocked him in print as “an unwelcome visitor.”

True civil activist: His act of civil disobedience awoke in him a determination to devote himself to fighting the “deep disease of color prejudice.”  A true civil right activist, Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 to fight discrimination. Fight and struggle against injustice. In 1906, Gandhi organized his first mass civil-disobedience campaign, which he called “Satyagraha” (“truth and firmness”)

Religious tolerance and knowledge: Gandhi continued to study world religions during his years in South Africa. “The religious spirit within me became a living force,” he wrote of his time there. He immersed himself in sacred Hindu spiritual texts and adopted a life of simplicity, austerity and celibacy that was free of material goods.

Freedom fighter or fighter for Indian liberation: After spending several months in London at the outbreak of World War I, Gandhi returned in 1915 to India, which was still under the firm control of the British, and founded an ashram in Ahmedabad open to all castes. Wearing a simple loincloth and shawl, Gandhi lived an austere life devoted to prayer, fasting and meditation. He became known as “Mahatma,” which means “great soul.”

A true legacy of Gandhi: Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence and his belief in simple living making his own clothes, eating a vegetarian diet and using fasts for self-purification as well as a means of protest has been a beacon of hope for oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world. Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the world today, and Gandhi’s actions inspired future human rights movements around the globe, including those of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Sustainability from Gandhi

In regards to the sustainability, there are some sharp parallels between Gandhian philosophies and the sustainability movement. Here are some of the observations:

Localism:  Gandhi was a strong proponent of localism, be it food, clothing or anything else. At the time of Indian Independence, he recognized that Indians were being enslaved by their dependence on British products, especially clothing. In Gandhi’s ashram, he grew his own vegetables and kept goats for their milk, demonstrating the need to cut down our dependence on global supply chains and cheap labor.

Austerity: In this age of consumerism and creature comforts, austerity is a concept that is often not even comprehended. Living a simple life has it benefits because it keeps you focused on your purpose. His “simple living and high thinking” philosophy is what sustainability is all about.

Civil resistance: Gandhi’s non-violent, civil resistance movement is very much like sustainable consumption. By simply standing up to atrocities, Indians everywhere came together. Consumers everywhere similarly need to stand up against those companies that are not ethical and stop endorsing their products.

“Poverty is the worst form of violence”: Gandhi recognized that poverty is the root of all ills and the reason why progress cannot be made. He said that unless peoples’ bellies are filled, there is no way their minds can be filled. The world faces the same struggle today and although sustainability is a way out of poverty, poverty is also a deterrent towards sustainable development.

Humility and hope: This is especially for sustainability practitioners. This line of work requires vast amounts of both humility and hope. One can never rest on laurels of past achievements and similarly one cannot also be without hope. As the field continues to evolve, so must practitioners

“Be the change you want to see in the world”: It implies individual responsibility, accountability, and resourcefulness. To be the change whether big or small requires grit and gumption and the most miraculous thing is that it can come from anywhere.

Realism and benefit to all stakeholders

By treating nonviolence as the essential analogue and correlative response to a realist theory of politics, one can better register the novelty of satyagraha (nonviolent action) as a practical orientation in politics as opposed to a moral proposition, ethical stance, or standard of judgment. The singularity of satyagrahalay, in its self-limiting character, as a form of political action which sought to constrain the negative consequences of politics while working towards progressive social and political reform

The politics of nonviolence thereby points towards transformational realism that need not begin and end in conservatism, moral equivocation, or pure instrumentalism.


By By: Ramin Jahanbegloo – Sun, 10/14/2012 – 23:53 – razinadmin

Jaydeep Balakrishnan Ayesha Malhotra Loren Falkenberg Haskayne School of Business University of Calgary 2500 University Drive, N.W. Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4 Canada.

The Impact Of Gandhi On The U.S. Peace Movement by By Charles C. Walker




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