ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Elucidating Gandhi's Thinking

Gandhi in Political Theory: Truth, Law and Experiment by Anuradha Veeravalli, Ashgate (Farnham, Surrey (United Kingdom) and Burlington, Vermont (United States), 2014; pp 154, ₹7,664.17.

At a time when it has become fashionable to debunk Gandhi, and emphasise his flaws, it is refreshing to read a book whose main thesis is that Gandhi maintained a consistent political theory, whose essence was opposing the Cartesian dualism between self and the other, and the addiction to violence at the core of modern “civilisation.” This book makes a major contribution to political science and other social sciences, as well as philosophy (the author’s own discipline). Although many Indian thinkers have challenged the hegemony of Western theoretical constructs, few have done so as powerfully as Gandhi. Yet his critique remains veiled by a number of polarising controversies surrounding particular issues as well as by the sheer volume of what Gandhi wrote and said. The strength of this book is that it elucidates the clarity of thought and consistent arguments that formed the essence of his philosophy and activism. In so doing, it makes a major contribution that could help make Gandhi’s thinking relevant and accessible to many debates today, bypassing stale debates that dismiss his relevance through negative stereotyping.

The book elucidates Gandhi’s core concepts through numerous quotations, and a systematic survey of key issues, together with his relationship to seminal political thinkers, including Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Karl Marx, Rabindranath Tagore and B R Ambedkar, among many others.

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