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

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Gandhi as an Exemplar?

Akeel Bilgrami’s theorisation of M K Gandhi as an exemplar who, by his actions, sets “examples” for others explains the exemplar morality of Gandhi as non-violent, as no moral criticism is generated when examples are not set, and contrasts it with the morality based on universalisable principles, which causes contempt, hostility, and violence when the principles fail to universalise. This paper questions the exemplar thesis and shows that it does not explain how satyagraha as a political strategy could be both exemplary and political, that the conception of non-violence which inheres the thesis is deficient, and that the assumption that universalisable principles coerce others is not true insofar as Kant’s categorical imperative is made to represent the principle-based morality. It also argues that reading Gandhi as an exemplar is inconsistent with his view of swaraj.

 

Satyagraha as a Public Responsibility

Gandhi and the Champaran Satyagraha: Select Readings edited by Suranjan Das, Delhi: Primus Books, 2022, pp xx+859, `1,995.

Gandhi’s ‘Family’

Scorching Love: Letters from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to His Son Devadas edited and introduced by Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Tridip Suhrud, Oxford University Press, 2022; pp xxiii+492, `1,495.

Small Voices of Agony and Agitation

Thumb Printed: Champaran Peasants Speak to Gandhi, Vol 1, edited by Shahid Amin, Tridip Suhrud and Megha Todi, jointly published by National Archives of India, New Delhi and Navajivan Trust, Ahmedabad, 2022; pp 307, `500.

Making Sense of Apology

The issue of apology that surrounds one particular historical figure arguably pitches every gamut of politics around the said solitary figure.

Non-Brahmin Labour Movement in Bombay and Indian National Movement

The development of the mill industry in Bombay[1] heavily relied on family, kinship, caste and patronage. Labour recruitment and organisation were also correlated to family, kinship, caste and patronage. The rise and growth of the Indian National Movement in Bombay was largely connected with caste politics. The early growth of the Indian National Congress was connected with the society's elite and oppressor caste community. Prominent leaders from the Indian National Congress were mainly from the Brahmin caste. M K Gandhi and his various movements had created space for the non-Brahmin in the national movements. But it was not an easy task to convince the non-Brahmin masses to join the Indian national movements. This article explains the initial phase of Gandhi and his early attempts to organise non-Brahmin labour unions and encourage their participation in national movements. Further, it explains how these non-Brahmin leaders joined the Congress party and its various significant movements. This process primarily affected the labour unrest and national movement in Bombay.

A Tale of Two ‘Gujarat Models’

Walking from Dandi: In Search of Vikas by Harmony Siganporia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022; pp xvi + 292, `1,495.

Gandhi and the Development of Public Health Infrastructure in Interwar Bombay

The fight for independence from the colonial yoke gained momentum in the early 20th century. Anti-colonial sentiment reached its peak in the interwar period as a result of the mass movements initiated by Gandhi, and his ideas of “non-violence,” ‘boycott’ and ‘swadeshi’ had a significant impact on the minds of the native population. This essay examines the impact of Gandhian ideology on the development of public health infrastructure in Bombay city during the interwar period. It highlights the contribution of the medical professionals and students in Bombay, challenging the colonial authorities and constructing a national identity through the lens of public health infrastructure.

Underscoring the Perils of Majoritarianism

Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here by Aakar Patel, Westland Books, 2020; pp 368, 799.

 

The Call of the Funeral Pyre

Burning the Dead: Hindu Nationhood and the Global Construction of Indian Tradition by David Arnold, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021; pp 268, $70.

 

Gandhi and the Re-enactment of Racism

Examining M K Gandhi’s attitude towards South African natives during his sojourn in South Africa, Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, in their book The South African Gandhi, have accused Gandhi of racism, arguing that Gandhi kept his struggle for British concessions for indentured Indians in South Africa separate from the struggle of Zulu people for freedom from colonial rule, because Gandhi considered the natives racially inferior and called them Kaffirs—a derogatory term used against them by the Whites as well as Indians. However, accusing Gandhi of racism indicates a misrepresentation of his ideas in transition, and the word Kaffir does not connote a racial slur.

Mahatma of the Mountains

Sundarlal Bahuguna, who applied Gandhi’s non-violent tools to fight environmental injustice, holds a special place in independent India’s environmental history.

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