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A critical exploration whether Gandhi was primarily a political figure or a social reformer - Research Paper Example

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Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi is one of the influencing personalities of modern history. He is well-known mostly because of his involvement with the fate of Modern India, a country which is greatly indebted to him for its independence in 1947…
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A critical exploration whether Gandhi was primarily a political figure or a social reformer
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Download file to see previous pages This involvement with the emergence of India brings Gandhi the fame as a political figure. He spent a significant part of his life as a political activist in the Congress, one of the two major political parties of India under the British rule. Though he had been an active political figure, his political activities were bordered on the verge of social reformations which could successfully bring him the landslide faith and support from the common Indians. Indeed the question whether he was primarily a political figure or a social will continue to engender debate till one fails to pursue the true Gandhian nationalist zeal. The son of a senior British Government clerk, Gandhi adamantly believed in the soul of democracy and the formal democratic politics.1 Therefore, Gandhi, once the devout British patriot who once worked publicly to earn the Indians’ support for the British Army’s war against Zulu Kingdom in 1906, could not call for the violent liberation war that, causing much bloodshed, could have destroyed the British-induced political reform in India.2 Prior to his experience of successful civil-disobedience or non-violent protest against the segregation Act of the Transvaal Government in 1906, he became familiar with British democratic political culture, while he was studying law in London. Later his experience of the success of ‘Satyagraha’ further provided him a political insight into the non-violent public protest against the tyranny of a political system.3 Indeed Gandhi’s political insight and experience urged him to assume the role of a social reformer. His pose as a social reformer only served his political purpose of uniting the Indians to emerge as a strong political force. Also for the same reason, he did not have his own pure political or social philosophy. His personal philosophy was more of a loose collection of ideas that a strict structure of thought. Indeed Gandhi was a great political leader under the apparel of a social-reformer. Brief Background of Gandhi’s Concept of Satyagraha Gandhi, once the Barrister in South Africa was inspired to put his wholehearted faith in Satyagraha, the heart of his civil-disobedience.4 This barrister was sagacious enough to perceive the power of public unity and support in a modern democratic state. He adopted the Civil-disobedience policy as a means of political protest which could simultaneously sustain the state and create pressure on it toward the intended end. Indeed this protest policy of civil disobedience could sustain the basic form of a government through non-violent defiance, while forcing her to compromise with the defiant civil group.5 But the success of civil disobedience crucially pivots on the weight, of the defiance of protesters, which in democracy is considered as the volume of support. With this new insight, in 1915, Gandhi returned at a critical moment when India was rolling into a democratic political environment from the shadow of the British colonial rule. Gandhi the barrister with his new political insight was wise enough not to jeopardize the prospect India, then, the child of democracy.6 During the 1910s the democracy was budding through the National Congress Party; it was the age when the literate Indians had already adapted with the democratic environment and the rural underdeveloped Indians were waiting for a leader who could lead to the light of democracy. Indeed Gandhi fulfilled this very need of a leader who could raise political awareness among the common Indians only to strengthen the Indians’ voice for independence.7 If Gandhi had called for violent resistance ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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