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Gandhian Philosophy Its Relevance Today

Gandhian Philosophy Its Relevance Today

Specifications

Item Code: IDD187

by Gummadi Veerraju

Hardcover (Edition: 1999)

Decent Books
ISBN 8186921044

Size: 8.7" X 5.6"
Pages: 270
Price: $30.00   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 2nd Feb, 2009

Description

From the Jacket

Gandhi (1869-1948) held no political office. Yet he could arouse the conscience of an entire subcontinent! A lean, frail, 'half-naked fakir' – armed with a wooden staff and simple dignity of a human being, he fought against the greatest empire, the world has known. It was just the moral grandeur of his soul which enabled him to fight against brute power, in any form, even vanquish it. "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this in flesh and blood walked upon this earth", said Professor Einstein of him.

A saint, social activist and political philosopher, unlike any other known in the twentieth century, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi held out a "message" which, based on "a series of his experiments with truth", touched upon every domain of human life: social, economic, moral/spiritual, cultural, political. Retrieving a range of these ideas from a variety of sources, this book tries afresh to gauge how far Gandhi and Gandhism are relevant in this dehumanized, fragmented world, perched dangerously on stockpiles of all-devastating arsenal; or in this age of distrust, moral decay and unbridled consumerism; or yet again when seen against today's aggressive/retaliatory attitudes, or against the growing cult of violence.

The book is not just a revalidation of Gandhian philosophy, but a reminder as well, suggesting how in his abiding solutions alone: with their eloquent underpinnings of truth, non-violence and service of humanity, lies the hope for mankind in this conflict-ridden world.

Gummadi Veerraju, (born: 1954), is Andhra University's Ph. D. (Philosophy) and credited with the authorship of several papers on a variety of themes from Gandhian Studies. Currently, he is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Andhra University.

Dr. Veerraju teaches 'Contemporary Western Philosophy' and 'African Religions' and has attended many national and has attended many national and international conferences. He is currently engaged in advanced research in : 'Globalization of Religion for a Dynamic Society'; 'Relevance and the need for the study of History and comparative Religions'; and 'A Plan of action for resolving Socio-Political and Environmental Issues of the Modern Society'

Preface

Mahatma Gandhi is considered to be one of the greatest sons of the Indian soil. Although much has been written of Gandhi in the recent times and so much literature has come on his ideas and ideals, yet much more remains uncovered because of the increasing relevance and significance of his philosophy in the modern times.

As a man of action, he practiced what is moral, truthful and non-violent after a thorough examination with great insight. He was multi-dimensional in his approach and left an indelible mark in the religio-moral, socio-economic and political spheres. So in the modern times, his philosophic ideas and ideals are progressively becoming significant and more relevant than before. The entire gamut of his philosophical thought is mainly based on two moral values of eternal relevance, namely, truth and non-violence.

In this study I dealt with an attempt is made in this study to understand the concepts namely, social equality, universal love, non-possession, human service, renunciation, purity of means and ends, removal of untouchability, casteless and classless society social evils, value oriented education, economic equality, industrialization, decentralized democracy, panchayat raj, satyagraha, environmental challenges, terrorism and global peace. These concepts were dealt earlier by Mahatma Gandhi and the solution he offered without losing sight of truth and non-violence are of great relevance and significance to the modern times.

An attempt is this study to understand to incorporate issues of recent times that have occurred in India as well as in some parts of the world so as to examine and analyse them in the light of Gandhian philosophy to find out their co-relation and relevance to make the study up to date.

Gandhi covered all the aspects of the human life and he considered man an integral whole. He offered his solutions with great insight. He was a rare personality and at the same time he was unique in many respects.

As Albert Einstein aptly puts:
Generation to come will scarcely believe that such one as this has ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

The modern society has become more acquisitive, exploitative and violent due to the imperfection in the human institution. There is no other alternative except to adapt the techniques that Gandhi followed to resolve the different levels of conflict, and to rid the evils that have beset the modern society.

My grateful thanks are due to my Research Director Dr. T. Christanandam, Associate Professor Department of Philosophy, Andhra University, for his able guidance and also for offering his critical and valuable suggestions at.

My grateful thanks are to Dr. M. Gopala Krishna Reddy former Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. R. Radhakrishna, the present Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University for all their good wishes and encouragement.

Prof. G. Subrahmanyam, former Registrar, and Prof. J.M. Naidu, the present Registrar of Andhra University have been a constant source of inspiration and help for me. My sincere thanks to them.

I am thankful to Prof. V. Balamohan Das, Principal of Colleges of Arts and Commerce for the encouragement he gave for the completion of my thesis.

My thanks are due to Sri Ch. Bapu Haranath, Sri N. Babayya and Dr. Sudarsana Rao, Asst. Principles, Colleges of Arts and Commerce, Andhra University for all their good wishes and encouragement.

Prof. G. Subrahmanyam, former Registrar, and Prof. J.M. Naidu, the present Registrar of Andhra University have been a constant source of inspiration and help for me. My sincere thanks to them.

I am thankful to Prof. V. Balamohan Das, Principal of Colleges of Arts and Commerce for the encouragement he gave for the completion of my thesis.

My thanks are due to Sri Ch. Bapu Haranath, Sri N. Babayya and Dr. Sudarsana Rao, Asst. Principles, Colleges of Arts and Commerce, Andhra University for their concern and the cooperation they have extended for the completion of this study.

My grateful thanks are to Prof. P. George Victor, UGC-SAP coordinator and Dr. Y. U. Satyanarayana, Head of the Department of Philosophy, for their kind cooperation and valuable suggestions for the completion of this book.

I am also immensely thankful to my teacher Prof. V. Gopala Krishnaiah, Chairman, Board of Studies, Department of Philosophy, for his kind encouragement and help.

My grateful thanks are to my teacher Prof. G.V. Raju (Retired) Department of Philosophy for his able guidance and valuable suggestions at various stages of drafting of this study.

My thanks are due to Prof. g. Sundara Ramaiah, Prof. O. Deenammal, Prof. S. Satyanarayana, Prof. M.V. Krishnayya, Dr. Y.V. Satyanarayana, Dr. V.V.S. Saiabaha, Dr. S.D.A. Joga Rao and Sri B. Ravi Babu for their constant encouragement and concern.

My grateful thanks are due to Prof. B. Mastanaiah, Department of History and Archaeology and Sri L.S. Ravindra Babu, Lecturer in English, Government Degree College, Palakol for their valuable suggestions and also for going through the drafts of the work. (which enabled me to complete my research successfully.)

I am thankful to Dr. K. Solomon Raju, Prof P. Apada Rao, Dr. A Narasimha Rao, Dr. G. Yohan Babu, Dr. (Smt.) D. Amrutamma, Mr. Abdual Rahman, Y. Ravi Kumar, Dr. T. Venkateswarlu, for all their good wishes and encouragement .

I am much grateful to my wife, Smt. G. Nagamani for her cooperation and encouragement.

Introduction

Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the nation and the maker of the modern independent republic. He is held in high esteem and venerated as the great soul. His popular sayings that 'My life is my message' and 'My life is a series of experiments with truth' have literally come to be true. These statements establish his scientific temper and his adherence to the moral values.

My main aim is to study the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, especially in the modern context and examine its relevance to the modern times. Gandhi was not an academician and he did not make any systematic presentation of his philosophy. In order to present his philosophy in an organized and logically cogent manner, his ideas have to be culled from his various speeches and writings. Gandhi laid more stress on the basic values of the human life especially on truth and non-violence. As a defender of the human rights, he made people more conscious of their duties, to set a moral order in the society and also to make the people learn that the true source of right is duty only.

Gandhi did not like people to remain as mere silent spectators in a helpless manner. He aroused their indomitable moral will and inherent potentialities to fight against the supposed wrong or injustice in a non-violent manner. He envisaged a casteless, classless and egalitarian society against the existing acquisitive and exploitative society.

Gandhi was not a system builder, but with great understanding and insight, he could bring about the scheme of his concepts in an appropriate and relevant manner so as to suit the modern requirements. His concepts underwent evolutionary and revolutionary changes. There is need for the social scientists to combine their scientific methods and theories with the Gandhian values to achieve better results.

The modern technology poses great threat and fear than hope and happiness. The significance of man is lost and his life has lost its meaning and purpose except to reduce it to a mere mechanical drudgery. The heavy industrialisation is vulnerable to several evils like gambling and results in problems such as unemployment. His real happiness does not lie in his enjoyment of sensual pleasures and multiplication of desires but in leading a simple and ennobled life with moral consciousness and high thinking.

Gandhi formulated a pattern and a structure basing on his series of experiments with truth in the religio-moral, socio-economic and political spheres by keeping the individuality ad dignity of the individual in view without losing sight of truth and non-violence.

Gandhi rejected the earlier formulated political theory that 'end justifies the means' as it tends to be opportunistic and expedient and the unscrupulous and immoral methods have been followed. He introduced a new moral code by making means as significant as end and also by establishing their convertibility to avoid the immoral means and violence to justify the end.

Gandhi stood for the economic equality. His theory of trusteeship bears the testament of his commitment to usher in an egalitarian society by reducing the economic disparities. He made a break-through in the social structure by working for the creation of equal opportunities for the unprivileged for their social upliftment.

As regards his notion of village autonomy, and village development, he worked out for the village self-sufficiency. He wanted to reduce the disparities between the urban and the rural to avoid the people's craze to settle in the cities.

Gandhi subscribed to the view that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. On the other hand, the centralized power structure has to adopt the method of violence to defend its power and implement its policies forcibly. In the modern times politics has become a great preoccupation of the people. There has been a ruthless and unhealthy competition for power in every walk of life. So Gandhi brought religion and politics together to purify politics. He stood for the decentralized democracy and panchayatraj system where in man is considered supreme and his role is significant.

Gandhi was opposed to the heavy industrialisation, deforestation and depletion of natural resources, pollution and ecological imbalance. These modern trends have badly effected the health of mankind. He advocated small-scale industries and technology which is intermediary with a human face that stands for the greatest good of all. He stood against terrorism. He stated that people have to rely on non-violent resistance to achieve their just cause.

The Gandhian concept of satyagraha is a conflict resolution based on non-violent resistance directed against injustice, corruption and unjust laws of the society and state. This is reckoned with great significance because of its relevance in the modern times. He stated that the lasting and enduring world peace could be established only through non-violence. However, there may be some military illusions that peace could be brought about by relying on the theories such as the doctrine of deterrence but it cannot establish world peace but promotes mutual insecurity and terror. He held that non-violence is the only answer and alternative in the modern times to establish the world peace.

Mahatma Gandhi made a multi-dimensional study reflecting on moral, religious, socio-economic and political spheres of the human life. Gandhi was influenced by a number of great religious personalities right from nurse Rambha to that of the eminent writers and thinkers like Leo Tolstoy and John Ruskin. His open mind helped him to accept any good idea from any source and adopt it in his life.

The first chapter deals with the sources and influences that have shaped his thought right from his parents to that of the great religious personalities and eminent thinkers of the East and the West. The influence of the Bhagavad Gita, the Sermon of the Mount, the Civil Disobedience of Henry Thoreau, the social equality of John Ruskin, the influence of Leo Tolstoy have also been dealt in this chapter.

The second chapter presents the moral and religious aspects. The religious philosophy of Gandhi was chracterised mainly by truth and non-violence. The aspects such as his interpretation of religion, the relationship of religion and morality the cardinal virtues, viz., non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-possession and celibacy, the concept of universal religion, the purity of means and ends, the significance of truth in religion, the role of religion in purifying politics, have been dealt.

In the third chapter 'Social Problems and Gandhian Solution', the social aspects such as caste, the evil of untouchability, his concept of egalitarian society, his progressive and evolutionary views on inter-dining and inter-caste marriages, the status of women and their problems, their role in the society, the evil aspects of alcoholism, the significance of prohibition, value oriented education, the significance and relevance of basic education, have been dealt.

The fourth chapter presents the economic views of Gandhi and his concept of economic reorganization, the theory of trusteeship, economic equality, the evils of industrialisation, the revival of the small-scale and rural industries for rural development and cooperative forming of the villages.

The fifth chapter is on the Gandhian approach to the contemporary political issues. The aspects such as welfare state, democracy, the significance of minority in the democracy, his notion of political power, non-violence and democracy, decentralization, panchayat raj and its significance, the three-tier system of decentralized administration, duties and rights, significance of freedom, satyagraha and its application, non-cooperation and civil disobedience have been dealt in this chapter.

In the sixth chapter 'Global issue's and Gandhian Solutions', the contemporary issues such as environment its sustainability and challenges, the evil effects of modern civilization, the problem of terrorism and violence, non-violence and world peace, the military illusions, the doctrines of deterrence has been discussed.

The last chapter presents the summary and conclusion. A careful examination of all the aspects of the Gandhian Philosophy covered in this study in the context of modern developments, establish relevance to the modern times as the entire gamut of his philosophy is laid firmly on two eternal values – Truth and Non-violence.

Contents

Preface v
Introduction1
1Sources of Gandhian Philosophy5
2Moral and Religious Aspects of Gandhian Philosophy32
3Social Problems – Gandhian Solutions64
4Economic Reorganisation – A Gandhian Perspective105
5Gandhian Approach to the Contemporary Political Issues150
6Global Issues and Gandhian Solution182
7Summary and Conclusion213
Select Bibliography252
Index260
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