Professor J.S. Mathur, D. Litt is an author, editor and international lecturer on subjects like social, labour, industrial, economic and peace issues. He has chaired and addressed several national and international seminars and academic gatherings in Sri Lanka, U.S.A., U.K., Netherlands, South Korea and Japan. He has to his credit nearly five dozen articles on Gandhiji and Peace Thought which have been published in leading journals of Indian and abroad. He has more than twenty books to his credit.
Some of his notable publications are ‘Economic Thought of Mahatma Gandhi’, ‘Ailing World and Gandhian Alternatives’, ‘Peace, Nonviolence and World Order’ and ‘Indian Working Class Movement’. His article entitled ‘World Order: Gandhi’s Concepts and Contributions’ finds place in the ‘World Encyclopaedia of Peace’(Pergamon Press, 1986).
His has been the pioneering effort to raise study of Gandhiji’s ideas as an academic discipline. Under his stewardship, the Institute of Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies of the University of Allahabad earned recognition from the United Nations in the form of Peace Messenger Certificate.
He edited ‘Journal of Gandhian Studies’ for nearly fourteen years. Currently, he is editing bilingual and biannual journal ‘Gandhi Prasang’.
Professor Mathur retired as Professor and Head Department of Commerce and Business Administration and Director, Institute of Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies, University of Allahabad. He is carrying on his mission of reviving the interest of the present generation in Gandhiji’s thought and values through Basant Bihari Jai Rani Foundation for Peace Studies, Allahabad.
This is an excellent collection of essays on the various aspects of Gandhiji's life and thought mostly by foreign scholars, published in his 'Journal of Gandhian Studies' and 'Gandhi Prasang' put together by Prof. J .S. Mathur, who during the last thirty years has devoted himself to the propagation of Gandhian thought in his home town of Allahabad.
It is significant that most of these essays were written after Gandhiji's death during the latter half of the twentieth century by foreign writers. They would have been unthinkable in Gandhi's life-time. The reason is obvious. After Gandhiji had clashed head-on with the British Empire in 1919-20, he did not endear himself to countries which had empires of their own such as France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal or countries like Germany, Japan and Italy who wanted to build their empires. Only a few exceptional individuals in Europe and America, such as Romain Rolland in France, Albert Einstein in United States and C.F. Andrews in Britain were quick to recognize Gandhi's stature. An English Quaker John Hoyland noted in 1931, when Gandhiji was visiting England for the Round Table Conference, that satyagraha 'was looked upon in the West as ridiculous and undignified; it was regarded with cold disfavor especially by the educated class, because it was too unconventional, in word too Christian for us'. After Gandhiji's death some of the barriers to understanding him disappeared. Colonialism was dead or dying, racialism was under siege in its last bastion in South Africa. The life and thought of Gandhi could thus be viewed without the imperialist and racialist blinkers. His ideas and methods began to be invoked in Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. In South Africa, the African National Congress [ANC] carried on non-violent agitation and passive resistance for nearly forty years; it was, however, unable to sustain their struggle on non-violent principles in the face of ruthless oppression by the apartheid regime.
After the massacre of Sharpeville, and until the release of Nelson Mandela, the major liberation movement in South Africa turned into bloody guerilla warfare. This armed struggle would have been much more prolonged and difficult than it was, had not the students, industrial workers, religious leaders, youth, and women's organizations in South Africa joined in offering non- violent resistance to the racialist regime on specific issues such as rent, consumer embargoes, and bus boycotts. The liberators of the blacks in South Africa were thus not only guerilla fighters, but hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children - shop assistants, and workers living in shanty towns - who consciously or unconsciously adopted methods, which Gandhiji would have approved. In the United States the Mahatma's teachings and example inspired Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, who was able, in the words of an American writer, to 'meld the image of Gandhi and the image of the Negro preacher'. He advocated the non-violent method as a practical alternative, not only to armed conflicts within a country but between countries. 'The choice', he warned in his Stride Towards Freedom (1958), 'is no longer between violence and non-violence; it is either non- violence or non-existence.'
There were some remarkable examples of the application of Gandhi's methods in the last decades of the twentieth century such as in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Phillipines, Baltic States and other countries, which highlighted the potential power of the oppressed. However, it must be admitted that Gandhi's principles and techniques are still appreciated by only a small enlightened minority in the world. Gandhi himself had no illusions about the ready acceptance of his ideas. He did not claim finality for his views, which he regarded, within a broad ethical framework, as aids for bettering the lives of his fellow men; they could be altered if they did not work. Gandhi expounded his philosophy of life in hundreds of articles and letters, but did not build it into a 'system'. However, his deepest concerns have been increasingly becoming the concerns of thinking men and women stirring across the globe for a peaceful and humane world. As I have already mentioned that most of the articles in this collection are by foreign scholars or publicists. In India, for reasons which are difficult to fathom, the nationalist movement has ceased to interest our academic community and the media. We duly remember the Mahatma 011 his birth and death anniversaries; we go through the ritual of honoring him, and then go back to more 'practical' concerns.
I am reminded of a remark which Ivan Illich made when he visited India in 1978; 'it would be a tragedy if India had to re-import Gandhi from the West',
This book, GANDHI - IN THE MIRROR OF FOREIGN SCHOLARS, is a collection of 49 articles that were received from scholars from different countries (whose present addresses are not with us) during the course of last three decades.
Gandhiji wrote in the Harijan on 16 Jan 1937 - Out of my ashes a thousand Gandhis will arise". This has inspired us to take the message of Gandhiji to the present generation.
We at Gandhi Bhawan and later at Basant Bihari Jai Rani Foundation for Peace Studies, Allahabad, have been organizing several activities for the last four decades, such as (i) Painting competition on Gandhiji amongst children, (ii) Essay competition on Gandhiji's concepts, (iii) Debates. (Iv) Setting up a Research and Reference Library, (v) Organizing seminars, and (vi) Publication of a Journal, to arouse the interest of the present generation.
We organized 16 seminars on different aspects of Gandhiji's thought and received papers from eminent scholars of our country and abroad.
These articles were serialized in various issues of the 'Journal of Gandhian Studies' and later in the journal 'Gandhi Prasang'. We now present them in a book form.
The world today is groping in darkness. A feeling of hopelessness and helplessness prevails. Winston Churchill had observed: "Dark ages may return, the Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of science.”(Quoted in the Tribune, p.16). Russell had remarked: "We are perhaps living in the last age of man, and if so it is to science that he will owe his extinction." ('Impact of Science on Society', p. 27) Several quotations can be given. Gandhiji called this civilization Satanic. Among many problems we CI11l mention are alienation of the individual, technology beyond human control, centralization and emergence of all powerful state, exploitative socio-economic system and materialism and consumerism.
Gandhiji initiated a number of revolutions to challenge these evils and laid foundation of a peaceful world order - revolution against consumerism and unbridled materialism, against technology beyond human control, for human motivation, for decentralization in all spheres, for rehabilitation of the individual, for full and gainful employment, for nonviolent and peaceful methods of change, for ecological balance and for maintenance of cultural identity of nations.
Gandhiji propounded nonviolent action/ Satyagraha and his theory of Trusteeship to attain his ideas of a new world order.
Gandhiji's thought and techniques of social change have been analysed by scholars whose articles are being published in the present volume. They have analysed the relevance of Gandhiji for the contemporary society - both national and international. These articles lay emphasis on the continued relevance of Gandhiji's principles and methodology for a peaceful world order. In the Introduction we have given a brief summary of the articles of these scholars.
Prof. Toynbee, the eminent historian had charged us in the following words: "You have incurred a rather formidable obligation both to Gandhi and history."
Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck remarks: "India, dare to be worthy of your Gandhi."
We are trying in our humble way to fulfill our obligation towards Gandhiji and are trying to take him to the present generation.
We are thankful to all who blessed our efforts to take the message of Mahatma Gandhi to the present ailing world.
I express my thanks to Dr. J. S. L. Srivastava who assisted me in this effort. I also express my thanks to Sri K. N. Sinha and Sri Pashupati Nath for their assistance and Sri G. R. Maini who prepared the manuscript.
This collection is a non-commercial venture with the sole objective of spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi.
I sincerely thank Dr. Y. P. Anand, ex-Director, National Gandhi Museum, who initially approved the publication of this compilation.
Further, I am grateful to Dr. Varsha Das, present Director, who has taken great pains in getting the book published in the present form.
Dr. B. R. Nanda has written "Foreword" to this collection. He has very kindly given me the benefit of his august personality. This is a debt which can never be adequately acknowledged.
I dedicate this collection to my parents, late Sri & Smt. Basant Bihari Lal and my late son. My father initiated me to Gandhiji's thought. He was a member of the Mainpuri Revolutionary group. Later he came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and took a vow to wear self-spun clothes and serve the society as a teacher-doctor. He was both. My son was my right hand in my academic pursuits.
Dr. Rodrigo Carazo in his article 'Gandhi-A Man who changed the Course of History' observes that "Gandhi gave a clear definition of India's identity through his spirituality and simplicity. But at the same time he was also a universal figure; though, the symbols he used to communicate with his people were local, the principles he inspired have permanent application for every nation of the planet." He continues, "Truly, Gandhi is the man that changed the course of history by leading his country to an indisputable victory, with the indestructible weapon of non- violence. Likewise, Gandhi has changed the course of history by showing that the poor nations can utilize non-violence as well as showing the rich nations and their leaders that it is never too late to implement justice."
Prof. Jan Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate economist from Netherlands, contributed six articles analyzing Gandhiji's thought from different angles. In his article 'Peace through Integration' he advocates that nation states in view of production of weapons of mass destruction and aggression should voluntarily think that polarisation be better replaced by tolerance, a view closer to the great Indian thinker and activist Mahatma Gandhi. In his article 'A New Life Style and Gandhian Thought' he points out to numerous problems that technological developments have given birth. One of these is scarcities of inputs that were considered free gifts of nature to which Club of Rome referred. Problems of pollution and ecology have gained importance. The problem of poverty in Third World countries, decreasing importance of western countries coupled with problems created by abundance, has led to degeneration due to more egotism and abundant leisure. Aware of the unacceptable poverty in some parts of the world, of new scarcities and of the past situation created by stubborn ideologies whether capitalist or communist, this movement for a new life-style tends towards a more modest level of prosperity, less inequality and more tolerance. New life style needs "an ethical, intellectual and cultural base". In his article 'A New World Employment Plan', Prof. Tinbergen lays emphasis on polices that create employment and satisfaction of basic needs with priority for the socially and economically weaker groups and policies based not on primarily private profit considerations but on the principles of social justice. In his article 'The New International Order and Gandhian Thought' Prof. Tinbergen observes, "To put in bluntly, Gandhi's ideas are by no means outmoded, as some believe, and, on the contrary might well be applied more often in to-day's world". In another article, 'Equality as an Aim of Policy', the author deals "with the instruments of socio-economic policy that can be applied, in economies at different stages of development, in order to reduce inequality." Describing Gandhiji's relevance Prof. Tinbergen remarks in his last article in this collection, titled 'Gandhi's Relevance' that, "Gandhian thought was not of a passive nature; it did constitute a revolution in thinking".
Prof. Gunnar Myrdal, Nobel Laureate from Sweden, contributed two articles, 'Poverty, Inequality and Gandhi' and, 'Challenge of Stagnation in Developing Countries'. Discussing the problems of poverty Prof. Myrdal refers to Gandhiji's emphasis on radical change in the social and economic order and decentralization, revolution and changes in the direction of education. Developments in post-independent India have belied Gandhiji's expectations. Prof. Myrdal observes, "It is unthinkable that today he would remain silent and idle. He would again take to roads and village lanes and begin anew his crusade". Gandhiji's approach of all-embracing planning (integrated planning) is needed which suggests a lower level of consumption of luxury goods in the upper strata, "austerity in consumption and living patterns of the rich".
In his article 'The Impact of Mahatma Gandhi on Martin Luther King' Prof. Stanley Wolpert discusses the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on Martin Luther King whom he describes as "American Gandhi".
Prof. Ulla Holmberg laying emphasis on 'Universal Brotherhood' discusses the impact of exchange of students between countries. His observation, "How should we make the people in the industrial countries understand and accept that brotherhood also includes lowering their own standard of living in order to give the poorest sisters and brothers a chance?" deserves full consideration.
Mr. Haflin Samdin in his article 'Gandhiji and Contemporary Ideologies Regarding Freedom, Peace and Equality' has analyzed his contribution to various problems that face the attainment of this ideal. He remarks "Gandhi has brought a clearer, truer, richer, and completer meaning to each one of the great principle so frequently handled about in political discourses and in the comity of nations; namely PEACE FREEOOMAND EQUALITY".
Prof. Unto Tahtinen in his article 'Gandhi on Natural Law' remarks that three experiments - racial discrimination in South Africa, colonial status of India and legal injustice involved in Hindu customs shaped his approach and "Gandhi came to realize that certain positive laws, even the whole system of law, as well as traditional social and religious institutions can be in conflict with an ethical law. The ethical law, however, is higher in authority and in the case of conflict, takes precedence.
Mr. Francis Ofosu Quartey from Ghana discusses Gandhiji's techniques of removal of economic inequality and after a brief review of Gandhiji's views remarks that Satyagraha can be used for non political objectives and that a "non-violent society had to be so organized as to reduce in-equalities and tensions within it and to remove the temptation for an assault from without." Such a society should be based on decentralized economy.
Mr. Amre M. Moussa, former Ambassador of Egypt, observes that people in Egypt hold Gandhiji in high esteem and affection because of his struggle against colour prejudice, war, race domination, untouchability and communal disharmony. Mahatma Gandhi will remain alive in the conscience of people all over the world.
Ms. Gudrun Loewner in his article' Sarvodaya - A Way to a Better Life in Peace and Harmony - The Sri Lankan Experience' demonstrates the influence of Indian experience on Sri Lankan Sarvodaya movement which has spread in that country. The difference between Sarvodaya movement in India and Sri Lanka is distinguished, as "Gandhi's dream was the realization of independent village republics in India, Ariyaratne's dream is not going so far." In India after Gandhiji's death, time for big actions has passed away and small ventures by individuals are taking place. Sri Lanka represents a centralized system. The progress of the movement has been discussed. One weakness of the movement is its dependence on foreign donations.
Mr. Takaaki Pio Yasuoka in his article 'International Peace: Japan's Experience' describes efforts of Japan to evolve a policy for peace which will also mean fight against environmental pollution. This article also refers to Japan's involvement in U.S.A war efforts. However he refers to the close relationship between disarmament and development.
Mr. J. P. Pathirana in his article 'Gandhiji and the Concept of Power' describes Gandhiji as a 'champion of human dignity' who clearly analyzed the evils inherent in the materialistic modem culture and observes in his article: "No other current ideology, neither democratic Capitalism, nor democratic Socialism, nor dictatorial Communism, places before mankind the bright and noble idea of moral and spiritual development-."
Bishop Dr. Karoly Toth points out commonness of objectives of Gandhiji with Christian Peace Conference which was founded in 1958 much after Gandhiji's death, The Conference affirms with Gandhiji the unity of humankind. Gandhiji's views on peace, total disarmament and socio-economic structure that will make oppression and exploitation impossible, find echo in Christian Peace Conference and so also Gandhiji's views on the unity of word and deed in his concept of Satyagraha.
Peter Kempadoo lays emphasis on Sarvodaya as Gandhiji's alternative development strategy for today's world which starts with the conviction that salvation (well being) of oneself is inextricably bound up with the well being of all. Sarvodaya "is the application of the principle of Non-Violence in the transformation of societies: from their present forms which are mostly exploitative and imbalanced-."
In his article 'Gandhiji and Conflictlogy' Prof. Johan Galtung quotes Gandhiji to drive home his point while comparing him to Jesus Christ. Prof. Galtung observes that Gandhiji did not recognize difference between the mundane and transcendental. Various aspects of a conflict, its nature, its ilynamics and its resolution, and these are many in Gandhiji's struggle, have to be studied. There can be several approaches and here is the role of social scientists and they should provide a language within which Gandhiji's views can be expressed.
Mr. Terence W. Miller won gold medal in the International Essay Competition on 'The Modem Search For Peace: The Gandhian Way'. Tracing the history of conflict in Ireland he observes that oppression of a minority is the one of the factors. Violence has vitiated the minds of children. He advocates the use of Gandhian methods and use of non violence, which should become a way of life. Ahimsa means a spirit of tolerance, truth and love. Gandhiji's strategy was that the immediate cause of Satyagraha should be selected within the larger cause. The next step should be to love the people - and that people should feel part of the organization and this can happen only when they contribute towards its continuance.
Detlef Kantowsky in his article 'Sarvodaya and State Power: Theory and Practice in South Asia' traces the history of Sarvodaya movement in India and Sri Lanka. Summarizing the movement in India, he remarks it as having moved from cooperation to confrontation. In India the Sarvodaya movement got divided, lacked organization, had little to show by way of its achievement. Sarvodaya has not yet given teeth to the rural poor. Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka has been summarized as from toleration to cooperation which is basically different from the Indian Sarvodaya movement. To quote Prof. Kantowsky "Whilst Sarvodaya in India envisages a stateless und highly decentralized political order, Sarvodayaites in Sri Lanka hope that the rulers will always be righteous .Whilst Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka legitimizes a revival of traditional functions of government, Sarvodaya in India is anarchic."
Prof. H. M. Delange in his essay on 'Work and the Meaning of Work' considers it "an improvishment were we increasingly to let work to be done by automation and bigger apparatuses, which produce goods only to be used by us. present styles of production drain energy resources, and for this reason too it would be wise to reflect on changes in our very production and consumption patterns." He suggests that "the problem is to search for a real new technology, a technology that accepts the idea that human work is a source of richness and welfare. Controlling technological innovation could be one of the most important issues in this field".
Mr. R. Scott Kennedy in his article 'Love is Real And Active' dwells upon the vital issues of nonviolence as a force of social change and as a means of seeking truth. Gandhi and the New Testament suggest that to be effective and active, truth has to be lived in deeds. Even truths expressed most eloquently and profoundly cannot match simpler but lived truth. The testing of truth can be performed only by strict adherence to Ahimsa or love-action based upon refusal to do harm and readiness to undergo self- suffering. This kind of Satyagraha has universal appeal and application.
In his article 'Civil Disobedience in a Democracy' Prof. Gene Sharp remarks that organized civil disobedience would provide an orderly and peaceful substitute to political violence which may otherwise be so dangerous to democratic polity. Democracy to be a living and dynamic system of governance has to be constantly and constructively responsive to the challenges of the time. One such challenge is the tendency of growing organized civil disobedience on the part of the pressure groups from within trying to give vent to their feelings of dissatisfaction and dissent. The proposal to permit civil disobedience in constitutionally representative political sys- tem may imply some modifications in the policies and legal provisions. But this would certainly strengthen and enrich the system by providing answer to the problem of how to express extreme dissent.
Prof. Seshagiri Rao in his article 'Gandhi, M.L. King and the Civil Right Movement' remarks that Martin Luther King Jr. the great crusader against apartheid and renowned leader of the civil rights movement in America was a Christian and had his schooling in Christian philosophy and theology. King was thus aware of Jesus's conviction in love as a force in the fight against injustice. King's conviction in it was however greatly fostered when he studied Gandhi's Satyagraha. Gandhi and King both believed that nonviolent resistance is not the coward's way out - it is a dynamic and spiritually active force, it seeks to conciliate. It is directed not against the sinner but against the sin. Nonviolence elevated to the scale of love -selfless and sacrificing love -is at the center of this struggle. Both Gandhi and King have faith in achieving rights through right means. Prof. Seshagiri Rao, the celebrated author of this article, has many useful suggestions to make the movement more effective for American Negros.
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