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a social-political and religious-philosophical doctrine that arose during the course of the Indian independence struggle and was named for its founder, M. K. Gandhi.

Gandhism was the ideology of the Indian national liberation movement led by the national bourgeoisie. Its basic political principles and characteristics were the following: the attainment of Indian independence by peaceful means, through the nonviolent participation of the broad popular masses in the liberation struggle; the unification of all Indians in the independence struggle, irrespective of religion, nationality, caste, or class, under the leadership of the Indian National Congress; in the area of social relations, the assertion of the possibility of achieving class peace and the resolution of class conflicts by means of arbitration, based on the concept of the tutelage of the peasants by the landlords and of the workers by the capitalists; the idealization of patriarchal relations; the call for the renewal of the village community and cottage industry in India, particularly hand spinning and weaving (the symbol of Gandhism was the charkha, or spinning wheel); and the appeal to the religious feelings of the popular masses.

The basis of Gandhism was the principle of nonviolence. Developed by Gandhi and accepted by his followers, the tactic of nonviolent struggle for independence was named Satyagraha (literally, persistence in truth). It was manifested in two forms, noncooperation and civil disobedience. Non-cooperation included the refusal of titles conferred by the British, the boycott of state educational institutions, and the organization of peaceful demonstrations. Civil disobedience was expressed by the violation of some of the colonial government’s laws, the conducting of political strikes, or hartals, and, in exceptional cases, the refusal to pay taxes. Characteristic of Gandhism was an effort to resolve specific conflicts with the British authorities, as well as social contradictions, by means of negotiations and agreements based on mutual concessions.

Philosophically, Gandhism was based on the idea of divine reality, which Gandhi identified as truth; the attainment of truth is linked with the process of moral self-realization. The latter is understood in relation to the concept of ahimsa, which is interpreted broadly to mean abstention from inflicting not only physical but also spiritual harm on living creatures. The basis of self-realization is the “law of love” and the “law of suffering,” in accordance with which a follower of ahimsa must consciously seek suffering and be prepared for self-sacrifice. From this concept flow Gandhism’s teachings on the conscious and voluntary limitations on needs, the refusal of personal comforts, and the acceptance of an ascetic way of life. From Gandhism’s religious-ethical conception follows naturally the belief that the condition of society is determined by the people’s level of moral development. Gandhism attempts to make politics dependent upon morality. Thus, it proclaims the primacy of means (insofar as they are the expression of human moral will) over ends and declares the means to be the measure and criterion of political action.

Even during Gandhi’s lifetime, many of his followers did not fully accept his political and philosophical principles. For example, J. Nehru did not attach decisive importance to the principle of nonviolence in the struggle for independence, and he also emphasized the development of heavy industry. Even Gandhi himself was not always consistent in his application of the tactic of nonviolence; during World War II, for example, he recognized the necessity of using armed force when India was threatened by a Japanese invasion.

After the achievement of Indian independence in 1947 there were serious disagreements among Gandhi’s followers on the question of means and methods for applying Gandhism to the problems of the social, economic, and political development of the Republic of India.

Some Soviet authors have treated the complex, contradictory ideology of Gandhism in a one-sided manner. The anti-imperialist side of Gandhism and its role in the unification of the broad masses of people in the independence struggle have been underestimated.


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References in periodicals archive ?
Dubai: Recent incidents of intolerance and violence in India are an aberration; the Indian social structure is still firmly based on Gandhian ideals, Indian Consul General to Dubai Vipul said on Monday.
Then I found the "jewel in the crown", a paper entitled "Conversions: The Gandhian Critique and our Response" by Rev Subhash Anand, who was then a faculty member of the Dept of Indian Philosophy.
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The Gandhian solution is entirely based on practical common sense.
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This annual award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.
Thus, the Gandhian approach, named in Gandhi's honor, is based on a reciprocal, interactive partnership that emphasizes what each person has to offer to and what each person can learn from the other.
As a result, a nationwide Anti-corruption and Pro Jan Lokpal Bill movement could take place with the leadership of a Gandhian social activist named Shri Anna Hazare of Ralegaon Siddhi from Maharashtra.
From Santiniketan, and the world of conjoined artistic expression and social uplift of Tagore and Bose, Prasad in 1944 moved to the Gandhian village of Sevagram in central India, where he became an important arts educator.
President of India Pranab Mukherjee has sent out a message to the nation on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation", urging the people to imbibe Gandhian ideals, thoughts and values.