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Mahatma Gandhi is considered to be one of the unrivalled

leaders of all ages and all countries. His personality of
people of the whole world. He was treated as God-incarnate
on earth. He was a man of action and discipline. He believed
in non-violence and peace. He was a humanist out and out.
He gave stress on fellow-feeling, love, brotherhood and
reject hatred. He was the saint among the politicians and
the politician among the saints. He depended on the great
moral force of the self and liked ethical values more. He was
a true nationalist and the greatest leader of the national
freedom movement in India. He was just like a “Cold Fire”
which smoke-burnt the mighty British Empire in India. For
his outstanding contributions towards Indian nationalism,
Independence and value system, Mahatma Gandhi is
considered as the father of Indian nation. Mahatma Gandhi
had risen to such a height of human perfection that one of
the greatest scientist of the world Albert Einstein remarked
on him, “Generations to come will scare believe that such a
one, as this ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth.”

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(1) To study on Gandhian philosophy.

(2) To find out relevance of philosophy in present day.


This study has been based on philosophical method. The data

are taken from secondary sources like Newspapers, Books,
Journal, Magazines, different websites from Internet, etc.

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(1) Gandhiji’s Philosophy of Life

Mahatma Gandhi was a practical philosopher, an external

seeker after truth and an apostle peace and non-violence.
Gandhiji believed in “one God” and in his absolute control.
As the rays of the same source, similarly gandhiji believed
that there might be so many religions and beliefs. Their only
source was God according to him. God is indefinable and his
mysterious powers provide everybody and everything in this
universe. God is life, light and truth. He is also an in
carnation of the universal love and compassion.

Truth as well as non-violence are the spirit of his life. Truth

is the end and non-violence is a means. Satyagraha
according to Gandhiji is a resistance to evil through love.
After possessing the quality of couange or fearlessness only
an individual can start Satyagraha movement fighting
against any evil, social, political or economic. Mahatma
Gandhi has defined Satyagraha as the belief in the power of
truth. Mahatma Gandhi believed in the human brotherhood
and in the establishment of a universal community of free
persons without artificial barrier of caste, creed, colour,
wealth and power.

Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his life for establishing Ram

Rajya, a classless society in which there will be no distinction
between high and low, rich and poor. Gandhiji believed in

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plain living and high thinking. Many people think him an


Gandhiji was not merely a visionary and a philosopher. He

was not a profounder, but also a practitioner. His philosophy
is not static and impractical. It is dynamic as well as
pragmatic. On the whole, he wished and worked for setting
up a new social order based on Truth and Non-violence and
free from all kinds of exploitation and injustice. This is his
dream of Rama Rajya.

2. Gandhiji’s Philosophy of Education

Generally people regard Gandhiji as a great politician only.

But the fact is that he valued social reform and development
more than more political growth and advancement.
According to him in an evil society, no concept of any good
rule is possible. As such, he advocated social revolution. In
this, the main role to be played was by education. Gandhiji
basic education was the practical embodiment of his
philosophy of education. The main aim of basic education
was to purify the heart and mind of all people and create a
society free from all exploitation and aggression. Viewed in
this light Gandhiji was a great educationist also.

3. Ends and Means Relationship in Gandhian


Religion and morality had a great impact on Mahatma

Gandhi from his early childhood. Mahatma Gandhi
established a very close and inseparable relationship
between the ends and the means. To him, they are just like

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the two sides of a single coin and he desired both of them to

be moral and just. Mahatma Gandhi considered means to be
more important than the ends. The means justify the ends.
The same relationship stands between the means and the
ends as it stands between the seed and the tree. If the
means are pure, moral and just the ends will automatically
be so. If we take care of the means, the ends will take care
of themselves.

4. Truth

Gandhiji always believed in truth and never, for any purpose

what so ever, swerved from the path of truth. Truth was the
central theme of all his thoughts, words and deeds. Truth
was God to him. He said, “where the means are clean, there
God is undoubtedly present with his blessings”. He accepted
and practiced in his own life the spirit of holding the truth till
the last by Lord Rama and king Harishchandra. Truth is
eternal and the ultimate thing.

5. Gandhiji’s Philosophy of Non-violence or Ahimsa

Non-violence or Ahimsa is one of the basic ingredients of

Manatma Gandhi’s political philosophy. Gandhi did not
create originally the concept of non-violence but for the first
time used it in a mass scale and more particularly in political
field. He himself has admitted, ‘ I have nothing to teach to
the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as hills.

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Negatively speaking non-violence or ahimsa means not to do

harm or injury to anybody by following violence or ahimsa.’

According to Gandhi, non-violence is composed of certain

ingredients like truth, inner purity, fasting, fearlessness,
non-possession and perseverance. A follower non-violence
must have patience because the result do not come
immediately. Besides he must go on constantly preserving
or striving in his own way to achieve the goal.

6. Satyagraha

Satyagraha is the original innovation of Mahatma Gandhi. He

used it first in South Africa to resist the racial discrimination
and maltreatment to Indians there. However, later on he was
much influenced by Threali’s essay on civil disobedience and
held on to it more vigorously. Satyagraha literally means
agraha in satya or holding fast on to truth. The spirit of
non-violence is wholly ingrained in the concept of
satyagraha. It is a technique of pursuing truthful ends
through purest love-force and soul-force. For Gandhi non-
violence and Satyagraha were synonymous. It is a moral
force that can be used by individuals as well as communities
in each and every field starting from domestic life to public
life. It is the moral weapon of the strong to fight against
injustice, wrong deed, oppression and exploitation. To
Gandhi Satyagraha is the inherent and inalienable birth right
of a man.

A Satyagrahi should be a morally strong person with faith in

God. He must be a person of discipline, self-control and
purity of mind and actions. He must be a Brahamachari and
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follow non-violence and truth. Satyagraha can be achieve

through different forms such as non-cooperation, strike or
bartal, picketing, boycott, civil disobedience, fasting and

7. Non-Cooperation

Gandhi was the pioneering force in the non-cooperation

movement in India which took place in the year 1921. He
stressed on Swadeshi and Khadi, discipline and sacrifice.
Though he suddenly suspended the movement in the year
1922 following buring down of 22 policemen at Chauri-
Chaura by the violent mob, the non-cooperation movement
exerted a compelling force on the British Administration in
India. Non-cooperation with the Government may take any
of the following form such as strike or hartal, picketing,
social, ostracism.

8. Gandhiji and Sarvodaya

The concept of Sarvodaya is the original contribution of

Mahatma Gandhi. Sarvodaya literally means uplift (Udaya) of
all (Sarva). For a better and well balanced society there is
the need of some kind of balance between the two which
can be espoused by Sarvodaya. The power of the people is
to be awakened by creating a high moral atmosphere in the
society though truth, non-violence and puritan means. Self
sacrifice and not self-gain is the essence of sarvodaya.
Sarvodaya wants to create a new and higher kind of social
order in which there would be equality, harmony and

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No poverty, no exploitation and no social evils would be

there. Untouchability, casteism and unemployment would be
abolished. Sarvodaya preaches self-limitation of human
wants and the message of love for humanity. It emphasizes
rehabilitation and development of villages long exploited.

9. Swadesi

Swadesi is a native term meaning the country-made goods

and services. As a device of non-cooperation with the British.
Gandhi had given emphasis on the use of those goods which
are produced in his immediate neighbourhood. He should
give preference to local or countrymade goods even if they
are of inferior quality. Swadesi develops the culture of work
for all, socio-economic development and national
integration. The use of ‘Charakha’ and spinning of Khadi
became nationally important. Khadi was the life and essence
of Swadesi movement. It could provide employment to
millions of unemployed Indians.

10. Industrialization

Gandhi was against industrilisation in western sense which

involves the use of large scale machinery. It created
employment for a few but unemployment for many. This is a
capitalist trend which Gandhi disappeared. In this process,
machine becomes the master of man and not the vice-versa.
It also creates so many social problems like family
disorganization, industrial slum, social alienation crime, etc.
Gandhi, therefore, favoured cottage industry. It gave work to
all, preserved naturality and maintained harmony.

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11. Nationalism and Internationalism

In the vision of Mahatma Gandhi Nationalism and

Internationalism are closely linked with each other. They are
complementary and not contradictory to each other. To him
internationalism is ingrained in true nationalism. He was a
true nationalist and he did not favour narrow feelings Like
communalism, etc. He was always against aggressive forms
of nationalism like Nazism and Fascism. He wrote “I live for
India’s freedom and would die for it. ” he said I do not want
India to rise on the ruins of other nations. I would like to see
India free and strong so that she may offer herself as a
willing and pure sacrifice for the betterment of the world.
Thus, his concept of nationalism was in favour of the entire
humanity and not against it. He was also of the opinion that
only a true nationalist can be an internationalist.

12. Gandhiji’s Philosophy of Swaraj

By Swaraj Gandhi meant freedom and self-rule for the

teaming millions of India. It is the political freedom truly
available to all without discrimination or inequality. Gandhi
opposed the existing political set up as it was based on
centralization of power and authority. This was definitely
harmful for the people as it did not allow people to enjoy
real freedom of self-rule or Swaraj. Gandhiji’s concept of
Swaraj involved socio-political and economic equalities in
true sense of the term. There would be no exploitation of the
poor and the downtrodden by the rich and high-ups in the
society. Gandhiji realized and said that the real India sits in
villages. If villages develop then India would be developed.

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Gandhiji visualized Swaraj as a constitutional and

democratic political order for India. By Swaraj he did not
mean political freedom of India only. Swaraj to him meant
freedom from any kind of bondage and not the British yoke
alone. He said “Swaraj for me means freedom for the
meanest of our countrymen. The Swaraj of my dream is the
poor man’s Swaraj.” By Swaraj he advocated the real
freedom for all irrespective of caste, colour, sex, religion,
status and position. He said that Purna Swaraj or complete
independence of India was meaningless if people did not
enjoy the freedom (Swaraj) of availing the basic minimum

13. Gandhiji’s Philosophy of Ideal State or Rama Rajya

Gandhi criticized the present set-up of state as it was based

on too much centralization and violence. Truth and non-
violence are the basic ingredients of the State of his dreams
which he call “Rama Rajya” or the Ideal State. The concept
of Rama Rajya is a spirit and is not theocratic. Gandhi
conceived King Rama as described in the Great Hindu Epic
the Ramayan as an incarnation of God coming down to earth
for the welfare of people and unholding truth. He himself
was the concrete example of Truth in human form. He loved
Rama so much that when he was assassinated he uttered
only two words “Hai Ram” (Oh God).



Gandhi has created a novel idea of trusteeship. “Trust”

literally means faith or responsibility and a trustee is one on
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whom some faith or responsibility is imposed. The idea of

trusteeship develops in relation to excess private property.
He said that a man should not keep more property than
actually what he needs. Fear of tomorrow is the basic of
private property. This fear of tomorrow also means absence
of faith in God. Gandhi was against surplus private property.
He wanted equitable distribution of wealth in order to give
each man a scope to develop into his full stature.
The trusteeship system requires a high degree of moral
development. In order to make the rich people realize their
duties and responsibilities towards the society. A truthful
appeal should be made and their conscience awakened. The
rich and the poor would be entitled to same privileges under
this spiritual socialism which is to be secured through love,
non-violence and individual purification.
Mahatma Gandhi stressed absolutely on the moral nature of
human beings. He believed that the cause of all social evils
and maladies is the immoral nature of men. Men must be
moral by following certain code of conduct. It is the religion
which provides that code of conduct and makes men moral.
The main function of every religion is social contract. That is
to put certain restrictions rule, regulations so as to avoid
conflict, ill-feeling and immoral way of living in the society.
He believed in a universal religion and morality are the same
and interchangeable things as Gandhi believed. He believed
and stressed on the relevance of man society through
morality and religion. Non-violence is the means of realizing
his Truth God. He wrote in Harizon “ If the morals of a man
are a matter of no concern, the form of worship in a
particular manner in a church or a mosque or a temple is an
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empty formula. It may even be a hindrance to individual or

social growth. Instead of religious conversion the efforts
should be on making Hindus and Christians better
Christians”. Gandhi believed in the spirit of Bhagawat Gita
which taught the culture of Karmayoga or performing one’s
duty without waiting for the result. It also means
performance of Swadharma or one’s own profession on duty.

Gandhi sought spiritualization of politics because politics

devoid of religion makes man corrupt, selfish, unreliable,
materialistic and unrealistic. He did not approve exploitation
of religion for political purposes. He has stress on the close
relationship of religion with politics in the following manner.
Those who say that religion has no relationship with politics
do not understood the meaning of religion. For me, there is
no politics without religion. Politics is subordinate to religion.
Politics without religion is death-trap because it kills man’s
soul. Therefore, he did not favour separation of religion from

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Chapter – III


Gandhiji is dead but Gandhism is alive. Mahatma Gandhi as

a temporal person is dead now. But his philosophy is
eternally alive even today. His idea of relationship between
the ends and the means is of lasting importance. To him, if
the means is moral and good the ends must be so and not
expect clear and pure water throughout its course. The
present day socio-economic, cultural and political crisis are
due to following bad means for achieving good ends. He
stressed on leading a moral life with an ethical code of
conduct by each man for the spiritual and moral
development of the society. This would lead to self-control
and avoid social conflicts. This is widely felt by the society
now in the face of a morally degraded public character.

Gandhi’s concept of Non-violence and Satyagraha are more

relevant today. Because everywhere there is violence,
disturbance, military, conflict and socio-political turmoil,
peaceful constitutional and non-violent approaches are
required more today for solving combustible and
quarrelsome issues. He was against untouchability and racial
discrimination because he had basic faith in human beings.
He believed in natural equality among men. The World
public opinion today is in favour of that. He was a true
nationalist and also a true internationalist. The modern
World is more interested to reconcile nationalism with
internationalism. Peace, not war is the crying need of the
day. Premier international bodies like UNO and Non-

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alignment Movement are working hard in this direction.

Gandhi strongly favoured decentralization of power and
authority with autonomy to village republics.


Now-a-days, the villages get utmost priority in Government

plans and programmes. All modern states are more or less
welfare states because the need of the day is welfarism. His
concept of Swaraj and democracy quite agree with the
modern liberal ideas which are much in demand today. He
was strongly against dowry, the implication of which is felt
more today. His advocacy of prohibition disapproval of Child
Marriage are also widely accepted in modern societies. In
view of all these facts and figures Gandhism today is not
only relevant to India but also to the whole World and

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• The Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi: D. M. Datta

• Gandhi as a Political Thinker: B. S. Sharma

• Selection from Gandhi: N. K. Bose

• Indian Philosophy: Basanta Kumar Lal

• Indian Political Thought: Gaurang Charan Nayak

• The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi: Harischandra


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