Year: 2019 | Month: December | Volume 7 | Issue 2

Mahatma Gandhi’s Ahimsa: The Path Forward for Nonviolent Peaceful Resistance

Navodita Pande


Non-violence is abstention from violence or principle thereof. Gandhi’s ethical formulation of ahimsa acts as the cornerstone of his revolutionary and ideological contestations. Simultaneously, the question of ahimsaic goodness has to be made to confront the conflicting claims of human vulnerability or fragility. The paper argues that Gandhian ahimsa can be understood in two ways: first, as a form of nonviolent protest and second, as a form that protests against violence. In either case, ahimsa can be identified as a concept constituted within and occasioned by the rhetoric of struggle, particularly struggle against the state-whether it be the Transvaal government in South Africa, the colonial state in India, or the increasingly centralized post-colonial Indian state. The modern authoritarian state cannot be the ideal political system for Gandhi much as Gandhi argues for deindustrialization, demilitarization and deburaucratization. He called his ideal democratic state as gram swarajya.

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