programme

Reading Gandhi

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveNA4

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon semester 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Ngoru Nixon

Email of course coordinator: ngoru@aud.ac.in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: Popularly known as ‘Father of the Nation,’ Mahatma Gandhi was the leading figure of India’s freedom movement. It was his mass-based mobilization and campaign marked by the method of non-violence and Satyagraha which changed the course of the movement. His guiding method and principles continue to fascinate and inspire many both in India and around the world. The course seeks to introduce to the students the ideas and thought of Gandhi and why the interest on him has only increased.

Course Outcomes:

After the completion of this course, the student-learners would be able to:

  • Draw a link between the life and work of Gandhi particularly the nature of the continuity between his experiences and encounters in South Africa and his spearheading of India’s freedom struggle.
  • Explain the central tenets of Gandhi’s thought and political practice such as satyagraha, ahimsa, and Swaraj and their significance against the backdrop of the political imagination of both his and the present time.
  • Give an account of Gandhi’s critique of modern civilization and his alternative conception of political, social and economic order
  • Develop an appreciation of Gandhi’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle and the influence of his ideas and thought around the globe particularly relating to peace and non-violence movements for justice and equality.
  • Able to form their opinions on the position of the critics against Gandhi concerning the latter’s view on caste and race.

 

Brief Description of modules/Main modules:

The course examines the central tenets of Gandhi’s thought and political practice by reading pertinent primary writings complemented by suitable secondary materials. The act of reading is aimed at engaging and explicating the significance of his thought and ideas without losing sight of the historical and political backdrop (colonial subjection of India and its myriad impact on the political, societal and economic condition of India) which has aroused and informed their development. Such approach also provides a meaningful locus to underscore the significance of Gandhi’s ideas/thought beyond the immediate context of India’s freedom struggle to that of the postcolonial India and the global.

The course is composed of five modules.

Module 1: Introduction 1: Situating Gandhi (2 weeks)

By way of situating Gandhi, the opening module delineates his political journey focussing on the nature of continuity between his formative experiences and encounters in South Africa to spearheading the India’s freedom struggle.

Module 2: Refashioning the political (3 weeks)

The second module examines Gandhi’s approach of spiritualizing the political through the philosophy of Satyagraha and Ahimsa. The module also entails a discussion on how Gandhi unhinges the dominant (liberal) understanding of political underpinned by public-private dichotomy and certain assumption of man and nature.

Module 3: Critique of modernity and the alternative vision (3 weeks)

In the third module, Gandhi’s critique of modernity will be examined. It will be followed by the exposition of his alternative conception of social, economic, and political order.

Module 4: On Freedom (2 weeks)

module discusses Gandhi’s idea of swaraj or freedom. Gandhi conceived his idea of swaraj against the backdrop of certain politico-ideological contestation of the time. This aspect will constitute part of the discussion.

Module 5: Gandhi, his critics, and legacy (2 weeks)

Though the name of Gandhi is popularly associated with India’s freedom struggle, his influence and ideas, notably concerning peace and non-violence have travelled beyond the boundary of India. At the same time, his views on caste and race have continued to evoke critical appraisals. The module discusses these two-fold aspects of Gandhi’s legacy.

Assessment Details with Weight:

  • Mid-semester: 30%
  • End semester: 40%
  • Class participation: 10%
  • Assignment: 20%

 

Reading List:

Module 1:

Essential Readings:

  • Disalvo, Charles R. M.K. Gandhi, Attorney at Law: The Man before the Mahatma. University of California Press, 2013 (Chapter 8- A Public man, and Chapter 17- Courtroom as Laboratory).
  • Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand. The Story of My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography. Penguin, 2007. (Selected passages).
  • Gandhi, M.K. “Statement in the Great Trial of 1922.”
  • https://www.mkgandhi.org/speeches/gto1922.htm
  • Parekh, Bhikhu. Gandhi: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 1997. (Chapter 1- Life and Work, pp. 1-24).

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Agarwal, Shriman Narayan. Gandhian Constitution for Free India. Allahabad: Kitabistan, 1946.
  • Brown, Judith M. “Gandhi as nationalist leader, 1915-1948,” in The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi, edited by Judith M. Brown and Anthony Parel. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. 51-70.
  • Guha, Ramachandra. Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 1914-1948. Penguin Allen Lane, 2018.

 

Module 2:

Essential Readings:

  • Gandhi, M.K. Hind Swaraj and other Writings, edited by Anthony J. Parel. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Gandhi, M.K. The Essential Writings, edited by Judith M. Brown. Oxford University Press, 2008. (V. Non-Violence as Political Action).
  • Pantham, Thomas. “Thinking with Mahatma Gandhi: Beyond Liberal Democracy,” Political Theory, Vol.11, No. 2 (May, 1983), 165-188.
  • Parekh, Bhikhu. Gandhi: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 1997. (Chapter 3- Human Nature and Chapter 4- Satyagraha).

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Hardiman, David. Gandhi: in his time and ours. Permanent Black, 2003. (Chapter 3- Dialogic Resistance).
  • Bilgrami, Akeel. “Gandhi’s religion and its relation to his politics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi, edited by Judith M. Brown and Anthony Parel. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

 

Module 3:

Essential Readings:

  • Gandhi, M.K. Sarvodaya: The Welfare of All. Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1954. Pp. 1-48, 66-74.
  • Gandhi, M.K. Hind Swaraj and other Writings, edited by Anthony J. Parel. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Gandhi, M.K. Panchayati Raj, compiled by R.K. Prabhu. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Mudranalaya, 1959.
  • http://www.gandhiashramsevagram.org/pdf-books/panchayat-raj.pdf
  • Parekh, Bhikhu. Gandhi’s Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination. Palgrave Macmillan, 1989. (Chapter 5- Theory of the State).
  • Supplementary Readings:
  • Gandhi, M.K. Trusteeship, compiled by Ravindra Kelkar.
  • http://www.gandhiashramsevagram.org/pdf-books/trusteeship.pdf
  • Hardiman, David. Gandhi: in his time and ours. Permanent Black, 2003. (Chapter 4- An Alternative Modernity).

 

Module 4:

Essential readings:

  • Dalton, Denis. “Satyagraha Meets Swaraj: The Development of Gandhi’s Ideas, 1896-1917,” in Mahatma Gandhi: Non-Violent Power in Action. Columbia University Press, 2012. Pp. 12-29.
  • Dalton, Denis. “Swaraj: Gandhi’s Idea of Freedom,” in Mahatma Gandhi: Selected Political Writings. Hackett Publishing, 1996. Pp. 95-148
  • Parel. Anthony J. “Gandhian Freedoms and Self Rule,” in Gandhi, Freedom, and Self Rule, edited by Anthony J. Parel. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications, 2002. Pp. 1-23.
  • Supplementary Readings:
  • Dallmayr, Fred. “What is Swaraj? Lessons from Gandhi,” Gandhi, Freedom, and Self Rule, edited by Anthony J. Parel. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications, 2002.
  • Gandhi, M.K. Hind Swaraj and other Writings, edited by Anthony J. Parel. Cambridge University Press, 1997.

 

Module 5:

Essential readings:

  • Ambedkar, Dr BR. What Congress and M.K. Gandhi have done to the Untouchables. Kalpaz Publications, 2017. (Chapter X- What do the Untouchables say? Beware of Gandhi!).
  • Ambedkar, B. R. Annihilation of Caste. Rupa Publications, 2018. (Appendix: Mahatma Gandhi- A vindication of Caste, pp. 105-111).
  • BBC Radio, “B.R. Ambedkar Speaks on M.K. Gandhi.”
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FNSQcEx02A
  • Gandhi. M.K. ‘Letter to Adolf Hitler’, December 24, 1940.
  • https://www.mkgandhi.org/letters/hitler_ltr1.htm
  • Guha, Ramachandra, “Setting the Record Straight on Gandhi and Race,” The Wire, December 23, 2018.
  • https://thewire.in/history/setting-the-record-straight-on-gandhi-and-race
  • Hardiman, David. Gandhi: in his time and ours. Permanent Black, 2003. (Chapter 9- Gandhi’s Global Legacy). Pp. 238-293.
  • Kambon, Obadele. “Ram Guha is wrong. Gandhi went from a racist young man to a racist middle-aged man,” The Print, December 24, 2018.
  • https://theprint.in/opinion/ramachandra-guha-is-wrong-a-middle-aged-gandhi-was-racist-and-no-mahatma/168222/

 

Supplementary readings:

  • Roy, Arundhati. “Introduction: The Doctor and the Saint,” in B.R. Ambedkar- Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition. Verso, 2014.
  • Gandhi, Rajmohan. “Independence and Social Justice: The Ambedkar Gandhi Debate,” Economic Political Weekly, Vol. L, No. 15 (April 11, 2015).