Gandhi's Dilemma

Overview

Throughout his long career as a political thinker and activist, Mahatma Gandhi encountered the dilemma of either remaining faithful to his nonviolent principles and risking the failure of the Indian nationalist movement, or focusing on the seizure of political power at the expense of his moral message. Putting forward his vision of a “nonviolent nationalism,” Gandhi argued that Indian self-rule could be achieved without sacrificing the universalist imperatives of his nonviolent philosophy. Conceived as a study in...

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Overview

Throughout his long career as a political thinker and activist, Mahatma Gandhi encountered the dilemma of either remaining faithful to his nonviolent principles and risking the failure of the Indian nationalist movement, or focusing on the seizure of political power at the expense of his moral message. Putting forward his vision of a “nonviolent nationalism,” Gandhi argued that Indian self-rule could be achieved without sacrificing the universalist imperatives of his nonviolent philosophy. Conceived as a study in the history of political thought, this book examines the origins, meaning, and unfolding of Gandhi’s dilemma as it played itself out in both theory and political practice. This discussion is inextricably linked to significant and timely issues that are critical for the study of nationalism, for Gandhi’s vision raises the important question of whether it is indeed possible to construct a benign type of nationalism that is rooted in neither physical nor conceptual forms of violence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“...a provocative and lively work on Gandhi's theories...a valuable contribution to the growing literature on Gandhi.” —Choice

“...It is a useful and balanced assessment of a vast volume of scholarly writing that touches the subject but more importantly, it includes an incisive examination of the origin and evolution of Gandhi's ideas on nonviolence....an excellent introduction to Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence...” —Jourbanal of Colonialism and Colonial History

“This is an exceptionally challenging critique of Gandhi's thought and leadership, distinguished by a cogent argument that is expressed in a lucid and concise style.” —American Political Science Review

American Political Science Review
This is an exceptionally challenging critique of Gandhi's thought and leadership,distinguished by a cogent argument that is expressed in a lucid and concise style.
Booknews
Possibly the most studied political figure of the twentieth century, Mohandas K. Gandhi is frequently portrayed as a seamlessly consistent leader and scholar. Author Steger (Political Science, Illinois State U.), though, paints a different picture in this work. Presented in what Steger hopes to be a careful but critical gaze, he examines the dilemmas of the actual application of political non-violence, primarily intrigued with the battle of moral principle versus political power, and argues that Gandhi had to constantly decide whether to follow his nonviolent principles and risk the failure of an Indian nationalist movement or to seize political power but sacrifice his moral message. Designed neither as a comprehensive biography, nor as a complete survey of Gandhi's political thought, the book focuses on the origins, meaning and unfolding of this dilemma as it applied to Gandhi's life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312221775
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Manfred B. Steger is Associate Professor of Political Science at Illinois State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction* The Promise of British Liberalism
• Confronting Difference and Exclusion: Gandhi’s Struggle for Recognition in South Africa
• Gandhi’s Critique of Liberalism: Exposing the Immorality of Modern Civilization
• Imagining India: Gandhi’s Construction of Nonviolent Nationalism
• Purifying Self and Nation: Gandhi’s Experiments with Self-Control
• Reconciling Nonviolent Principles With Nationalist Power? Three Cases
• Epilogue: A Nonviolent Nationalism?

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