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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gandhi on social change /social movement ?

Man is the only animal who has problems

They are becoming big and rather complicated

we are living in an age of much greed and great fear

so that our problems are multiplying and piling up to a frightful size

the capacity of the individual to face the human situation and to solve the problems seems to be too small

According to him, human progress is generally due to an individual and not to a group.

It is the Individual who knows The Good, realizes it in himself and then relates it consciously or

unconsciously to the Good of Others.

Gandhiji had his own idea of the Good and tried to relate it to the Good of India, so as not to be inconsistent with the Good of Humanity.

He had a view of The Good, a sort of Utopia in an age which rejects allUtopias;

The other element of his creed was his idea of Truth.

Abstract truth has no value unless it incarnates in human beings

Gandhiji's Truth was not abstract, or absolute, but Truth as man discovered it by continuous search, which he called "experiments" about Truth.

As such relative Truths would vary with individuals and be only a fragment of the absolute Truth, he suggested the golden rule of mutual toleration or, better still, Ahimsa for the constant search of a higher truth.

In this way he brought God down to earth and tried to live in the midst of two worlds of God and Man.

The last basic element of his creed was his belief in the Oneness of Man.

"I believe in absolute oneness of God and therefore also of humanity. What though we have

many bodies. We have but one soul.

The rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they have the same source." There is nothing new about this belief, which is more ancient than the Upanishads.

But Gandhiji built on it the movement of his Faith in man and his capacity for rising to any heights, "if we only know how to strike the right chord to bring out the music."

Gandhiji trusted man more than his institutions or his groups and considered him superior to both.

Gandhiji restored the old faith in man as the master of institutions and the master of his destiny.

Man is not merely a Thing or an Observer of a Thing, but is also an end in himself. Man has also a mission and so inspires faith in himself. This core of his creed could be easily expanded but even in this limited form it was unique in the history

He insisted that real change is inner and is of mental attitudes. Without such a basic change no tensions could be eased and no human problems could be solved.

He regarded men not as they were, but as they wished to be.

Conversion of the individual through trust, affection and understanding was the master technique of Gandhiji, from which other techniques and skills arose and proliferated.

Gandhiji was a revolutionary by nature who altered the meaning of the word revolution

According to him, revolutions begin in the minds of men and result in the change of attitudes of men.

They are essentially psychological and ethical, leading to the evolution of new values in human relations. The theory of outer and violent revolution was utterly rejected by him and this rejection was proved to the hilt by actual failures of so-called revolutions, taking the latest, i.e.,

Russian one, into account. According to him the history of the world would have to be rewritten in terms of the human situation and human values, and not in terms of shifts in position of power.

For Gandhi that social changes are primarily psychological and emotional, which can be achieved only by vision of the Good by individuals and by the pursuit of techniques far more refined than the ones pursued so far by men.

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