What do essays on legacy say about Mahatma Gandhi?


Quick Answer

Although the content and conclusions of individual essays regarding Gandhi's legacy vary widely, some of the recurring issues are his understanding of Satyagraha, the ascetic style of his resistance and his seeming rejection of modernity. Another common discussion point is the gradual evolution of his anti-British stance.

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Full Answer

Satyagraha, translated as "soul force," was one of Gandhi's key ideological touchstones and is a common essay topic concerning his legacy. For Gandhi, Satyagraha seemed to mean an internal source of moral courage that was key to effective resistance, particularly in inspiring Indians to reject working at British behest. Consequently, Satyagraha drew strength not only from Indian courage, but also from the awakening consciousness of the colonizer.

Another common essay topic is Gandhi's rigorous philosophical views, in which the true source of human happiness results from the banishment of desire and the urge only to truly do good for others.

Many essays on Gandhi's legacy, written by both admirers and detractors, concern Gandhi's harsh views of modern life. For his admirers, this attitude reflected Gandhi's understanding that modernity afflicted people with madness and malaise, which had to be counteracted with a morally driven traditionalism that freed people from its coarse and vulgar patterns.

Alternatively, detractors often state that Gandhi's opposition to modernity reflected his poor understanding of its true nature and its potential benefits, which afforded Gandhi too narrow a view of the politics of emancipation and of the needs of a decolonized modern India.

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