Ghandi the Recent Turmoil in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The end result of Swaraj remains key to Satyagraha, however. Just as Kant and Mills championed the rights of individuals over the rights of governments, so too did Gandhi. Gandhi's philosophy was never intended to create a political state or states on the subcontinent. Instead Gandhi sought to actually and symbolically liberate the individual Indian from an oppressive state of being. The average Indian was beholden both to the Raj and also to a socially stratified, outmoded society that hindered religious and personal freedom.

Thus, liberation was to be experienced not only in the liberation of Indians from colonial rule but also in the liberation of Indians from the caste system. To Gandhi, colonialism poisoned the individual spirit and prohibited personal liberty. Overthrowing colonialism could never have depended on Duragraha, political protest borne of anger. Satyagraha is the only ethical means to accomplish the goals of liberation. Gandhi was also keenly aware of the problems that existed independently of the British Raj such as the mistreatment of Dalit/untouchable caste members. Any individual who is a slave to the state must be liberated according to the theory of Swaraj.

Gandhi would have addressed the situation currently taking place in Iran similarly to the way he addressed colonial India. While Gandhi might have lauded the Persian people for protesting the presidential elections, and congratulated all those who suffered personally for the greater good, he might have suggested that the Iranian people question the very foundation of their society. Full equality for women, for example, would be a core concern for Gandhi. Gandhi might also have noted that while a belief in God is essential to the practice of Satyagraha, that individuals must develop their own internal moral compass independent of the clerical establishment of Islam. Both Kant and Mill would have concurred that individual freedoms and liberties are the ultimate goal for the political and social transformation of Iran.

An enlightened individual is one who refrains from violent thoughts, words, and deeds. Abstinence from harmful behaviors is an ethical practice that stems from an inherent sense of personal rights and duties. To abstain from violence begrudgingly serves no purpose because the act lacks moral meaning. Swaraj implies total freedom of thought to the point where the individual makes the decision to act peacefully without being coerced. Gandhi would encourage the Persian people to allow their social revolution to continue organically and without animosity towards the clerics or even towards the established government. Kant and John Stuart Mills would agree with Gandhi that a state comprised of free-thinking individuals is an ideal one. Satyagraha and Swaraj are both the means and the ultimate objective.

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