Abstract

The political thought of Mohandas K. Gandhi increasingly has been used as a paradigmatic example of hybrid political thought that developed out of a cross-cultural dialogue of Eastern and Western influences. With a novel unpacking of this hybridity, this article focuses on the conceptual influences that Gandhi explicitly stressed in his autobiography and other writings, particularly the works of Leo Tolstoy and the Bhagavad Gītā. This new tracing of influence in the development of Gandhi’s thought alters the substantive thrust of Gandhi’s thought away from more familiar quasi-liberal interpretations and toward a far more substantive bhakti or devotional understanding of politics. The analysis reveals a conception of politics that is not pragmatic in its use of non-violence, but instead points to a devotional focus on cultivating the self (ātman), ultimately dissolving the public/private distinction on which many readings of Gandhi’s thought depend.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 375-400
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-25
Open Access
No
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