World War I and II and the Pacifism of Gandhi

Abstract:

War, i.e., the use of physical violence against an opponent, was taken for granted as being as much a part of the whole makeup of man as sex. A world without war was unimaginable. The small company of Saints, including Mahatma Gandhi, who declared that, far from being unimaginable, to eschew violence was the course of wisdom were occasionally respected and tolerated but usually persecuted as traitors. In this paper we do not intend to go into the causes and chronology of the war, which are well known and which if covered will take a quite a lot of space of this paper. Rather we intend to focus first of all on World War I as the Birth of a Killing Culture, its Indian angle, opposition to it and Gandhi’s role. A similar treatment will be done of World War II. The paper highlights the idea that for Gandhi Pacifism was a definitive technique, a method, capable of producing desired political results. The paper also includes the criticism of Gandhi on his pacifism. According to critics by endorsing the recruitment of Indian soldiers to help the British in World War I Gandhi compromised his pacifist principles to some extent. The paper presents a short bibliography.

 

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