Reading Gandhi- Delhi University Essay

3061 Words Oct 15th, 2013 13 Pages
Introduction
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has attained an iconic status in the world and in history is undisputable.
About a hundred volumes of his collected works have been published by the Government of India, more than three thousand five hundred books have been written on
Gandhi, and his symbols and words continue to inspire and encourage. As we celebrate a hundred years of his acknowledged magnum opus Hind Swaraj, it is time to reflect on the importance of both the text and the context of this renowned work. Hind Swaraj is a seminal and a foundational work, and it is widely seen as the bible of non-violent revolutions as well as providing the blue print of all kinds of revolutions. Though Gandhi wrote extensively, Hind
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The past then is not another country; it is part of the present. For instance
11 Reflections on Hind Swaraj the ‘present’ of Indian society is the product of our past,
i.e., colonialism. Our language, our ideas our vocabularies, our texts and our critical thinking have been constituted by colonialism.
But we also know that it is impossible to reconstruct the past because we approach history from the vantage point of the present, what is called a
‘presentist’ conception of history. Moreover, our interpretation of the past is determined by our current concerns. For instance how many of us go back to the nineteenth century because we grapple with problems of imperialism, casteism, gender imbalances or poverty? We read history and classics from the point of view of our current concerns, worries, preoccupations, and our desire to understand ourselves. Above all we read classics to save ourselves from getting lost. This does not mean that we do not understand history as it was, but to be conscious that we often understand the past from the vantage point of the present.
Of course there are different ways of understanding history through narratives, travelogues, events, novels and studies of processes. Political theorists, for example, understand the history of ideas through classics, not only because they condense the spirit of their age, but because they raise normative and

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