THE RELEVANCE OF GANDHI'S DEMOCRATIC THEORY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Mukti Sahu

Abstract


The ideal government, according to Gandhi, as according to most of the political thinkers of our age is Democracy. Gandhi, however, wanted to emphasise the principle of non-violence in the actual working of democracy which is based on human love, to seek one’s good in the good of all and sacrificing one’s to realise the ideal. The Ideas of self rule, transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness which are associated with the basic ethos of democracy are fundamental to Gandhi’s thought, life and practice. For Gandhi; democracy was not merely procedural but substantive in the sense that to him, the real purpose of democracy “is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. This can never happen except through non violence”. This statement clearly said that Gandhi’s endorsement of democracy was very much linked with the patterns of social and civilizational life and less with what is now associated with the imperatives of the nation states. Gandhi clearly hoped to define political life in ways that emphasize the community rather than individual interests. He began from the premise that social life required both freedom and interdependence and we need the appropriate social setting to peruse these values effectively through the democratic theory. Gandhi also hoped to devise a system of government which secured freedom and individual integrity However, the true essence of Gandhian democracy is for the attainment of Swaraj where in the individual is of prime importance.  In the core of Gandhian thought, promoting the idea of democracy was essential for a non violent, free society which was essentially premised on a dialogue conception seeking to promote tolerance and growth. Gandhi believe that democratic structure to be more inclusive because this is a good platform where individual’s liberty, rights, opinion will be equal for all where everybody will be his own master.

            This paper tries to examine and evaluate the implications of Gandhi for Democratic theory. However, Gandhi’s contribution to democratic theory offers a specific institutional alternatives to representative democracy and pluralism on one hand and alternative ways of thinking about politics in general and democracy in particular on the other. In twenty first century, the political theorist accepted the Gandhian ideas of democracy for the day to day affairs of the human relations. His concept of legitimacy of the responsive government, active citizenship, the concept of political equality, and individual plays an important role in the future of democratic prospect. As compare to the western democracy, in the modern democracy modernisation, stratification, industrialisation and urbanisation presented obstacles to the democratic prospects. To meet the challenges, the need for restrain, responsibility and community becomes more important and Gandhi’s theory of democracy may help to understand and meet challenges.


Keywords


Democratic Theory, Non- Violence, Swaraj, Tansperency, Accountability, Equality]

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