A Reactionary?

B. R. Nanda

in Gandhi and his Critics

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780195633634
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081332 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Paperbacks

A Reactionary?

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According to the eighteen accused in the Meerut Conspiracy Case, who included some of the founding fathers of the Communist Party of India, Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaigns were meant to sabotage revolutionary movements. They also accuse Gandhi of working for a compromise with British imperialism in favour of the Indian bourgeoisie. This accusation influenced the thinking of Indian Communists for twenty-five years. It is not surprising that Gandhi was viewed as a defender of the status quo and the protector of the vested interests of the Indian princes, the landlords, and the capitalists. For his critics, Gandhi was a reactionary who prevented change in the relationship between feudal lords and peasants or servants. Although this assumption is untenable, it acquired some plausibility from Gandhi’s unorthodox approach to social change. Gandhi’s advocacy of non-violence as the basis of Socialism and Communism was questioned by his critics as being totally unrealistic.

Keywords: Meerut Conspiracy Case; Communist Party of India; landlords; peasants; capitalists; social change; Socialism; Communism

Chapter.  4380 words. 

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