Chapter

Gandhi and Religion

B. R. Nanda

in In Search of Gandhi

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195672039
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081417 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195672039.003.0002
Gandhi and Religion

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This chapter presents an essay which explores Mahatma Gandhi’s religious beliefs. Though Gandhi’s attitude to religion holds the key to the understanding of his life and thought, its nuances and significance have often been missed by his admirers as well as by his critics. It recounts that Gandhi’s prayer meetings were held not in temples, but under the open sky; this became a symbol of religious harmony by including recitations from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Parsi, and Buddhist texts. Though Gandhi was deeply religious, he said he would have opposed the author’s proposal for a state religion even if the whole population of India had professed the same religion. He considered religion to be a personal matter and argued that the State can look after only the citizens’ secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, and other issues, not religion.

Keywords: Mahatma Gandhi; religious beliefs; life and thought; critics; prayer meetings; state religion

Chapter.  9003 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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