The Gandhian Mazzini: Democratic Nationalism, Self-rule, and Non-violence

Fabrizio de Donno

in Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalization of Democratic Nationalism, 1830-1920

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264317
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734472 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Gandhian Mazzini: Democratic Nationalism, Self-rule, and Non-violence

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores Mahatma Gandhi's engagement with Mazzinian ideas. It seeks to address the ways in which Giuseppe Mazzini and his doctrine became ‘Gandhian’; that is, how they were appropriated by the Indian as he incorporated them in his own thought. It is argued that the Gandhian use of Mazzini does not point to a direct influence of the Italian on the Indian, but to a reworking of the Italian's ideas based on the impact they had already had on Indian nationalism prior to Gandhi's appearance. While building on the Mazzinian foundation of Indian liberalism, but in contrast to the extremists who had given prominence to the insurrectionist aspects of Mazzini's thought and practice, Gandhi erects his own non-violent form of democratic nationalism, thus providing a non-violent interpretation of the Italian's figure and doctrine, and framing Mazzini's ‘truth’ within Gandhi's project of self-rule.

Keywords: Mahatma Gandhi; democratic nationalism; Indian nationalism; Indian liberalism; self-rule

Chapter.  10837 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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