Abstract

In evaluating Mahatma Gandhi, Soviet scholars have always endeavored to identify him from a class viewpoint even though they frequently disagreed on the definitions of the various classes and on the attitude to be taken toward them. Mahatma Gandhi, although he came from the bourgeois class, always considered himself a socialist and a “true servant of the peasants and of the workers.” He was firmly of the opinion that “even a King can be a socialist by becoming a servant of the people.” He once told Nehru that “even when I die, you will have to admit that Gandhi was a true socialist.” Gandhi was a religious man. He believed not only in the basic philosophy of Hinduism, but also in its social structure. He deprecated the abolition of caste while opposing untouchability. He was unmodern by Western and Communist standards and he wanted India as a confederation of small village communities economically and politically self-sufficient. In the words of Nehru:

He looked back with yearning to the days of the old autonomous and more-or-less self-contained village community where there had been an automatic balance between production, distribution and consumption; where political or economic power was spread out and not concentrated as it is today; where a kind of simple democracy prevailed; where the evils of great cities were absent and people lived in contact with the life-giving soil and breathed the pure air of the open spaces.

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