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Gandhi Answer 1 (B) Answer 2 (B)Essay

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Gandhi

Answer 1 (B)

Answer 2 (B)

Answer 3 (B)

Identify some event Gandhi describes in his Autobiography where you can claim that on the basis of the evidence Gandhi himself provides, Ahimsa was NOT the only means for the realization of Truth.

Based on the readings of the book, Gandhi an Autobiography, the Story of My Experiments with Truth, there is evidence from some of the incidents that took place in his life, that Ahimsa was not the only manner in which he realized the truth.

Sometimes the best teacher can be your internal values. This is what happened when Gandhi's guilt made him understand the Truth about that he ate meat from his parents. Eating meat is a sacrilegious event in Hinduism, but Gandhi was convinced by a Muslim friend of his to eat meat in order to be a stronger rebel. He was convinced of this, but he also realized that he could not tell his parents that he had started eating meat as they would not understand, and would be hurt by Gandhi's conviction. Therefore Gandhi hid the facts from his parents, and learnt that it was one of the most difficult things to do, and decided to refrain from telling them.

It was not the philosophy of non-violence, but hiding the Truth, that made him realize its importance. This is analogous to the situation where one doesn't know the importance of light until he has been in the dark; Gandhi too learnt the importance of Truth the hard way and not through violence or nonviolence.

Another incident that was out of character for Gandhi, and was a situation where he had to use violent means was when he struck a young man, seventeen years of age with a ruler. Although he says that he regrets it, it was use of himsa against the young chap that Gandhi had to resort to in order to discipline the boy. (Johnson, 2006, p. 179) Although he says that the youngster forgot his corporal punishment, Gandhi became a better teacher as he understood that himsa did not yield any results as the boy didn't seem to have improved at all.

Yet another incident that proves the fact that Gandhi did not learn the Truth only from Ahimsa was the incident where Gandhi was promoting the goodness of sanitation, the women said that they had no change of clothes, and hence could not wash the clothes that they had on. It was incidences such as these, and the interaction with people that made Gandhi realized how they were actually living and made him understand the truth about their conditions. (Johnson, 2006, p. 255)

Therefore, Ahimsa is not the only way and there are many more ways in which Truth can be deduced and these include the absence of truth, hiding it as well as learning about it from mere life experiences.

Answer 1 (B)

Q. How do you think Gandhi would reply to your claim?

Gandhi was a firm believer in the importance of Ahimsa as a means of learning the Truth. Therefore, I have claimed in the earlier Answer that Ahimsa is not the only way in which people realize the Truth. However, Gandhi, if he were to enter into discourse with me, would try and convince me that Ahimsa indeed was the only way in which Truth could be learnt.

Firstly, the fact that he was eating meat against his parents' wishes and then his guilt caused him to change his ways is Ahimsa, as he realized that going against his parents' upbringing was himsa (Nietzsche, n.d.) as he realized if they found out that Gandhi had been eating meat it would be violence against them as they would be inconsolable. Therefore it was the thought of having violated his parent's trust that he realized the importance of truth. Additionally, after he read Henry Salt's, 'A Plea for Vegetarianism' he understood that harming animals was immoral and was convinced of his error, vowing against eating it for life. (Nietzsche, n.d.)

For the incident where Gandhi hit the boys in the farm for misconduct, it was his spirit of Ahimsa that led him to curtail his urge to physically abuse them again, after he had hit one of the boys. If he had not hit the boy, chances are that he would not have realized how wrong using violent means felt. Moreover, when he did strike the boy, he came to understand that violence does not beget any good. It marks deterioration or stagnancy, hence losing its objective in the first place. (Juergensmeyer, 1984)

Moreover, Gandhi would have responded by saying that these were the initial phases in his life when he was experimenting with different methods of dealing with situations. Had he not learnt by his actions, the lesson of Ahimsa would not have been so thoroughly embedded in him as it was after he went through those times in his life. The broader purpose of narrating the incidents in his book was to reflect upon how violence does not enable anything to grow or to flourish. Truth, therefore is learnt through kindness and by showing respect for other people.

Had he not shown respect for his parents or regret for slapping the boy, Gandhi would not have been able to realize the truth about Ahimsa through himsa

Answer 2 (a)

Q. Drawing both on what Gandhi said and what Gandhi did, (a) Construct the strongest argument that Gandhi's Satyagrahas were "de-ontological" (ends in themselves -- to be done regardless of consequences).

Satyagraha was a means to fight for the truth. According to Gandhi's vision non-violence was the only way in which people could solve their problems amicably.

The rationale behind Satyagrahas was that both parties should seek the truth and eliminate any falsehoods from their own and the other party's arguments. This process would have to be a continuous process where, on finding out the truth about each other, both parties had to take a different stance and then go over the process of separating truth from lies and then accept only the true points from the stance and then reach a joint conclusion, and a similar view of elements.

Gandhi's Satyagrahas were de-ontological as he defied all odds and went ahead in the pursuit of truth and harmony, doing them regardless of their consequences. He realized that the true purpose of life was the realization of truth with Ahimsa and the only way that parties could come to a dialogue was sans aggressiveness.

According to Erik Erikson in his book: 'Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence ' (Erikson, 1969) Gandhi's dictum was that means are ends in the making, implying that Satyagraha too was an end in itself as it forced the two parties to think over their stance and revise their view point continuously, making the struggle for truth, truth itself.

The entire process of Satyagraha therefore entails that two parties look for the truth and then regardless of what happens, they eliminate the falsehood and accept only the truth in the argument, and therefore if need be follow a third stance, and keep on doing so until they reached the same conclusion, as truth is one and only one.

The Satyagraha's (Juergensmeyer, 1984) require shifting stance, which is a process for truth, and therefore when the parties agree on the truth, they are using the process as a means which is an end in itself, therefore non-violent routes have to be followed regardless of what the new situation may entail.

Gandhi also implies that you also need to know why you should do something right, along with doing it in order to internalize the values being taught to you. (Juergensmeyer, 1984, p. 20) in this regard, then, Satyagraha as the process becomes an end itself as the end does not matter as much as the process of getting there matters. And as truth becomes apparent the stance of both conflicting parties evolves.

One example of the Satyagraha protest that Gandhi got involved in was the protest for the rights of the untouchables. In this regards, he went against Dr. Ambedkar's demand for a separate electorate for the untouchables as he felt that the process would not justify the result and that the protest in itself was a needed process that would raise awareness among the society. In this regards the Satyagrahas were de-ontological.

Answer 2 (B)

Q. Construct the strongest argument that Gandhi's Satyagrahas were "teleological" (means-to-an-end -- to be modified or abandoned if unsuccessful in attaining their goal).

The Satyagraha requires that the parties change their stance once they find out the truth and incorporate what they have learnt of the Truth in their new stance. It is indicated in the search for truth, that once a party finds the truth in an argument, it is bound to hold on to it and to make sure that they use it no matter what the consequence. Which is the reason why the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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