In this article we will be going to examine the relevance of gandhian
philosophy in 21st century and I would like to begin by quoting Jawaharlal Nehru
that The work of a nation is never complete so does the work of Mohandas
karamchand Gandhi, the voice that is great within us is complete after
independence and is it over in the 21st century? The answer to this question is
a straight NO.Gandhi has been often termed as the prophet of the 21st century.
He was a spirit of profound wisdom with an iron will and an inflexible resolve
that shook the British's strength to the core with the simplicity and humility
of his life. Though he was considered a frail naked man, his principles and
ideologies are revered worldwide and hold significance even to this date.
Despite the fact that, on the superficial level, his principles are based in
Indian contexts, his philosophy is considered universal and eternal by the
He also brought about various ideologies focusing on empowering and making
villages self-sufficient, women empowerment, sanitation etc so be it swachh
bharat abhiyaan or our DPSP of constitution ,they all are directly based on
Gandhian principles for example Article 47:that states that The State shall take
steps to improve public health and prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks
and drugs that are injurious to health .... in the time of covid and drug
trafficking by famous bollywood celebs we know how important these DPSPs are.
I believe that if Gandhi's thinking, ideals and philosophy were to guide us,
then there would no place for discrimination, arbitrariness, unfairness, or
unjust treatment of anyone. That is how Articles 14 to 23 of our Constitution
ought to be read.
In today's modernized world, world problems are not just limited to internal
conflicts and matters. Issues ranging from border management between india and
china to nuclear issues are emerging around the world and poses a threat to the
peaceful existence of humankind so Gandhian ethics of social and political
reconstruction are more relevant than ever since they represent an act of
self-transformation of humanity rather than an illusory dream of a political
Now lets talk about few Gandhian concept and their relevance in todays world:
- first doctrine of trusteeship:
according to Gandhi people who are rich and well off should understand that
they are trustee of that wealth and should do something for marginalised
people now this is relevant in today's time. corporate social
responsiblility emerged from this concept of Gandhi.
Gandhi's concept of violence is not limited to physical sense it is much
wider. In today's time of world crisis of climate change the deployable
condition of our environment by us is also a type of voilence! at this point
I would like to recall Gandhi's famous quote that earth provides enough to
satisfy everyone's need but not everyone's greed. The world need to be more
serious about the climate issue and achieve various sustainable development
goals net zero emission keeping gandhian philosophy in mind ..now let me
give you another example Gandhi's methods of non-violent approach to dispute
resolution is an important area in peace research.
He proposed ideas like Sarvodaya and satyagraha. in current world the
situation in Afghanistan is a good example where Gandhi's concept of Non
violence can be used just like it was used in Arab spring i.e the middle
east revolution in early 2010.The time has come to make rational,
intelligent and practical choice of fighting for peace the nonviolent way.
Solution ranging from peace talks to third party involvement can be adopted
instead of exercising physical power in conflict situations. This will save
human life and resources.
self rule At the individual level swaraj is vitally connected with the
capacity for dispassionate self-assessment and self reliance .this principle
is very much need of the hour as lk,,authority in power now holds so much
power to control individual actions be it cyber surveillance in the name of
security or be it Pegasus the spyware for targeted surveillance state can
monitor individual and can misuse data for its benefits.
Significantly, like Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi believed that decentralised politics
and an egalitarian economy function better at the level of micro-communities
The ocean wave theory is relevant even today. there should be distribution
of power like the waves or ripples of ocean where citizens can operate in
relations of reciprocity and mutuality.
- Means and end concept:
In the current time where political parties are running to win elections
with whatever means. Gandhi's means and end philosophy is very much relevant
it states that if your means are correct you should not be concerned about
the ends it will ultimately lead to good ends.
The importance of this concept of Gandhi can be seen when The present Chief
Justice of India, says that the need of the hour is Indianisation of justice
delivery. He extensively quotes Gandhi. the only way to reform our judiciary
is by using Gandhi's concept of swadeshi .
Well After all these being said, the only questions for me remains whether we,
the people of the 21st century, are moral, open-minded and wise enough to
understand the Gandhian teaching and to apply it in our everyday life,
irrespective of the fact that we are statesmen, policy makers, businessmen or
simple world citizens.
I only could hope that the answer is yes. I hope an affirmative answer because I
think that the message of the Gandhian heritage could be considered universal,
irrespective of time, geographical space and cultural background, thus relevant
even in the 21st century so in the end i would like to conclude by quoting
baghvat geeta chapter 4 verse 7- yada yada hi dharmsaye glanir bhavati bharta,
abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanan srijamyaha
meaning-whenever there is a decline in righteousness and increase in
unrighteousness o arjun, at that time I manifest myself on earth.
so I believe Mahatma Gandhi is that person whose principles will help us fight
for righteousness in any course of time.
Written By: Sonali Chauhan