chapter  2
36 Pages

The Indian tradition

Mahatma Gandhi and localizing governance

This chapter explores the uniqueness of the model that Mahatma Gandhi evolved and also the processes in which his approach gained credibility in adverse circumstances. As Gandhi was integrally connected with the freedom struggle, the chapter also expresses that the Gandhian model of governance was not based exclusively on his interaction with the leading Western theoreticians of the era, but also drew on India's peculiar socio-economic and cultural texture which perhaps explains why his model cannot be persuasively captured in a derivative theoretical framework. Like Mao Zedong who was inspired by K'ang's Ta Tung Shu while devising his conceptualization of commune, Gandhi too derived his intellectual inputs from the indigenous tradition in his articulation of localizing governance. According to Gandhi, panchayats were also instruments for realizing swaraj in its real sense. In conceptualizing the village swaraj which would finally lead to Sarvadayo (welfare for all), Gandhi was drawn to dharma which, in his view, consisted of sensitivity and responsiveness.