chapter  9
16 Pages

Gandhi’s great war

WithFaisal Devji

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's unconcern with the war's aims and results increased the more he involved himself in it, either by way of raising a volunteer field ambulance corps among Indians in England in 1914, or recruiting soldiers in India for it in 1918. In 1914 Gandhi had been concerned with ridding himself of responsibility for the war's violence, which he did by organizing a volunteer ambulance corps as an act of sacrifice. Gandhi was able, nevertheless, to put forward an idiosyncratic if not eccentric vision of a war that has a good claim to be considered the first global event. And in doing so he also managed, somehow, to escape what was possibly the first truly global narrative of politics, yet without sacrificing his claim to universality or retreating into some alternative and vernacular world. The views Gandhi developed during the war, moreover, he continued to develop in quite different circumstances to the end of his life.