This article is written by Presha Naik, a student of S.Nn.d.t. Women’s University, Law School, Santacruz, Mumbai. The following article is about the philosophies, ideologies, and the Constitutional adjectives in GANDHISM. The GANDHISM philosophy and its ideology is been inspired and been followed by various people and group leaders globally. This article, will give you an gaugeable information about GANDHISM.


  • Gandhianism starts with the famous line – ‘Simple living and high thinking’. Gandhism is a body of ideas that describes the inspiration, vision, and the life work of Mohandas Gandhi.
  • It is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea of nonviolent resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance


There is no such thing as “Gandhism” and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems…The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”


  • As it is mentioned above in the article earlier, Gandhism is a body of different ideologies, vision and life work of Mohandas Gandhi.
  • The history of Gandhism is all about the work and ideas which are all associated with Mohandas Gandhi.


  • The Gandhism Philosophy is very simple, complex, traditional and modern also on some points.
  • By some points here it means, that, Gandhiji was exposed to many Western ideas and he was very much influenced by some of the ideas but moreover it was deeply rooted in the ancient and traditional ideas of Indian culture and harnessing it universally in various aspects further.


  1. TRUTH-

  • Gandhiji was a strong believer of truth. Truth means ‘Satya’. He was of the opinion that no good is bigger than truth. Truth means the ultimate for him. The philosophy of Gandhism was totally based on the very first basic step of Truth. He was of the opinion that people even in his oppositions were his friends and not enemy. He searched for truth throughout his lifetime and did not give up for truth even in his failures. The saying of his that truth is the ideal way to strive success was clearly depicted in his book, “My Experiments with Truth”.

  • Non-Violence, means not hurting anyone if an opponent in any ways through means of words, actions, thoughts.
  • According to Gandhiji, a person should act in a good way and thus change the heart of the other person by his goodness.
  • A seeker of truth, will always, follow the path of Non-Violence.
  • The philosophy of Gandhism is furthermore categorized into three parts-

NON-VIOLENCE OF BRAVE- This is the best type of non-violence, as because in this the feeling of being non-violence comes from within, as an inner feeling of supporting non-violence over violence. Only a brave person can have this feeling from within of non-violence.

NON-VIOLENCE OF EXPEDIENCY- This type of non-violence is the weak one. In here, the person supports the non-violence for his selfish interests, for his weaknesses, helplessness and not for moral conviction. This is not for too long, in simpler way, this type of non-violence is only up to a limited success.

NON-VIOLENCE OF THE COWARD- This type of non-violence is the worst. Because, the person over here will be a coward he will choose to stay silence even if he has the urge to choose violence over non-violence. He will want to run away for he will not have that courage to face the any danger. Gandhiji, here, was of the opinion that he would better choose violent person than a coward, because there is a hope that the violent may turn into non-violent but a coward has no hope.

Gandhiji, strongly supported the non-violence theory of brave, as he was of the point of view that the feeling of non-violence should come from within, and not after someone forcing you to choose it. He says that non-violence and cowardice do not go in along, they differ from each other widely, and, thereafter he was against the idea of ‘non-violence of coward’.


  • Satyagraha, means exercising against all of the injustices, oppressions, exploitations from with the purest souls.
  • It is a method to securing rights of self by suffering personal injuries and by not by giving injuries to others.
  • This term was first coined by John Ruskin in his book, “Unto this Last”.
  • Gandhiji, translated the above said book in Gujrati and named it as ‘Sarvodaya’.
  1. SWARAJ-

  • This term ‘Swaraj’ basically mean self-rule of self-restraint. But for Gandhiji, this term simply meant, the sum total of all of his meanest countrymen.
  • He was of the opinion that this term makes its fullest sense when the term swaraj meant more than only ‘self-rule’.
  • For him, it meant, freedom from all restraints, from self-rule, meaning freedom from everything like Moksha or Salvation.

  • The term, trusteeship means socio-economic philosophy which was propounded by Gandhiji.
  • This principle was a reflection of Gandhiji’s spiritual development, which was deeply owed by him from the great book Bhagvad Gita.

  • The word swadeshi derives from Sanskrit and is a conjunction of two Sanskrit words. ‘Swa’ means self or own and ‘desh’ means country. So, Swadesh means one’s own country.
  • Gandhiji was of the view that swaraj was the key to India’s Independence as a source of freedom from the British rule of its indigenous industries.
  • This was the lead role of Independence.


  • Gandhiji developed these ideologies from various inspirational sources vis Bhagvad Geeta, Jainism, Buddhism, Bible, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Tolstoy, John Ruskin among others.
  • Tolstoy’s book ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’ had a deep influence on Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Gandhiji paraphrased Ruskin’s book ‘Unto this Last’ as ‘Sarvodaya’.
  • These ideas have been further developed by later “Gandhians”, most notably, in India by, Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan and outside of India by Martin Luther King Jr. and others.


At every point it still has many Modern Times Assumptions which are insisting on-

  • Primary level of self-sacrificing rather than self-interest
  • Individual obligations over one’s individual rights
  • Dying over killing


  • The Gandhian principles are incorporated in the Constitution based on the socio-economic programme enunciated by Mahatma Gandhi during the long-drawn freedom struggle. Important principles are the following:
  • Article 40: Organization of village Panchayats;
  • Article 43: Promotion of cottage industries;
  • Article 46: Promotion and protection of interests of educational and economic interests of SCs, STs, and other weaker sections of the society and to protect them from social injustice and exploitation;
  • Article 47: Prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health;
  • Article 48: Prohibition of slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.
  • These are all of the principles which were greatly inspired by the Gandhism Philosophy and had its Constitutional approach in the Indian Constitution.

Movements related to Gandhism

  • World War I.
  • -The Champaran agitation in Bihar was Gandhi’s first active involvement into Indian freedom politics.
  • Kheda Movement
  • Khilafat Movement.
  • Non-cooperation Movement.
  • Salt March.
  • Quit India Movement.
  1. World War I

Lord Chelmsford, the then Viceroy of India, invited Gandhi to Delhi at a War Conference. In order to gain the trust of the empire, Gandhi agreed to move people to enlist in the army for World War I. However, he wrote to the Viceroy and said that he “personally will not kill or injure anybody, friend or foe”.

  1. Champaran

The Champaran agitation in Bihar was Gandhi’s first active involvement into Indian freedom politics. The Champaran farmers were being forced to grow Indigo and were being tortured if they protested.

The farmers sought Gandhi’s help and through a calculated non-violent protest, Gandhi managed to win concessions from the authority.

  1. Kheda

When Kheda, a village in Gujarat, was badly hit by floods, the local farmers appealed to the rulers to waive off the taxes. Here, Gandhi started a signature campaign where peasants pledged non-payment of taxes.

He also arranged a social boycott of the mamlatdars and talukdar’s (revenue officials). In 1918, the Government relaxed the conditions of payment of revenue tax until the famine ended.

  1. Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat Movement arose in the year 1919, against the salvage of the Ottoman caliph, as a symbol of unity of the Muslim community in the era of the British Raj to show the unity of the Muslim’s in India.

  1. Non-cooperation Movement

This movement was with the view of self-governance and to withdrew the British government and obtaining the full independence.

People had to resign from their jobs from the government for independence. This protest was of peaceful

  1. Salt March

Also known as the Dandi Movement, Gandhi’s Salt March is considered to be a pivotal incident in the history of freedom struggle. At the Calcutta Congress of 1928, Gandhi declared that the British must grant India dominion status or the country will erupt into a revolution for complete independence. The British did not pay heed to this.

As a result, on December 31, 1929, the Indian flag was unfurled in Lahore and the next January 26 was celebrated as the Indian Independence Day. Then, Gandhi started a Satyagraha campaign against the salt tax in March 1930. He marched 388 kilometers from Ahmedabad to Dandi in Gujarat to make salt. Thousands of people joined him and made it one of the biggest marches in Indian history.

  1. Quit India Movement

During the Second World War, Gandhi was determined to strike the British Empire with a definitive blow that would secure their exit from India. This happened when the British started recruiting Indians for the war.

Gandhi protested strongly and said that the Indians cannot be involved in a war that is in favor of democratic purposes when India itself is not a free country. This argument exposed the two-faced image of the colonizers and within half a decade, they were out of this country.


  • Gandhiji believed non-violence and tolerance require a great level of courage and patience. In a world that is moving through the phases of war marred by violence and terrorism, there is a significant requirement of Gandhian idea of non-violence more and more today than the past days.
  • The ideals of truth and nonviolence, which underpin the whole philosophy, are relevant to all humankind, and are considered as universal by the Gandhians.
  • More than ever before, Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings are valid today, when people are trying to find solutions to the rampant greed, widespread violence, and runaway consumptive style of living.
  • The Gandhian technique of mobilizing people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, which is an eloquent testimony to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Gandhiji and Gandhianism are always more than what we know. Gandhiji’s political contributions offered us Independence but his ideologies enlighten India as well as the world even today after so many years. Perhaps this was known to Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore in those days and he had rightly called Gandhiji as Mahatma. Every individual, thus, should follow the key Gandhian ideologies in their day-to-day life for a happy, prosperous, healthy, harmonious and sustainable future.


There were various criticisms to the theory of Gandhism. Many political and social leaders across the globe and some in India also were facing some indifferences in then theory of Gandhism and Gandhiji’s theory or his view politically.

In India, there some of the well-known leaders whose ideas were quite different from Gandhiji’s ideologies. They were Jawaharlal Nehru, V D Savarkar, Ambedkar. Even though they had same points of view on some matters but when came to the Gandhism theory the points of view of all of them differed.


Gandhi believed that at the core of every religion was truth (Satya), non-violence (ahimsa) and the Golden Rule. Despite his belief in Hinduism, Gandhi was also critical of many of the social practices of Hindus and sought to reform the religion.

According to me, I support the theory of Gandhism, this theory which in particular the moral values and teachings of Gandhiji the ethics, the principles of Satya, Moksha, to unite and not divide, to make “hridayaparivartan” that is to make changes in the heart of a person from being a violent person to making him a non-violence person from within are the true teachings of Gandhiji.

The theory of Gandhism is followed world-wide on a large basis. Many supporters of Gandhiji had many more theories written on Gandhism. Gandhism is truly the theory which gives a new directions and moral teachings to us humans.

Author: Presha Naik,
First Year S.N.D.T. Women's University, Law School

Leave a Comment