Machiavelli And Gandhi Essay

965 words - 4 pages

Ahimsa is a concept that was practiced by political and ideological leader Mohandas Gandhi; a concept that he used to promote the use of non-violent tactics and passive resistance against colonial rule in India. Mohandas Gandhi used Ahimsa as the means to an end and therefore, ultimately rejected Machiavelli's advice on the qualities a prince must possess to retain his title. Machiavelli advises that the leaders have military experience and, “In peace time he must train himself more than in times of war. This can be done in two ways: one by action, the other by the mind” (Jacobus 40). Ghandi does not have military experience and Ahimsa, loosely translated, means abstinence from violence either by thought, word, or deed. Ahimsa requires a harmless mind, mouth, and hand (Maheshwari). The concept of Ahimsa and the actions of Mohandas Gandhi directly contradict the qualities and practices of a Machiavellian prince or leader.
In Machiavelli’s “The Qualities of the Prince”, Machiavelli states that, "A wise ruler, therefore, cannot and should not keep his word when such an observance of faith would be to his disadvantage" (Jacobus 48). If Mohandas Gandhi had followed the advice of Machiavelli, he would not be revered as the wise and great leader that he was. Mohandas Gandhi used his philosophy called Satyagraha to gain followers and to achieve his goal of freeing India from British colonial rule. Satyagraha is defined as a concept introduced in the early 20th century by Mohandas Gandhi to designate a determined but nonviolent resistance to evil (Encyclopædia Britannica). This requires that a person who decides to break a law considered unjust must accept the consequences of that decision. The use of Satyagraha had brought a lot of hardship to Mohandas and his followers. Many times Mohandas and his followers would be beaten and jailed for keeping their word in the pursuit of an independent India. In the worst case, some of Mohandas’ followers and practitioners of Satyagraha were killed for diligently pursuing the cause of freeing India from British colonial rule. Nevertheless, Mohandas did not waver on his word or his pursuit of resisting the British government in India.
Machiavelli also states in “The Qualities of the Prince”, “he must strive to make everyone recognize in his actions greatness, spirit, dignity, and strength” (Jacobus 50). This advice was stated in the context that it is better to be feared than loved because as a leader it is your responsibility to control and run the state. Mohandas Gandhi dedicated most of his life to freeing India from British colonial rule. He had led thousands and inspired millions in the pursuit of this goal. In Mohandas Gandhi’s autobiography he stated, “The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth”...

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