Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action

By Dennis Dalton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Critiques of Gandhi from His
Contemporaries: Rabindranath
Tagore and M. N. Roy

To me all these demands of Mahatma Gandhi
seemed not only extreme, but even crude and
irrational. It appeared to me that his entire
ideology was driven by a resolve to abandon
civilized life and revert to a primitive
existence.

I thought that he was preaching the rejection
not only of European civilization, but of
Hindu civilization as well. I could see that he
had not the slightest understanding of the
higher features of Hindu culture, and of its
complexity.

Nirad Chaudhuri recalling his view
of Gandhi in 19211

A balanced view of Gandhi's theory in practice should consider the voices of some of his critics. And he has had many, both during his long political career and after his death. Among the most penetrating assessments of his thought and leadership were from those who actually knew him. Rabindranath Tagore and M. N. Roy were theorists in their own right and well acquainted with Gandhi. Their critiques differed substantially, yet they shared the deep skepticism of Nirad Chaudhuri, the gifted author and contemporary of Gandhi. This chapter will be devoted largely to judgments of Gandhi by Tagore and Roy but it begins with a sample of the striking

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