The Self, Modern Civilization, and International Law: Learning from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule

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Abstract

<it>The article offers some reflections on Gandhi’s seminal anti-imperialist text</it> Hind Swaraj <it>(1909). I discuss elements of Gandhi’s critique of modern civilization, noting his emphasis on an evolved ethical and spiritual self for creating a better world. I point out that what is remarkable about Gandhi is that his accent on work on the self is embedded in the world of social and political struggles against all forms of violence and injustice. I therefore read aspects of Gandhi’s critique of modern civilization as a critique of capitalist modernity and imperialism and not modernity per se. I suggest that Gandhi’s stress on work on the self and service to humanity can be combined with the Marx’s emphasis on changes in the material substratum to imagine and realize a more humane, democratic, and just world.</it>

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