Friday, December 20, 2019

Reading Gandhi- Delhi University - 3075 Words

Introduction Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has attained an iconic status in the world and in history is undisputable. About a hundred volumes of his collected works have been published by the Government of India, more than three thousand five hundred books have been written on Gandhi, and his symbols and words continue to inspire and encourage. As we celebrate a hundred years of his acknowledged magnum opus Hind Swaraj, it is time to reflect on the importance of both the text and the context of this renowned work. Hind Swaraj is a seminal and a foundational work, and it is widely seen as the bible of non-violent revolutions as well as providing the blue print of all kinds of revolutions. Though Gandhi wrote extensively, Hind†¦show more content†¦Now, the eminent historian Quentin Skinner is of the view that classics are time bound, and that we should read them keeping in mind that they address specific historical needs. Skinner has been associated with a group of philosophers who have had a shared link with Cambridge and are known as the Cambridge school. They chose not to emphasise a particular text, but to focus on the intellectual political and ideological contexts within which these texts were written, and the languages that both shaped the context of their writing, as well as those that were shaped by these contexts. On the other hand, the textual approach adopted by the political theorist Terence Ball is concerned with reading a theory out of the text, and reconstructing it for our purpose. The autonomy of the text, holds Ball, is the necessary key to its meaning. The idea of reading a classic is to recover timeless elements or dateless wisdom that has universal application and continuing relevance. Broadly speaking an emphasis on the social context cancels out timelessness, and the textual approach emphasizes texts that answer questions which are timeless, universal, and transhistorical. 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