In 1929, Gandhi wrote, "The Western civilization which passes for civilization is disgusting to me. I have given a rough picture of it in Hind Swaraj [India Home Rule]. Time has brought no change to it." Despite the fact that Gandhi openly demonstrates considerable disdain for Western society and culture, one only needs to read his works to understand the impact that the West has had on this individual. Specifically, in his autobiography, Gandhi discusses highly personal information and experiences that elucidate notable Western influence. Given the significant issues that Gandhi has with Western culture, the fact that Gandhi's ideas and perceptions have been so heavily influenced by the West presents a paradox of notable proportions.
[...] Conclusion Overall, Gandhi's disdain for Western culture would seem to indicate a paradox when compared with some of the basic philosophies he developed. However, when one looks at the specific context of the Western ideas that Gandhi embraced, two notable facts become clear. First, many of the Western philosophies embraced by Gandhi were, in some rudimentary form, a part of Gandhi's basic philosophies on discovering truth. Second, while many of the paradigms and philosophies that Gandhi embraced came from Western scholars, the ideas that were espoused by these scholars were more transcendental, than Western, in nature. [...]
[...] Analysis of the Issues The manner in which Gandhi chose to address the issues of religion and nonviolence clearly elucidate the particular manner in which Gandhi embraced Western thinking and ideology. However, when one looks at how these ideas fit into the larger context of Gandhi's life and his ideas on life, it becomes clear that Gandhi was not specifically empowered by Western thinking or thought. Rather, Gandhi appears to have a general approach to examining life—in pursuit of greater truth—that has some similarities to various Western ideologies that have been espoused over the course of time. [...]
[...] Thoreau, in many respects, iterated many of the basic ideas that Gandhi developed as a result of his own education and experiences. The Issue of Religion Another area in which one could argue that Gandhi had been highly influenced by Western scholars is religion. Although Gandhi was born Hindu, and remained a devout follower of this religion throughout his life, he recognized the faults that existed within the context of the Hindu religion. In addition to recognizing the faults of the Hindu religion, Gandhi also recognized that there were various faults with all religions, even Christianity. [...]
[...] Although Thoreau's ideas were espoused under the constructs of Western democracy, the reality is that his ideas were, in many cases, transcendental. In other words, Thoreau's ideas were not purely “Western” pre say; instead, Thoreau's ideas were those that could be applied to the entire context of the human race. As such, while Thoreau may be best remembered for his inflammatory rhetoric against Western government, in actuality, Thoreau's work represents something much more extensive than just Western rhetoric; it represents a larger paradigm for human existence. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee