The different cultural background has a strong influence on people’s opinions concerning appropriate and inappropriate practices that human society is applying. More importantly, this outstanding difference becomes even more obvious when it is necessary to compare works written by Western and Eastern people reflecting upon the nature of the same phenomenon.
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Speaking about famous thinkers whose ideas are still appreciated by a large number of people, it is important to remember Gandhi who is the author of the work titled “Indian Home Rule or Hind Swaraj”. Speaking about the given book, it is necessary to say that the author wanted to discuss a wide range of problems that he believed to be important for his compatriots and for himself in particular. Among other things, the given work contains reflections related to the topic of colonialism and further problems that it entails. Discussing the work, it is important to pay increased attention to the fact that the book was written in quite a difficult period of history and this is why the points covered are devoted to the urgent problems of Indian society. It is common knowledge that the author was one of the first thinkers in India who started not only discussing the problem related to unequal relationships of India and other countries trying to expand their influence and gain more resources but also developing the solutions. Thus, the author introduced the term “swaraj” denoting the set of laws and rules that could help to make India more independent from Great Britain (16).
In general, it can be stated that the problem of colonialism and inappropriate political practices utilized by Western people is touched upon in many chapters of the given book. Nevertheless, speaking about the factors that support the development of colonialism, the author mentions that the willingness of developed countries to expand their influence, even more, cannot be regarded as the only reason why such phenomenon as colonial expansion exists (31). Instead, he supposed that people born in India were also related to the proliferation of such a system because they accepted it. In fact, according to Gandhi, colonialism has become one of the urgent problems due to the fact that its very idea was in conflict with the basic principles of justice. Despite quite a significant power that British people had in India, Gandhi denied that “India was lost” (31). As it is clear from his opinion, colonialism was inappropriate because it was nothing but unfair exploitation, a kind of collaboration involving no equal benefits. Reflecting upon the present condition of India, the author supposed that it was under the heel of “modern civilization” due to its inability to withstand British influence (33).
Speaking about the solution that he saw, it is necessary to say that it involved a lot of steps such as the implementation of new laws and changing the way the country is governed. Nevertheless, these steps needed to be taken after the first one that seemed to be the most important – to overcome colonialism on a mental level, and, therefore, to get rid of certain germs of servile thinking. Therefore, his plan allowing people in India to mitigate or even estrange foreign influence included various measures involving both eliminating the idea that unequal relationships between Britain and India were justified by certain reasons and making real changes related to government control. In his work, Gandhi not only states that colonialism supports numerous pieces of injustice but also explains the inconsistency of those who support it. Another important thing that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to the definition of swaraj as Gandhi saw it is that the new system proposed was not supposed to make Indian people give Britain a taste of its own medicine and, therefore, use the same practices that the latter uses. Nevertheless, as it is clear from the author’s opinion, certain traits of English people such as in submission needed to be copied in order to make India more successful (26).
Another important thing that needs to be considered with regard to the work by Gandhi is the ability to apply the analysis that he conducted to the problem of colonialism in the history of other countries. In general, it can be supposed that his analysis can be partially used in order to better understand the nature of the problem in other countries that have also been exploited by strong political players in different periods of time. To begin with, as it has been stated, Gandhi was able to see different aspects of the problem of colonialism simultaneously, and this is why he insisted on the necessity of psychological changes in those whose territories were under the strict political control of ones from more powerful countries. It can be supposed that this statement is applicable to any other country that has been in such a situation because the mechanism of oppression never changes. At the same time, each case is unique due to the fact that countries usually have different problems related to resources or national defense that make them dependent on superpowers. The general idea proclaimed by Gandhi could be used as a basis by ones in oppressed countries but each nation should develop a unique plan allowing people to augment potential and gradually get beyond foreign control.
Gandhi, Mohandas K. Indian Home Rule or Hind Swaraj. Navajivan Publishing House, 1938.