Cover: The Gandhian Moment, from Harvard University PressCover: The Gandhian Moment in HARDCOVER

The Gandhian Moment

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$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674065956

Publication Date: 03/19/2013


208 pages

5 x 7-1/2 inches


[Jahanbegloo’s] elaborations on Gandhian thinking are nuanced and engaging, and serve as important responses to the political dilemmas posed by the struggles over democracy in the Middle East today… Directing Gandhi’s thinking toward contemporary concerns in this manner is a fruitful line of inquiry, and Jahanbegloo’s considerations are insightful.—Karuna Mantena, Los Angeles Review of Books

More than ever, the world needs Gandhi today. Especially, in the face of Islam and Muslims being portrayed as synonymous with terrorism populist ideological responses of political Islam to Western hegemony have proved counterproductive. [Jahanbegloo] exhorts Muslim leaders to draw upon not only Gandhi but upon the non-violent contributions of people like [Abdul] Ghaffar Khan and [Maulana] Azad. For [Jahanbegloo], Gandhi’s formulations of self-examination, self-criticism and self-purification and their adaptations by leaders like Ghaffar Khan and Azad provide useful tools for taking Western models of conflict resolution towards more nuanced models of non-violence and peace.—Swaran Singh, The Hindu

Jahanbegloo offers a stimulating account of the theory and practice of Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance to injustice. In this short work, the author not only follows Gandhi’s Indian campaigns but also takes readers on brief excursions of Gandhian resistance to injustice elsewhere, particularly in the U.S. and South Africa. Especially welcome is his discussion of Maulana Azad and Ghaffar Khan, two Muslim advocates of communal harmony and Indian independence who were associates of Gandhi. Jahanbegloo pits a Hobbesian theory of the sovereignty of an omnipotent state that claims legitimacy for itself against Gandhi’s theory of the individual’s duty to resist injustice. He sees Gandhi’s arguments negating Hobbesian claims to legitimacy and leading to larger claims to nonviolent civil resistance. The Gandhian Moment is a solid, clearly written addition to the Gandhian literature.—R.J. Terchek, Choice

Jahanbegloo has written a tightly focused examination of Gandhi’s philosophy and politics, emphasizing his central reliance in advocating nonviolence to challenge injustice and tyranny. Motivated by the need to end colonial rule in India, Gandhi drew on Hindu thought to assert the primacy of moral duty over individual rights. Yet he rejected Hindu chauvinism and promoted pluralism and inclusion to reach out to other communities in India, especially Muslims. As well as carefully analyzing Gandhi’s shaping of separate principles into a coherent view, Jahanbegloo demonstrates the continuing impact of Gandhian thought outside India, particularly upon Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights leadership, Nelson Mandela’s successful challenge to apartheid, and the spread of nonviolent demonstrations against repressive regions throughout the Middle East during the Arab Spring. Perhaps surprising to American readers, Jahanbegloo highlights Muslim leaders in the Indian independence movement who integrated Gandhian nonviolence into Islamic thought, contrary to recent claims that Islam is inherently violent or terrorist… This complex and serious analysis will interest readers willing to think rigorously about political philosophy and options for change in today’s world.—Elizabeth Hayford, Library Journal

Straddling political philosophy and activism, Jahanbegloo’s work situates Gandhi in today’s global political arena, where many of the Mahatma’s ideas and practices have assumed a fresh new meaning. There have been one or two books that have tried to place Gandhi in such a global context, but Jahanbegloo is, to my knowledge, unique in focusing on Gandhianism as a critique of modern, state-centered sovereignty. This represents an extraordinarily fruitful line of inquiry.—Dr. Faisal Devji, University of Oxford

Jahanbegloo’s rediscovery of Gandhi makes a compelling case for the power of love to transform collective action against injustice and oppression. An eloquent and highly original contribution to Gandhi’s political philosophy that is becoming increasingly relevant in struggles against autocratic regimes around the world. A required reading for thinkers and activists alike.—Sudhir Kakar

A stimulating and imaginative exploration of Gandhi’s nonviolence both as a method of resistance and as the basis of a new kind of national and global political order. It demolishes many a myth about Muslim societies and insightfully shows Gandhi’s relevance to them.—Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Awards & Accolades

  • 2011 Josep Palau i Fabre International Essay Prize, Unpublished Work Category, Palau Foundation
Murty Classical Library of India

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