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India II: Gandhi's Counter-Modernity (Ch. 23, pg. 325-334)

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Susannah Daniel

on 4 March 2011

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Transcript of India II: Gandhi's Counter-Modernity (Ch. 23, pg. 325-334)

3 Gandhi's Alternative Political Strategies 3.1 Resistance through gender "His policy of non-violence was accompanied by
a strategic, transgressive role-playing at the level
of gender which made it more difficult for the
colonial government to respond in the ways with
which it normally dealt with anti-colonial
resistance" (Young 325). Young makes the correlation between
the idea of British masculinity and
imperialism. He also credits this with
the "narrowing of gender identity
during the era of militarisitic
imperialism" (Young 326). One critic says,"The emerging dynamics
between colonial and nationalist politics in
the 1880s and 1890s in India is best captured
in the logic of colonial masculinity." "British colonial strategy was always to
redeploy and reorient native masculinity
in the military service of the empire, a
device whose ironies were most apparent
in India" (Young 326). Young argues that the Indian response
to the British masculinity was to create
their own, new version of masculinity
that more closely corresponded to the
androgyny of the Hindu culture. "It was Gandhi who succeeded in
embodying this transformation and
in developing it as a form of anti-
colonial resistance" (Young 326). "His adoption of suffragette resistance strategies, his
support for feminist objectives, and his own move in
his public and private life towards an androgynous
identity, all suggest the connections between his central
thesis of non-violence and a gender politics in which he resisted
British imperialism by subverting its hypermasculinity and
playing on its responses to the feminine" (Young 327). Gandhi unsettled colonial politics with gender
He introduced psychology as a weapon
He encouraged political participation of women India II: Ghandi's counter-modernity
pg. 325-334 3.2 Gandhi and the politics of dress Young says that Gandhi used his way of dress as a weapon and it was also viewed as a direct symbol of anti-modernity. "Gandhi's dress was directed against the associated ideologies of masculinity and
modernity. It reinforced the political and
philosophical rejection of western Indian forms" (Young 328). Gandhi's way of dressing was also viewed as his symbolic refusal to compromise
It was made to be a spectacle by the media and it largely attributed to his effectivity 3.3 Gandhi, technology and the media "His anti-modernist procedures in
many ways themselves depended on
the resources of a modernity whose
technology remained largely invisible" (Young 329). Young uses the examples of the
trains that Gandhi used for travel and to spread his campaign. Also the printing
press he used to print his books, and the
telegram service that proofread his writings. He also heavily utilized the newspapers to reach the masses, for which he received a large amount of criticism. "Few politicians of his time used the power of journalism to the same degree as Gandhi. The suffragette movement had demonstrated that non-violence could operate equally as a form of communication by making itself into a public spectacle" (Young 330). Young mentions the fact that the crucial role of the media and technology in Gandhi's work was a direct contradiction to his stance on counter-modernity. Gandhi's methods worked largely because of his extensive use of technology and media
He was the first anti-colonial activist to use the contemporary media as a channel for his non-violent tactics of resistance 4 The Dandi March Young says that Gandhi was looking for a way to revive the civil disobedience campaign when he decided to focus on the "Salt Tax." Gandhi favored the Salt Tax because it was a cause that was accessible to everyone, no matter their race, gender, financial or social status. "Although peaceful, the march suggested a slightly martial self-assertion, a self-affirmation of principles, and progress towards an anticipated future" (Young 332). The Dandi March was later copied by Martin Luther King, Jr. with his 1963 March on Washington during the American Civil Rights movement.
The march began on March 12, 1930. Gandhi and 78 of his chosen followers marched 230 miles to Dandi. On their arrival to the sea, Gandhi picked up a handful of salt, in open defiance of the government. It was televised around the world.
It symbolized the unstoppable struggle for Indian freedom 5 Gandhi in Lancashire Gandhi went to London in 1931 to attend
the Second Indian Round Table Conference.
On his visit, he went to Lancashire to visit cotton
workers who had suffered from his "swadeshi"
campaign. This campaign is breifly described as a
"blockade that prevented any cotton being exported from
the American South." The cotton workers almost starved to
death under a harsh existence due to the campaign Ghandi
had supported. The cotton workers in Lancashire
surprisingly welcomed Gandhi. Young says, "Gandhi's visit produced a rare insight into the attitudes of the British working class towards the British empire: they supported and identified with the Indian freedom movement." "Gandhi's philosophy was based on a critique of modernity and technology, but his form of resistance to colonial power was dependent for its success on access to communication around the world by means of the media...it was this which enabled him to
exert political pressure simultaneously at local and international levels" (Young 334). Young ends the chapter by stating the contradiction that Gandhi's counter-modernity was actually the most modern
of all the anti-colonial activists. Questions:

Did Ghandi's extensive use of technology and media make him a hypocrite? Does it make him less credible?
Do you agree with Young's point about British masculinity being a direct motivation for their imperialism?
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