Thus he has been subjected to severe criticism.
His thoughts lack any originality. According to B.G. Ray, Gandhiji starts from Hindu religion, and the metaphysical solution of eternal problems from a Hindu angle of vision form the basis of his philosophy. He has not sought to answer or solve the problem from an independent perspective of experience or reason.” It is not too incorrect to say that Gandhiji did not present any novel moral laws but he cannot be said to be completely without originality. He gave to the old moral laws a completely new form. Gandhiji was the first one to introduce non-violence into the political field and he also made successful use of it.
’ He declared punishment immoral. Gandhiji was the precursor of non- violent revolution.
According to Miller, “Gandhiji belongs to the type of sanyasis who repress the flesh consciously, reject all the colour and warmth of life, denounce everything which is not necessary for mere livelihood, hasten the dissolution of the body, so that the spirit imprisoned in it may the more quickly be united with the divine.” Gandhiji is called an extremist, an allegation of undeniable veracity, but it should not be forgotten that he made the utmost effort to make his vows practicable and proved their practicability by following them himself. Excessive emphasis upon repression of senses has led to his ethics becoming permeated with stringency.
Probably his assumption regarding celibacy may strike one as untalented and even harmful to happy matrimonial life but a balancing stress upon qualities like non-violence, love, equanimity etc., have prevented his sermons from becoming utterly heartless. Actually, Gandhiji himself was an experimenter and did not recognize any means as the final. He had hoped that there would be new experiments in the application of non-violence and looked at attentively that this hope does not impress one as a false one.
3. Criticism of Non-violence:
Many critics express grave doubts regarding the probabilities of experimentation in non-violence but in order to comprehend Gandhiji s thought it will be essential to set aside the general pragmatic idea and approach the hub of the problem whence the utility of non-violence, for purposes of all kinds of health and permanent improvements will become transparent. There of course, are some practical doubts about the possibility of trustees. Progress is imminent in the attempts of making practical Vinobaji’s campaign of Gandhism.
Only the future can tell the extent of its practicability. Gandhiji endeavoured to discover the fundamental solution of all problems. Another major reason why his solution of existing problems and his sketches of man’s future see impractical is that human society has not achieved that level and mar also lacks the necessary moral strength to successfully use those means.
But the only conclusion which can be drawn from this is that society will have to acquire moral strength to proceed upon his path Non- violence is a means in moral behaviour. The means contradicting it are violence and use of brutal strength. In order to conclude which of these two means is superior and to the extent to and reason for which it is so, it is necessary to precede it by analyzing right and wrong. From the ethical view point, right is that which is good and conversely, bad is wrong.
Now, the result of any moral action can consist of two aspects-individual and social, upon the object. If any activity favour the perpetrator but harms the object or if the result of an action benefits the individual and harms society, or if it is favorable immediately but detrimental in the long run, then the activity cannot be said to be good because in order to be so, the result of an activity must be good for the individual and society, at present and in future. Here, this question arises only when the reason and the result differ. In the preceding example the result implies the reason. Judging violence from this criterion, we realize that it can benefit either the individual or the society, never for the two together—a wealthy person exploits the poor and lives in luxury but he causes misery to innumerable more who subsist in misery and poverty. In a hierarchical society, there is of course general progress but in the absence of a state of independent thought the person’s personality remains dwarfed. Besides, only the more immediate result of violence can be good.
Over a long period it benefits neither the individual nor society. The tendencies of a violent person become degenerate and his character devolves. People fear him but also hate him unostentatiously. Then he is always conscious of misgivings about his opponent’s seeking after revenge. Violence gives rise only to further violence. On the contrary non-violence results in just the converse way.
It may lead to some delay in the maturation of the result but the results are permanent as well as good. , It is possible, too, that the one that pursues non-violence may even have to sacrifice his life and bear pain without being rewarded. But even this suffering produces result calculated to aggrandize the spiritual pleasure of both himself and his opponent. The patience of man is dependent upon his character. A non-violent person is conscious of intrinsic happiness although he may be undergoing extrinsic pain infliction. Even though the opponent does ostensibly resist any such overtures, he internally becomes addicted to this and finally submits himself.
The next question to be considered is whether the use of force is admissible under city circumstances or not? The answer is that in some exceptions it is both necessary and possible. Violence or resorting to force is objected to only when it is used either indiscriminately or for the interests of this or that class or individual. If a particular individual class refuses to abandon, by any means, his incorrect and deplorable path and does immense harm to others then use of force also becomes necessary. At this stage it can be objected that how is it possible to make use of one person or class as a means to the benefit of another class or individual? Its solution is that the person conducting himself in an objectionable maimed does the greatest extent of damage to himself. Gita goes to the extent of saying that although apparently alive, he is in reality dead.
In this way, it becomes irrefutably clear that use of force is in the interest of the offending person or class’ and all others concerned and also that if peaceful means are not going to yield any desirable result then the use of force is both unavoidable and moral. Yudhisthira’s lying and Sri Krishna’s urging Aijuna to war claim the sanction of identical argument Pandavas had made unsuccessful and fruitless use of all peaceful means. The misconduct on the part of the Kauravas has assumed such proportions as to have caused the degeneration of society. Both in the interest of society and the fulfillment of duty it had become indispensable for Arjuna to fight, it being absolutely non-violent to have engaged in war, both from the mental and spiritual viewpoints, as it was qualified by lack of yearning and done with the intention of offering to God. Thus it was also moral. In the present age, Gandhi too has licensed resort to use of force in exceptional cases. But it is a necessary condition that all other means should have proved ineffective and use of force should be in positive interests of both the one using it and the one upon whom it is used. Even Gandhiji himself behaved in a similar way sometimes.
The infringement of the salt law was both an evidence of use of force and unconstitutional but it was violating the law of India hi the interests of India. There was no other alternative at hand. At the same time it also caused moral improvement of the English people because having reduced India to dependence they were acting in an extremely humeral way.
It is also worth noting that this action was purely for the sake of duty and done without attachment in the war against the English Gandhiji invariably advocated love and not hatred for them. He declared himself the best friend of the Britons. In this way, the morality or immorality of resorting to force can be judged obey with reference to the entire situation and hi some cases it becomes inevitable.