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Mahatma Gandhi and Humanism

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Item Code: HAR232
Author: Usha Mehta
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan
Language: English
Edition: 2000
ISBN: 8172761686
Pages: 192
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 380 gm
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Book Description
About The Author

Dr Usha Mehta (b. in 1920) had a brilliant academic career. She took her BA (Hons) degree in Philosophy in 1939 from Bombay University and LL. B in 1941. The subject of her Ph. D., which she completed in 1953, was "The Social and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi. She was a Fulbright Scholar in 1953-54.

A participant in the Freedom Struggle since 1928, she was imprisoned in Yeravda Jail for four years in 1942-46, for her role in the Quit India Movement and for 'operating the underground Congress Radio.

She is the recipient of several honorary degrees and awards. She was awarded LL. D. by Bombay University in 1995 and D. Litt. By SNDT University in 1997. The Government of India honoured her with Padma Vibhushan in 1998.

She held, and continues to hold, important positions in several government bodies and educational and cultural institutions: Director, LIC, Member, Press Council of India, UPSC Selection Board, ICCR Advisory Board; Governing Bodies of Gandhi Peace Foundation and Gandhian Institute of Studies, President, Freedom Fighters Sabha, Bombay: Trustee of both Central Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, New Delhi and Gandhi Memorial Society, Agakhan Palace, Pune.

Her publications (jointly with others) include Government and the Governed, Kautilya and His Arthasastra, Social and Political Thought of Sarvodaya and Gandhi's Contribution to Emancipation of Women.

A life-long teacher and researcher, Dr Usha Mehta retired as Professor of Civics and Politics, University of Bombay At present she is the President of Bombay Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Mani Bhavan Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya.


THIS book, most appropriately, has been titled "Mahatma Gandhi and Humanism."

Mohandas was born at 9.45 a.m. on October 2, 1869 at Sudamapuri, modern Porbandar, in Saurashtra, Gujarat. The nakshatra (star of birth) was Maka and the lagna, Tula.

Mohandas was the sixth and last child of Sri Karamchand Gandhi, then Diwan or chief minister of Porbandar State, by his fourth wife Smt. Putlibai, who had no formal 'schooling' but was a very wise pious lady, wedded to ethical and spiritual values endowed with uncommon common sense. Mohandas is the original name given to him by his parents when he was born.

Mahatma is the name later given to him by the truth-venerating millions of India that is Bharat.

As Nobel laureate, Renaissance pioneer, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhiji's great contemporary, has declared: "Here was living truth at last, not only quotations from books. For this reason the Mahatma, the name given to him by the people of India, is his real name."


MANY and varied were the influences that shaped Mahatma Gandhi's thought. As he himself has said, he was influenced both by western thinkers including Tolstoy, Ruskin, Emerson, Thoreau and others as well as by Indian thinkers including Srimad Rajchandra, Gokhale, Tilak and others. In my study of the social and political thought of the Western and Indian thinkers, I was struck by the similarities between the thought of Mahatma Gandhi and eminent western thinkers like Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau and Green, and Indian thinkers especially Srimad Rajchandra and Gautam Buddha. Gandhi was more of crusader for human right than a system builder or the founder of a particular school of thought. In him, we have a rare combination of man of thought and action, of a soaring idealist and a sober realist, of a dreamer and a doer. Since his days in South Africa, he led several satyagrahas against social evils like racial discrimination in Africa and untouchability in them Hindu society, discriminatory laws and unjust policies like the Rowlatt Bills, the tax on salt, harassment of women and peasants and others in India. For this, he developed a code of conduct for the Satyagrahis and different strategies and programmes like strike, fast, boycott of foreign goods, mass meetings, marches, courting arrest and others thus trying to develop a science of Satyagraha. So, I thought it worthwhile to make a comparative study of the methods used by Gandhiji and those adopted by crusaders like Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Ambedkar for securing justice.

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