Anekaant: A Journal of Polysemic Thought, Issue Number 7, spring 2017-18 would be a special issue on “Gandhi: Interfaces between Principles and Practices.”
|The special issue is an attempt to read Gandhian principles and practices in the light of time-binding, which is the capability to ‘summarize, digest and appropriate the labours and experiences of the past’ for the benefit of the present and the future generations. Gandhi’s engagement with knowledge and experiences of the bygone ages was through texts, contexts, interactions with people and observation of life-worlds. He has been keenly receptive, at the same time critical and creative in that engagement. The stages of his experiment also immersed him in moments of self-doubt, disillusionment and rethinking. My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography deals with Gandhi’s tireless and inconclusive experiments with principles and performance, elaborating on how certain spiritual, political, and ethical insights and works of thinkers have influenced him and how innovatively he turned ideas and ideals into practices based on his needs, cultural realities, environments and lived-experiences. The aspiration behind such an experiment was to realize the superior self. In his opinion, such a realization would make possible a higher level of individual and social life. Gandhi believed that when this aspiration becomes a collective endeavor, humanity will experience a remarkable spiritual and ethical enrichment and freedom from bondages, including colonialism.|
From different ideological perspectives, locations and times, Gandhi’s experiments may look successful, utopian and of timeless or limited significance. Gandhi’s own ambivalence as a conformist and dissenter to his times influenced the course of several of his experiments. However, Gandhian experiments tell the story not of passive learning and acceptance; but active, continuous quest, moments of uncertainty and challenges. Most importantly, Gandhi did not stop searching for methods to translate his evolving convictions into ways of everyday living. His life was a conscious attempt to internalize and integrate the ideas and ideals into a viable philosophy of being and doing. The attempt had its strengths and shortcomings as his exponents and detractors illustrate.
Gandhi argued that realizing lofty ideals is not possible if the smallest, quotidian parts are neglected. The apparently commonplace aspects of life such as diet, clothing, cleanliness, dealing with the desires and passions of the body and the like were informed by the principles that had inspired him. The tight interconnectedness of Gandhian ideas and practices –truth, nonviolence, brahmacharya, satyagraha, philosophy of education, organization of his ashram, ways of resisting the colonial power, strategies for decolonizing the mind – is not accidental. Gandhian principles and practices have been adopted into many struggles across the world. Generations of theorists and practitioners have looked up in awe, embraced, appropriated, rejected, critiqued or condemned his views for various reasons. Even after many decades of his demise, there are several kinds of theoretical and practical engagement with his works and philosophy of life across the world. Please submit a paper that looks at the life and principles of Gandhi in an across time, focusing on the shaping, sharing, transformation, and reception of ideas and practices. The papers may deal with these issues and many more:
· Can there be different ways of conceptualizing and practicing time-binding?
· How different is Gandhi’s understanding of history and time as an interconnected continuum of past-present-future?
· How time-binding worked in the Phoenix settlement, Tolstoy farm and the ashrams where Gandhi experimented with and transformed the idea of cooperative coexistence?
· How Gandhi adopted principles from religious scriptures and teaching of spiritual masters (eg. Satya, dharma, ahimsa, aparigraha, love, kindness, compassion, nonattachment, self-reliance, etc.) and translated them into ways of everyday functioning and strategies of social reform and anti-colonial struggle?
· How in Gandhian thought, the integration of past-present-future; experience-knowledge; principles-practice, etc. are made viable?
· How the Gandhian methods contribute to the understanding, practice and rethinking about time-binding?
Please send the completed paper (4000-6000 words, latest MLA style) for the special issue to Bini B.S. (firstname.lastname@example.org) as an email attachment (MS word format) by July 15, 2018. A brief bio-note of the author should accompany each submission.