M.K. Gandhi has exercised the most powerful influence on modern world. India with her habitual religiosity, looked upon him as a Mahatma. The western world wondered at this naked fakir from India and observed his activities with a mixed sense of curiosity and admiration. All who met him were impressed by his personality that it is almost impossible to consider them separately.
General Jan Smuts, Premier of South Africa, inspite of his differences with Gandhiji was right when he remarked that “nothing in Gandhiji’s procedure is without a peculiar personal touch.’ Sir Stafford Cripps said ” I know of no otherman of any time or indeed recent history, who so forcefully and convincingly demonstrated the power of spirit over material things”
Gandhism is not merely a political creed, it is a message and philosophy of life. Gandhiji dreamt of a society in which there was no violence and wherein ethical justice is supreme. Gandhism was not a systematic political philosophy in the modem sense. There are no theoretical generalization in Gandhian thought and philosophy. Gandhism at best provided only empirical suggestions.
There is no academic exposition of his sociological economic and political ideology. Still, it is not possible nor is it wise, to ignore the philosophy of a man who made himself a dominating force in his lifetime and who with his peculiar political technique, left an indelible impression on the progress of human thought.
One may agree with his philosophy or not, but all will admit with J.B. Kripalani that Gandhi is our greatest social, political and economic reformer and revolutionary.
Regarding the philosophy of Gandhiji, we must remember that he left no set of doctrines or dogmas stated in set formulae. He never claimed any finality about his views. There was no rigidity about his ideas. He never wanted his supporters to follow his precepts blindly.
In 1836, Mahatma Gandhi observed, “There is no such thing as Gandhism and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truth to our daily life and problems. The opinions I have formed and conclusions I have arrived at are not final.
I may change tomorrow. I have nothing to teach the world. Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could. In doing so I have sometimes erred and learned by my errors. Well all my philosophy, if it may be called by that pretentious name, is contained in what I have said. You will not call it Gandhism, there is no..ism about it”