Which of Gandhi's speeches best reflects his hybrid nature of thought that embodies Western and Hindu thought?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that some of the best examples of Gandhi's hybridity in thought can be seen in his Salt March speech.  Gandhi makes a crucial argument that is hybrid, representing both the West and the Hindu sensibility.  On one hand, the Salt March speech talks of individual action.  This is Western in its sensibility.  It argues that the individual can take action and does possess power.  The individual is not powerless to fight against the conditions that are imposed on them.  It is not fated to happen.  It is not something which the individual can only throw their hands up and say that karma willed it to be and that no action can be taken. It is highly Western in that Gandhi identifies a specific force that needs to be countered and this adversary in the form of injustice cannot be avoided or permitted.  Yet, the Hindu sensibility that emerges is that the manner in which individuals fight this force has to be in the form of Satyagraha, or a form of fight that recognizes that individuals are part of something larger.  In a great pivot, Gandhi argues that individuals can take action against injustice, yet their need to take action must be within something larger.  This need to take action has to be in a structure in which the maintenance of the social order is demonstrated.  This is in the form of nonviolence, a form of action in which individuals recognize the solidarity that is within them as well as the idea that there is something larger in operation.  Individuals must submit and subjugate their own personal desire for violence and physical aggression to this manner of nonviolent opposition.  It is here where the embodiment of Hindu thought is evident.  In this Gandhi has shown both strengths in social activism of both philosophies.

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