Gandhi grew up in a Hindu and Jain religious atmosphere in his native Gujarat.
Mahatma Gandhi thoughts were influenced by his personal reflections and literature of Hindu Bhakti saints, Advaita Vedanta, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and thinkers such as Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau.
Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said “God is Truth”. He would later change this statement to “Truth is God”. Thus, satya (truth) in Gandhi’s philosophy is “God”.
Gandhi based Satyagraha on the Vedantic ideal of self-realization, ahimsa (nonviolence), vegetarianism, and universal love.
The essence of Satyagraha is “soul force” as a political means, refusing to use brute force against the oppressor. He seeks to eliminate antagonisms between the oppressor and the oppressed, aiming to transform or “purify” the oppressor.
It is not inaction but determined passive resistance and non-co-operation where, states Arthur Herman, “love conquers hate”.
Gandhi strongly favoured the emancipation of women, and urged “the women to fight for their own self-development.” He opposed purdah, child marriage, dowry and sati. In his own life however, according to Suruchi Thapar-Bjorkert, Gandhi’s relationship with his wife were at odds with some of these values.
Gandhi spoke out against untouchability early in his life. Before 1932, he and his colleagues used the term Antyaja for untouchables. One of the major speeches he made on untouchability was at Nagpur in 1920, where he called untouchability as a great evil in Hindu society.
Gandhi rejected the colonial Western format of education system. He stated that it led to disdain for manual work, generally created an elite administrative bureaucracy.
Gandhi favoured an education system with far greater emphasis on learning skills in practical and useful work, one that included physical, mental and spiritual studies. His methodology sought to treat all professions equal and pay everyone the same.
Gandhi believed that he can not only attained but run swaraj with non-violence. He believed that a military is unnecessary, because any aggressor can be thrown out using the method of non-violent & non-co-operation.
While military is unnecessary in a nation organised under swaraj principle. Gandhi added that a police force is necessary given human nature.
Mahatma Gandhi Thoughts on Vegetarianism
His devout Hindu mother brought up Gandhi as a vegetarian. Hindu Vaishnavism and Jain traditions in India deeply ingrained the Mahatma Gandhi thoughts on vegetarianism.
In his native Gujarat, where meat is considered as a form of food obtained by violence to animals.
Gandhi believed that non-violence to him meant not having the intent as well as active efforts to minimise hurt, injury or suffering to all life forms.
Gandhi used fasting as a political device, often threatening suicide to meet his demands. Congress publicised the fasts as a political action that generated widespread sympathy. In response the government tried to manipulate news coverage to minimise his challenge to the Raj.
Gandhi believed in sarvodaya economic model, which literally means “welfare, upliftment of all”. This was a very different economic model than the socialism model championed and followed by free India by Nehru – India’s first prime minister.
Nehru and Gandhi both believed that their main objective was removing poverty and unemployment. The Gandhian economic and development approach preferred adapting technology and infrastructure to suit the local situation. In contrast to Nehru’s large scale, socialised state owned enterprises.
He believed that the best economic system not only cared to lift the “poor, less skilled, of impoverished background” but also empowered to lift the “rich, highly skilled, of capital means and landlords”.
While disagreeing with Nehru about the socialist economic model, Gandhi also critiqued capitalism that it drive man to have endless wants and a materialistic view. This, he believed, created a vicious vested system of materialism at the cost of other human needs such as spirituality and social relationships