Gandhi's Corporeal Nonviolence: Ascetics, Warriors, and Ecological Citizenship
In this essay, the author argues that a clearer understanding of Gandhi’s nonviolent politics requires attending to his treatment of the body. Such specific attention to the corporeal elements of Gandhi’s nonviolence will reveal that he provides us with an unexpected source of ethical thinking about contemporary political problems. Many readings of Gandhi have focused, not incorrectly, on the ascetic component of his nonviolent project. However, the author intends to argue that there are several problems with focusing solely on the ascetic components of his project, to the neglect of others. Gandhi’s nonviolence incorporates elements of both the brahmin or ascetic, as well as the ksatriya or warrior. While Gandhi is often read as a denier of the body, we cannot ignore those elements of his project that seek to center the human body as the very locus of political action, making his thought warriorlike, aggressive and confrontational, rather than simply ascetic and world-denying.
Mortara Center for International Studies
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