Can Mahatma Gandhi be Called a Third World Precursor of Development Ethics?


Development ethics is concerned with the justification of development in terms of different normative issues. Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest among all who contributed to the Indian nationalism movement. The focus of this article is to show that Mahatma Gandhi can be regarded as a third world precursor of development ethics. To facilitate the purpose, the writer will try to show first that Gandhi’s theory of ahimsa acts as a foundational ethics of his entire development thought, because it is against arbitrary consumerism and unsustainable resource use. Then the writer will analyze three important concepts of Gandhi – sarvodaya, swadeshi and satyagraha – which are the three principles of sustainable development, an important aspect of development ethics. Through its preference to the essential unity and equality of all earthly creatures, the principle of sarvodaya shows an empathetic approach towards natural world. The swadeshi spirit is handy in getting support for the national economic planning. To fight against injustices, Gandhi resorted to the method of satyagraha. Hence it became a technique that made the foundation of development ethics (that is, ahimsa) practical. Before drawing the conclusion, the writer will briefly evaluate Gandhi’s development thought that will also depict how Gandhi pioneered development ethics

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