Gandhi: an appraisal

From Ram Guha:

The challenge that confronted Gandhi on his return was to convert a campaign of urban elites into a mass movement. Till then, it was easy for the British to dismiss the Congress as a front for lawyers and other English-speaking professionals seeking the loaves and fishes of office. Gandhi felt this criticism keenly, and sought to refute it. First, he encouraged the Congress to function in the vernacular, building up provincial committees that operated in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Oriya and in other languages of the people. Next, he brought in peasants and women, two groups that had previously been excluded from the proceedings. Third, he campaigned to abolish untouchability and to promote Hindu-Muslim harmony, seeking to answer the charge that the Congress was a party of banias and Brahmins. Fourth, he worked to nurture a second rung of political leadership that would work with him in deepening the social base of the Congress and make it truly representative of the nation-in-the-making.

In the short-and-medium term, Gandhi was successful in all but the third ambition.

A nice one!

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