Ascetics, warriors, and a Gandhian ecological citizenship

  • Godrej F
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I argue here that a clearer conception of Gandhi's nonviolence is required\r
in order to understand his resonance for contemporary environmentalem.\r
Gandhi's nonviolence incorporates elements of both the brahmin or ascetic, as\r
well as the ksatriya or warrior. Contemporary environmental movements by\r
and large over-emphasize the self-abnegating, self-denying and self-scrutinizing\r
ascetic components of Gandhi's thought, to the neglect of the confrontational\r
and warrior-like ones. In so doing, they often also over-emphasize the ethical\r
dimension of Gandhi's thought, missing the discursive political dimension with\r
which this Gandhian ethics is interwoven. I will argue here that the warrior-like\r
and confrontational political aspect of Gandhi's nonviolence must be brought\r
to the fore in discussions of environmentalism. In so doing, Gandhi can be read\r
as an advocate of a certain form of "ecological" citizenship, requiring both the\r
scrutiny of one's bodily consumptive behaviours, as well as the placement of\r
one's body on the frontlines of aggressive political contestation.

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  • Farah Godrej

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