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Already in his own time, and ever more so in the last four or decades, Gandhi’s politics have been subjected to powerful critiques from the left. While many of these critiques are entirely correct, they can, if made too quickly, also obscure from us what is most radical about Gandhi—the way he questioned a will-centered politics.

Such a questioning remains indispensable for a left and democratic politics today, even it must necessarily proceed by relinquishing many of Gandhi’s specific formulations and positions.

Thinking with Gandhi, this talk will address four questions: what is a politics that affirms the will of the people? What is distinctive about “parliamentary swaraj” as a form of will-centered politics? What would be involved in a politics that relinquishes the will? Finally, what is the relation between these two politics—between the politics that affirms the will and the one that relinquishes the will.

About the speaker

Ajay Skaria is a scholar of South Asian Politics and History and is associated with Postcolonial and Subaltern Studies. He is a Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.

At this event

Anastasia Piliavsky

Reader in Social Anthropology and Politics