Unconditional Equality: Gandhi's Religion Of Resistance by Ajay SkariaUnconditional Equality: Gandhi's Religion Of Resistance by Ajay Skaria

Unconditional Equality: Gandhi's Religion Of Resistance

byAjay Skaria

Paperback | February 8, 2016

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Unconditional Equality examines Mahatma Gandhi’s critique of liberal ideas of freedom and equality and his own practice of a freedom and equality organized around religion. It reconceives satyagraha (passive resistance) as a politics that strives for the absolute equality of all beings. Liberal traditions usually affirm an abstract equality centered on some form of autonomy, the Kantian term for the everyday sovereignty that rational beings exercise by granting themselves universal law. But for Gandhi, such equality is an “equality of sword”—profoundly violent not only because it excludes those presumed to lack reason (such as animals or the colonized) but also because those included lose the power to love (which requires the surrender of autonomy or, more broadly, sovereignty).

Gandhi professes instead a politics organized around dharma, or religion. For him, there can be “no politics without religion.” This religion involves self-surrender, a freely offered surrender of autonomy and everyday sovereignty. For Gandhi, the “religion that stays in all religions” is satyagraha—the agraha (insistence) on or of satya (being or truth).

Ajay Skaria argues that, conceptually, satyagraha insists on equality without exception of all humans, animals, and things. This cannot be understood in terms of sovereignty: it must be an equality of the minor. 

Ajay Skaria is professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Hybrid Histories: Forests, Frontiers, and Wildness in Western India and coeditor of Subaltern Studies XII: Muslims, Dalits, and the Fabrications of History.
Title:Unconditional Equality: Gandhi's Religion Of ResistanceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.1 inPublished:February 8, 2016Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:081669866X

ISBN - 13:9780816698660


Table of Contents

Introduction: Surrender without Subordination
Part I: Before Satyagraha
1. Stumbling on Theological Secularism
2. Between Two and Three
3. The Warrior’s Sovereign Gift
Part II: The Aneconomies of Satyagraha
4. The Impossible Gift of Fearlessness, for Example
5. The Destruction of Conservatism
6. Daya Otherwise
7. The Sacrifice of the Gita
8. Ciphering the Satyagrahi
9. The Extreme Limit of Forgiveness
Afterword: The Miracle of the Gift

Editorial Reviews

"Divided neatly into two parts, this book delves into a familiar arena of concern with a multitude of interesting details, culled from the original Gujarati texts."—The Review of Politics "For someone with a deep philosophical understanding, who is well read in the theoretical literature, for whom Derrida clarifies rather than confuses, this book may well be worth the effort of engagement."—Satyagraha Foundation for Nonviolence Studies"The powerful accomplishment of this book lies in its formulation of the problem of equality in a language that stays most truthful to Gandhi."—Contemporary South Asia"Understanding Equality must be commended for paving the way for future scholars to examine Gandhi’s understanding of religion and politics more closely."—Pacific Affairs