In his fight against the castes, he thus stands out strongly from Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, one of the representatives of the untouchables and Prime Minister of Justice of independent India, who was not only opposed to the caste system, but to the Hinduism as a religious and social philosophy245.
Petrified by the writings of Tolstoy, Gandhi developed his analysis into a radical critique of the state. The nature of the state, according to him, is essentially violent and oppressive; the existence of a state is incompatible with the principles of non-violent life246:
“The state represents violence in an intensified and organized form. The individual has a soul, but the State, which is a machine without a soul, cannot be exempt from violence since it is to it that it owes its existence. “
This is why he developed the idea of developing, in parallel with actions of struggle and civil disobedience to obtain independence, a “constructive program247”. It is through the search for the autonomy of each village, outside (and against) any centralized organization that a truly democratic and non-violent India could continue after Independence.
“True independence will not come from the seizure of power by a few, but from the power that all will have to oppose abuses of authority. In other words, independence must be achieved by instilling in the masses the conviction that they have the possibility of controlling the exercise of authority and of holding it in check. “
The level chosen to exercise such control is the village, which would exercise a form of sovereignty within a federal framework248.
Gandhi, who was aware of the difficulty of achieving such an organization of society, compared this objective to an anarchist society249:
“It would be a state of enlightened anarchy. In such a country, everyone would be their own master. He would direct himself in such a way that he would never interfere with his neighbor. Therefore, the ideal state is one where there is no political power due to the very disappearance of the state. “
Because of his criticism of authority, forms of oppression and exploitation; because of his criticism of the state; from the very fact that Gandhi himself frequently and explicitly linked his political philosophy to anarchism, some have wondered whether Gandhi could not be called an anarchist. When asked whether it was realistic to want to achieve a non-violent democratic society made up of federated villages – a situation that Gandhi described as anarchy – he retorted, in 1940251:
This important aspect of Gandhi’s thought, together with that of the critique of the Western mode of development, was left fallow since the question of the partition of India in practice occupied the last years of Gandhi’s life. However, these two complementary dimensions have not remained pure theory.
The constructive program that Gandhi had called for was deepened by Vinobâ, one of his closest disciples. From a resolutely critical perspective and opposed to the Western mode of development, Vinobâ undertook to resolve the agrarian question by seeking, through the opening of unprecedented fronts of non-violent struggle, to create the autonomy of the villages, the bases of an Indian society. nonviolent.
For Gandhi, each by his actions had to be the change he wanted to see in the world, often cited as:
Truth, non-violence and the struggle for their success were inseparable, and to betray one aspect of it was to betray its entire ideal.