It means we cannot fully understand his life and philosophy without knowing the inner dynamism that brought the diverse elements into a fruitful relationship with one another.
For many scholars Gandhi was a man of personal integrity.
Therefore, the key to understanding the life and philosophy of Gandhi is to understand that Gandhi gave his political actions an internal moral basis, and he used his political actions for his internal growth (“moksha”).
It means that Gandhi evolved as a unique combination of a Mahatma who had a highly moral and spiritual position that was necessarily political, and a shrewd political strategist who had a political position that was necessarily moral and spiritual. Indeed, Ernest Barker, a political philosopher, was right in his assessment when he wrote; “what he [Gandhi] was to the world, and what he could do for the world, depended on his being more things than one.” Further, he said, Gandhi could mix “the spiritual with the temporal and could be at the same time true to both” hence “the mixture was essence” (Barker 2007: 50–51).
He epitomised a perfect harmony between thought, word and action.
They emphasised that Gandhi’s life must be understood in such a way that his words and deeds should reflect each other.
On the other hand, those who hold that Gandhi was basically a political strategist argue that “in fact, his philosophy of life had only a limited impact on the people.
It was as a political leader and through his political strategy and tactics of struggle that he moved millions into political action” (Chandra 1989: 506).
I argue that scholars have created a false dichotomy between “Gandhi the Mahatma” and “Gandhi the Politician” because usually these two are considered as different as chalk and cheese.
For him it was not enough to strategise against an opponent, it was also important that the action be carried out on the highest moral ground.