Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Martin Green, in his book on Mohandas Gandhi, writes of Chesterton's influence on the fledgling Indian separatist movement:

"Gandhi read G. K. Chesterton's essay in the Illustrated London News on September 18, advising young Indians to hold by their traditional culture rather than introducing the new ideas associated with Herbert Spencer. Gandhi was so delighted with this that he told Indian Opinion to reprint it. Gandhi also liked a letter by Chesterton to the Daily News of October 22; Chesterton preached a version of Ruskin's and Morris's enthusiasm for the culture of the Middle Ages."

Thus Green has partially corroborated the assertion by P. N. Furbank that Chesterton was the inspiration for Hind Swaraj, Gandhi's first explanation of his program to achieve Indian independence. [Gandhi, New York: Continuum, 1993, pp. 192-93]

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