Economics at your fingertips  

Gandhi's Gift: Lessons for Peaceful Reform from India's Struggle for Democracy

Rikhil Bhavnani and Saumitra Jha ()

Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 2014, vol. 9, issue 1, 76-88

Abstract: We examine the potential and limitations of nonviolent civil disobedience through the lens of the evolution of an iconic success: India's struggle for democratic self-rule. We summarize evidence consistent with a theoretical framework that highlights two key challenges faced by nonviolent movements in ethnically diverse countries. The first challenge, that of forging a mass movement, was met through the brokering of a deal that took advantage of an external shock (in this case, the Great Depression) to align the incentives of disparate ethnic and social groups toward mass mobilization in favor of democracy and land reform. The second challenge, that of keeping the mass movement peaceful, was accomplished through organizational innovations introduced by Mohandas Gandhi in his reforms of the constitution of the Congress movement in 1919-23. These innovations took the movement from one dominated by a rich elite to one organized on the principle of self-sacrifice. This permitted the selection of future leaders who could then be trusted to maintain nonviolent discipline in pursuit of the extension of broad rights and public policy objectives.

Date: 2014
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
Open access 24 months after original publication.

Related works:
Working Paper: Gandhi's Gift: Lessons for Peaceful Reform from India's Struggle for Democracy (2014) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Economics of Peace and Security Journal is currently edited by Michael Brown and J Paul Dunne

More articles in Economics of Peace and Security Journal from EPS Publishing Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Michael Brown, Managing Editor, EPSJ ().

Page updated 2021-11-09
Handle: RePEc:epc:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:1:p:76-88