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Gandhian Engagement with Capital

Gandhian Engagement with Capital
Perspectives of J C Kumarappa

  • Chaitra Redkar - Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai

March 2019 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

Gandhian Engagement with Capital: Perspectives of J C Kumarappa comprehensively presents the Gandhian ideas on economic development and political economy.

Within this larger context, it focuses on the towering contributions of J C Kumarappa, the pioneer of the Gandhian model of economic development, and describes, from his standpoint, how the moral and political dispositions of Gandhism amount to a critique of capitalism. The book also covers in detail the major facets of Kumarappa’s contribution to Gandhism: developing a non-mechanized, non-capitalist model of industrialization; presenting the holistic development approach; reflecting on the role of the state in facilitating a village-centric economy; and exploring the role of religion in developing the moral foundation of the Gandhian political economy. These reflect the historical context of Kumarappa’s scholarship and his deep understanding of the various dimensions of Gandhian thought.

The book highlights the debates within Gandhism and imparts a nuanced understanding of other Gandhian thinkers. Further, it presents several discourses in modern Indian political thought by analysing the interplay of narratives. 
In Search of Gandhi: Known and Unknown
Life and Times of J. C. Kumarappa
Locating the Problem: Money, Market and Machine
Political Economy of Permanence
Locating Kumarappa in Gandhism After Gandhi
Glossary of Persons

It is a welcome development that academic and action interest in Gandhi and his period, as well as in the lives and works of the associates of his movement and various campaigns, is on the rise.… Joseph Chelladurai Kumarappa, better known as J. C. Kumarappa or JCK, may have been comparatively a lesser known Gandhian for long, but not any longer. This has changed, especially after the arrival of a few others and this meticulously conceived and appreciably written book by Chaitra Redkar. Chaitra Redkar has made a brilliant attempt in tracking JCK’s contribution to Gandhism during and after Gandhi’s lifetime as well as right into our contemporary times. The resurgent interest in JCK’s life and work, and thereby in Gandhian economic thought, is due to several recent developments, some of which are well taken note of in this book. The significance of this book nevertheless lies in tracing the germination and blossoming of this thought at an ideational as well as some praxis level during and after Gandhi. The Gandhian economic discourse is critically summarized. From every critical appraisal it can be stated that this book has potential to become a landmark piece of academic work.

Priyavadan M. Patel
Professor and Former Head, Department of Political Science, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

Dr J. C. Kumarappa was a prominent Gandhian economist who attempted ‘green’ critique of both capitalism and communism as both followed the development policies, enhanced inequality and deprived a large number of people from their livelihood. His critique was based on the Gandhian critique of sustainable development. Kumarappa criticized capital because of its money economy, mechanized industrialism, centralization of power and production fuelled by consumerism. Instead, he advocated development of a network of village industries, the khadi and skill-based handicrafts, and agriculture based on farmers’ collectives. He criticized the Bhoodan movement for distributing land to the farmers instead of forming their collectives. The Gandhian environmentalism of Kumarappa is deeply rooted in Gandhian ethics and development concerns of the Third-World countries. Dr Chaitra Redkar has admirably brought out the main features of Kumarappa’s ideas as well as their contemporary relevance.

Ashok Chousalkar
Former Professor, Department of Political Science, Shivaji University

The present volume which is built around the socio-economic ideas of J. C. Kumarappa acquires seminal importance, particularly in the context where Kumarappa’s contribution has been inadequately covered by scholars. One has to also appreciate the intellectual importance of this volume for another, perhaps more important reason—that it opens up a new dimension of Gandhian economics. The volume manifests to the readers the formative influence of the Western intellectual tradition that shaped Kumarappa’s thought. But this, as the volume suggests, does not leave an everlasting impact on Kumarappa’s thought. Gandhian influence had determinative impact on the ideas of Kumarappa. More interestingly, the volume brings forth the reflective character of Kumarappa’s thought which is critical of the Western economy and also the modernist economic thinking within the Congress Party. Of course, the vantage point of this double critique is the Gandhian moral/political economy.

Gopal Guru
Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

The world is going through a difficult period. On the one hand the world seems to be progressing, but at what cost?… One can find some answers to such difficult questions in J. C. Kumarappa’s thinking. He was a true Gandhian in all sense. He believed in ‘small is beautiful’. It is Antyodaya (uplift of the last), base of Gandhian economic thinking. Today it is all the more relevant. Unfortunately, after Independence many intellectuals like J. C. Kumarappa were forgotten. It is time to remind the young generations born after partition what kind of socio-political-economic thinking our freedom fighters had and what kind of society they visualized.… My sincere opinion is this book by Chaitra will contribute in a big way. Such a book in the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi will make all the more impact.

Jatin Desai
Veteran Gandhian activist, journalist, Former General Secretary of Pakistan–India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy and Ex-Bureau Member of South Asians for Human Rights
Key features

·         This book highlights the various facets of J C Kumarappa’s thought - moral, political, economic and religious.

·         It contains extensive discussions of interactions between Gandhi, Kumarappa and the various other Gandhian thinkers.  

·         The book is an insightful and critical presentation of the state of Gandhian discourse after Gandhi’s demise.

·         It is a path-breaking interpretation of the Gandhian approach to capitalism.

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ISBN: 9789353282288