Monday, April 12, 2010

Gandhi and Grant: Their Philosophical Affinities - Review by Brad Jersak

Barua, Arati (ed.), Gandhi and Grant: Their Philosophical Affinities. Delhi, India: Academic Excellence, 2010).


I recently received a first edition copy of Arati Barua's collection of scholarly essays comparing and contrasting Canada's George Parkin Grant with India's Mahatma Gandhi. The book features contributions primarily from Indian and Canadian scholars and serves to further promote the interfaith dialogue that both Gandhi and Grant modelled and championed.

The book opens (see end of review for contents) with a concise introduction to George Grant by biographer William Grant and a piece on the "Motive for Coincidence between Gandhi and Grant" by Gandhi expert, Ramjee Singh. As the reader proceeds through articles by some top Grantians (Christian, Dart, Emberley, Kaethler, et al), it becomes apparent that the affinities between Gandhi and Grant are neither superficial nor contrived. In spite of their very different backgrounds, their faith-based philosophies led to comparable, independently discovered conclusions and convictions.

Both men were prophets of dissent against the prevailing modernism of their age, critical of the way technology can dehumanize the masses as we lose the capacity for contemplative life and thought. They both opposed modernity's inevitable tyranny through Western imperialism and militarism in their quite different contexts. Gandhi the Hindu and Grant the Christian both embraced a synthesis of contemplative theology, political philosophy, and their public outworking toward a just society. They lived as promoters of nonviolent resistance to moral darkness and opposed political oppression in costly and courageous ways.