Indian Anarchism: The Sarvodaya Movement

  • Geoffrey Ostergaard
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


To pin the label ‘anarchist’ to the contemporary Sarvodaya movement in India might seem at first sight to be either the act of a hostile critic, anxious to expose its follies, or, at best, an act which invites misunderstanding. The label is certainly not one which the Sarvodayites themselves use. In India, as in the West, anarchism is popularly associated with violence, and, like Tolstoy before them, the Indian apostles of non-violent anarchism prefer a label which bears no traces of dynamite. However, one purpose of this article is to show that the social and political doctrines of Sarvodaya do in fact constitute a species of the anarchist genus. This purpose may be achieved most easily by comparing and contrasting Sarvodaya doctrines with what may be termed mainstream Western anarchism — the tradition of thought stemming from Proudhon through Bakunin and Kropotkin to Malatesta. But, before proceeding to this exercise, it may be helpful to outline the origins of the contemporary Sarvodaya movement.


Civil Disobedience Constructive Programme Parliamentary Democracy Landless Peasant Constructive Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 10.
    A. Doctor, Anarchist Thought in India, Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1964.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Government and Opposition Ltd 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Ostergaard

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations