Gandhi's Silence

Apart from an example of self-control, silence for Gandhi represented a critique of voice and communication, both of which he subordinated to radical ignorance as a ground for moral action. He considered the understanding derived from voice to be both incomplete and unequally accessible, while suspecting its knowledge of others of presumption as well as the desire for control. This privilege given to silence was set within a context in which the colonial state depended upon communication while its nationalist enemies were preoccupied with voice. The Mahatma was concerned instead with the limits of voice and communication, criticizing their claims to authenticity and focusing on the incommunicable element that he thought was crucial in all human relations.