What is the difference between traditional and Gandhian vision of human security?

Traditional and Gandhian Vision of Human Security: A Comparative Analysis


Human security is a multidimensional concept that encompasses the protection of individuals and communities from various threats and vulnerabilities. Throughout history, different ideologies and approaches have emerged to address the complex issue of human security. Two prominent visions are the traditional and Gandhian perspectives, each offering distinct viewpoints on how to safeguard human well-being. This article delves into the core principles of traditional and Gandhian visions of human security, comparing their philosophies, strategies, and potential implications on a global scale.

1. Traditional Vision of Human Security

The traditional vision of human security primarily revolves around the protection of national interests, state sovereignty, and the use of military power. It is rooted in the realist approach to international relations, emphasizing the need to safeguard a nation’s territorial integrity and maintain a balance of power among states. Traditional human security often centers on military might, deterrence, and the notion that military strength guarantees safety.

Key features of the traditional vision of human security include:

a) Military-Centric Approach: The traditional perspective places significant emphasis on maintaining robust armed forces to deter external threats and ensure national security.

b) State Sovereignty: This approach prioritizes the rights and prerogatives of nation-states over the interests of individuals or communities. National interests often supersede the well-being of individual citizens.

c) Conflict Resolution through Force: Traditional human security relies on the use of force to resolve conflicts and protect national interests. Military interventions and wars are seen as legitimate means to counter perceived threats.

d) Economic and Technological Dominance: Economic and technological superiority are deemed critical for ensuring national security and influence on the global stage.

2. Gandhian Vision of Human Security

The Gandhian vision of human security derives its principles from the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, the influential leader of India’s independence movement. Gandhian human security places individuals and communities at the center, prioritizing their well-being over state interests. The Gandhian perspective seeks to achieve security through non-violence, social justice, and sustainable development.

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Key features of the Gandhian vision of human security include:

a) Non-Violence and Peaceful Resistance: Gandhi’s philosophy emphasizes the power of non-violence (Ahimsa) and peaceful resistance as effective means to address conflicts and injustices.

b) Grassroots Empowerment: Gandhian human security focuses on empowering individuals and local communities to address their own challenges and promote self-reliance.

c) Sustainable Development: This vision promotes sustainable practices, environmental protection, and equitable distribution of resources to ensure long-term human security.

d) Social Harmony and Inclusivity: Gandhian human security advocates for social harmony, inclusivity, and the eradication of discrimination based on caste, class, or religion.

Comparative Analysis

1. Philosophical Underpinnings:

The traditional vision of human security is primarily grounded in realist notions of national interest and power politics, while the Gandhian perspective draws inspiration from ethical and moral principles such as non-violence, justice, and self-sufficiency.

2. Approach to Conflict Resolution:

Traditional human security relies on military force to resolve conflicts and protect national interests, often leading to destructive consequences. In contrast, the Gandhian approach seeks peaceful solutions through non-violent resistance and negotiation.

3. Emphasis on State vs. Individual:

The traditional vision prioritizes state sovereignty and national interests, which might overlook the well-being of marginalized individuals and communities. In contrast, Gandhian human security places individuals and communities at the forefront, aiming to empower them to shape their own destinies.

4. Impact on Global Relations:

The traditional vision, with its focus on military might and national interests, can lead to increased tensions and conflicts between nations. On the other hand, the Gandhian perspective promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and dialogue, which can foster better global relations.


In conclusion, the traditional and Gandhian visions of human security represent two contrasting approaches to safeguarding human well-being. The traditional perspective relies on military power, state sovereignty, and national interests, while the Gandhian vision emphasizes non-violence, social justice, and community empowerment. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, and their implications extend beyond national borders. In an increasingly interconnected world, understanding and incorporating elements from both visions may pave the way towards a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to human security on a global scale.

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