Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi views on the State begin from a position of deep distrusts and discomfort vis-s-vis the State. He differed from the core commitment that liberals make to the idea of unbridle individualism.
Hence he obviously does not subscribe to the notion of the State that has as its fundamental principle competing individuals pursuing an end defined by the interests of the isolated, atomized self. Gandhi was equally uncomfortable with the interventionist role of the State advocated by some other theories albeit in the interest of equality.Gandhi argued that increasing State interference is immoral and opens up ever increasing possibilities of violence and corruption. Gandhi described Swarajya as the ideal State. This would imply not only self-rule as is commonly understood but it implied governance of one’s self, self-control and self regulation a situation where each individual is able to govern and control himself or herself thus making the State redundant.
Gandhi advocated an active citizenry that would be involved in decision making and control of its destiny, rather than a huge and centralized, monolithic State structure.For Gandhi such a structure would be an embodiment of violence and would lead to alienation. This was an extension of his opinion that large scale industrialization would lead to violence and alienation.
Gandhi denounced the modern State as a soulless machine, which even while engaging in ostensibly egalitarian acts unwittingly leads to violence and in the last instance a destruction of the individual. Gandhi expected the State to ensure internal peace and external security.He was however extremely skeptical of the modern State’s claims to act on behalf of something described as autonomous ‘national interest’. This discussion is only a fleeting glimpse of the very interesting arguments Gandhi puts forth in his dialogue with the tradition of western political theory that we have looked at so far. Needless to add that in order to present the total picture need to place this discussion in the larger context of Gandhi’s political philosophy.