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Durable Link to this BlogSaturday, March 5, 2005

Ideas from Hind Swaraj - II

Hind Swaraj, a small book of hundred pages by Mahatma Gandhi (in 1908) is today more relevant than at any other stage of India's existence as a free country. India is more impoverished than Bapuji could ever imagine. He wanted economically independent India. He wanted swaraj (self-governance) at village level.

'Hind Swaraj' had electric effect on the Indian masses. Millions gave up their Manchester clothing and took to coarse Khadi. Men stopped purchasing foreign goods. Several youngsters left English teaching schools and colleges. several Gandhians started national schools in Indian languages with stress on Gandhi's constructive program. In the days when even radio was unknown and press was muzzled, this little book mounded the minds of countless Indians as no other book of modern times did.

Hind Swaraj deals with several topics foremost in people's mind at the time. It deals with basic constructive agenda of Congress Party (organization of his time). Besides, topic like discontent, concept of swaraj, definition of swaraj, bane of mechanization, relation between Hindus and Muslims, interpretation of true civilization, how India could become free? Passive resistance, education and fighting brute force are covered.

As I have already explained in the first part, Gandhi was against excessive use or craze for machinery. He felt that machines were helpful to big countries like U.S.A. and former U.S.S.R. with less or sparse population and not India where 'human machines' were in plenty. Our native system provided work for all, in its basic structure. Every village was self-sufficient or self-supportive. Now that almost all village based arts and crafts are dead, making room for company products, our economy is in ruins, the rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer.

From Hind Swaraj Chapter IX, Condition of Indian Railways

See Also: Gandhi's Revolutionary Book Hind Swaraj

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Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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