Head, Department of Political Science, Lucknow Christian Degree College, Lucknow..
MAHATMA GANDHI PART - II
SARVODAYA OR NON-VIOLENT SOCIALISM
Ø Gandhji’s concept of welfare state includes the idea of sarvodaya.
Ø Gandhi brought the concept of sarvodaya from Gita.
Ø Sarvodaya is based on the concept of the unity of existence.
Ø Meaning of Sarvodaya – Sarva (all) + Uday (rising) i.e. Rising of all, welfare of all.
Ø According to him individual labour creates capital, and capital has a social utility.
Ø Gandhi reconstructed the concept of private property.
Ø One can have private property but not for one’s use. It should be utilized for social needs.
Ø Gandhiji believed in the doctrine of limits.
Ø Self-regulation of one’s needs helps oneself in creating a sarvodaya.
Ø One should voluntarily limit one’s property and practice self-renunciation.
Ø Gandhiji asked the rich to consider themselves as the trustees for the community and spend their property in the interests of the community as a whole, because the rich cannot accumulate wealth without the cooperation of the poor in society.
Ø It is a type of distributive justice.
Ø Vinoba Bhave developed an idea of sarvodaya in a practical sense. According to him concentration of land in the hands of few creates a basis for rural violence. Rural rich must participate in voluntary distribution of land.
Ø Thus, sarvodaya aims to replace the politics of power by the politics of co-operation.
DECENTRALIZATION OF POLITICAL & ECONOMIC POWER
Ø According to Gandhi centralization of political power in a small group cannot help in creating popular and participatory democracy.
Ø Gandhji’s sarvodaya centers around the small republic where the mass of people manage their affairs without depending on the state.
Ø In Gandhi’s scheme, village panchayat plays a crucial role in policy making.
Ø Gandhi was conscious of the historical fact that colonization had destroyed the basic institutions of a village society. Revival of these institutions in a true spirit may strengthen democracy.
Ø Political institutions of the grass roots level may be able to restrict the power of state;
Ø Gandhiji’s concept of state is that of a limited state, which does not interfere in the day to day activities of people.
Ø An Indian society consists of a large number of villages. Village republic can be a nucleus of a democratic organization.
Ø Once village panchayat is formed, it is easy to create a sarvodaya economy. Village panchayat must look after the economy of the village which will help the prosperity of village people.
Ø Panchayat will take care of education, health, sanitation.
Ø Gandhiji wanted India to become a network of self-governing and self-sustaining village republics, each one of them leading an autonomous existence.
Ø In Gandhiji's sarvodaya society there is space for industrialization and technological advancement.
Ø But he said it should not go beyond control. It should not destroy the ecological basis of a society and should not lead to concentration of economic power.
Ø Gandhiji was not against the use of machines when it was for the good of the society.
Ø Gandhiji wanted the immense manpower and cattle power of India to be utilized first, before turning to large-scale machinery.
Ø He wanted the indigenous industries to be developed. He gave emphasis to cottage industries and hand spinning and hand-weaving.
Ø He advocated the revolutionary doctrine that “land belongs to him who tills it”.
Ø The Charkha also symbolized the dignity of labour.
Ø Thus, Gandhiji's economic thought is related largely to rural development.
Ø According to him village society is the soul of India.
Ø He emphasized on self-sufficiency of the village society.
Ø In villages agricultural economy and allied agro-industries must take care of the needs of the village people.
Ø For him, that government is the best, which governs the least.
Ø The state must follow persuasive rather than coercive methods.
Ø A sarvodaya social order can be created by giving Nai-talim. Gandhiji stressed on compulsory primary education. He called it basic education.
GANDHIJI ON RELIGION IN POLITICS
Ø Gandhiji never-separated religion from politics. He said state and government have no links with religions, but a politician must be a religious man.
Ø The guiding principle of a politician is to serve others in an ethical manner, otherwise political power might be able to corrupt a politician.
Ø Government must not be allowed to interfere in the religious domain.
Ø Thus, Gandhi's concept of government is basically secular government.
Ø According to Gandhi, this disassociation of politics from morality enables the rich and the strong to manipulate the politics and government to their advantage at the expense of the poor and weak.
Ø Mahatma Gandhi appeared on the Indian political scene at a very crucial period of the Indian national movement.
Ø The people had lost faith in the principle of political moderation as imperialistic exploitation and oppression had become extremely severe.
Ø The moderate leaders had been rejected, but the extremists and terrorists were equally frustrated and leaderless.
Ø In Gandhi’s personality, there was the harmonious blending of the best elements of political moderation and extremism.
Ø He was a humanist and radical revivalist who fought not only against the colonialism and imperialism of foreigners, but also against superstitious practices religious hatred, casteism in India with equal vigour and dynamism.
Ø He introduced the Spiritualization of Politics. He stressed on purity of ends and means. He said the means must be ethically right. If not, the end itself loses its value. The right and just means must be adopted to achieve right and just ends e.g. to achieve Swaraj Gandhiji adopted non-violent means.
Ø He critiqued modern civilization, not because it was western or scientific, but because it was materialistic and exploitative. He argued that while modern civilization may have brought and increased bodily comforts through better houses, cloths, travel and mechanized production etc, these have failed to bring happiness of the people.
Ø It made men slaves of many luxuries and divorced from ethics and morality.
Ø For him progress of human civilization is to be measured in the scale of ethics, and not in the scale of pure materialism. T
Ø For him true civilization consists not in the accumulation of commodities but in a deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants.