Gandhi's last words for building self-sufficient villages
written by M.K. Gandhi
compiled by Kayoko Katayama
Chapter 1 : The problem of India
インドの現状 The present situation of India
Freedom is bound to come. It is coming. But mere political freedom will not satisfy me. It will certainly not satisfy the world which expects much greater things from India. Independence of my conception means nothing less than the realization of the “Kingdom of God within you and on this earth’’.1 I would rather work for and die in the pursuit of this dream though it may never be realized. That means infinite patience and perseverance.
SPEECH AT A. I. S. A. MEETING March 24, 1945
We have plenty of fertile land where we can grow fruits, vegetables and other food-stuffs. But we do not make full use of our opportunity. Instead of eating fresh, whole foods, we eat them denatured. We grow cereals and eat them after converting them practically into dust. God has given us everything we need and He has endowed us with intellect and the use of two hands. We could raise our food, grow cotton and prepare our own clothes, rear cattle and supply milk to our children. Yet we go hungry and naked. Our children are ill-fed and undernourished. Could there be anything more tragic?
..... resuscitation of the wheel would help to revitalize agriculture by making them shed their inertia and apathy.
Referring to the unthinking admiration of the visitors who had literally laid siege to his hut the whole day, he describe how it had driven him to desperation almost. He was sick of it. It could do not good either to him or to them. True admiration consisted in carrying out the wishes of the person one admired, not merely staring at him and thus wasting his time and one’s own.
１時間の糸紡ぎがインドを救う Spinning an hour a day is enough.
To me it is a simple calculation. I feel that if everyone spins for an hour daily all would be able to have the cloth required. If, however, it would require six hours a day from everybody to achieve this, khadi was bound to perish. For people have to do other work also. They have to produce food and do some intellectual work as well. Moreover, Nayee Talim would lose its meaning if one was ever to toil like a bullock under it. An hour spent in spinning is an hour of self-development for the spinner.
My faith is being strengthened every day that no one need buy an inch of cloth if everyone plies the charkha daily?just for half an hour. Not only that, this is the key to the preservation of swaraj. If crores of people devoted half an hour to spinning, its result would amaze the whole world. There is no alternative to khadi for bettering the lot of the famishing millions. A number of industries have developed in the wake of khadi which provide livelihood to artisans like carpenters, blacksmiths, peasants, weavers and so on. I compare the charkha to the sun and say that so long as its wheel goes on rotating, it spreads light throughout the whole country. The uplift of India depends solely on the uplift of the villages. India lies in its seven lakh villages, not in Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Lahore or Karachi.
April 7, 1947
It is a great thing to become industrious through the spinning-wheel and give up lethargy. The key to our swaraj lies in it. When we keep the spinning-wheel in the centre and try to remove its defects, we learn many things by the way.。。。
If India understands the value of the sspinning-wheel, swaraj can be certainly attained through it.
インドの歴史を振り返って History of India
Not only did India produce enough cloth for herself, she was also able to export it. There were no mills in India then. He said: I might say that every woman had her own mill in the charkha and the takli. Modern mills were evolved from the charkha. Man was a mixture of divine and devilish forces. The force behind the spinning-wheel was divine, devoid of any trace of exploitation. The foreigner saw the hidden possibilities that were in it and, by the application of steam and electricity, created mills and used them as instruments of exploitation of the simple races of the earth. This represented the power of the devil.
There were so many cloth-mills in India and yet India went about almost naked..... If out of the 40 crores of India, even 20 crores in her seven lakh villages took to spinning for one or two hours a day, they could not only clothe the population of the villages but even supply cloth for the cities.
The Hindu, 13-7-1946
in India, the home of chronic poverty, the spining-wheel is the provider of butter and bread for the poor. The late R. C. Dutt has shown how the prosperity of the East India Company was founded on their trade in Indian textiles. No part of the world, neither China nor Japan could produce fabrics to equal them. In the early phase the East India Company battened on the exploitation of its monopoly in Indian textiles. Not only did it bring them immense trade profits, it also gave an impetus to British shipping. Later, Lancashire developed its own textile industry following upon a series of mechanical inventions. This brought it into competition with the Indian textile manutactures. The policy of exploitation of the Indian artisans then gave way to that of destruction of their craft.
An English writer has observed that the history of cotton is the history of civilization. Politics is the handmaid of commerce. Indian history provides an apt illustration of it. In the heyday of our cotton manufactures we used to grow all the cotton for our needs. The cotton seed was fed to the cattle which provided health-giving milk to the people. Agriculture flourished. The lint was turned into beautiful fabrics of which the jamdanis of Dacca were a specimen. As an offshoot we had the worldfamed dyeing and printing art of Masulipatam. Connoisseurs say that our old indigenous dyes could not be matched by any in the world for their permanence as well as brightness and beauty. All that is gone now. India is today naked. We have to cover her nakedness. If anybody could suggest a better substitute than the spinning-wheel for the prupose I would discard the spinning-wheel today. But none has been found so far and I dare say none is likely to be found.
The question may however be asked: ‘How can the charkha bring India freedom when it could not prevent its loss ?’ The reply is that in the past charkha was not linked with the idea of freedom. Nor did it then symbolize the power of non-violence. In olden days it symbolized our slavery. We had not realized that our progress, prosperity and even freedom depended on the charkha or else we should have put up a fight and resorted to satyagraha to save it from destruction. What was lost through our ignorance and apathy has now to be won back through intelligence and knowledge. We have today ceased to think for ourselves. The Government says that Bengal is a pauper province and we mechanically accept the statement. To call a province which boasts 61/2crores of population as pauper is only to proclaim our own intellectual bankruptcy....
Our real malady is not destitution but laziness, apathy and inertia. You may achieve marvels of irrigational engineering. But wellfilled granaries alone cannot and will not end our slavery. To end slavery you must overcome the mental and physical inertia of the masses and quicken their intelligence and creative faculty. It is my claim that the universalization of hand-spinning with a full knowledge of all that it stands for alone can bring that about in a sub-continent so vast and varied as India.
非暴力の象徴としてのチャルカ Charkha as a symbol of non-violence
People merely thought that the charkha was only for poor women. That it certainly is. But it is also a symbol of non-violence. If people knew this they would not burn the charkha.
Time was when the whole of India plied the charkha and it enjoyed pride of place. There were no mills then either in India or anywhere else in the world. Cotton textiles were sent to the outside world from India and there was a time when Dacca muslin known as shabnam1 was very popular. It was greatly valued by people outside India. They appreciated its beauty. I do not wish to go into all that history, though it is quite interesting. Nevertheless at that time the charkha was a symbol of slavery, for women were then forced to give a certain quantity of yarn and this was done by order of the government.
Women were forced to spin; they had to supply fixed quantities of yarn and they could not even ask to be paid for it. The Government itself decided what little money was to be paid for their labour and when even that money was not paid the women could do nothing about it. The attitude then prevalent was that after all women were born to do such work. They should be thankful if they were paid just a little money for it. It is a tragic history the way women were exploited and I do not wish to go into it. The charkha which was then a symbol of slavery has been transformed into a symbol of our freedom, and that is what I have been shouting from the house-tops.
We have to develop in us the power that non-violence alone can give. For that we shall once again have to adopt the charkha.
Today we have a larger army. We are trying to augment it further. Our expenditure on the army has increased enormously. What if the British are no longer here. It is a tragedy and a shame. For so long we fought through the charkha and the moment we have power in our hands we forget it. Today we look up to the army. It is because we have forgotten the charkha that we indulge in mutual fighting. Our mistake was to imagine that the charkha was a thing only for women.
The important thing is that no military force can stand up to the power created by crores of people working together. It is my fault, not that of ahimsa, if I cannot prove that. That is because I am lacking in tapashcharya. But you cannot say that ahimsa does not have the power. That power can find the fullest expression through the charkha. If the millions do not ply the charkha, the loss is obvious. Only a few lakhs of people can be employed by the mills. What occupation shall we provide for the hundreds of millions? This is what you have to consider. This is a supreme economic as well as moral question.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING NEW DELHI, December 13, 1947
Then the only form of non-violent work to be done by the largest number of men, women and children of the land, in order to regain the lost trade with its attendant activities, is the spinning-wheel. Thus conceived, it easily becomes the symbol par excellence ofnon-violence. To be an instrument of swaraj, naturally it must not flourish under Government or any other patronage. It must flourish, if need be, even in spite of the resistance from Government or the capitalist who is interested in his spinning and weaving mills. The spinning-wheel represents the millions in the villages as against the classes represented by the mill-owners and the like.
“Assuming,” the Editor asks, “that the wheel is designed to bring in swaraj non-violently, why should a person who is more usefully occupied or even disinclined spin?” The reason is more psychological than utilitarian. The villagers have become used to imitating the city-dwellers so much so that the movement is towards migration to the city slums instead of remaining in and improving their own lot in the villages. If every person sets apart, for the sake of winning swaraj non-violently, a certain time for hand-spinning, an atmosphere for spinning will be created and if khadi became an article for personal use instead of being an article of commerce, which it now largely is, the question of competition with mill-cloth or any other cloth will disappear and the poorest as well as the richest will be able to wear and use khadi without the slightest difficulty. No wonder Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has called it “the livery of our freedom”.
The Hindu, 11-8-1945
具体的計画 A concrete plan
(Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place)
Every family with a plot of ground can grow cotton at leastfor family use....It was and still is a money crop and, therefore, subject to the fluctuations of the market. Under the khadi scheme cotton-growing becomes free from this uncertainty and gamble. The grower grows what he needs. The farmer needs to know that his first business is to grow for his own needs. When he does that, he will reduce the chance of a low market ruining him.
Carding for self can be done well on a tiny bow without much effort. The greater the decentralization of labour, the simpler and cheaper the tools. ... The best, easiest and cheapest way is to make it oneself. Indeed one ought to learn how to handle and make simple tools. Imagine the unifying and educative effect of the whole nation simultaneously taking part in the processes up to spinning ! Consider the levelling effect of the bond of common labour between the rich and the poor! Yarn thus produced may be used in three ways : by presenting it to the A.I.S.A. for the sake of the poor, by having it woven for personal use, or by getting as much khadi for it as it can buy.
khadi mentality means decentralization of the production and distribution of the necessaries of life. Therefore, the formula so far evolved is, every village to produce all its necessaries.
In our country there has been a divorce between labour and intelligence. The result has been stagnation. If there is an indissoluble marriage between the two, and that in the manner here suggested, the resultant good will be inestimable.
the constructive programme is the truthful and non-violent way of winning poorna swaraj. Its wholesale fulfilment is complete independence. Imagine all the forty crores of people busying themselves with the whole of the constructive programme which is designed to build up the nation from the very bottom upward.
Village economy cannot be
complete without the essential village industries such as hand-grinding,
hand-pounding, soap-making, paper-making, match-making, tanning, oil-pressing, etc.
All should make it a point of honour to use only village articles whenever and wherever available. Given the demand there is no doubt that most of our wants can be supplied from our villages. When we have become villageminded, we will not want imitations of the West or machine-made products, but we will develop a true national taste in keeping with the vision of a new India in which pauperism, starvation and idleness will be unknown.
For civil disobedience it means the constructive programme.
(Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place)
Chapter 2 : An evil effect of machines
機械不要論 We don't need machines.
The age of machines started only 200 or 300 years ago. Before that we used to do all the work with our hands and cheerfully too. With the advent of the machine age our hands have been cut off. Handicrafts and body labour are disappearing with the result that we have become lazy.
April 24, 1947
they had developed the habit of making simple things which admitted of very simple solutions unnecessarily difficult and complicated. What they needed was not costly and elaborate machinery or highly paid technicians and experts, but plain common sense, combined with the will to go down to the masses, share their lives, think in their terms and win their confidence. They should teach them by personal example how they could in the immediate present provide themselves with what they so sorely needed but had hitherto lacked. The masses would instinctively feel that the era of the common man had arrived.
April 20, 1947
We have no need for big mills and heavy machinery. If one machine does the work of a hundred men, then where are we to employ those hundred men? In a country with such a huge population proliferation of mechanized industries will surely lead to large-scale unemployment. I have great regard for technologists. I have respect for scientists. But I have no use for machinery if a person owning it becomes a millionaire, spends his life in comforts and luxury, lives in bungalows, moves about in a car, gets milk when he asks for water, and wears soft and expensive clothes, while on the other hand thousands of people do not even have roofs over their heads, have to sweat for bread, have no clothes to cover themselves with and then have their work snatched away by one millionaire. The real India does not live in Bombay, Delhi or Calcutta but in seven lakh villages.
If we wish to make those villages self-reliant, the human machines should be activated. If there are riots in India today, the cause is to be found in idleness and unemployment. If everyone ate what he earned by the sweat of his brow, if they had to work eight hours a day for their livelihood, no one would have even a minute to spare. Our best religious book is the Gita. In it Lord Krishna says that whoever eats without performing yajna eats stolen food. （ Bhagavad Gita, iii. 12）
The new meaning of yajna is that a man has no right to eat till he has earned his food with hard labour. There is in this world no one happier that a self-reliant man who finds happiness in the accomplishment of his work. Isn’t there a saying that ‘dependence on others always ends in disappointment’. It is very true. If we look around we find that there is no peace or happiness on the face of anyone. The main reason for it is that people expect help from others even for the smallest things.
June 26, 1947
The higher wages paid to labourers in the spinning mills are more apparent than real. Mill cloth is 2 1/2 times cheaper than khadi today.
Experts have told me that if the mill industry did not receive special privileges and concessions in several ways, which it today enjoys, mill cloth would not sell cheaper than khadi. For instance, we provide cheap transport facilities to the mills to enable raw materials and massproduced finished goods to be taken from one place to another.
Again, enormous sums have been spent on growing long-staple cotton or on starting technical institutes and on research work. No one has bothered to do anything for any of the seven lakhs of India’s villages. So the mills are today actually being subsidized in some shape or other. Remove all that and then see whether mill cloth is cheaper than khadi.
In the West, a handful of persons with the aid of mechanical power rule over others.
。。。for a handful of men to rule over other men with the aid of steam and other power will be harmful in the end, as it is bound to multiply injustice. By using the human power available to us by the million, injustice is reduced. And there is no room for failure. For here, along with human power, we rely on divine Power. In the other method, no value is attached to divine Power. In short, if in the case of village industries we do not truly obtain God’s help, we are bound to fail.
The Western method only appears to be successful, but in truth there is nothing but failure in it. For it destroys the will to work.
May 21, 1945
we should satisfy all our necessities by the labour of our hands. If we do not do this we shall have to depend upon other powers and as long as such condition persists we shall be unable to realize a state of fearlessness.
(Another danger in） making more and more use of machinery is that we have to make great efforts for the protection of it, that is to say, we shall have to keep an army as is being done today elsewhere in the world. The fact is that even if there is no danger of aggression from outside we shall be slaves to those who will be in control of the big machinery....
If we take a wise view, we shall be saved from the working of machinery.
SEVAGRAM, November 29, 1945
都市化が繁栄ではない Urbanization does not bring prosperity.
I regard the growth of cities as an evil thing, unfortunate for mankind and the world, unfortunate for England and certainly unfortunate for India. The British have exploited India through its cities. The latter have exploited the villages. The blood of the villages is the cement with which the edifice of the cities is built. I want the blood that is today inflating the arteries of the cities run once again in the blood-vessels of the villages.
Once we discover that a mistake has been made, the only course open to us is to recognize our error, retrace our steps and begin anew.
Somehow, the belief prevails in the modern world that retracing one’s steps in
this respect would be incompatible with progress.
What do you do when a ship loses her course on the sea? She does not continue to follow the wrong course. She at once retraces her course and then starts afresh.....
Q: Does that mean that you would depopulate the cities and send all the city-folk back to the villages?
G:I would not do that. All I want is that they should readjust their lives so as to cease to sponge upon the poor village folk and make to the latter what reparation is possible even at this late hour by helping to resuscitate their ruined economy.
There are two schools of thought current in the world. One wants to divide the world into cities and the other into villages. The village civilization and the city civilization are totally different things.
One depends on machinery and industrialization, the other rests on handicraft. We have given preference to the latter. After all, this industrialization and large-scale production are only of comparatively recent growth. We do not know how far it has contributed to our development and happiness, but we know this much that it has brought in its wake the recent world wars. This second world war is not still over and even before it comes to an end we are hearing of a third world war.
Our country was never so unhappy and miserable as it is at present. In the cities people may be getting big profits and good wages, but all that has become possible by sucking the blood of villagers.
We do not want to collect lakhs and crores. We do not always want to depend on money for our work. If we are prepared to sacrifice our lives for the cause, money is nothing. We must have faith and we must be true to ourselves.
The Bombay Chronicle, 7-12-1944
Those who are engaged in bidi-making earn four times what is possible through spinning, or even more. Many of the mill labourers have become rich. This means that those who are starving today will starve still further till they die, and the few of them who can earn well will ride roughshod over the rest. If more mills are increased and the number of cities is increased it will not make India prosperous. On the other hand it will make crores die of starvation and of the many diseases produced by starvation. If city people are pleased with such a spectacle I have nothing to say. Then it will be the reign of violence, not of non-violence and truth, and I will admit that in that case khadi will have no place, it can have no place. Then military training will be compulsory whether we like it or not.
But what I am talking about relates to the crores of the starving people. If they are to live, and live well, the charkha will have to be central and spinning undertaken voluntarily also by those who do not need to spin.
Chapter 3 : Spin to clothe ourselves
新しい計画 The new plan
The most important discovery I made was that the foundation of the A.I.S.A. was so weak that the Association could be easily wiped out of existence. It had not taken root in the life of the people. The Government could destroy it by imprisoning its leaders....
I realized in jail that there was something wrong in our method of khadi work, which must needs be amended...
the work would have to be decentralized if it is to spread far and wide and take permanent root.
SPEECH AT A. I. S. A. MEETING-I SEVAGRAM, September 1, 1944
centralized khadi can be defeated by the Government, but no power can defeat individual manufacture and use of khadi. The manufacture and use of khadi must not be imposed upon the people, but it must be intelligently and willingly accepted by them as one of the items of the freedom movement.
POONA, November 13, 1945
Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place
Let the readers fully understand the so-called new plan for khadi. I call it so-called, because what is being done is the logical step, if khadi is to clothe the villagers, as from the very start it was intended to do. Khadi was never meant merely for the townspeople, it was never meant to bleed the villagers as they are being bled so that the townspeople can live. Khadi was from its inception conceived for the sake of reversing the order though never to bleed the townspeople. To reverse the order was to restore the natural relation.
Towns there were before the British arrival. Things were bad enough then. Now they are much worse. Towns became cities. The latter, in spite of their Indian millionaires, lived mainly for the British masters. Khadi was to undo the grave mischief. Mill cloth is the symbol of the slavery of village India as khadi is or should be the symbol of its freedom, both economic and political. If it cannot be that, it is meaningless. Therefore, any healthy change undergone in the process of khadi development is to be welcomed.
The defect in the existing development, good though it appeared, was not good enough for the villagers who spun yarn and wove khadi but did not use it themselves. They neither understood nor appreciated the dignity and value that its use carried. The fault was not theirs. The workers themselves did not. The town-dwellers had to wear khadi and do the penance. They were willing to buy penance for a few extra rupees which they could easily spare and be called patriots into the bargain. But how could the Charkha Sangh (called in English All-India Spinners’ Association) belie its faith by ignoring the very foundation of khadi?
And so it is employing its resources to making the villagers khadi-clad. It naturally begins with the spinners and weavers of hand-spun. If the move succeeds, as it is bound to, there will be after a time, ample khadi in the city and town markets. Then the only cloth available in India will be khadi. The A. I. S. A. is diligently working at the consummation.
If its researches show that khadi has no such potentiality, it will have no hesitation in declaring its insolvency. Let the reader remember that it is a science which deals with the psychology of forty crores of people in the machine age. Thus considered, it is a tremendous problem, though at the same time fascinating and interesting. The very defeat, if defeat it is to be, will itself be no defeat. Let it be understood that it is not an attempt to go back to the dark ages when the charkha was the symbol of the slavery of the masses. Surely it will be a triumph of human understanding, i. e., of the soul of India, when India makes an effort through the charkha to break her bonds asunder. The freeman eats the same bread as the slave. The one eats the bread of freedom, the other of slavery.
But if the city-dwellers and the town-dwellers would learn the glad tidings that the charkha has to give, they will willingly employ their leisure time in carding, spinning, and weaving rather than in gambling on the race course or drinking and idling away their time in their clubs. And their children? Why ?they could spin for their parents, for the liberty of India and have education of the type that India wants. ..
The A. I. S. A. sales depots will be used for a better purpose than before. They will teach the people, who, I hope, will flock to them, all the tricks of spinning and weaving. If they do, they will have all the khadi they need. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Cloth stands second to food as necessity. If every village begins to produce its own cloth, its strength will greatly be enhanced. But to achieve that we do not want to close down the textile factories by legislation. We want to achieve our purpose by revolutionizing the psychology of the people. By decentralization we want to produce cloth wherever cotton is grown.
But what of the city people who have taken to khadi now? I would ask them to spin their own yarn and to find out for themselves weavers to weave that yarn into cloth.
The Bombay Chronicle, 7-12-1944
本物の経済と非暴力 True economics and non-violence
I do not expect people to take to khadi immediately and to accept non-violence. We must educate them in true economics and in non-violence. If we succeed in doveloping a true economic outlook in them, they would ultimately understand non-violence as well. An economics which runs counter to morality cannot be called true economics. Our workers can develop an outlook of true economics in the villages only if they work under the inspiration of non-violence and morality.
Their personal conduct should be of the purest nature and they should not be a party to any exploitation of the people. If we try to cover India with khadi but ignore the miseries of the craftsmen, do not pay them living wages, do not share their weal and woe, or worry little if they are drunkards, it will not do at all. It is better to burn all khadi to ashes than to pretend to work for the good of the country in this manner. I would keep the drunkard and give him work, but I would befriend him and sweetly urge upon him daily to abstain from drink. My aim is not to do the work of khadi only but to enter into the entire life of the villager.
DISCUSSION WITH SHRIKRISHNADAS JAJU October 11, 1944
.., the main thing that is necessary is to make the village self-sufficient and self-reliant.
But mind you, my idea of self-sufficiency is not a narrow one. There is no scope for selfishness or arrogance in my self-sufficiency. I am not preaching isolation. We have to be humble as dust for a cause. We have to mix with people even as sugar mixes itself with milk. Though the villagers will be self-sufficient so far as it is possible, they will devote their time also to their intellectual development for the creation of the consciousness for the contemplated non-violent society of the future.
The Bombay Chronicle, 7-12-1944
Decentralization; locally produced and consumed
I know that Chicacole khadi is very popularand that it fetches a good sale in far off provinces; but this pains me very much. If we want to do khadi work successfully on the new lines in any province, district, taluk or village, we must not make one district lean on any other, or enter into competition with it. All districts must meet their requirements themselves. This would relieve us of our worries about sales. It is quite possible that implementation of this new policy may for the present reduce a centre to zero. But later on the work is bound to progress. Of course I cannot submit data and figures to prove what I say as I know nothing about them. But you can of course supply them to me. What I know, however, is that if khadi is to disseminate non-violence, we shall have to follow this new policy, come what may.
I want the worker to go to his centre and produce only as much khadi as he can make the people there wear. He must not produce for outsiders. He should not rest content with training people in khadi production alone but should impart instruction in other crafts also. The earnings from these crafts will also go to the villagers and add to their meagre resources. We shall take the unused or surplus khadi only if the villagers there tell us: ‘We are producing khadi in a larger quantity than we can ourselves consume as we want cash for our other needs. Please, therefore, buy our surplus khadi.’ It is quite possible that such villages as produce more khadi than they use will develop into centres of khadi production. But I am not thinking now of them. I have in mind only those villages where production of khadi will be carried on as a supplementary industry and so where the people will not depend for their living only on khadi but also on other industries. That is how most of the villages will have to be organized. This is decentralization in the true sense of the term.
we should stop producing khadi for the cities. Today about a crore of rupees worth of khadi is sold in the cities. We should hereafter make it clear to the cities that we cannot any more supply them ready-made khadi but will teach them how to produce it, leaving them the option of either producing it themselves or getting it from the producer. I am not enamoured of the sales of one crore of rupees worth of khadi in the cities. We should put into khadi work not money but brain and heart. In other words we shall now have ruthlessly to investigate the value of khadi in terms of its real potentialities.。。
DISCUSSION WITH SHRIKRISHNADAS JAJU
October 11, 1944
都市での販売をやめる Stop selling Khadi in cities.
I would ask city-dwellers to produce their own khadi. I would forgo the temptation to supply khadi to them.
All these years I remained under the delusion that we had made good job of it in that we had put four and a half crores of rupees in the pockets of the poor. I became anxious to increase it to sixty crores, and I claimed swaraj would be in our hands if we produced sixty crores worth of khadi in a year. Had I persisted along that line, I might perhaps have succeeded. But now I realize that even if I had succeeded what was done in a year might possibly have been undone in the next. Today our main concern should be to lay the foundation for this work as deep as possible.
We shall explain to the city people that the khadi we are at present giving to them is of no use, as they are not able to know the extent of relief that the poor obtain thereby, and that therefore they should get khadi woven before their own eyes. Thus we shall change our policy. Today we ask the city people to take to khadi on the plea that it supports lakhs of people.
But this compels the A. I. S. A. to resort to trade and commerce.
The only limitation that we shall observe is that if there is some extra khadi left over in a village or locality after meeting the local need, and if that khadi is useful to the city people we shall permit it to be sold in the cities.
But the khadi should not be produced specially for export to the cities. If this means a reduction in our work it matters little. I am sure I am not providingtrue work relief to the people from the way in which I am doing khadi work today. What I am doing is tempting them by the handsome wages of the A. I. S. A. This is not the way to make the work permanent. If the poor want employment we must provide it. But it must be in such a manner that they can secure earnings from their own neighbourhood instead of depending on distant cities .
J. I would like you to throw more light on this point.
G. Today we are not really able to help the villagers. By offering the spinners three, four, six or eight annas I comfort myself with the belief that I have given them a livelihood. But it amounts to nothing more than a dole, for the work that I am providing them is not of a permanent nature.
If I have to provide them with some money I shall teach them other crafts also. I shall fully acquaint them with the present economic situation and educate them in this regard. No doubt I would wish to give work to every spinner who comes seeking it. But I shall not send the khadi thus produced to Bombay. I shall ask the workers to sell it in the neighbouring villages. But this is not enough. I must investigate what work other than spinning can be provided to them in the village. Only by revising the entire economic life of the village can our work become permanent. Whether for villagers or for us, I agree, cities will always have some sort of attraction. Nevertheless we shall be free from our present day city life. We shall show how in contrast to the cities more amenities can be provided in the villages. But if we merely go on sending to Bombay the khadi produced in the village, this object can never be accomplished, however high a wage we may pay to the village spinners.
I would teach them other methods of earning in the village. I have now given up the idea that villagers can earn their living through doing khadi work
DISCUSSION WITH SHRIKRISHNADAS JAJU
October 12, 1944
Spinning for oneself has to be done in cities as well as in villages.
Many people were disappointed with spinning only for economic reasons. To spin for the whole day and get just an anna was not enough. We raised the status of women by raising the wages of the women spinners. But at the time we emphasized the point that the spinners should also wear khadi. This was the second step.
Now the third step is that all those who wear khadi should spin.
How splendid it would be, if all the people of Madras should spin and also weave the yarn spun by them. Otherwise they can get their yarn woven at a nearby place. This is the way of the village to get all things done at minimum cost and labour. The urban way is just the opposite.
When I visited Lancashire, I observed that the workers never wore the cloth that they themselves produced. For them the cloth was imported from Ireland. Some embroidered cloth from Madras was also used.
Now, if the villagers or the cultivators are able to spin and produce yarn for their own use, we can save them a lot of trouble. And, if they do so with knowledge, they would be bringing swaraj nearer. This is the new policy of khadi.
It is absurd that the cloth should come from Manchester for the poor, who produce cloth for Bombay people. It is also not proper to compel the poor to accept part of their wages in the form of khadi.
They should be so educated that they may Spin voluntarily and intelligently and may use with love and pride the cloth produced by them. If the people of Bombay want to wear khadi they should spin for themselves or get their children and other dependents to spin. If people pledged to khadi, spin for themselves, the practice will be contagious. (Even if we are able to produce khadi worth ten crores
instead of one crore as at present our object of reaching the whole of India will not be achieved.)
When seven lakhs of villages will take up this work in the new spirit we shall not remain a subject nation. Each one of our villages will be independent and self-reliant. That is true swaraj and that is true democracy. I do not worry when we shall be able to attain our goal, but if we are sure of our path and if we have faith that it is the only true one, we should go on striving for it incessantly and uninterruptedly.
The Bombay Chronicle, 7-12-1944
Today we must not think of spreading khadi by carrying it about on our backs and hawking it. We have not to give anyone ready-made khadi. We shall say, ‘take this charkha, take this cotton, card it, make slivers and spin. Get the weaver in your village to weave it and then wear it.’
So long we only worried about what the Bombay customers wanted. If a handkerchief of a particular design was in vogue we told the production centres to make such handkerchiefs. If it was a sari with a particular border we told the Andhra people to make such saris. We even used to send representatives of the bhandars to those far away places to explain what exactly was wanted. We took up printing saris at Masulipatnam. It revived a dying craft. But if we do not now change our method of work the same thing will be the undoing of khadi. Now the centres will have to meet the needs of the areas around them. They have to produce things with that end in view. In the matter of designs they do not have to follow the directives of the Bombay bhandar. Bombay will have to accept whatever varieties and designs are left and be content with that. It is no part of our duty to provide to the cities the designs they want. Our duty is only to teach how people can produce things that they want.
discussions with the Charkha Sangh workers on November 27 [From Hindi]
Khadi Jagat, January 1946
Chapter 4 : Readiness to attain freedom
Where tehre's will, there's way.
The masses do not eat for fashion but in order that they may live. Similarly they do not wear clothes for fashion, but for protection.
Therefore the charkha, like the oven, should find a place in every house and every able-bodied person should spin. Then all can wear khadi and obtain swaraj. Able-bodied persons should spin also for the crippled and the weak.
If games clubs demanding both energy and money can be run, as they are, why cannot swaraj clubs or charkha clubs be run where people can make slivers, spin and get khadi in exchange of yarn? The truth is that where there is no will, unfavourable arguments present themselves and where there is a will, the will itself discovers favourable arguments. If the will is strong nobody will give up the charkha even as nobody leaves games. If the will can be found for games, can it not be found also for swaraj?
カディーは商品ではない Khadi is not a commodity.
we can get rid of many worries if we do not hold ourselves responsible for khadi sales. So long as khadi remains a saleable commodity, these worries are bound to be there. I also realize that we cannot entirely get rid of them today. But so long as we believe that khadi, like bread, must be made at home and that we should not maintain ourselves on bazar-made biscuits even if cheaper, we shall have to explain to the people that to use bazar-made goods is to court disaster. If the people grasp the idea, we shall have to devise an easy method of khadi manufacture at home. Our slogan will be ‘cloth even like bread’. All difficulties will then disappear....
When you said that there was decentralization in khadi production, I was about to contradict you. Even in Lancashire some cloth is made at home, not for the use of the home but for the use of the masters. It would be outrageous to call this decentralization. So also in Japan everything is made at home; but it is not for the use of the home; it is all for the Government which has centralized the whole business. Though things are made at home, and made in a better manner than in England, yet the producers cannot keep any of it for their home consumption. The work is done at the behest of the Government which supplies ships and does everything else to carry such goods to the different markets of the world and thus draw wealth from other countries. The same is happening in Lancashire. Though millions of dhotis are made there, yet not a single one is available to any purchaser on the spot. They are exported to the country for which they are scheduled, be it India, Africa or any other. I would certainly not call this decentralization.
So also with khadi. Our artisans produce not for themselves but for the A. I. S. A. to which they give their finished material for wages paid. They were happy when we raised their wages. But this is not decentralization. What I mean by decentralization is that the artisan must produce for his own or his neighbour’s use and not for sale. When we realize that khadi is not a commodity for sale but for self-consumption only then we shall have grasped the message of khadi and understood the scope of its potentialities. We may be expected to clothe the whole country with khadi after getting political power. Should we not therefore make such an arrangement from today so that we may be able to make the country self-sufficient in clothing in case the future government of free India were to provide the requisite facilities to the A. I. S. A. and ask it, as an expert body, to do this task?
what I am quite clear about is that khadi should not be for sale but for self-consumption. Hence the necessity of changing the present policy of khadi work. We have before us the task of reconstructing our whole country, and in this khadi is an important item. So also there are oil-pressing and other industries. It is only if we look at the problem from the point of view of production for use rather than for sale that the country has everything to gain by Our work, and we shall be able to meet the situation squarely without withdrawing a single step when we obtain control over the reins of Government.
Today people have become paupers. Therefore if you provide them with bread they will do whatever you ask them to do. But if we carry on our work thoughtlessly we shall be deceiving them as well as ourselves. The livelihood we provide them today is nothing but a sort of dole as is usually handed out during the time Of famine to the people who are offered work on the roads or quarries. It does not have a lasting value.
。。the real significance of khadi is that it is a means for uplifting the villages and thereby generating in the people the spontaneous strength for swaraj. Such a claim cannot then be sustained. It will not do to continue to help the villagers by appealing to the philanthropic sentiments of city-dwellers. What is required is that the villagers should be made strong to face life’s problems and march ahead.
If we encouraged mills, the nation might get sufficient cloth. And if mills are nationalized cloth prices may also come down, people may not be exploited and may earn adequate wages. But our reason for putting forward khadi is that it is the only way to redeem the people from the disease of inertia and indifference, the only way to generate in them the strength for freedom.
If other crafts are also thus revitalized, our villages could be made self-sufficient and self-reliant. They would prepare their own soap from sajji clay. That soap will not have the luring fragrance of soaps turned out in the factories of Tata and Godrej. Its packing also will not be so attractive. But it will have the quality of self-sufficiency even like khadi. But this grand picture of khadi as the means of all-round uplift of the villages, which I have been putting forward for so long, is not being realized. The talks I have had with the workers have led me to believe that I must now retrace my steps. As the founder of khadi, I must not grudge doing so. That is the call of truth. ・・
DISCUSSION WITH SHRIKRISHNADAS JAJU
October 13, 1944
Let us cherish khadi even after the independence
A correspondent writes:
I and the members of my family have been regular spinners and weavers of khadi. Now that we have got our freedom, do you still contend that we should spin and wear khadi?
This is a strange question. Nevertheless, it represents the condition of many people. Such persons evidently took to the spinning-wheel and khadi merely mechanically and as one of the means of attaining freedom.
These friends forget that freedom was not mere removal of the foreign yoke, though it was the first essential.
Khadi represents and represented a way of life based on non-violence. Rightly or wrongly, it is my opinion that practical disappearance of khadi and non-violence shows that the main implication of khadi was not grasped by us during all these years. Hence, the tragedy we witness of fratricidal strife and the lawlessness on many sides.
I have no doubt that spinning and weaving of khadi are more important than ever if we are to have freedom that is to be instinctively felt by the masses of the villagers of India. That is the Kingdom of God on earth. Through khadi we were struggling to establish supremacy of man in the place of the supremacy of power-driven machine over him. Through khadi we were striving for equality of all men and women in the place of the gross inequality to be witnessed today. We were striving to attain subservience of capital under labour in the place of the insolent triumph of capital over labour. Unless, therefore, all the effort made during the past thirty years in India was a retrograde step, hand-spinning and all it implies must be prosecuted with much greater vigour and far greater intelligence than hitherto.
NEW DELHI, December 13, 1947
how can one justify the import of foreign cloth because foreign rule has ended? We must remember that we opposed foreign rule because it involved the economic ruin of the country.
My mother is my mother. Shall I choose for mother another woman more beautiful than she? In the same way you should not get beautiful clothes from outside.
These days businessmen import cloth in order to make money.
But why should we import foreign cloth and export our cloth? We should make do with whatever cloth we produce here. We may export whatever remains after our need is fulfilled.
Harijan Sevak, 4-1-1948
Camphor which we do not produce here and which is a very useful thing is not foreign when imported from Japan. But if we import from Japan something which we can produce here it is poison to us. Our people in their millions used to make cloth. They met their own requirements and also exported shiploads of it abroad. What crime have they committed that now they should send out their cotton and the cloth made from it should then be brought to India and sold here cheaper than the cotton? What lies behind this is something that can make one’s hair stand on end.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING NEW DELHI, June 20, 1947
手紡者協会の目標 AISA's Goal (AISA=All India Spinners Association)
It must be borne in mind that to make the spinners self-reliant and through their activity to achieve India’s freedom is, and ought to be, the Association’s goal.
That we may not reach that goal should not cause undue worry. It is enough for us to know that it is the correct goal and, having started the activity, we have to correct our mistakes and go forward. That is the essence of the scientific method.。。。
For example, astronomy is continually progressing. Many mistakes have been made and corrected. The process still continues. The same may be said of the science of khadi.
If this is intelligently understood and fearlessly acted upon, replies to the questions presented from time to time become easy.
The spinners must have full knowledge of all the processes from the beginning to the end, right up to weaving. In this lies the way to swaraj. Up till now, knowingly or unkowingly, we have been producing khadi solely for purposes of commerce.
But this too has always been linked with the ideal of swaraj. Had it not been so, even commercial khadi would have failed, and most probably khadi for swaraj would have remained a mere dream.
Commercial khadi has been, and still is, our go-cart, so to speak. To the spinner to have her cotton carded by other has been, and still is, an additional prop. Only as we progressively give up these props, will we bring into being khadi for swaraj. Those branches where commmercial khadi is being produced and carding carried on as an independent activity should, if possible, be closed down. Life is, however, made up of compromises. Therefore let it be said that the props should be given up as quickly as possible. Those who have faith and knowledge will be the first to do so. Where sincere and earnest efforts are made, the question of competition should not arise.
One aspect of the present situation needs attention. Those who spin for their livelihood will willingly learn the news processes because thereby their earning capacity will increase. Today this section is diminishing because other and easier sources of income are open to them. For them it is not a moral question. They take what is easiest as, for example, collection of leaves for making bidis. It is our duty to impart true knowledge to them and help them up the steep road to swaraj and make them healthy and hardy in the process of climbing.
If we cannot do this, we shall deservedly lose our existence. Therefore we can only have dealings with the man or woman who spins with understanding.
A change in our mental outlook is what was most needed.
At the time when customers looked upon khadi as being in the fashion, bhandars were purely commercial depots. Today the bhandar desires to bring about a change in the mentality of the khadi-wearer. It no longer desires to remain a sales depot. It desires to become a centre for imparting knowledge in all the processes of khadi manufacture. It desires to become a centre of attraction for weavers and other craftsmen. To this end we must continue undeterred to bring about the necessary changes and pari passu change the outlook of Bombay khadi-wearers. Then only will bhandars reflect the reality. We expect the customers of Bombay to remain loyal to us in our endeavour.
Readers will note that the success of the purpose, as expressed in the article, rests on the faith, intelligence and capability of the workers.
依存しない暮らし Independent living
The nearer we are approaching independence, the more dependent on others, I believe, we are becoming. ...
A businessman desires his customers’ needs to go on increasing. On the one hand our needs are on the increase and on the other there is a class clamouring for ending capitalism. I fail to understand this.
For instance, you know that readymade food is available in England and America. The trend has come here also. When people invite someone for dinner they place an order with a hotel like Taj Mahal of Bombay. The result will be that the class of women that used to take up cooking as an art will gradually disappear. And I can even imagine a time when perhaps cooking will be a forgotten art for women.・・If the girls of today are forgetting such small things, what would they not forget in future?
That is why I hold that if one wants to enjoy independence one should oneself learn to produce the things one needs daily.
One should be able to do without the things one could not produce oneself. This increases self-reliance and one’s progress. If we are not able to make good use of political freedom, what purpose would it serve? Self-reliance is the foundation of independence and dependence on others is a sign of slavery.
April 9, 1947
All I want to say is that people should realize that they have got to produce foodgrain by their own labour to satisfy their hunger. That would electrify the atmosphere and that zeal alone would solve half the problem. ...
The same is true about cloth. I have already said that we can have four times more cloth than is available now. Why should there be shortage of cloth in our country? I am absolutely certain that there should be no shortage of cloth in India even if there may be some shortage of food. Why? Because India grows much more cotton than it needs. There are many people in India who can spin and weave cloth for their own requirements, and easily wear clothes made by themselves. And thus we become truly independent as regards food and cloth and then do not have to depend on mills. At present we are not free in this sense, and if it is so, it is the result of our own ignorance. I had hoped that we would achieve such self-sufficiency.
we will be self-sufficient in the matter of clothing and food. Another advantage in my view is that it gives a feeling of self-confidence to the people and they become self-reliant and cease to be worried by shortage of cloth. They feel confident that they can produce their own clothing and their own food. If we do all this, the result can be great. We have become free, but only politically.
The economic condition of crores of our people has not improved.
Today we are engaged in fighting among ourselves; but we can fight only when we have time to fight. But when we are occupied in work and all of us become workers, we will have no time left for quarrels and fights.
If anyone created trouble we would face it bravely. We would fight with him if we wanted to. But why should we die today under unnatural circumstances?
That is why I have tried to impress upon and convince you of this and if it appeals to your hearts, and we decide to follow it up in action, we shall rise very high and we shall not have to look to others for help. Whose help do we need? It is God who is going to help us. And whom does God help? God helps only those who are willing to help themselves.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING NEW DELHI, October 10, 1947
Swaraj can only be obtained by work, either violent or non-violent. Violent work we know. It necessarily includes training in the use of the most modern weapons of destruction and all it means. By common consent this has been ruled out. Mere constitutional means, though non-violent, went out of date long ago. It is a superstition to think that liberty can be gained by such means in the teeth of armed opposition. Non-violent work is then the only means for winning freedom.
What is the training or work that Indians should undertake for adapting themselves for non-violent efforts? It has been shown that Indian freedom was lost when India’s chief trade in cotton fabric, which was prepared in her cottages, was destroyed and together with it many other occupations which Indians carried on to sustain that trade. It is obvious that that trade and the allied occupations should be revived or some others consistent with non-violence should be taken up. Revival was the only thing thought of. It was being attempted by way of copying the English or, say, the modern method of replacing human labour by means of power-driven machinery. Instinctively I rejected it [as] being a way of violence and sought to replace it by human labour [as] being a way of non-violence.
The Hindu, 11-8-1945
What we have to pursue is not revolution but contructive works
Even if all such centralized industries were to be State-owned, it would make no difference to me. For the obligation to increase wants will not only not decrease, but may be strengthened where such industries are owned by the State. Only the task of increasing wants will pass from the hands of small capitalists to the bigger capitalists, or the State,...
May 21, 1945
Efforts should be made for providing everyone at least with a square meal, enough clothing to cover himself and a house to live in. At present while some have utensils of gold and silver, others have not even post of clay. Some have garments of silk and brocade whereas others have not even enough clothing to cover their nakedness. The constructive programme, as presented by me, is the only solution for the removal of such gross inequalities. Instead we are showing a leaning towards Russian communism which draws its strength from the pistol. That is the way of violence. Even there it has not proved successful as yet. If we adopt that method here the handful of capitalists that we have will become paupers, while a vast majority is already living in a state of poverty. Instead, if we propagate economic equality through nonviolent means as suggested by me, these capitalists will out of shame realize that they ought not to eat sweets and don brocades while their brethren were without food and clothing. This will naturally foster a feeling of fraternity and serve the larger interests of the nation.
April 7, 1947
it was shown how, through the charkha and khadi, the shortage in cloth could be made good and crores of rupees could be given to the villagers, not in cash but in the saving that would be effected from not having to buy mill-cloth. ... But the Government gives all the facilities to the mills. It is more concerned for the capitalists than for the farmers. It is a painful fact. I am not against capitalists, I am myself staying in the house of a capitalist. But I know the attitude that the capitalists have adopted. The Government may say that they do everything for the poor. But even the British used to say it.
The truth is that the interests of the poor are not served. The Government should humbly accept this. It is easy to say that the poor should be helped. Let the ministers decide to go and live in the villages. If they are true socialists?and if I have my way I would make them behave so?if they are true servants of the poor, not only of the workers but of the peasants who are more numerous, if they want to uplift the people, I would tell them that they should only wear khadi. There is nothing to prevent them from producing their own khadi at home. I will tell the people what they are doing.
Ever since I came here I have been saying this but have been able to achieve nothing. All that I have managed to get is a few crores of rupees for the villages. But what I want is that the music of the charkha should be heard in every home and no cloth except khadi should be seen anywhere. If this happened the poverty prevailing in the villages would disappear. That it has not so far happened is our misfortune.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING NEW DELHI, December 10, 1947
We can find true socialism in a life in villages.
Our people have lived in slavery for 150 years and need to be trained for a different way of life now. I do not fully agree with the idea that it will happen when we have power in our hands or that we can do a great deal through power. No doubt transfer of power will remove many obstacles. But we shall have to do solid work among the people. Since you look upon me as an adviser and seek my advice of your own free will, I have only one advice to give, and that is that, if you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way in which it can be done: go and live among the poor in the villages, live as they live, be one with the village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village-made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among the village people, eradicate untouchability and uplift the women. ・・・ Make your life an ideal one in this way; when the people see your transparent lives every minute of the day as clearly as we see pictures on a screen, their influence will be felt throughout the country and reform its life. ...
I am, however, pained to say that, instead of doing such constructive work, what you are doing today is to incite the people and call for strikes. And at the same time there is communal fighting going on. All of you are men of intellect and learning. Why can’t you see who is being harmed by what you are doing? Such a struggle was all right against the British, for we wanted them to go. But whom do you wish to drive out now? What will you gain by fighting against our own countrymen? You should be large-hearted and offer your co-operation for the great work of national uplift. If those in power commit mistakes, oppose them through your work, not by mere criticism or speeches or agita-tions.
Take the village people and slum-dwellers in your hands and give them the benefit of your knowledge, skill, insight, constructive work and patriotic spirit. Give the people this true education through the example of your own lives. Let all your activities be directed to the welfare of the people. If that is not done and if the people lose patience, our plight will be much worse than the present slavery.
Before the people take to the path of destruction, see that they are given constructive, life-giving training. I make this suggestion not to you alone. I have opened out my heart to you because you have come to seek my advice. But what I have said applies to Congressmen, too. Let, therefore, all public workers and all officers of the Government forget their quarrels and disputes over ideologies and start learning and teaching spinning, khadi work and village industries. If the British leave and at the same time the people are given a new life through such education, I am confident that in five years India will be a leading country in Asia.
Q. Why do you oppose the growth of industries in our country through machinery?
A. You can use machines to manufacture cars, engines, aeroplanes and things of that kind. But I am strongly opposed to the use of machines for grinding corn, manufacturing cloth and ploughing the land. The consumption of mill-ground flour has deprived us of all vitality, for machine-grinding destroys all the vitamins.
In the old days in Kathiawar we didn’t have even water-taps. The women used to fetch water from the river, with shining pots resting on supports studded with bright beads; it would be early morning and the women thus had a sun-bath daily and that kept them healthy.
They used to grind the corn in the early dawn, singing bhajans the while, including prayers to God. These simple innocent songs containing useful moral wisdom taught them some music and [the grinding] provided them exercise. Afterwards the whole family would go to work in the fields, so that hardly anybody knew what illnes was or even the names of the diseases of lungs so widespread these days.
In such a vast country, or say, rather, a family, containing a variety of communities and races, there is no need for machinery at all. Machinery does the work in very little time and that is harmful in every way, physically and economically. With so much leisure on hand, the people get busy in mischief, for, as the saying is, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Or they waste their time in cinemas and theatres.
Many people argue with me and try to convince me that the cinema has an educative value. But the argument doesn’t appeal to me at all. For one thing, sitting in a closed theatre one feels suffocated. I had been to such a theatre only once, when I was a small child. If I had my way, I would see to it that all the cinemas and theatres in India were converted into spinning halls and factories for handicrafts of all kinds.
And what obscene photographs of actors and actresses are displayed in the newspapers by way of advertisement! Moreover, who are these actors and actresses if not our own brothers and sisters. We waste our money and ruin our culture at the same time. If I was made Prime Minister of the country, these would be the first things I would do: I would stop all machine-driven flour-mills and restrict the number of oil-pressing factories but install the indigenous mills all over the country. I might not destroy the existing textile mills, but certainly would not help them in any way and, in any case, would not permit new ones to be set up.
I would close all the cinemas and theatres, though I might, as an exception, permit exhibition of pictures of educational value or showing scenes of natural beauty. But singing and dancing I would stop completely. I have great regard for dancing and music. I love music indeed. I may even claim that I understand what is good music and what is not. But I would surely prohibit music and dancing which tend to pervert the minds of young men and women. I would stop the sale of gramophone records. That is, I would suggest to the Government that it should impose heavy taxes on all such life-killing activities. Similarly, harmful drinks and drugs like liqours, tobacco and tea also should be heavily taxed so that their consumption would automat-ically decrease.
Moreover, ideal villages which are self-reliant in regard to food, which have not a single flourmill and in which the residents grow all the cotton they need and manufacture their own cloth, right up to the stage of stitching garments in their own homes, should be awarded prizes and exempted from all taxes. In such and ideal village, every resident will be his own policeman, his own doctor and his own watchman, and the people will have no time then to quarrel and fight among themselves.
See, I have given you so much time. What I have described is only my dream of a free India,
.. You will have economic equality in the country only along the road I have pointed out. Perhaps you will not understand this today; but note my words and remember them when I am dead and you will say that what this old man of seventy-five said was true. This is not a prophecy I am making; I am saying this on the basis of my lifelong experience.。。。
TALK WITH SOCIALISTS May 27, 1947
Chapter 5 : The economics of Khadi
糸通貨 Yarn currency
My experience tells me that if khadi is to become universal, both in cities and in villages, it should be made available only in exchange of yarn. Today one anna’s worth of yarn in the rupee is demanded. But this is only the beginning. When people have understood and learnt how to spin, then khadi will be given only in full exchange for yarn spun. I hope that as days go by everyone will himself insist on buying khadi only in exchange of yarn.
If this does not happen and if they give yarn grudgingly swaraj through non-violence is impossible. Surely some effort has to be made for swaraj. It cannot be had by mere begging.
I find that I have not been able fully to explain to my co-workers my idea of yarn currency. I attempt to do so here. Metal coins or paper notes are not a true standard because their value is arbitrarily determined. The value of the paper of a five-rupee note is even less than one pice. It has a value because of the government stamp on it.
However, this or any such standard is very necessary for carrying on business transactions on a very large scale. But the idea behind khadi and other village industries is quite different. We do not want business on a large scale. We want to restrict our attention to only one of the seven lakhs of villages. We want the same independence for that village as we want for any other of the seven lakh villages and the world at large. So our villages should at least become self-reliant as far as food and clothing are concerned.
In such villages there cannot be any need for metal or any other imposed currency for mutual transactions. Our standard should be a rural product, which everyone can make, which can be stored and the price of which does not fluctuate daily. What can this be? It can neither be soap, nor oil, nor vegetables. Thus after enumerating and eliminating all the things only yarn remains. Everyone can produce it. There is always a demand for it. It can be stored well. If we can introduce yarn currency in the villages, they will make great progress and become self-reliant very soon. This is not an attempt to enumerate all the advantages of yarn currency. I want to tell you only what it means and how it will function.
For this a shop is needed where items of daily use for villagers can be available. All the villagers could buy anything from this shop by giving only yarn?there should not be any exception to this.
As a result all the villagers will have to spin to buy things from the above mentioned shops. In these shops yarn of given strength and in given quantity will be accepted and therefore the yarn spun by the villagers will be properly tied. A villager will not let even a single strand of it be wasted because so many things could be bought with it. The importance of yarn will increase. The commodities secured in exchange of yarn will be of good quality and will not be expensive. Even a child will be able to buy from there without fear of being cheated.
As the shops cannot accept any kind of yarn, there will be need for a yarn examiner whose function will be to test the yarn currency. To prevent the yarn from getting dirty it will have to be wrapped in paper or some such thing. The shopkeeper will blindly accept the yarn which is well wrapped by the examiner.
As the examiner and the shopkeepers are connected with an institution such as the Charkha Sangh, the yarn will be daily sent to the Sangh office and from there to the weavers.
There is no room for loss in such shops. There is no possibility of much fluctuation in the prices of things sold there. Generally only those things which are available in the villages will be kept. The number of such things will increase gradually.
In such a scheme every house can become a mint and can make as much money (yarn) as it wants. It is clear that in such shops intoxicants, imported things and harmful products will not be sold. And therefore the yarn nexus will remain more or less pure.
Harijan Sevak, 3-5-1942
The rule already exists of taking a certain amount of yarn when selling khadi but at some places the practice has been started of giving khadi in exchange for the full quantity of yarn. .. However, I want that besides khadi other articles of village industries should be made available in exchange for yarn. But that can be realized only when we take the final step. At the moment I have presented the idea of yarn currency only in its initial form. It is easy for accounting and the capital of yarn increases not by interest but by the labour of the spinner. If the people understand this scheme then yarn will become an instrument for the production of goods worth crores of rupees. Physical labour will become the capital and will easily be able to compete with capitalists.
SEVAGRAM, August 1 8, 1 945
カディーとビジネスの違い Khadi is not a business.
Forget about making money out of khadi. Khadi is not meant for that.
From a copy of the Hindi: Pyarelal Papers. Courtesy: Pyarelal
LETTER TO AMRITLAL BATRA September 2, 1945
There is no trace of ‘business’ in khadi, for all processes relating to it merely ensure a livelihood to those who make a living through khadi.
LETTER TO MANGALDAS PAKVASA October 18, 1945
While thinking about the reorganization of khadi production you should not forget that in certain matters the economics of khadi and the commonly prevalent economics are poles asunder. I am always reminded of one thing which the well-known British economist Adam Smith has said in his famous treatise The Wealth of Nations. In it he has described some economic laws as universal and absolute. Then he has described certain situations which may be an obstacle to the operation of these laws. These disturbing factors are the human nature, the human temperament or altruism inherent in it.
Now, the economics of khadi is just the opposite of it. Benevolence which is inherent in human nature is the very foundation of the economics of khadi. What Adam Smith has described as pure economic activity based merely on the calculations of profit and loss is a selfish attitude and it is an obstacle to the development of khadi; and it is the function of a champion of khadi to counteract this tendency.
Hence, the;tactics normally adopted in a profiteering business have no place in khadi activity. For instance, cheating, fraud, falsehood, adulteration, exploiting people’s addictions or their baser feelings-things practised in mill industries and ordinary trade?are to be completely shunned in khadi activity. The policy of paying minimum wages to the weaver or spinner with a view to increasing profits can have no place in khadi activity.
At the same time, khadi activity cannot be carried on by incurring losses as a result of unpractical attitudes. The reason why our khadi organizations incur losses today is the inefficiency of our workers. In khadi activity spinners and other workers get full reward of their labour but the middlemen and organizers get nothing more than their due share.
Now take the case of standardization, i. e., producing khadi with a uniform policy. Such uniformity cannot be expected in khadi. Rajagopalchari had once remarked that a poor woman cannot be expected to spin yarn of uniform quality as in a mill. She is not a lifeless machine, but a human being. She has her own happiness and unhappiness, she has feelings and is subject to illness. Sometimes she may not be well, sometimes her child or some other relative. may be ill and she may be upset and this cannot but affect the quality of her spinning. Unless your heart is made of stone, you must accept her yarn irrespective of its quality provided she does not deliberately spin bad yarn. Her yarn must be dear to us, for it has been sanctified by her honest labour.
A mill product does not have that personal touch. Hence, it cannot bring us this spiritual satisfaction. Mechanicaly produced goods can merely please the eye, but the art of khadi appeals to our human feelings. It touches the heart. Outer beauty is a secondary matter in khadi. That is why I have protested against the sale of bleached khadi. Bleaching increases cost of production, weakens the material and it then becomes difficult to detect any malpractice. Our duty is not to indiscriminately pamper the people’s taste, but to canalize it in the proper direction. The starch in khadi automatically goes out after two or three washings and it becomes spotlessly white. Not only this, but it also acquires a kind of softness which is destroyed by bleaching. If the khadi-wearer himself undertook these minor processes subsequent to weaving, the cost of khadi would be much less. It is up to the khadi experts to think of the best way of inducing people to take up such processes.
If khadi activity is to be carried on not merely as a business but as a means to uplift the starving masses, we shall have to penetrate the spinner’s home. We shall have to persuade him to wear the clothes made from the khadi produced by himself. This no doubt means a great reduction in the cost of khadi production; it is also a total saving of the expenditure on sales. So far we have been producing khadi, keeping the urban people in view. From a negligible beginning khadi sales have reached millions of rupees. We now produce many varieities of khadi.
But all this does not satisfy me. My ambition in respect of khadi is very much higher than this. It now extends to completely wiping out conditions of starvation from our villages. It can be achieved only when the village people themselves produce khadi and send to the cities whatever remains after local consumption. The secret of the power of khadi lies in the fact that it can find customers right in the place of its production. It is not necessary to go out anywhere in search of a market for it.
The proportion of expenditure on management in khadi production pains me. We can reduce this expenditure a lot if all the time we keep in view the main purpose of khadi. As I have stated earlier, the methods of reducing the cost of production of manufactured goods adopted by the industries that are run for profit cannot be applied in the case of khadi. In the case of khadi the use of machinery can be increased only within certain limits. But there is no limit to increasing art, skill, efficiency and honesty. If we have no faith in these we must wash our hands off khadi. If we want to bring down the cost of khadi production, we must retain only the minimum personnel to manage the organization, and these too should be altruistic, and we should dispense with all the intermediaries and brokers. As a matter of fact, when the khadi activity has fully developed it would have no need of an outer organization. Selfsufficiency and self-propaganda are the natural characteristics of khadi.
The science of khadi is still in its infancy. It is making steady progress. As I go deeper into it, and do research on its laws and understand them, I realize my own limited knowledge of the subject.
With the exception of China, there is hardly any country in the world having greater resources than ours. For today, no other country except China has man-power greater than we have. But today this wealth of ours is lying unutilized. The spinning-wheel is a means to put this wealth to use.
村の学生へのメッセージ A message for village students
Many people study in Government colleges. They get degrees there. They think that with that education they will earn money and fame and at least become clerks in some Government office, or if not, they can certainly get jobs as peons. And they become peons not for the sake of work, but in the hope of getting promotions in future and making some money on the side. This means that they believe that once they enter Government service, their life is secure. This is a matter which needs careful thinking. The Government has provided several facilities in their colleges. They have provided spacious buildings, offered large scholarships and given travelling facilities.
How can we compete with all this? I have already shown several ways of solving this problem. You have not come here for comforts or for the sake of salary. If you want to succeed in your aim bear in mind that you have not come here merely to learn crafts. Of course you have to learn crafts but you should not rest content with that. Artisans are already there in villages.
They have been doing the same work from generation to generation. How can you compete with them? Do learn the process, but along with that you must acquire scientific knowledge. We should think again and again why we are doing this work, how we should proceed about it, how we can link it with swaraj.
Swaraj has to be attained throughnon-violence. There are crores of people living in the villages of India. We have to emancipate them, serve them and make them understand the value of this work. If you believe that the mill-owners can feed the people and if you are satisfied with it then you should not study here. But the mill-owners can provide for only a handful.
Mill-owners never think at all of the crores of people. I have not come across any mill-owner so far who has told me that mills can provide work for the millions.
You have come here to accomplish a Herculean task. You have to serve crores of people. It is immaterial that you are only sixty-one in number. But you will have accomplished something if you leave after gaining scientific knowledge. All the sixty-one of you have to become guardians or trustees for the millions of people. If your example is followed, the number will increase. This Vidyalaya is like the Gangotri1. Its flow will swell like that of the Ganga. This has been my dream for the last 25 years.
The hope that I have cherished has not yet been fulfilled. Still I am not disappointed at all because I never lose heart. A great enterprise does not move quickly. Non-violence marches forward slowly but steadily. Its way is straight. It will overtake those who move with the speed of an aeroplane. This is my firm
The knowledge that you gain here is to be imparted to the villagers. You have to create interest in them for such knowledge. But this is not an easy task. I have been here in Sevagram for the last so many years. The headquarters of the Charkha Sangh, Gramodyog Sangh, Goseva Sangh and so on are situated here. There are very good workers also. The facilities that are not available anywhere else are available here. In spite of all this, I have not been able to do what I wanted to do. But you should not lose heart because of that. You should ask yourselves why we have not been able to do it. The teachers should have an answer for this. Those who are sitting here are neither hypocrites nor cheats. They are sitting here with a firm belief that sooner or later the key to this problem will come into their hands.
We have to multiply Sevagrams. We have to think not of a single village but the whole of India. I sometimes think of the whole world as well. If we had to take care of Sevagram only or had to work without concern for non-violence and truth, then we could have accomplished the work but that would not have removed the sufferings of this world.
India is a tiny spot in the world and in it Sevagram is but a speck. Whatever is possible in Sevagram can also be possible in the world. I am prepared to spend 100 years for it.
I shall teach you whatever I know if you are prepared to learn it with patience. But it will not help you to earn money. I can easily earn a thousand or two thousand rupees. I stayed for 20 years in SouthAfrica, I can speak some broken English also. Moreover, these days I am considered a mahatma too ! So anybody will give me two thousand rupees. But I don’t want all this. On the strength of it I can collect crores of rupees, but not for myself. So far as I am concerned I want nothing more than plain bread. In the same way you should also be content with plain bread. The work here is not easy. If you are not satisfied with the work here you should leave. You can earn enough money elsewhere but if you wish to stay here, you should stay with a contented mind. If you have this feeling that you are one with themillions, then you will succeed.
You have come here from different Provinces. You eat together and live together. Your heart should be clean and you should feel that we are all one. I have started saying that we are all Harijans, indeed Bhangis. Only when you imbibe such an attitude, will our work succeed. You will have to be alert every moment and carry on the work. You will be examined and you will be given a certificate. But that will not prove your worth. The certificate will not be for showing to others. It will enable you to know that you have reached a certain standard and that you have to proceed further. Today certificates do carry weight but we have to change our values, change our way of life and also our attitude towards these things.
SEVAGRAM, November 22, 1945
お金の問題 What is Money?
Q. Many Congress workers who have recently come out of jail have to earn a living for themselves or their families. Under present economic conditions they have been forced to crowd into towns for this purpose with the result that the villages have begun to lose their services. Could not a paid service be established for them by the provincial or the district Congress organizations? If so, how would you advise them to find the money for this prupose ?
G. The question reflects the present deplorable condition of the country. The cities are not only draining the villages of their wealth but talent also. The only way to check the process is for Congress workers to refuse to make their lives their God but to dedicate themselves to the service of their ideal only. God will then take care of them. A labourer is always worthy of his hire but I know that I have no magic wand to revolutionize people’s outlook up to the ideal
of voluntary poverty.
Therefore I consider it desirable that a fund should be created either by the Provincial Congress Committee or by local agencies to provide maintenance for such workers as may want to dedicate themselves to the service of the villages. Do not expect me however to provide you with funds. My begging days are over. It is my firm belief that no worthy cause has ever suffered for want of finances if there are sincere workers to work fot it.
The Upanishad says that whatever there is in this universe is from Him. It belongs to Him and must be surrendered to Him and then enjoyed. Enjoyment and sorrow, success and failure will then be the same to you.
One thing more. Supposing the tyrant wants to destroy the spinning-wheel itself. What then? My reply is that in that event we should ourselves perish with the spinning-wheel and not live to witness its destruction. For every khadi worker who thus sacrifices himself thousands will arise to take his place. The act of his will set the final seal of victory on the cause he represents.
When the cause is good and there is a spirit of service among the workers the money is always found. I have founded and conducted insitutions all my life. In my experience there has not been a single institution which was closed down or which could not make progress for want of money. On the contrary I have found that some institutions ceased functioning or could not make progress for want of workers. You should not ask how, if not on the strength of money, big factories function and recruitment to the Government offices is made. Those who do not understand fully what I have said above, raise such doubts. I never said that money could serve no purpose. If money served no purpose how could we have become its slaves? I would go to the extent of saying that without money we cannot go ahead.
But what I want to say is that if we want to become slaves of money we should give up the idea of serving the people. And it is the lot of slaves to be suppressed. If however we consider money as our slave and use it as a means and that too for rendering service, then we are making good use of it. For the work of service, our first and indispensable need is workers and when we have such workers money will come chasing them. They will not have to go in search of money. That is why I say if we get seven lakh or even more workers we may take it as though we had the money in the safe. It may be said that we do not pay enough to tempt or attract workers. I admit it. But it is only the spirit that matters.
Those who join such philanthropic institutions as the Charkha Sangh do so for the sake of service and not for salaries. They do take monthly salaries because like the rich the poor too have to feed themselves, but they do so only to keep themselves alive and fit for service. Such workers do not eat or drink or dress merely for pleasure.
POONA, November 3, 1945
Our worst enemies are fear and lethargy. We can become aware of our strength only when we have driven out these two….1
We should not live on anybody’s charity. We should seek help only from
ourselves and from God. . . .
A servant of the people should never worry about his livelihood. Anybody who has voluntarily taken up the mission of service comes to command through his service such respect that people will come and offer him one rupee when he needs only half a rupee. But the public servant who renders such effective service must put up with many conditions and restrictions. I am not stating a mere copy-book maxim. I write from my own experience.
A LETTER June 30, 1947
True revolution is not brought about by money. It is a difficult task to change the habits of a lifetime, to overcome laziness, to create rather than destroy. It is easy to acquire ten thousand rupees by looting a train. It is difficult to earn that sum by the sweat of one’s brow. It is a common enough occurrence for someone to earn a lac of rupees in a single day in the share market. But to accumulate a lac of rupees in one day through one’s labour is an impossible task. A beggar has been known to become rich by winning a lottery but no beggar has amassed wealth in a single day through his labour. He can only get his wage in the market. This may be eight annas or even two annas.
Producing khadi is one thing, producing mill-cloth another. Swaraj cannot comethrough the machine. But if two hundred million people with full understanding produce khadi with their own labour and wear it the face of India will be transformed. It will be another matter if out of the four hundred million people two hundred million cannot take the trouble to produce cloth for themselves. But I can never believe that.
Harijan Sevak, 28-7-1946
Chapter 6 : For reaching the ideal
恐れを克服して To conqure the fear
We grow enough cotton in the country. We have any number of handlooms and spinning-wheels. India is not unused to the art of hand-spining and hand-weaving, but somehow or other the fear has seized us that the millions will not take to hand-spinning and weaving hand-spun yarn for their own needs. A haunted man sees fear even when there is no cause for it. And many more die of fright than of the actual disease.
It is said, and rightly, that people die more through fear of death than by real death. There was a man who started thinking that he was going to die very soon. Why talk of some other man--take my own example. If I started thinking that I was going to die because I had a cough, what would happen? I shall die only when my time is up. That is in the hands of God. But if I start worrying about it right from now imagining myself on the point of death, it is dying without actual
death. And being in such panic about death daily I would be creating trouble for people around me as well as for myself, and would be squeezing myself out day after day. I would be always lamenting about the approaching death.
The better thing would be to take it easy till the moment of death and convince ourselves that there is no one who can kill us except God. He will take us away whenever it pleases Him. If we give up the fear of death our problems will also leave us, and we will be free of our troubles. I tell you, when we do this we shall not be troubled. Nobody should think of getting food through anybody’s favour. Instead we shoud produce our food by our own labour. That is why I say that we should not die except by natural death.....
Speech at prayer meeting October 10, 1947
理想の社会とは What is the ideal society?
Independence must mean that of the people of India, not of those who are today ruling over them. The rulers should depend on the will of those who are under their heels. Thus, they have to be servants of the people, ready to do their will.
Independence must begin at the bottom. Thus, every village will be a republic or panchayat having full powers. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world.
ultimately, it is the individual who is the unit. This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbours or from the world. It will be free and voluntary play of mutual forces. Such a society is necessarily highly cultured in which every man and woman knows what he or she wants and, what is more, knows that no one should want anything that others cannot have with equal labour.
This society must naturally be based on truth and non-violence which, in my opinion, are not possible without a living belief in God, meaning a self-existent, all-knowing living Force which inheres every other force known to the world and which depends on none and which will live when all other forces may conceivably perish or cease to act. I am unable to account for my life without belief in this allembracing living Light.
In this structure composed of innumerable villages, there will be ever-widening, never-ascending circles. Life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose centre will be the individual always ready to perish for the village, the latter ready to perish for the circle of villages, till at last the whole becomes one life composed of individuals, never aggressive in their arrogance but ever humble, sharing the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral units.
Therefore the outermost circumference will not wield power to crush the inner circle but will give strength to all within and derive its own strength from it. I may be taunted with the retort that this is all Utopian and, therefore, not worth a single thought. If Euclid’s point, though incapable of being drawn by human agency, has an imperishable value, my picture has its own for mankind to live.
Let India live for this true picture, though never realizable in its completeness. We must have a proper picture of what we want, before we can have something approaching it. If there ever is to be a republic of every village in India, then I claim verity for my picture in which the last is equal to the first or, in other words, no one is to be the first and none the last.
In this there is no room for machines that would displace human labour and that would concentrate power in a few hands. Labour has its unique in a cultured human family. Every machine that helps every individual has a place. But I must confess that I have never sat down to think out what that machine can be. I have thought of Singer’s sewing machine. But even that is perfunctory. I do not need it to fill in my picture.
…If we believe in non-violence and truth we should make no discrimination between high and low and should have no false sense of superiority. We should regard the whole world as a family and live like members of one family.
April 7, 1947
心を清くしてこそ We have to purify ourselves.
GANDHIJI: The first thing we have to do is to improve our national character. No revolution is possible till we build our character. The pity is that though swaraj is so recent an achievement, there is already a slackness in constructive efforts.
We must first purify ourselves. The Congress has always had the constructive programme. Now it has the power. Why is it then that our work is not progressing? It may be that we have no heart. Because if we were endowed with a heart we would have been sensitive to the pain of others.
the freedom that came was not true freedom. The fight being over, our interest in the constructive programme waned. Constructive work is not a strategy or a technique of fighting. Constructive work connotes a way of life. It can be carried on only by men who have adopted it by the heart as well as by the intellect.
Today politics has become corrupt. Anybody who goes into politics gets contaminated. Let us keep out of it altogether. Our influence will grow thereby. The greater our inner purity, the greater shall be our hold on the people, without any effort on our part.
The workers of the Charkha Sangh are not there merely to earn a living for themselves or merely to distribute some wages to the spinners and weavers, etc., by way of poor relief. The only goal worthy of their ambition is to create a non-violent order of society. But, in this they have not made much headway. If our khadi workers are there for wages only, then we had better bid good-bye to the dream of realizing a non-violent social order. The success will depend on our uttermost purity. Impatience would be fatal.
When a woman gives me yarn she does it for money. But why does she covet money? The root cause is poverty. It is that root we have to destroy. Where is khadi today? The people who wear khadi do so to gain political ends. There is no credit in it. Our work may be slow but we can generate great strength through it. Let us forget about the Congress Constitution, because even after the Constitution has been given shape our work must go on. We have to pursue our ends in a different way. You must not succumb to the desire to become ministers.
I do not mind if the volume of our work is small, so long as it is solid. Constitution-making will be over in a few months. What next? The responsibility of working it and making a success of it will rest on you. Suppose you get a constitution after your heart, but it does not work. After five years, someone will say:‘You had your innings, now give us a chance.’ You will have to give in and they may try to seize power, set up a dictatorship and strangulate the Congress.
Per contra, suppose you do not assume power but gain hold on the public, you will be able to return at the polls whomsoever you may wish. Forget membership so long as the voters are in your hand. Think of the root and take care of it as much as you can, and make self-purification the sole criterion. Even a handful imbued with this spirit will be able to transform the atmosphere. The people will soon perceive the change and they will not be slow to respond to it. Yours is an uphill and difficult task but it is full of rich promise.
DISCUSSION AT CONSTRUCTIVE WORKS COMMITTEE MEETING
NEW DELHI, December 11/12, 1947
I can say dispassionately but from experience that the strength of the people has increased in proportion to the progress of the constructive programme. If we can make the constructive programme universal and get it implemented through the people, then swaraj is in our hands.
SEVAGRAM, November 29, 1945
Chapter 7 : Trusteeship
すべては神の物 Everything belongs to God.
everything belonged to God and was from God. Therefore it was for His people as a whole, not for a particular individual. When an individual had more than his proportionate portion he became a trustee of that portion for God’s people.
God who was all-powerful had no need to store. He created from day to day. Hence men also should in theory live day to day and not stock things.
Non-possession is allied to non-stealing. A thing not originally stolen must nevertheless be classified as stolen property if we possess it without needing it. Possession implies provision for the future. A seeker after truth, a follower of the law of love, cannot hold anything against tomorrow. God never stores for the morrow; He never creates more than what is strictly needed for the moment. If, therefore, we repose faith in His providence, we should be assured that He will give us every day our daily bread, meaning everything we require. Saints and men of faith have always found justification for it from their experience. Our ignorance or negligence of the Divine Law, which gives to man from day to day his daily bread and no more, has given rise to inequalities with all the miseries attendant upon them. The rich have a superfluous store of things which they do not need, and which are therefore neglected and wasted; while millions starve to death for want of sustenance. If each retained possession only of what he needed, no one would be in want and all would live in contentment.
The rich should take the initiative in dispossession with a view to universal diffusion of the spirit of contentment. If only they keep their own property within moderate limits, the starving will be easily fed and will learn the lesson of contentment along with the rich.
we must keep the ideal constantly before us, and in the light thereof critically examine our possessions and try to reduce them. Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment and increases the capacity for service.
We thus arrive at the ideal of total renunciation and learn the use of the body for the purposes of service so long as it exists, so much so that service, and not bread, becomes for us the staff of life. We eat and drink, sleep and wake, for service alone. Such an attitude of mind brings us real happiness and the beatific vision in the fulness of time. Let us all examine ourselves from this standpoint.
We should remember that non-possession is a principle applicable to thoughts as well as to things. A man who fills his brain with useless knowledge violates that inestimable principle. Thoughts which turn us away from God or do not turn us towards Him are unnecessary possessions and constitute impediments in our way.
LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI YERAVDA MANDIR,
August 26, 1930
平等ということ ECONOMIC EQUALITY
Working for economic equality means abolishing the eternal conflict between capital and labour. It means the levelling down of the few rich in whose hands is concentrated the bulk of the nation’s wealth on the one hand, and the levelling up of the semi-starved naked millions on the other. A non-violent system of government is clearly an impossibility so long as the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists. The contrast between the palaces of New Delhi and the miserable hovels of the poor labouring class nearby cannot last one day in a free India in which the poor will enjoy the same power as the richest in the land. A violent and bloody revolution is a certainty one day unless there is a voluntary abdication of riches and the power that riches give and sharing them for the common good.
I adhere to my doctrine of trusteeship in spite of the ridicule that has been poured upon it. It is true that it is difficult to reach. So is non-violence. But we made up our minds in 1920 to negotiate that steep ascent. We have found it worth the effort. ..
We have moneyed Congressmen in the organization. They have to lead the way. This fight provides an opportunity for the closest heart-searching on the part of every individual Congressman.
If ever we are to achieve equality, the foundation has to be laid now. Those who think that major reforms will come after the advent of swaraj are deceiving themselves as to the elementary working of non-violent swaraj. It will not drop from heaven all of a sudden one fine morning. But it has to be built up brick by brick by corporate self-effort. We have travelled a fair way in that direction. But a much longer and weary distance has to be covered before we can behold swaraj in its glorious majesty.
Every Congressman has to ask himself what he has done towards the attainment of economic equality.
Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place
As to this Gandhiji had no doubt that if India was to live an exemplary life of independence which would be the envy of the world, all the Bhangis, doctors, lawyers, teachers, merchants and others would get the same wages for an honest day’s work. Indian society may never reach the goal but it was the duty of every Indian to set his sail towards that goal and no other if India was to be a happy land.
It is true that it has some big officers getting huge salaries and it is unjust that the members of the subordinate staff should be paid such low salaries...
I hold in principle that a barrister and a scavenger should receive equal payment. But a barrister is able to snatch more and we gladly let him. I too was once a barrister but I found the idea of thus making money repugnant and I became a Bhangi. But where are we to find men who will have the talent to work as Governors, barristers, traders and the like? And who will be satisfied with the e wages of a scavenger? Even a tailor is able to earn four or five rupees a day. But who will pay a scavenger that much? The need today is for man to change his nature, to cultivate generosity and not to cut other people’s throats to further his self-interest.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING NEW DELHI, July 26, 1947
If a single man demanded as much as a man with wife and four children that would be a violation of economic equality.
Gandhiji continued :
Let no one try to justify the glaring difference between the classes and the masses, the prince and the pauper, by saying that the former need more. That will be idle sophistry and a travesty of my argument. The contrast between the rich and the poor today is a painful sight.
The real implication of equal distribution is that each man shall have the wherewithal to supply all his natural needs and no more. For example, if one man has a weak digestion and requires only a quarter of a pound of flour for his bread and another needs a pound, both should be in a position to satisfy their wants. To bring this ideal into being the entire social order has got to be reconstructed. A society based on non-violence cannot nurture any other ideal. We may not perhaps be able to realize the goal, but we must bear it in mind and work unceasingly to near it. To the same extent as we progress towards our goal we shall find contentment and happiness, and to that extent too shall we have contributed towards the bringing into being of a non-violent society.
It is perfectly possible for an individual to adopt this way of life without having to wait for others to do so. And if an individual can observe a certain rule of conduct, it follows that a group of individuals can do likewise. It is necessary for me to emphasize the fact that no one need wait for anyone else in order to adopt a right course. Men generally hesitate to make a beginning if they feel that the objective cannot be had in its entirely. Such an attitude of mind is in reality a bar to progress.
Now let us consider how equal distribution can be brought about through non-violence. The first step towards it is for him who has made this ideal part of his being to bring about the necessary changes in his personal life. He would reduce his wants to a minimum, bearing in mind the poverty of India. His earnings would be free of dishonesty. The desire for speculation would be renounced. His habitation would be in keeping with the new mode of life. There would be self-restraint exercised in every sphere of life. When he has done all that is possible in his own life, then only will he be in a position to preach this ideal among his associates and neighbours.
Indeed at the root of this doctrine of equal distribution must lie that of the trusteeship of the wealthy for the superfluous wealth possessed by them. For according to the doctrine they may not possess a rupee more than their neighbours. How is this to be brought about?
Non-violently? Or should the wealthy be dispossessed of their possessions?
To do this we would naturally have to resort to violence. This violent action cannot benefit society. Society will be the poorer, for it will lose the gifts of a man who knows how to accumulate wealth.
Therefore the non-violent way is evidently superior. The rich man will be left in possession of his wealth, of which he will use what he reasonably requires for his personal needs and will act as a trustee for the remainder to be used for the society. In this argument honesty on the part of the trustee is assumed.
As soon as man looks upon himself as a servant of society, earns for its sake, spends for its benefit, then purity enters into his earnings and there is ahimsa in his venture. Moreover, if men’s minds turn towards this way of life, there will come about a peaceful revolution in society, and that without any bitterness.
It may be asked whether history at any time records such a change in human nature. Such changes have certainly taken place in individuals. One may not perhaps be able to point to them in a whole society. But this only means that up till now there has never been an experiment on a large scale in non-violence. Somehow or other the wrong belief has taken possession of us that ahimsa is pre-eminently a weapon for individuals and its use should therefore be limited to that sphere. In fact this is not the case.
Ahimsa is definitely an attribute of society. To convince people of this truth is at once my effort and my experiment. In this age of wonders no one will say that a thing or idea is worthless because it is new. To say it is impossible because it is difficult is again not in consonance with the spirit of the age. Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field on non-violence. The history of religion is full of such examples....
If, however, in spite of the utmost effort, the rich do not become guardians of the poor in the true sense of the term and the latter are more and more crushed and die of hunger, what is to be done? In trying to find the solution to this riddle I have lighted on non-violent non-co-operation and civil disobedience as the right and infalliblemeans. The rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor in society. Man has been conversant with violence from the beginning, for he has inherited this strength from the animal in his nature. It was only when he rose from the state of a quadruped (animal) to that of a biped (man) that the knowledge of the strength of ahimsa entered into his soul. This knowledge has grown within him slowly but surely. If this knowledge were to penetrate to and spread amongst the poor, they would become strong and would learn how to free themselves by means of non-violence from the crushing inequalities [which have brought them to the verge of starvation]1 .
社会主義者との違い Gandhi's way vs socialism
Q. What is the difference between your technique and that of the communists or socialists for realizing the goal of economic equality?
A. The socialists and communists say, they can do nothing to bring about economic equality today. They will just carry on propaganda in its favour and to that end they believe in generating and accentuating hatred. They say, when they get control over and accentuating hatred. They say, when they get control over the State, they will enforce equality. Under my plan, the State will be there to carry out the will of the people, not to dictate to them or force them to do its will. I shall bring about economic equality through nonviolence, by converting the people to my point of view by harnessing the forces of love as against hatred.
I will not wait till I have converted the whole society to my view but will straightaway make a beginning with myself. It goes without saying that I cannot hope to bring about economic equality of my conception, if I am the owner of fifty motor-cars or even of ten bighas of land. For that I have to reduce myself to the level of the poorest of the poor. That is what I have been trying to do for the last fifty years or more, and so I claim to be a foremost communist although I make use of cars and other facilities offered to me by the rich. They have no hold on me and I can shed them at a moment’s notice, if the interests of the masses demand it.
Q. What is the place of satyagraha in making the rich realize their duty towards the poor?
A. The same as against the foreign power. Satyagraha is a law of universal application. Beginning with the family, its use can be extended to every other circle. Supposing a land-owner exploits his tenants and mulcts them of the fruit of their toil by appropriating it to his own use. When they expostulate with him, he does not listen and raises objections that he requires so much for his wife, so much for his children and so on. ... they will not submit. They will quit, if asked to do so, but they will make it clear that the land belongs to him who tills it. The owner cannot till all the land himself, and he will have to give in to their just demands. It may, however, be that the tenants are replaced by others. Agitation short of violence will then continue till the replaced tenants see their error and make common cause with the evicted tenants. Thus satyagraha is a process of educating public opinion such that it covers all the elements of society and in the end makes itself irresistible. Violence interrupts the process and prolongs the real revolution of the whole social structure.
The only rightful owner of the land was he who tilled it. The present proprietors were morally entitled to hold land only if they became trustees for it.
A proprietor who regarded his property merely as a means of satisfying his lusts was not its owner but its slave.
A proprietor who holds his property as a trust will not pass it on to his children in inheritance unless the letter in their turn become trustees and make good their claim as such. If they are not prepared for it, he should create a trust of his property. It is demoralizing for an able-bodied young man to live like a parasite on unearned income. A father should inculcate in his children the appreciation of the dignity of labour and teach them to earn their bread by their honest industry.
As regards the monied people all I can say from my close personal association with a large number of them, is that if a general atmosphere in favour of trusteeship, devoid of ill-will and class hatred, is created in the country they will fall in line with it.
労働こそ生きた資本 Labor is the living capital.
capital is perfectly helpless without labour, …
it is wrong to think that a piece of metal constitutes capital; it is also wrong to think that so much produce is capital. if we go to the source, it is labour that is capital and that living capital cannot be reduced in terms of economics and it is inexhaustible. ..
it would not matter in the slightest degree that capital has guns and poison gas at its disposal. Capital will still be perfectly helpless if labour will assert its dignity making good its ‘No’. Then labour does not need to retaliate, but stands defiant receiving the bullets and poison gas and still insists upon its ‘No’.
But I tell you why labour so often fails. Instead of sterilizing capital as I have suggested labour should do (I say this as a labourer myself), it wants to seize capital and become capitalist itself in the worst sense of the term. And therefore the capitalist who is properly entrenched and organized, finding in labour a desire for the same objective, makes use of labour to suppress labour. And if we were really not under the hypnotic spell, every one of us--man and woman--would recognize this rock-bottom truth without the slightest difficulty.
Having achieved brilliant successes in various departments of life, I am saying this with authority. I have placed before you something not superhuman but within the grasp of every labourer.....
I want labour to copy the courage of the soldier without copying the brute in the soldier, viz., the ability to inflict death, and I suggest to you that a labourer who courts death without carrying arms shows a courage of a much higher degree than the man who is armed from top to toe….
Everything becomes simple and easy the moment you learn to give up your own life in order to save the life of others…
non-violence is made of sterner stuff. It was never conceived as a weapon of the weak, but of the stoutest hearts…
you cannot save yourself unless you are prepared to lose yourself.( St. Mark VIII, 35 and St. Luke IX. 24.)
SPEECH AT MEETING GENEVA, December 10, 1931
ultimately, it is not paper legislation nor brave words or fiery speeches, but the power of non-violent organization, discipline and sacrifice that constitutes the real bulwark of the people against injustice or oppression.
The Hindu, 23-1-1945
Labour, because it chose to remain unintelligent, either became subservient or insolently believed in damaging capitalists’s goods and machinary or even in killing capitalists. He was a lobourer by conviction and a Bhangi. As such his interests were bound with those of labour and he wished to tell them that violence would never save them. They would be killing the goose that laid golden eggs. What he had been saying for years was that labour was far superior to capital. Without labour gold, silver and copper were a useless burden. It was labour which extracted precious ore from the bowels of the earth. He could quite conceive of labour existing without metal. Labour was priceless, not gold.
He wanted marriage between capital and labour. They could work wonders in co-operation. But that could happen only when labour was intelligent enough to cooperate with itself and then offer co-operation with capital on terms of honourableequality. Capital controlled labour because it knew the art of combination. Drops in separation could only fade away; drops in co-operation made the ocean which carried on its broad bosom ocean greyhounds.
Similarly, if all the labourers in any part of the world combined together, they could not be tempted by higher wages or helplessly allow themselves to be attracted for a pittance. A true and non-violent combination of labour would act like a magnet attracting to it all the needed capital.
Capitalists would then exist only as trustees. When that happy day dawned, there would be no difference between capital and labour. The labour will have ample food, good and sanitary dwellings, all the necessary education for their children, ample leisure for self-education and proper medical assistance.
It could be ended if the capitalists voluntarily renounced their role and became all labourers. The other way was to realize that labour was real capital, in fact the maker of capital. What the two hands of the labourer could achieve the capitalist would never get with all his gold and silver. Could anyone live on gold? But labour had to be made conscious of its strength. It had to have in one hand truth and in the other non-violence, and it would be invincible.
Labour and capital, classes and masses, are as old as the hills.
The whole trouble arises from the fact that neither labour nor those who are guiding the labour movement realize the dignity and strength of labour. It is like the lame leading the blind.
Gandhiji was asked about Karl Marx. He got the opportunity and privilege of reading Capital, he told them, whilst he was in detention. He entertained high regard for his great industry and acumen. But he could not believe in his conclusions. He had no faith in violence being able to usher in non-violence. World thought was moving and was outdating Karl Marx. That, however, did not detract from the merit of the great man’s labours.
Gandhiji concluded by saying that non-co-operation and civil disobedience in terms of swaraj were not to be thought of without substantial constructive effort. Either without the latter will be body without soul, as good as dead.
DISCUSSION WITH MIDNAPORE POLITICAL WORKERS CONTAI,
January 2, 1946
人民の力 The power of people
Before civil disobedience can be practised on a vast scale, people must learn the art of civil or voluntary obedience. Our obedience to the Government is through fear; and the reaction against it is either violence itself or that species of it, which is cowardice. But through khadi we teach people the art of civil obedience to an institution which they have built up for themselves. Only when they have learnt that art can they successfully disobey something which they want to destroy in the non-violent way.
This is why I should advise all workers not to fritter their fighting strength in many-sided battles, but to concentrate on peaceful khadi work in order to educate the masses into a condition necessary for a successful practice of non-violent non-co-operation. With their own exploitation, boycott of foreign cloth through picketing may easily be violent; through the use of khadi it is most natural and absolutely non-violent....
Love and exclusive possession can never go together. Theoretically when there is perfect love, there must be perfect non-possession. The body is our last possession. So a man can only exercise perfect love and be completely dispossessed, if he is prepared to embrace death and renounce his body for the sake of human
But that is true in theory only. In actual life, we can hardly exercise perfect love, for the body as a possession will always remain with us. Man will ever remain imperfect, and it will always be his part to try to be perfect.
So that perfection in love or non-possession will remain an unattainable ideal, as long as we are alive, but towards which we must ceaselessly strive.
Those who own money now are asked to behave like trustees holding their riches on behalf of the poor. You may say that trusteeship is a legal fiction. But if people meditate over it constantly and try to act up to it, then life on earth would be governed far more by love than it is at present. Absolute trusteeship is an abstraction like Euclid’s definition of a point, and is equally unattainable. But if we strive for it, we shall be able to go further in realizing a state of equality on earth than by any other method.
Q. If you say that private possession is incompatible with non-violence, why do you put up with it?
A. That is a concession one has to make to those who earn money but who would not voluntarily use their earnings for the benefit of mankind.
Q. Why then not have State-ownership in place of private property and thus minimize violence?
A. It is better than private ownership. But that too is objectionable on the ground of violence. It is my firm conviction that if the State suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the coils of violence itself, and will fail to develop non-violence at any time. The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence. Hence I prefer the doctrine of trusteeship....
What I would personally prefer would be not a centralization of power in the hands of the State, but. an extension of the sense of trusteeship; as in my opinion the violence of private ownership is less injurious than the violence of the State. However, if it is unavoidable, I would support a minimum of State-ownership....
While admitting that man actually lives by habit, I hold that it is better for him to live by the exercise of will. I also believe that men are capable of developing their will to an extent that will reduce exploitation to a minimum. I look upon an increase of the power of the State with the greatest fear, because although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all
progress. We know of so many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the State has really lived for the poor.
The Hindustan Times, 17-10-1935
Trusteeship is my answer to the issue of class-conflict...
to banish war we have to do more. We have to eradicate possessiveness and greed and lust and egotism from our own hearts. We have to carry war within ourselves to banish it from society.
TALK WITH PYARELAL ON MARXISM [After August 9, 1942]
The only democratic way of achieving it today is by cultivating opinion in its favour.”
Q：If social transformation is effected by a slow, gradual process, it will killthe revolutionary fervour which an abrupt break with the past creates. That is why our Marxist friends say that a true social revolution can come only through a proletarian dictatorship. . .
G. Perhaps you have the example of Russia in mind. Wholesale expropriation of the owning class and distribution of its assets among the people there did create a tremendous amount of revolutionary fervour. But I claim that ours will be an even bigger revolution. We must not underrate the business talent and know-how which the owning class have acquired through generations of experience and specialization.
Free use of it would accrue to the people under my plan. So long as we have no power, conversion is our weapon by necessity, but after we get power, conversion will be our weapon of choice. Conversion must precede legislation. Legislation in the absence of conversion remains a dead letter. As an illustration, we have today the power to enforce rules of sanitation but we can do nothing with it because the public is not ready.
P. You say conversion must precede reform. Whose conversion? If you mean the conversion of the people, they are ready even today. If, on the other hand, you mean that of the owning class, we may as well wait till the Greek Calends.
G. I mean the conversion of both. You see, if the owning class does not accept the trusteeship basis voluntarily, its conversion must come under the pressure ofpublic opinion. For that public opinion is not yet sufficiently organized....
P. Is the capture of power possible through non-violence?
G. By its very nature, non-violence cannot ‘seize’power, nor can that be its goal. But non-violence can do more; it can effectively control and guide power without capturing the machinery of Government. That is its beauty. There is an exception of course. If the non-violent non-co-operation of the people is so complete that the administration ceases to function or if the administration crumbles under the impact of a foreign invasion and a vacuum results, the people’s representatives will then step in and fill it. Theoretically that is possible....
But it called for a terrible self-discipline, self-denial and penance......
under non-violence people have to be prepared for heavier sacrifices if only because the goal aimed at is higher. “There is no short-cut to salvation,”
Q: “That would mean,” interpolated my sister, “that only a Jesus, a Muhammad or a Buddha can be the head of a non-violent State.”
G. That is not correct. Prophets and supermen are born only once in an age. But if even a single individual realizes the ideal of ahimsa in its fullness, he covers and redeems the whole society. Once Jesus had blazed the trail, his twelve disciples could carry on his mission without his presence. It needed the perseverance and genius of so many generations of scientists to discover the laws of electricity but today everybody, even children, use electric power in their daily life. Similarly, it will not always need a perfect being to administer an ideal State, once it has come into being. What is needed is a thorough social awakening to begin with. The rest will follow.
To take an instance nearer home, I have presented to the working class the truth that true capital is not silver or gold but the labour of their hands and feet and their intelligence. Once labour develops that awareness, it would not need my presence to enable it to make use of the power that it will release.
TALK WITH PYARELAL [December 13, 1942]
We have long been accustomed to think that power comes only through Legislative Assemblies. I have regarded this belief as a grave error brought about by inertia or hypnotism. A superficial study of British history has made us think that all power percolates to the people from parliaments. The truth is that power resides in the people and it is entrusted for the time being to those whom they may choose as their representatives. Parliaments have no power or even existence independently of the people. It has been my effort for the last twentyone years to convince the people of this simple truth.
Civil disobedience is the storehouse of power. Imagine a whole people unwilling to conform to the laws of the legislature, and prepared to suffer the consequences of non-compliance. They will bring the whole legislative and executive machinery to a standstill. The police and the military are of use to coerce minorities however powerful they may be. But no police or military coercion can bend the resolute will of a people who are out for suffering to the uttermost.
(Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place)
441. SPEECH AT GUILDHOUSE CHURCH2
September 23, 1931
They would say : “He is
happy although he possesses nothing; how is it?” I do not need to
argue with them; they begin to argue for themselves.
The Guildhouse, 23-9-1931
265. SPEECH AT CONGRESS WORKERS’ CONFERENCE?II
January 6, 1946
He himself claimed to be scavenger No. 1 of India. His
ideal scavenger would not be an ignorant puppet but a man with sturdy common
sense and capacity to think and decide upon the problems of the day.
Amrita Bazar Patrika, 13-1-1946, and Harijan, 31-3-1946
89. THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE
I believe with Sir Daniel
Hamilton that labour, and not metal, is real money.
Whatever is being done today with ‘money motive’ should in future be based
on ‘service motive’. Why should teachers and doctors be paid high salaries?
Why cannot most of the work be done on a co-operative basis? Why should
you worry about capital when there are seven hundred million hands to toil?
If things are done on a co-operative basis, which in other words is modified
socialism, money would not be needed, at least not in large quantity.
151. FOR THE PRINCES
Every individual must have the fullest
142 THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI
liberty to use his talents consistently with equal use by his neighbours
but no one is entitled to the arbitrary use of the gains from the talents.
He is part of the nation or say the socialstructure surrounding him.
Therefore, he can only use his talents not for self only but for the
social structure of which he is but a part and on whose sufferance he
SEVAGRAM, July 27, 1942
402. ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS AT CONSTRUCTIVE
WORKERS’ CONFERENCE, MADRAS
January 24, 1946
it was as necessary for the rich
also to do manual work.
The Hindu, 26-1-1946; also Harijan, 31-3-1946
434. DISCUSSION WITH MEMBERS OF A. I. S. A.1
[October 8, 1946]2
1 Extracted from Pyarelal’s “Weekly Letter”, 15-10-1946 and 18-10-1946.
The annual meeting of the A. I. S. A. was held at the Harijan Colony in Kingsway on
the 8th, 9th and 10th October.
2 From Indian Annual Register.
Let us go to the root of the
difficulty. Our initial mistake was that we took to spinning but
neglected weaving. If we had adopted universal weaving along with
spinning, all these difficulties would not have arisen. The remedy is to
improve the yarn so that the weavers have as little difficulty in weaving
as possible. We should reason with the weavers and explain to them
that dependence on mill yarn must kill their avocation in the end.
Mill-owners are no philanthropists. They would draw the noose tight
round the handloom weavers’ neck the moment they came within
effective range of competition with mill cloth.
If we have faith in the charkha, we must forge ahead undismayed
by these temporary bottlenecks. The number of handlooms
weaving hand-spun will increase in due course. We have got enough
artisans and indigenous skill in our country to produce all the cloth
that we require for ourselves.
JAJUJI: This means that the work must go on as before at a snail’s pace. Our
scheme of making 4 lakhs of people self-sufficient in cloth in a short time in this
way will not succeed.
GANDHIJI: If it does not, the fault will be ours.
Harijan, 20-10-1946 and 27-10-1946