Gist of Yojana October 2019 Issue: Invaluable Legacy

October 2019 Yojana:- Download PDF Here

Yojana Magazine is an important source of material for the UPSC exam. The monthly magazine provides details of major government schemes and programmes in various domains. Moreover, coming from the government, it is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of  Yojana, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. A Possibility in the Eco-system of Swadeshi and Swaraj
2. Quest for an Alternate Vision
3. Thinking beyond the Self and the Other
4. Towards an Egalitarian Society
5. Gandhi as an Internationalist
6. Transformation through People’s Power
7. The Path towards National Regeneration
8. Production by Masses, Not Mass Production
9. Providing Food to Hungry Stomachs
10. Constructive Programme: A Women’s Perspective
11. Holistic Development of the Personality

Chapter 1: A Possibility in the Eco-system of Swadeshi and Swaraj

  • There is an impression among some, both in business and public at large, that the Government, by making a law forcing the corporate and the business world to spend two percent of their profit for social betterment, has gained the ground for Gandhi’s idea of Trusteeship. It is now known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • Gandhi had developed the thesis of trusteeship as an alternative to capitalism and communism when it was believed that there’s no alternative to capitalism. When Gandhi developed this concept, he was essentially trying to argue out a theoretical case.

 Basic Argument

  • The basic and fundamental argument he made in this regard was that both capitalism and communism were founded on violence. Communism that talks about equity also recommends violence.
  • As against both the schools of thought, the trusteeship principle basically stands on non-violence. So, for a sustainable society, Gandhi’s argument of trusteeship stands a better chance at a theoretical level.

The idea of Trusteeship: In the words of Gandhi

  • He described a society based on trusteeship as follows “the rich man will be left in possession of the wealth of which he will use when he necessarily requires and reasonably satisfies his personal needs and then acts as a trustee for the remainder to be used for the society and by the society.”

Analysis:

  • The fundamental assumption regarding the theory is the honesty and integrity of the trustee.
  • A number of scholars and philosophers have thought that Gandhi’s idea of trusteeship is not operational. However, they failed to understand that Gandhi is not arguing about the workability of trusteeship, but he’s only promulgating the theory of trusteeship.
  • The idea of trusteeship is based on one particular value that is embedded in Indian tradition – It is the value of Aparigraha (non-acquisitive nature of human being) that has to be developed. This Aparigraha is the foundation of his idea of trusteeship.
    • Aparigraha becomes an integral part of human behaviour and this has to be considered as a part of the behaviour of the economic man.
    • Gandhi departs from the conventional positive economists from this point.
  • Aparigrahi, i.e., the person who is acquiring wealth but is not acquisitive, has a variety of uses of his wealth.
    • One would be – utilisation for self-satisfaction or for the gratification of self-needs.
    • The other part of utility involves an individual deriving the satisfaction and utility by satisfying the needs of others.
    • The important aspect of aparigraha is its multi-utility concept.
  • If this normative nature of aparigraha is accepted in the mainstream economic analysis, cultivating an aparigrahi individual becomes a major task.
  • In the contemporary corporate environment, the dominance of positive economics is reflected in the acceptance of the exogenous nature of values, i.e., the values have to be treated outside and separately.
  • This is not true because actual human behaviour is not bereft of such kind of value systems. The market failure signals the failure of acting as an economic man.
  • In the corporate practice often, there exists an irrationality – value other than a profit motive. If space is to be created for such value, then it is possible to create space for aparigraha as a value to be operational. Trusteeship is based on this premise.
  • If aparigraha is to be imbibed, the approach to view the production system would differ. Also, within the production system, issues like what to produce and how much to produce would be tackled from a different perspective.

How to create space for Trusteeship?

  • The society would need to find a way to bring down the acquisitive nature of the population.
  • One solution lies with the introduction of the moral value of aparigraha into the lives of the masses through education. However, that would be a long process.
  • Persuasion and non-cooperation was Gandhi’s answer. If the trustee fails to behave as a trustee, the state would be justified in dispossessing them, according to him.

Characteristics of Trusteeship:

  1. Trusteeship is based on Ahimsa
  • A variant of trusteeship was tried out by Vinoba Bhave soon after Independence, that related to the land, which is well known as bhoodan.
  • He started asking for land as a donation and redistributed the donated land to landless farmers. He was appealing, using moral persuasion and he called this ‘Karuna (compassion). 
  1. Trusteeship Allows Creation of Wealth
  • Trusteeship is essentially about how to possess and how much to possess. It is not against creation and possession. Creation and possession of wealth are justified in the scheme of Trusteeship.
  • In Neo-Classical Economics, to imbibe the value of labour indirectly and to minimise the cost, it is to be exploited physically and economically. In such circumstances, any expectation from labourers to become efficient and develop a commitment for production cannot materialize.
  • The entire process of production generates definite negative externalities by not paying proper wages. These externalities are also being imposed on society and the state.
  • If the concept of trusteeship is to be applied in these circumstances, a trustee, a producer or the corporate sector, should make an offer to fellow human beings who are part of the production process for their decent standards of living.
  1. Trusteeship and Nature
  • The other input of production is nature. In a corporate framework, the intrinsic value of the natural resource is not being evaluated.
  • In the Gandhian theory of Trusteeship, handling of nature and use of nature in one’s own production system can be different, perhaps more conservation/preservation oriented. If the industry as a whole takes a decision to price the production services more appropriately, and let the product be produced only if there is a demand, rather than cutting it down at the firm’s/industry’s level or transferring all the costs to the society.
  • In this regard, carbon trading is a very inferior option, although it’s a better option than no option.
  • The third issue is about pollution. Pollution obviously, is a result of production. One can also be a trustee by choosing appropriate technologies.
  • Hence, there is ample scope for trusteeship on the production side.
  1. Trusteeship in Consumption
  • Consumption has two distinct levels: personal and societal.
  • The theory of Aparigraha (non-acquisitiveness), involves not acquiring and consuming things which are useless to an individual. This is where Gandhi brings in the concept of limiting personal demands/needs. After satisfying needs for a decent livelihood, the rest of the wealth is required to be spent for social good.
  • In Gujarat, a number of educational institutes and healthcare units have been financed and managed by the Mahajans.

Conclusion:

Beginning the process with the basic principle of aparigraha, non-acquisitive life by the trustee, by the creator and possessor of wealth would impact the entire society in a positive manner. Such a society would be a simple society, and the craze for useful and not-so-useful technologies will also be automatically regulated. The vision has to change. Gandhi’s trusteeship becomes relevant and a possibility within his overall vision of a non-violent society, swadeshi, decentralised economic system and Swaraj as self-rule.

Chapter 2: Quest for an Alternate Vision

It is well-known that the central aim of the Gandhian programme of action is the attainment of Swaraj and Sarvodaya which in general parlance means the all-round, holistic development of humanity.

A Contemporary Society

  • Contemporary society has been characterised as a knowledgeable society. But in spite of the easy and widespread access to information and knowledge, in daily living, we confront natural phenomena which are practically incomprehensible, inexplicable and hence mind-boggling to most people.
  • It is true that scientists like Michio Kaku state that the scientific revolutions in the fields of quantum mechanics, bio-genetics and artificial intelligence are dramatically reshaping the destiny of humanity in a positive light, but they too, are not sure about the fate of the universe and the intelligent life in it.
  • Knowledge, traditionally viewed as an aid to service, came to be considered a mere instrument for the attainment of power and domination. Sir Francis Bacon put it succinctly when he said: “Knowledge is Power.”
  • The idea that unlimited physical comforts and sensuous enjoyment can be chased and realised, developed into a new theory and ideology known as ‘developmentalism’.
  • Development at any cost has become the motto of modern civilization, irrespective of the divergent political ideologies followed by different nation-states.
  • Modern civilization with its uni-dimensional focus on physical comforts and sensuous enjoyment was developed by the West and was thrust upon the rest of the world by them. It was glorified by the elite classes around the world as the ideal way of life to be aspired and attained by all.

An Alternate Vision

  • Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj contained, among other things, a severe critique of modern western civilization. He diagnosed the root cause of the disease of modern civilization as violence.
  • The other dangers that Gandhi identified in modern western civilization were that it dismissed religion and morality from human life and transactions as redundant and elevated physical comfort. He termed it as “bodily welfare”- as the level of the ultimate goal to be sought after in life.
  • In keeping with the Marxian perspective, it measured the level of human civilization on the basis of its increased technological capacity to dominate over, manipulate and control nature.
  • Studies like Rachael Carson’s ‘The Silent Spring’, Donella Meadows and Jorgen Randers’ ‘The Limits to Growth’, E. F. Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful’, ‘A Guide for the Perplexed’ and Alvin Toffler’s ‘The Third Wave’ have enumerated graphically the havocs wrought by human aggression on physical nature and on various other aspects of human life leading to a crisis of existence.
    • These studies, while warning humanity against the impending possibility of total global catastrophe, also present alternative visions of a sustainable future civilization and it is fascinating that these visions are mostly in consonance with the Gandhian alternative.
  • The UN Declaration Document clearly states that the focus of the programme is on people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, the points repeatedly emphasised by Gandhi on many occasions.
  • It also states that the member nations are determined to take steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.

Conclusion:

  • As the UN, rightly posed it, the question before us is simple and obvious: Are we ready to read the clear signs on the horizon and change on to a sustainable path?
  • This was, precisely, what Gandhi had asked in his Hind Swaraj and it was the basic principles of a sustainable civilisation that he enunciated in it.
  • The responsibility of the citizens and the government is to translate the dream of a sustainable civilization into reality.

Chapter 3: Thinking beyond the Self and the Other

One of the contemporary major challenges is multilevel violence that ranges from micro to macro level. According to Galtung, violence is of three kinds: direct, structural and cultural. Gandhi’s non-violence responds to the contemporary problem of violence at these three levels – direct, structural and cultural.

a. Gandhi’s Response to Direct Violence

  • The underlying principle of Gandhi’s non-violence is Advaita. Thus, Gandhi does not see any separation between the self and other.
  • He noted in Hind Swaraj that ‘sacrifice of self is infinitely superior to sacrifice of others’. In Gandhi’s paradigm, both self and the others are tied to a relationship of responsibility. This responsibility is ethical and non-violent in nature, and it recognises each other’s free will to experiment in the field of society and politics guided by the truth.
  • Gandhi also argues why violence as a contemporary means to settle issues should be avoided in personal and social life.
    • First, he observes that violence does not accept the ‘essential dignity’ and worth of the individual.
    • Secondly, violence recognises no boundaries and finally becomes self-justificatory in itself. The reason is that violence claims to possess the truth about right and wrong and on this basis, it also decides who should be punished and who spared.
    • Third, when violence becomes habitual and institutionalised, it becomes a general means/method to settle any kind of conflicts in society.
  • It must be recalled, for Gandhi, non-violence is not confined only to a personal virtue or individual behaviour. He considered non-violence as ‘law of our being’ that must be applied in all social relations: familial, political, economic and educational.
  • To contemporary violence-inflicted society, his message is very clear – to apply non-violence in all possible fields of human relations.

b. Gandhi’s Response to Structural Violence 

  • The problem of violence may be viewed in terms of concentration of power, large-scale industrialization, and exploitation of one group by another. These have been termed as structural violence.
  • Gandhi’s idea of Aparigraha (non-possession) and its institutionalised form ‘trusteeship’, as well as the need for self-control, are useful today.
  • Gandhi held the view that the modern crisis can be overcome only by making institutions more in the line of ‘law of non-violence’.
  • He advocated the decentralised mode of polity (Panchayati Raj) and economy (Gram swaraj) to minimize the structural violence in society. For such social and political task, Gandhi invited people to take up moral leadership at different levels.
  • In response to the contemporary problem of socio-political injustice or economic inequality, Gandhi proposed a non-violent mode of protest known as Satyagraha.
  • In modern society, where ethnic or political conflict has become common, Satyagraha offers a method of non-violent, creative conflict transformation which results in reconciliation and removal of bitterness between or among the conflicting parties.
  • On the issue of State and individual, which is a central challenge to modern polity, Gandhi regarded the individual as the centre of authority and value. According to him, the State and Government derive their existence and power from the individuals. Thus, when the State begins to exploit the people and impede their progress, it is the holy duty of the people to withdraw their cooperation from the State and reform the state by moral force.

 c. Gandhi’s Response to Cultural Violence

  • Multi-dimensionality of violence signifies psychological, linguistic, socio-political and economic violence indirectly inflicted on a particular community in the society which is not overt but hidden in the very structure and mechanism of the society. Such violence often gets vent when cultural, political or religious war (as in the case of terrorism) takes place.
  • To develop a non-violent worldview, he emphasizes on a new kind of socialization through Swadeshi and a new type of education through Nai Talim in the society.
  • The violence against nature, known as the environmental crisis, is a serious contemporary challenge before us. Rather than looking at nature separately from the human being, Gandhi submitted that we should feel a living bond between ourselves and the rest of the animate world.
  • Gandhi’s idea of non-violence attempts to eradicate the root cause of the present ecological crisis by proposing the idea similar to a notion recently termed as ‘human ecology’.
  • Human ecology is concerned with the ecological implications of all what human beings do.

Chapter 4: Towards an Egalitarian Society

Mahatma Gandhi, with a multi-dimensional mission, wanted to touch every aspect of the individual, national and even international life.

  • In the political field, he applied the age-old principles of truth and non-violence and their derivative Satyagraha to build up a mass movement which ultimately resulted in the freedom of India on 15 August 1947.
  • In the economic field, he challenged the foundational values of the western model of development, which are:
    • It is the self-interest that moves man and his society.
    • It is the ever spiralling desires and aspirations of man which lead to the progress of human society.
  • He fervently made a fine distinction between human ‘need’ and ‘want’ and underlined the centrality of basic needs in any given social order.
  • In the religio-cultural field, he stood for Sarva Dharma Samabhava (equal respect for all religions) and rejected the western concept of secularism, i.e., a distinct separation of religion and politics.
  • He did not have much faith in State power and ever remained a votary of civil society organisations.
  • In the process, he provided three major instruments of social change, Eleven Vows (Ekadasha Vrata), Constructive Programme and Satyagraha, instead of a singular role of the State power.
  • It was in Phoenix Settlement (1904) and Tolstoy Farm (1910), that some of his liberal ideas like sharir shram (bread labour), Sarva Dharma Sambhava (equal respect for all religions) and Sparsh Bhavana (elimination of untouchability) started being practised in a vigorous way.

a. Eleven Vows:

  • When he set up Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad during 1915, he introduced Eleven Vows (Ekadash Vrata) which every inmate of the ashram would have to follow and imbibe in his life and living.
  • These eleven vows were: truth, non-violence, non-stealing, brahmacharya, non-possession, control of palate, fearlessness, elimination of untouchability, bread labour, Swadesh and equal respect for all religions.
  • Out of these eleven vows, two of them viz. Sparsh Bhavana (elimination of untouchability) and sharir shram (bread labour) were primarily concerned with the principle of dignity of labour.

b. Bread Labour:

  • The simple meaning of the principle of bread labour is that one must work to live. The person might be engaged in any kind of mental work, but would’ve to put in some amount of physical work to earn his bread.
  • Gandhi was aware that the dignity of labour was missing from our socio-cultural value system. Hence, he made it a part of the Ekadash Vrata.
  • Gandhi associated this principle of bread labour with Jajna concept of the Bhagavad Gita. According to Bhagavad Gita, it is said that anyone who partakes food without performing some sacrifice (Jajna) is nothing short of being a thief.
  • He considered self-scavenging as the best form of the bread labour, as it would automatically eliminate the scourge of untouchability and lead to the state of social equality of all men.
  • Charkha and Kargha became the symbol of synthesis between mental and physical work. They also were meant to provide employment to millions of people during their spare time. Getting their own clothes through spinning and weaving, people were to attain self-reliance and indeed their own Swaraj.

c. Sparsh Bhavana (Elimination of Untouchability):

  • He considered the entire spectrum of untouchability as a blot on the face of Hinduism.
  • Sparsh Bhavana became one of the major vratas of his Eleven Vows.
  • He launched one of the most vigorous campaigns to eliminate the scourge of untouchability from the soil of India. He had set up Harijan Sevak Sangh and published a journal called Harijan with the same purpose.
  • His contention towards untouchability was because of the following reasons:
  1. He considered it a sin to look at some people as untouchables based on their births in a particular family.
  2. It was never an integral part of Hinduism.
  3. He believed that, as everyone comes from the same source (God), all are equal.
  4. It is nothing short of the practice of love and ahimsa.
  5. The elimination of untouchability amounts to the removal of barriers between man and man. Hence, it is a major step towards equalitarian society.

Conclusion:

  • India has covered a lot of ground in these areas. During India’s fight for independence, thousands of freedom fighters practised these ideas both in their private and public life.
  • Long back, untouchability was abolished by law and an attempt was also made to firmly establish a new social value of dignity of labour.
  • A lot has been done and achieved. But it is equally true to say that a lot remains to be done.

Chapter 5: Gandhi as an Internationalist

  • “For me, patriotism is the same as humanity”, observed Gandhiji nearly fifty years ago: “In trying to serve India, I serve humanity at large.” These words sum up Gandhi’s outlook on world affairs – which was neither national nor international but simply human. He looked upon all men as members of one family.
  • “It is impossible,” he wrote in “Young India” in 1925, “for one to be an internationalist without being a nationalist. Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact, i.e., when people have organized themselves and are able to work as one man”.
  • He did not want India to cut herself adrift through the attainment of independence. “Isolated independence is not the goal of the world status,” he wrote in 1925, “it is voluntary interdependence.” Indeed, one could say that this is precisely the objective for which the United Nations was set up.
  • Gandhiji felt and hoped that a free India by example and achievement could inculcate a moral sense among nations.
  • Through the deliverance of India, he sought to liberate the so-called weaker races of the Earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation. This ambition, it may be contended, has, to a large extent, been fulfilled. For, the achievement of independence by India through pacific means and by mutual goodwill did provide inspiration and an example to several nations in Asia and Africa.
  • Gandhiji’s most vital contribution to international relations is his philosophy and technique of non-violent resistance.
  • When the atom bomb was used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Gandhiji was deeply distressed and observed that “the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children” was “the most diabolical use of science.” He thought that the only alternative to peace was the total annihilation of mankind.

Conclusion:

  • Gandhiji, it is contended, was an obscurantist when it came to cultural matters and wanted the clock to be turned back in our country.
  • In his Hind Swaraj, written in South Africa, the underlying theme is the almost total rejection of values of western civilisation.
  • He was, however, not against obtaining knowledge from wherever it came, nor did he advocate the adoption of primitive customs simply because they were old. Gandhiji wished people to adapt intelligently, not borrow indiscriminately.

Chapter 6: Transformation Through People’s Power

  • Hardly anyone speaks about Gandhi as a Management Icon. Yet Alan Axelrod, renowned author of biographies on Queen Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill and Gen George Patton, has authored a widely acclaimed book titled ‘Gandhi CEO: 14 Principles to Guide & Inspire Modern Leaders’.
    • In it, he has asserted that “There is no doubt that Gandhi was a good man and an intensely spiritual man, but he was also a manager and executive, a supremely practical leader for change [management].”
  • The book gives prime importance to “a humane and people-oriented approach” based on Gandhiji’s “Talisman” and to transparency to which he attributes Gandhi’s moral stature and ultimate success.
  • Businesses cannot be run by coercion, and the CEOs should earn the cooperation and trust of their employees/stakeholders and welcome dissent because “if everyone is thinking alike, no one is really thinking.”

Gandhi’s Economic and Management Ideas:

  • Gandhi’s economic and management ideas were gestated by India’s grinding poverty and were moulded by his ethical and civilizational values.
  • For Gandhi: “Economics that hurt the moral wellbeing of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore unacceptable. So, the economics that permits one country to prey upon another” and “Civilization in the real sense of the term consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of selfish wants.”
  • Gandhi wanted poverty alleviation and economic development to commence at the village level. Besides, he wanted “production by the masses” not “mass production”, utilization of people’s innate talents, traditional avocations and locally available/replaceable natural resources.
  • Gandhi disfavoured both capitalist and communist economics. Besides, he was opposed to State control of the economy because “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”.
  • His notion of democracy was “the weakest having the same opportunity as the strongest” and that “Real Swaraj will come not by the acquisition of authority by a few, but by the acquisition of the capacity by all to resist authority when it is abused”.
  • In the management of the economy, he favoured moral suasion instead of coercion and the practice of Trusteeship.
  • For Gandhi, labour is far superior to capital. He wanted a marriage between capital and labour as he believed that they can work wonders in cooperation.

 Relevance in Recent Times 

  • In recent years concepts of:
    • Total Quality Management (TQM)
    • Customer Relations Management (CRM)
    • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    • Safeguarding the Interests of All Stake Holders (SIASH)
    • Frugal Engineering (FE)
    • Lean Management (LM)
    • Core Competence (CC)
    • Building Scale at Lower Price Points (BSLPP)
    • Culture of Innovative Thinking (CIT) and
    • Visionary Leadership (VL)

have come to be embodied in management theory and good corporate governance practices. Gandhi had urged the practice of these by the 1920 and 30s.

  • On CRM, he had stated that “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.”
  • His CSR is seen in his educational, health and sanitation efforts for the Champaran Indigo peasants.
  • His FE and LM are seen is his choice of the charkha for India’s emancipation from colonialism and abysmal poverty, and his insistence on stringency in all expenditure and strict accounting of every rupee spent.
  • The German economist Ernst Schumacher, in his book ‘Small is Beautiful’ lauded Gandhi as a “People’s Economist who refused to treat economics as if people did not matter” and argued that “the technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources. The technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience is conducive to decentralization, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines.”
  • One of the management concepts now in vogue is “Core Competence”. Over a century ago Gandhi identified textiles as the Indian people’s core competence.
    • He urged that humans should be industrious, “not like a machine, but like the busy bee.
    • The Charkha was his mascot for employment generation, ridiculed by many as “antediluvian”, it revived India’s moribund cottage and village industries which today employ over 30 million artisans and their families.
  • It is notable that Gandhi’s assertion that “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed” has been and still is being used as one of the prime slogans of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
  • World Economic Forum has estimated that there will be a net loss of over 5 million jobs by 2020 across 15 major developed and emerging economies. Over a century ago, Gandhi had foreseen that labour-saving machines “save labour” by making labourers redundant. He had urged production by the masses instead of mass production.

Chapter 7: The Path towards National Regeneration

  • Gandhiji penned a small booklet during a train ride from Sevagram to Bardoli, in which he appealed to all engaged in the freedom struggle to address some basic issues.
  • There were thirteen items in the original list and he added five more later on; thus an 18-point constructive programme was developed, which became the framework for the socio-economic reconstruction of the Indian society.
  • In 1942 he wrote, “If we wish to achieve Swaraj through truth and non-violence, a gradual but steady building up from the bottom, upwards by constructive effort is the only way.”
  • He designed the constructive programme to:
    • Generate inner strength
    • Elevate internal growth in the masses and
    • Make the masses aware of their rights as well as duties.
  • Gandhi chalked out a comprehensive programme for national regeneration, which he called as the Constructive Programme.

Background:

  • In 1941, he started his constructive activities during Champaran Satyagraha by establishing schools, health and hygiene programmes.

a. Illustrative, Not Exhaustive:

  • Gandhi had listed an 18-point programme but, these were only illustrative and were not meant to be comprehensive and exhaustive.
  • Gandhi’s 18-point programme may be broadly classified into:
    • Social (Communal Harmony, Removal of Untouchability, Prohibition, Women, Students, Kisan, Labour, Adivasis and Lepers)
    • Economical (Khadi, Other Village Industries and Economic Equality)
    • Education (National Language and Provincial Language)
    • Health (Village Sanitation, Hygiene and Health).

 b. Communal Unity:

  • Peace and Communal Harmony are the backbones of national unity and it is the foundation for development.
  • Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his life for the cause of Communal Unity.

 c. Removal of Untouchability:

  • Gandhi emphasized that there was no religious sanction for practising untouchability and the causes and origin of this inhuman custom have to be rooted out.

 d. Prohibition:

  • Gandhi felt strongly about this addiction because it not only affects the social and economic condition of the families but destroys the moral fibre of the society which is essential for non-violent struggle.

 e. Khadi :

  • Khadi symbolises self-reliance, self-sufficiency and swadeshi. Charkha became the symbol of the independence movement and Khadi became the identity of nationalism.

 f. Other Village Industries:

  • Gandhi conceived Khadi as the centre, like Sun in the Solar System, and other Village Industries revolving around it like other planets.
  • Self-reliant Village Republics were his vision of India. Therefore, village industries are essential to keep the rural workforce engaged in economic activities, which will, in turn, support the sustainable development of the rural economy.

 g. Village Sanitation :

  • Gandhi was very concerned with Sanitation when he was in South Africa.
  • He further said that India should make its villages models of cleanliness, in every sense of the word.

 h. New or Basic Education:

  • Gandhi was aware that education is the backbone of the Indian civilisation.
  • He wanted a new education system to transform the mindset of the people. He developed a system of education for new social order.
  • Gandhi said that the new education system, “develops both the body and the mind, and keeps the child rooted to the soil with a glorious vision of the future in the realisation of which he or she begins to take his or her share from the very commencement of his or her career in school.”

 i. Adult Education:

  • Adult education does not stop with teaching illiterates to read and write. Gandhi said, “If I had charge of adult education, I should begin with opening the minds of the adult pupils to the greatness and vastness of their country.”

 j. Women:

  • Gandhi demonstrated the power of women to the world.
  • He had said the women should not be called the weaker sex, and that they are actually very strong in their own field, in which men are very weak.
  • He believed that women empowerment will give the women rights and an honourable position in the society which would lead to the development of the non-violent social order.
  • Women also contributed to the revival of the village industries, to conduct programmes of village sanitation and education in health and sanitation.
  • Thus, women played an important role not only in political struggle but also in implementing the Gandhian constructive programme.

 k. Education in Health and Hygiene:

  • Gandhi had a holistic vision of health and hygiene.
  • According to him, “The art of keeping one’s health and the knowledge of hygiene is by itself a separate subject of study and corresponding practice.”

 l. Provincial Languages:

  • Gandhi always insisted that everyone should learn through their respective mother tongues.
  • Gandhi observed that “Our love of the English language in preference to our own mother tongue has caused a deep chasm between the educated and politically minded classes and the masses.”

 m. National Language:

  • Gandhi insisted that mother tongue should be the medium of delivering instruction and, at the same time he was also in favour of a National Language.

n. Economic Inequality:

  • Gandhi was clear in his mission when he proposed this Constructive Programme to the nation.
  • According to him, “economic equality is the master key to non-violent independence. Working for economic equality means abolishing the eternal conflict between capital and labour.”

 o. Kisans:

  • Agriculture has been one of the most affected sectors by modern development strategies.
  • In Gandhi’s scheme of village Swaraj, agriculture is the centre of all activities and it should support the farmers to lead a decent living. Therefore, if one needs real development, the farmers should be taken care of.
  • He explained his own experiments in Champaran, Kheda, Bardoli and Borsad and said, “The secret of success lies in a refusal to exploit the kisans for political purposes outside their own personal and felt grievances.”

 p. Labour:

  • He established a unique model of Trade Union for the Textile workers in Ahmedabad.
  • Labour force should be organised not to disturb the development but for the overall development of all stakeholders.

q. Adivasis:

  • Due to their innocence and ignorance, Adivasis are always exploited by selfish people.
  • To protect Mother Nature, the Adivasis and their traditions need to be protected.

 r. Lepers:

  • Gandhi used to clean the wounds of the leprosy-affected Sanskrit scholar Parchur Shastri while he was in Sevagram Ashram.
  • Even today leapers experience cruel ex-communication and social neglect.

 s. Students:

  • Gandhi observed that “It is from the young men and women that the future leaders of the nation are to rise. Unfortunately, they are acted upon by every variety of influences.”
  • The youth need to be reoriented to make them committed to the social and economic development of the nation.

Constructive Programme and the Civil Disobedience Movement

  • The Constructive Programme was Gandhi’s method for the regeneration of Swaraj, by engaging each and every unit of society irrespective of caste, creed or race and for developing a constitutive and necessary part of the civil disobedience movement.
  • He believed that there is no need for civil disobedience if each person sincerely involves themselves in Constructive Programmes. Constructive Programme and Civil Disobedience would go hand in hand. It connects to the people in need. Civil Disobedience, on the other hand, will mobilise the people to resist unjust practices. Therefore, the constructive programme is the training ground for civil disobedience.

Conclusion

  • Many modern nonviolent movements pay little or no attention to the Constructive Programme. Often they focus their energy on non-cooperation and civil disobedience.
  • Unless there is a connection established with the people and their issues, it is very difficult to mobilise the masses at the time of resistance.
  • The development of the voluntary sector in India is also the outcome of Gandhi’s constructive programme.

Chapter 8: Production by Masses, Not Mass Production

  • In capitalistic countries, the population irrespective of its development stage is to some extent reaping the fruits of industrialisation driven by liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG).
  • Although most economists argue for a market economy, unsustainable growth is a major concern.
  • However, there are some, who have raised voice against the majority-supported discourse of ‘Endless Growth’. They have been arguing about ‘Limits to Growth’ with renewed rigour.
  • The fundamental issue is ownership over natural resources. The countries that are technologically advanced have always been taking a domineering position since the time of industrialisation.

Gandhi and Swadeshi

  • The Gandhian concept of Swadeshi was the result of a long-observed and well-thought-out process.
  • Gandhi wrote that:
    • “Swadeshi carries a great and profound meaning. It is not merely the use of what is produced in one’s own country. Swadeshi means reliance on our own strength.”
    • Swadeshi meant local for basic needs and self-reliance.
  • He considered Swadeshi as the Key to economic salvation of India. Gandhi declared the law of Swadeshi as the law of laws.

Other Interpretations on Swadeshi concept:

  • Acharya Kripalani understood Swadeshi as a universal phenomenon.
    • According to him, even in countries believing in Lassier- Faire, an unwritten law of Swadeshi was observed.
  • For Gandhian economist J.C. Kumarappa, ‘cottage industry’ was not merely a method of production but stood for a type of economy as its integral part. Values and valuation was the pair that drew the chariots of Human Progress.

Swadeshi in Present Times:

  • The market-dominated economies try to maximise material prosperity. Globalisation for the world means adopting the GDP growth paradigm as practised and favoured by the advanced economies.
  • It simply ignores the environment and ecological ethics in production and consumption. Voluntary poverty of Gandhi meant that the ‘haves’ of the society should restrict their consumption moderated by ascetic and paternalistic values.
  • For Gandhi, village-level self-sufficiency was providing maximum opportunity for production at a local level. He called it Bread labour.
  • His self-reliance would produce the necessities of life by one’s own labour or produce goods that could be exchanged for necessities.

Conclusion

For Gandhi, local requirements provided the key. Limitation of wants would provide a signal to the producer and the system of production would guide the consumer.

  1. Prosumer is the word used by Alvin Toffler when he talks about the Third Wave. A prosumer is both producer and consumer.
  2. Gandhi discovered and articulated the principles for an alternative and humane economy where the doctrine of Swadeshi was in the centre.
  3. Keeping the individual at the centre, he believed that a person’s moral development reflected in human dignity by limiting conspicuous consumption and decentralised production system to seek a life with self-esteem and genuinity.

Chapter 9: Providing Food to Hungry Stomachs

  • Gandhi always believed that much of the deep poverty of the masses was due to the ruinous departure from Swadeshi to the economic and industrial life.
  • Swadeshi is a concept wherein a country produces all the goods it needs from its own resources.

Negative Impact of Import:

  • To nurture the spirit of Swadeshi one could keep on working together with his neighbour and do business also. Things which we can produce in the country should not be imported from abroad.
  • At present, import has laid a major impact on the economy of our country. Latest in this context is the example of Agarbatti manufacturing industry in India, which had been one of the core village industries in the country since time immortal.
  • Khadi’s Agarbatti units were gasping to breathe when these items were brought under the Restricted Bracket of import.

Importance of Khadi and Swadeshi

  • Khadi and Swadeshi always reduce the gap between rich and poor, which has incidentally increased around the world during the last five decades.
  • According to Stephen Graffdy, the greatest danger of globalization is that the State loses control over the economy, profit can be taken out of the country and local accountability of companies seems to be over.

Steps Taken for Khadi

  • In the last five years, several artisan-centric programmes were launched following the Prime Minister’s call of ‘Khadi for Economic Transformation’. During this, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) provided more than 32,000 New Model Charkhas and 5,600 modern looms, which have increased the Khadi production substantially.
  • The KVIC has also created employment through Khadi in the remotest part of the country such as Leh, Ladakh, Kaziranga forest, Sunderbans in West Bengal, etc.
  • For the first time, Khadi brought major textile corporates into the Khadi sector for its marketing, and that has increased the sales manifold.
  • KVIC also brought major PSUs in the Khadi fold, for purchasing Khadi gift coupons for their employees – which has given a business of over Rs. 100 crore.
  • The introduction of new trendy designs such as Western wear for women, Jacket, Kurta, Vichar Vastra and other innovative products, with high-quality stitching, has changed the image of Khadi.

Steps taken for other professions and the marginalized communities

  • A Bamboo Plantation Drive has been undertaken across the country to reduce India’s dependency of import in Agarbatti Industry and to create millions of local employment – which is the core aim of Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj and Swadeshi.
  • New schemes such as Honey Mission, Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana, and Leather Artisans Development Scheme were launched for the benefit of farmers, Adivasis, SC/ST and marginalised communities of potters and cobblers.
  • To bring the deviated youths and fatigued farmers to the mainstream of development radar, at Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, KVIC distributed around 2,300 Bee-Boxes in a single day and created a world record, in collaboration with the Indian Army.
  • Similarly, under the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Scheme, 10,000 electric potter wheels along with other equipment were given to the potters across the country.
  • Khadi has recently launched a programme for the development of another marginalized community, of cobblers – polishing and mending shoes and footwear, sitting on the footpaths in the scorching sun and shivering westerlies.
    • KVIC has rechristened them as charm-chikitsak (Leather-technicians) and set to distribute 70,000 advanced leather tool-kits providing proper training.
  • Under the Moringa plantation drive, 46,500 Moringa saplings have already been planted by the KVIC in 2019, which will not only help the farmers but will also supplement the Honey Mission.

Conclusion:

  • Time has come when we should eradicate the contradiction between economic growth and social welfare.
  • We must draft economic policies and programmes oriented towards the Mahatma’s principles of Swadeshi, which can uplift the economic sustainability of the deprived classes, farmers and women workers. ­­

Chapter 10: Constructive Programme: A Women’s Perspective

  • The Constructive Programme formed an integral part of Gandhi’s non-violent struggle for freedom. For Gandhi, political freedom from British rule was only one part of his struggle. He held that India’s real Swaraj would be attained through constructive programmes.
  • Gandhi wanted women to play an important role in implementing the constructive programme.

Effects of colonial rule on women

  • Unlike the nineteenth-century social reformers, Gandhi had realized the negative effects of colonial rule on women’s economic status.
  • The East India Company had destroyed India’s cottage industries and the greatest sufferers had been women.
  • This strengthened his decision to launch the khadi movement. The revival of Swadeshi would provide work and supplement the income of the semi-starved women of India.

Khadi – Women’s Movement

  • Khadi was essentially a women’s movement and it served many purposes, such as:
    • It would allow women to earn a basic income for survival.
    • It would also enable women to come out of purdah.
    • It enabled Gandhi to challenge the dominant upper-middle-class value that equated a family’s status with women not engaged in productive work.
  • Saraladevi Chaudhurani was the first woman to address public meetings in Lahore wearing a khadi sari and many women followed her example.
  • Khadi work in Odisha was done by Subhadra Mahtab who formed Gandhi ‘Karma Mandir’ and delivered speeches in various parts of the province explaining the significance of khadi and swadeshi, together with Ramadevi Choudhary and others.
  • Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur organized a spinners’ association in Punjab. Maniben Nanavati and her co-workers started a ‘Khadi Mandir’ in Vile Parle in Bombay.
  • Among Muslim women, Abadi Bano Begum (Bi Amman) propagated khadi.
  • In Bihar, Prabhavati Devi established the Mahila Charkha Sangh in Patna to involve women in spinning. Women’s magazines such as ‘Grihalakshmi’ and ‘Stree Dharma’ took up the cause of swadeshi, charkha and khadi.

The Fight against Social Evils: Involvement of Women

  • The participation of women in Bihar began with Gandhi’s arrival in Champaran in 1917 to enquire into the grievances of the indigo cultivators.
    • During this period, among the women who joined Gandhi were Prabhavati Devi, Rajbansi Devi, and Bhagwati Devi.
  • Anasuya Sarabhai opened night schools in the mill areas of Ahmedabad for Harijan children.
  • Vidyagauri Nilkanth also worked for improving the condition of the depressed and backward classes in Ahmedabad.
  • Saudamini Mehta opened a clinic for Harijan children in a slum area in Calcutta where children were regularly examined by doctors and were provided with medicines and nutritious food.
  • Inspired by Gandhi’s appeals, many women came forward to promote Hindu-Muslim unity. Sarojini Naidu addressed meetings and spoke from various platforms about promoting Hindu-Muslim solidarity.
  • Gandhi was deeply concerned about the inactivity of Congressmen amidst all the communal hatred and violence and commended the courage shown by three women – Mridula, Indumati Chimanlal Sheth and Pushpaben Mehta, who at the risk of their own lives tried to restore peace.
  • In order to bring about communal harmony, Mridula formed the ‘Shanti Sevak Sangh’.
    • Mridula Sarabhai protested against gender inequality, injustice, oppression and discrimination faced by women within the family and in society. She established ‘Jyotisangh’, a women’s organization in Ahmedabad.
    • The concept of family counseling was introduced, helping to resolve the problem of disturbed families. Workable solutions were often instrumental in preventing escalating abuse of women and the breakdown of families.
  • The Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) was set up on Gandhi’s 75th birthday (October 2, 1944) in memory of Kasturba.
    • It was inaugurated by Sarojini Naidu and its aim was to work for women and children in rural areas.

Chapter 11: Holistic Development of the Personality

Gandhian view on Education

  • The main theme underlying Gandhi’s philosophy is that of Integrated Education, that is, education which ensures the all-round development of the mind, body and soul of pupils and is not just limited to the narrow confines of merit in academics.
  • Gandhiji also dreamt of an India which would provide free and universal education to all its children, however, knowing this would not be feasible, he suggested the novel method of self-financing, that is, making pupils pay in labour (for instance, by spinning cloth) for their own education.
  • He saw education as a life-long, communitarian, holistic, activity-based and grass-roots oriented activity.
  • To quote him from ‘Young India’, “manual training ­­­will serve a double purpose in a poor country-pay for the education of our children and teach them an occupation on which they can fall back on later in life.
  • Another aspect of his theory of education was that of respect for manual labour and inculcating a sense of dignity in being adept at such work.
  • This meant the creation of self-supporting and self-sufficient village-based schools which gave primacy to skill development for handicraft production and traditional industries where teachers and students were, in fact, fellow workers.

Problems with the current education system:

  • Gandhiji’s comment in 1937 on India’s education system still holds true. He had mentioned that “the present system of education does not meet the requirements of the country in any shape or form. Absence of vocational training has made the education class almost unfit for productive work.”
  • Another evil of the Indian educational system is its emphasis on rote-learning: This denies the child the opportunities to develop his/her critical thinking faculties and have a well-rounded personality. Gandhiji went so far as to say that textbooks “are for the most part useless when they are not harmful”.
  • He pointed out that it would be erroneous to fit children from different geographies and different social classes into an academic straitjacket.
  • Rather, it would be the duty of teachers to read from textbooks and mould the material so as to suit the specific requirements of the pupils.
  • According to Gandhi, it was teachers and not texts that are capable of imparting “education of the heart” which was a prerequisite for developing character.
  • Gandhiji subscribed to the notion that “real education has to draw out the best” from within the pupils and this is something mere bookish knowledge could never achieve.

Challenge:

  • The fact that India had turned a blind eye to quality education at the grassroots level, in fact, has hindered the ability to fully utilize her demographic dividend.

Naya Bharat, Nai Talim

  • The crux of Nai Talim is to overcome distinctions between learning and teaching and between knowledge and work.
  • Nai Talim wasn’t merely a scheme for education, instead, it was a part of a holistic value system with Swaraj as the end and Satyagraha as the means of achieving it.
  • For Gandhiji, quality education was a prerequisite for the ultimate goal of nation-building. He dreamed of a society where power is not distributed hierarchically but in the form of “oceanic circles” with each individual empowering and protecting the other.
  • He believed that the prevalent model was obsessed about career advancement while Nai Talim aimed to achieve a holistic growth of the individual’s mind, body and spirit.
  • The principle of ‘learning by doing’ is a critical component of Gandhiji’s Nai Talim.

Conclusion:

  • As India celebrates the Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary, probably the best tribute to him would be to relook at what his education model stood for.
  • Gandhiji’s thoughts were radical at his time, and it is high time for Indians too, to radically reinvent their current education system so that it can fulfil the wishes and aspirations of the future generations to come.

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