|Gandhi on Self-Sufficiency ガンジー・自立の思想
written by M.K. Gandhi
Chapter 1 Gandhi's Idea on Civilization ガンジーの文明論
Disease Called Modern Civilization 近代文明という病
(This was originally written in Gujarati during Gandhiji’s return journey from England on the Kildonan Castle and published in Indian Opinion, the first twelve chapters on 11-12-1909 and the rest on 18-12-1909. Issued as a booklet in January 1910, it was proscribed in India by the Government of Bombay on March 24, 1910; vide “Our Publications”, (7-5-1910). This hastened Gandhiji’s decision to publish the English translation; vide “Preface to Hind Swaraj”, (20-3-1910). This was issued by the International Printing Press, Phoenix, with a foreword by Gandhiji dated March 20, 1910 and also the English translation of the Gujarati foreword dated November 22, 1909, reproduced here.
The text adopted here is that of the Revised New Edition published in 1939 by
the Navajivan Press, Ahmedabad.)
(CHAPTER V of HIND SWARAJ: THE CONDITION OF ENGLAND)
EDITOR:...It is a civilization only in name. Under it the nations of Europe
are becoming degraded and ruined day by day.
(CHAPTER VI of HIND SWARAJ: CIVILIZATION)
READER: Why do we not know this generally?
EDITOR: The answer is very simple. We rarely find people arguing against themselves. Those who are intoxicated by modern civilization are not likely to write against it. Their care will be to find out facts and arguments in support of it, and this they do unconsciously, believing it to be true. A man, whilst he is dreaming, believes in his dream; he is undeceived only when he is awakened from his sleep. A man labouring under the bane of civilization is like a dreaming man. What we usually read are the works of defenders of modern civilization, which undoubtedly claims among its votaries very brilliant and even some very good men. Their writings hypnotize us. And so, one by one, we are drawn into the vortex.
READER: This seems to be very plausible. Now will you tell me something of what you have read and thought of this civilization ?
EDITOR: Let us first consider what state of things is described by the word “civilization”. Its true test lies in the fact that people living in it make bodily welfare the object of life. We will take some examples.
The people of Europe today live in better-built houses than they did a hundred years ago. This is considered an emblem of civilization, and this is also a matter to promote bodily happiness. Formerly, they wore skins, and used spears as their weapons. Now, they wear long trousers, and, for embellishing their bodies, they wear a variety of clothing, and, instead of spears, they carry with them revolvers containing five or more chambers. If people of a certain country, who have hitherto not been in the habit of wearing much clothing, boots, etc., adopt European clothing, they are supposed to have become civilized out of savagery.
Formerly, in Europe, people ploughed their lands mainly by manual labour. Now, one man can plough a vast tract by means of steam engines and can thus amass great wealth. This is called a sign of civilization.
Formerly, only a few men wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people’s minds.
Formerly, men travelled in waggons. Now, they fly through the air in trains at the rate of four hundred and more miles per day. This is considered the height of civilization. It has been stated that, as men progress, they shall be able to travel in airships and reach any part of the world in a few hours. Men will not need the use of their hands and feet. They will press a button, and they will have their clothing by their side. They will press another button, and they will have their newspaper. A third, and a motor-car will be in waiting for them. They will have a variety of delicately dished up food. Everything will be done by machinery. Formerly, when people wanted to fight with one another, they measured between them their bodily strength; now it is possible to take away thousands of lives by one man working behind a gun from a hill. This is civilization.
Formerly, men worked in the open air only as much as they liked. Now thousands of workmen meet together and for the sake of maintenance work in factories or mines. Their condition is worse than that of beasts. They are obliged to work, at the risk of their lives, at most dangerous occupations, for the sake of millionaires. Formerly, men were made slaves under physical compulsion. Now they are enslaved by temptation of money and of the luxuries that money can buy. There are now diseases of which people never dreamt before, and an army of doctors is engaged in finding out their cures, and so hospitals have increased. This is a test
Formerly, special messengers were required and much expense was incurred in order to send letters; today, anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at the same cost, one can send one’s thanks also.
Formerly, people had two or three meals consisting of home-made bread and vegetables; now, they require something to eat every two hours so that they have hardly leisure for anything else.
What more need I say? All this you can ascertain from several authoritative books. These are all true tests of civilization. And if anyone speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant. This civilization takes note neither of morality nor of religion. Its votaries calmly state that their business is not to teach religion. Some even consider it to be a superstitious growth. Others put on the cloak of religion, and prate about morality. But, after twenty years’ experience, I have come to the conclusion that immorality is often taught in the name of morality.
Even a child can understand that in all I have described above there can be no inducement to morality. Civilization seeks to increase bodily comforts, and it fails miserably even in doing so.
This civilization is irreligion, and it has taken such a hold on the people in Europe that those who are in it appear to be half mad. They lack real physical strength or courage. They keep up their energy by intoxication. They can hardly be happy in solitude. Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets or they slave away in factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million women in England alone are labouring under trying circumstances in factories or similar institutions. This awful fact is one of the causes of the daily growing suffragette movement.
This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mahomed this would be considered a Satanic Civilization. Hinduism calls it the Black Age. I cannot give you an adequate conception of it. It is eating into the vitals of the English nation. It must be shunned. Parliaments are really emblems of slavery. If you will sufficiently think over this, you will entertain the same opinion and cease to blame the English.
They rather deserve our sympathy. They are a shrewd nation and I therefore believe that they will cast off the evil. They are enterprising and industrious, and their mode of thought is not inherently immoral. Neither are they bad at heart. I therefore respect them. Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it.
Why was India Lost? インドはなぜ占領されたのか
(CHAPTER VII of HIND SWARAJ: WHY WAS INDIA LOST?
READER:....If civilization is a disease and if it has attacked England, whyhas she been able to take India, and why is she able to retain it?
EDITOR: Your question is not very difficult to answer, and we shall presently be able to examine the true nature of Swaraj; for I am aware that I have still to answer that question. I will, however, take up your previous question. The English have not taken India; we have given it to them. They are not in India because of their strength, but because we keep them.
Let us now see whether these propositions can be sustained. They came to our country originally for purposes of trade. Recall the Company Bahadur. Who made it Bahadur? They had not the slightest intention at the time of establishing a kingdom. Who assisted the Company’s officers? Who was tempted at the sight of their silver? Who bought their goods? History testifies that we did all this. In order to become rich all at once we welcomed the Company’s officers with open arms. We assisted them.
If I am in the habit of drinking bhang and a seller thereof sells it to me, am I to blame him or myself? By blaming the seller, shall I be able to avoid the habit? And, if a particular retailer is driven away, will not another take his place? A true servant of India will have to go to the root of the matter. If an excess of food has caused me indigestion, I shall certainly not avoid it by blaming water. He is a true physician who probes the cause of disease, and if you pose as a physician for the disease of India, you will have to find out its true cause.
READER: You are right. ... I am impatient to know your further views. ....
EDITOR: ..... We have already seen that the English merchants were able to get a footing in India because we encouraged them. When our Princes fought among themselves, they sought the assistance of Company Bahadur. That corporation was versed alike in commerce and war. It was unhampered by questions of morality. Its object was to increase its commerce and to make money. It accepted our assistance, and increased the number of its warehouses. To protect the latter it employed an army which was utilized by us also. Is it not then useless to blame the English for what we did at that time? The Hindus and the Mahomedans were at daggers drawn. This, too, gave the Company its opportunity and thus we created the circumstances that gave the Company its control over India. Hence it is truer to say that we gave India to the English than that India was lost.
READER: Will you now tell me how they are able to retain India?
EDITOR: The causes that gave them India enable them to retain it. Some Englishmen state that they took and they hold India by the sword. Both these statements are wrong. The sword is entirely useless for holding India. We alone keep them. Napoleon is said to have described the English as a nation of shop-keepers. It is a fitting description. They hold whatever dominions they have for the sake of their commerce. Their army and their navy are intended to protect it. .... Many problems can be solved by remembering that money is their God. Then it follows that we keep the English in India for our base self-interest. We like their commerce; they please us by their subtle methods and get what they want from us. To blame them for this is to perpetuate their power. We further strengthen their hold by quarrelling amongst ourselves.
If you accept the above statements, it is proved that the English entered India for the purposes of trade. They remain in it for the same purpose and we help them to do so. Their arms and ammunition are perfectly useless.....
They wish to convert the whole world into a vast market for their goods. That they cannot do so is true, but the blame will not be theirs. They will leave no stone unturned to reach the goal.
What is True Civilization? 真の文明とは何か
(CHAPTER VIII of HIND SWARAJ: THE CONDITION OF INDIA)
READER: I now understand why the English hold India. I should like to know your views about the condition of our country.
EDITOR: It is a sad condition. In thinking of it my eyes water and my throat gets parched. .... It is my deliberate opinion that India is being ground down, not under the English heel, but under that of modern civilization. It is groaning under the monster’s terrible weight. There is yet time to escape it, but every day makes it more and more difficult.
there is no end to the victims destroyed in the fire of civilization. Its deadly effect is that people come under its scorching flames believing it to be all good. They become utterly irreligious and, in reality, derive little advantage from the world. Civilization is like a mouse gnawing while it is soothing us. When its full effect is realized, we shall see that religious superstition is harmless compared to that of modern civilization.
(CHAPTER XIII of HIND SWARAJ: WHAT IS TRUE CIVILIZATION?)
READER: .... What, then, is civilization ?
EDITOR: The answer to that question is not difficult. I believe that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors. Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation. The people of Europe learn their lessons from the writings of the men of Greece or Rome, which exist no longer in their former glory. In trying to learn from them, the Europeans imagine that they will avoid the mistakes of Greece and Rome. Such is their pitiable condition.
In the midst of all this India remains immovable and that is her glory. It is a charge against India that her people are so uncivilized, ignorant and stolid,
that it is not possible to induce them to adopt any changes. It is a charge really against our merit. What we have tested and found true on the anvil of experience, we dare not change. Many thrust their advice upon India, and she remains steady. This is her beauty: it is the sheet-anchor of our hope.
Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our passions. So doing, we know ourselves. The Gujarati equivalent for civilization means “good conduct”.
If this definition be correct, then India, ... has nothing to learn from anybody else, and this is as it should be.
We notice that the mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied. The more we indulge our passions, the more unbridled they become.
Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgences. They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition. A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor. The rich are often seen to be unhappy, the poor to be happy. Millions will always remain poor. Observing all this, our ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures. We have managed with the same kind of plough as existed thousands of years ago. We have retained the same kind of cottages that we had in former times and our indigenous education remains the same as before. We have had no system of life-corroding competition. Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage.
It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fibre. They, therefore, after due deliberation decided that we should only do what we could with our hands and feet. They saw that our real happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet.
They further reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless encumbrance and that people would not be happy in them, that there would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vice flourishing in them and that poor men would be robbed by rich men. They were, therefore, satisfied with small villages. They saw that kings and their swords were inferior to the sword of ethics, and they, therefore, held the sovereigns of the earth to be inferior to the Rishis and the Fakirs(Sages and ascetics). A nation with a constitution like this is fitter to teach others than to learn from others.
This nation had courts, lawyers and doctors, but they were all within bounds. Everybody knew that these professions were not particularly superior; moreover, these vakils and vaids(Lawyers and doctors) did not rob people; they were considered people’s dependants, not their masters. Justice was tolerably fair. The ordinary rule was to avoid courts. There were no touts to lure people into them. This evil, too, was noticeable only in and around capitals. The common people lived independently and followed their agricultural occupation. They enjoyed true Home Rule.
And where this cursed modern civilization has not reached, India remains as it was before. The inhabitants of that part of India will very properly laugh at your new-fangled notions. The English do not rule over them, nor will you ever rule over them. Those in whose name we speak we do not know, nor do they know us. I would certainly advise you and those like you who love the motherland to go into the interior that has yet been not polluted by the railways and to live there for six months; you might then be patriotic and speak of Home Rule.
Now you see what I consider to be real civilization. Those who want to change conditions such as I have described are enemies of the country and are sinners.
READER: It would be all right if India were exactly as you have described it, but it is also India where there are hundreds of child widows, where two-year-old babies are married, where twelve-year-old girls are mothers and housewives, where women practise polyandry, where the practice of Niyoga(Insemination by a person other than one’s husband) obtains, where, in the name of religion, girls dedicate themselves to prostitution, and in the name of religion sheep and goats are killed. Do you consider these also symbols of the civilization that you have described?
EDITOR: You make a mistake. The defects that you have shown are defects. Nobody mistakes them for ancient civilization. They remain in spite of it. Attempts have always been made and will be made to remove them. We may utilize the new spirit that is born in us for purging ourselves of these evils.
But what I have described to you as emblems of modern civilization are accepted as such by its votaries. The Indian civilization, as described by me, has been so described by its votaries. In no part of the world, and under no civilization, have all men attained perfection. The tendency of the Indian civilization is to elevate the moral being, that of the Western civilization is to propagate immorality. The latter is godless, the former is based on a belief in God. So understanding and so believing, it behoves every lover of India to cling to the old Indian civilization even as a child clings to the mother’s breast.
How Can India Become Free? どうすればインドは自由になれるのか
(CHAPTER XIV of HIND SWARAJ: HOW CAN INDIA BECOME FREE?)
READER: .... What, then, holding the views you do, would you suggest for freeing India?
EDITOR: I do not expect my views to be accepted all of a sudden. My duty is to place them before readers like yourself. Time can be trusted to do the rest. We have already examined the conditions for freeing India, but we have done so indirectly; we will now do so directly. It is a world-known maxim that the removal of the cause of a cause of India’s slavery be removed, India can become free.
READER: If Indian civilization is, as you say, the best of all, how do you account for India’s slavery?
EDITOR: This civilization is unquestionably the best, but it is to be observed that all civilizations have been on their trial. That civilization which is permanent outlives it. Because the sons of India were found wanting, its civilization has been placed in jeopardy. But its strength is to be seen in its ability to survive the shock. Moreover, the whole of India is not touched. Those alone who have been affected by Western civilization have become enslaved. We measure the universe by our own miserable foot-rule. When we are slaves, we think that the whole universe is enslaved. Because we are in an abject condition, we think that the whole of India is in that condition. As a matter of fact, it is not so, yet it is as well to impute our slavery to the whole of India. But if we bear in mind the above fact, we can see that if we become free, India is free.
And in this thought you have a definition of Swaraj. It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. It is, therefore, in the palm of our hands. Do not consider this Swaraj to be like a dream. There is no idea of sitting still. The Swaraj that I wish to picture is such that, after we have once realized it, we shall endeavour to the end of our life-time to persuade others to do likewise. But such Swaraj has to be experienced, by each one for himself. One drowning man will never save another. Slaves ourselves, it would be a mere pretension to think of freeing others.
Now you will have seen that it is not necessary for us to have as our goal the expulsion of the English. If the English become Indianized, we can accommodate them. If they wish to remain in India along with their civilization, there is no room for them. It lies with us to bring about such a state of things.
READER: It is impossible that Englishmen should ever become Indianized.
EDITOR: To say that is equivalent to saying that the English have no humanity in them. And it is really beside the point whether they become so or not. If we keep our own house in order, only those who are fit to live in it will remain. Others will leave of their own accord. Such things occur within the experience of all of us.
READER: But it has not occurred in history.
EDITOR: To believe that what has not occurred in history will not occur at all is to argue disbelief in the dignity of man. At any rate, it behoves us to try what appeals to our reason. All countries are not similarly conditioned. The condition of India is unique. Its strength is immeasurable. We need not, therefore, refer to the history of other countries. I have drawn attention to the fact that, when other civilizations have succumbed, the Indian has survived many a shock.
READER: I cannot follow this. There seems little doubt that we shall have to expel the English by force of arms. So long as they are in the country we cannot rest. One of our poets says that slaves cannot even dream of happiness. We are day by day becoming weakened owing to the presence of the English. Our greatness is gone; our people look like terrified men. The English are in the country like a blight which we must remove by every means.
EDITOR: In your excitement, you have forgotten all we have been considering. We brought the English, and we keep them. Why do you forget that our adoption of their civilization makes their presence in India at all possible? Your hatred against them ought to be transferred to their civilization. ....
The Evils of Machinery 機械の弊害
(CHAPTER XIX of HIND SWARAJ: MACHINERY)
READER: When you speak of driving out Western civilization, I suppose you will also say that we want no machinery.
EDITOR: By raising this question you have opened the wound I have received. ... It is machinery that has impoverished India. It is difficult to measure the harm that Manchester has done to us. It is due to Manchester that Indian handicraft has all but disappeared.
But I make a mistake. How can Manchester be blamed ? We wore Manchester cloth and this is why Manchester wove it. I was delighted when I read about the bravery of Bengal(The reference, obviously, is to the Swadeshi Movement). There were no cloth-mills in that Presidency. They were, therefore, able to restore the original hand-weaving occupation. It is true Bengal encourages the mill-industry of Bombay. If Bengal had proclaimed a boycott of all machine-made goods, it would have been much better.
Machinery has begun to desolate Europe. Ruination is now knocking at the English gates. Machinery is the chief symbol of modern civilization; it represents a great sin.
The workers in the mills of Bombay have become slaves. The condition of the women working in the mills is shocking. When there were no mills, these women were not starving. If the machinery craze grows in our country, it will become an unhappy land.
It may be considered a heresy, but I am bound to say that it were better for us to send money to Manchester and to use flimsy Manchester cloth than to multiply mills in India. By using Manchester cloth we only waste our money; but by reproducing Manchester in India, we shall keep our money at the price of our blood, because our very moral being will be sapped, and I call in support of my statement the very mill-hands as witnesses.
And those who have amassed wealth out of factories are not likely to be better than other rich men. It would be folly to assume that an Indian Rockefeller would be better than the American Rockefeller. Impoverished India can become free, but it will be hard for any India made rich through immorality to regain its freedom.
I fear we shall have to admit that moneyed men support British rule; their interest is bound up with its stability. Money renders a man helpless. The other thing which is equally harmful is sexual vice. Both are poison. A snakebite is a lesser poison than these two, because the former merely destroys the body but the latter destroy body, mind and soul. We need not, therefore, be pleased with the prospect of the growth of the mill-industry.
READER: Are the mills, then, to be closed down?
EDITOR: That is difficult. It is no easy task to do away with a thing that is established. We, therefore, say that the non-beginning of a thing is supreme wisdom. We cannot condemn millowners; we can but pity them. It would be too much to expect them to give up their mills, but we may implore them not to increase them. If they would be good they would gradually contract their business. They can establish in thousands of households the ancient and sacred handlooms and they can buy out the cloth that may be thus woven. Whether the millowners do this or not, people can cease to use machine-made goods.
READER: You have so far spoken about machine-made cloth, but there are innumerable machine-made things. We have either to import them or to introduce machinery into our country.
EDITOR: Indeed, our gods even are made in Germany. What need, then, to speak of matches, pins and glassware ? My answer can be only one. What did India do before these articles were introduced? Precisely the same should be done today. As long as we cannot make pins without machinery, so long will we do without them. The tinsel splendour of glassware we will have nothing to do with, and we will make wicks, as of old, with home-grown cotton and use hand-made earthen saucersf or lamps. So doing, we shall save our eyes and money and support Swadeshi and so shall we attain Home Rule.
It is not to be conceived that all men will do all these things at one time or that some men will give up all machine-made things at once. But, if the thought is sound, we shall always find out what we can give up and gradually cease to use it. What a few may do, others will copy; and the movement will grow like the coconut of the mathematical problem. What the leaders do, the populace will gladly do in turn. The matter is neither complicated nor difficult. You and I need not wait until we can carry others with us. Those will be the losers who will not do it, and those who will not do it, although they appreciate the truth, will deserve to be called cowards(Literally, “hypocrites”).
READER: What, then, of the tram-cars and electricity?
EDITOR: This question is now too late. It signifies nothing. If we are to do without the railways we shall have to do without the tramcars. Machinery is like a snake-hole which may contain from one to a hundred snakes. Where there is machinery there are large cities; and where there are large cities, there are tram-cars and railways; and there only does one see electric light. English villages do not boast of any of these things. Honest physicians will tell you that where means of artificial locomotion have increased, the health of the people has suffered. I remember that when in a European town there was a scarcity of money, the receipts of the tramway company, of the lawyers and of the doctors went down and people were less unhealthy. I cannot recall a single good point in connection with machinery. Books can be written to demonstrate its evils.
READER: Is it a good point or a bad one that all you are saying will be printed through machinery?
EDITOR: This is one of those instances which demonstrate that sometimes poison is used to kill poison. This, then, will not be a good point regarding machinery. As it expires, the machinery, as it were, says to us: “Beware and avoid me. You will derive no benefits from me and the benefit that may accrue from printing will avail only those who are infected with the machinery-craze.”
The Way to Swaraj (self-rule, independence) スワラージへの道
EDITOR: Do not, therefore, forget the main thing. It is necessary to realize
that machinery is bad. We shall then be able gradually to do away with
it. Nature has not provided any way whereby we may reach a desired goal
all of a sudden. If, instead of welcoming machinery as a boon, we should
look upon it as an evil, it would ultimately go.
(CHAPTER XX of HIND SWARAJ: CONCLUSION)
READER: This is a large order. When will all carry it out ?
EDITOR: You make a mistake, You and I have nothing to do with the others. Let each do his duty. If I do my duty, that is, serve myself, I shall be able to serve others. Before I leave you, I will take the liberty of repeating:
1. Real home-rule is self-rule or self-control.
2. The way to it is passive resistance: that is soul-force or loveforce.
3. In order to exert this force, Swadeshi in every sense is necessary.
4. What we want to do should be done, not because we object to the English or because we want to retaliate but because it is our duty to do so. Thus, supposing that the English remove the salt-tax, restore our money, give the highest posts to Indians, withdraw the English troops, we shall certainly not use their machine-made goods, nor use the English language, nor many of their industries. It is worth noting that these things are, in their nature, harmful; hence we do not want them. I bear no enmity towards the English but I do towards their civilization.
In my opinion, we have used the term “Swaraj” without understanding its real significance. I have endeavoured to explain it as I understand it, and my conscience testifies that my life henceforth is dedicated to its attainment.
Chapter 2 Birth of Khadi (hand-spun cloth) カディーの誕生
Social Reform without Depending on Political Power 政治権力に頼らない社会改革
Don’t you think that it is impossible to achieve any great reform without winning political power? The present economic structure has also got to be tackled. No reconstruction is possible without a political reconstruction and I am afraid all this talk of polished and unpolished rice, balanced diet and so on and so forth is mere moonshine.
I have often heard this argument advanced as an excuse for failure to do many things. I admit that there are certain things which cannot be done without political power, but there are numerous other things which do not at all depend upon political power. ......
I would make a humble suggestion to the correspondent. Let him make a detailednote of all his daily activities and he is sure to find that many of them are performed independently of any political power. Man has to thank himself for his dependence. He can be independent as soon as he wills it.
The correspondent has raised the bugbear of ‘great’ reform and then fought shy of it. He who is not ready for small reforms will never be ready for great reforms. He who makes the best of his faculties will go on augmenting them, and he will find that what once seemed to him a great reform was really a small one. He who orders his life in this way will lead a truly natural life. One must forget the political goal in order to realize it. To think in terms of the political goal in every matter and at every step is to raise unnecessary dust. Why worry one’s head over a thing that is inevitable? Why die before one’s death?
That is why I can take the keenest interest in discussing vitamins and leafy vegetables and unpolished rice. That is why it has become a matter of absorbing interest to me to find out how best to clean our latrines, how best to save our people from the heinous sin of fouling Mother Earth every morning. I do not quite see how thinking of these necessary problems and finding a solution for them has no political significance and how an examination of the financial policy of Government has necessarily a political bearing.
What I am clear about is that the work I am doing and asking the masses to do is such as can be done by millions of people, whereas the work of examining the policy of our rulers will be beyond them. That it is a few people’s business I will not dispute. Let those who are qualified to do so do it as best as they can. But until these leaders can bring great changes into being, why should not millions like me use the gifts that God has given them to the best advantage? Why should they not make their bodies fitter instruments of service? Why should not they clear their own doors and environments of dirt and filth? Why should they bealways in the grip of disease and incapable of helping themselves or anyone else?
No, I am afraid the correspondent’s question betrays his laziness and despair and the depression that has overtaken many of us. I can confidently claim that I yield to none in my passion for freedom. No fatigue or depression has seized me. Many years’ experience has convinced me that the activities that absorb my energies and attention are calculated to achieve the nation’s freedom, that therein lies the secret of non-violent freedom. That is why I invite everyone, men and women, young and old, to contribute his or her share to the great sacrifice.
This was How We Started Spinning 糸紡ぎの実践に向けて
An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truhth
CHAPTER XXXIX of the Autobiography : THE BIRTH OF KHADI
I do not remember to have seen handloom or a spinning-wheel when in 1908
I described it in Hind Swaraj as the panacea for the growing pauperism
of India. In that book I took it as understood that anything that helped
India to get rid of the grinding poverty of her masses would in the same
process also establish swaraj. Even in 1915, when I returned to India from
South Africa, I had not actually seen a spinning-wheel. When the Satyagraha
Ashram was founded at Sabarmati, we introduced a few handlooms there. But
no sooner had we done this than we found ourselves up against a difficulty.
All of us belonged either to the liberal professions or to business; not
one of us was an artisan. We needed a weaving expert to teach us to weave
before we could work the looms.
One was at last procured from Palanpur, but he did not communicate to us the whole of his art. But Maganlal Gandhi was not to be easily baffled. Possessed of a natural talent for mechanics, he was able fully to master the art before long, andone after another several new weavers were trained up in the Ashram. The object that we set before ourselves was to be able to clothe ourselves entirely in cloth manufactured by our own hands. We therefore forthwith discarded the use of mill-woven cloth, and all the members of the Ashram resolved to wear hand-woven cloth made from Indian yarn only.
The adoption of this practice brought us a world of experience. It enabled us to know, from direct contact, the conditions of life among the weavers, the extent of their production, the handicaps in the way of their obtaining their yarn supply, the way in which they were being made victims of fraud, and, lastly, their ever-growing indebtedness.
We were not in a position immediately to manufacture all the cloth for our needs. The alternative therefore was to get our cloth supply from handloom weavers. But ready-made cloth from Indian mill-yarn was not easily obtainable either from the cloth-dealers or from the weavers themselves. All the fine cloth woven by the weavers was from foreign yarn, since Indian mills did not spin fine counts. Even today the outturn of higher counts by Indian mills is very limited, whilst highest counts they cannot spin at all.
It was after the greatest effort that we were at last able to find some weavers who condescended to weave swadeshi yarn for us, and only on condition that the Ashram would take up all the cloth that they might produce. By thus adopting cloth woven from mill-yarn as our wear, and propagating it among our friends, we made ourselves voluntary agents of the Indian spinning mills.
This in its turn brought us into contact with the mills, and enabled us to know something about their management and their handicaps. We saw that the aim of the mills was more and more to weave the yarn spun by them; their co-operation with the handloom weaver was not willing, but unavoidable and temporary. We became impatient to be able to spin our own yarn. It was clear that, until we could do this ourselves, dependence on the mills would remain. We did not feel that we could render any service to the country by continuing as agents of Indian spinning mills.
No end of difficulties again faced us. We could get neither spinning-wheel nor a spinner to teach us how to spin. We were employing some wheels for filling pearns and bobbins for weaving in the Ashram. But we had no idea that these could be used as spinning-wheels. Once Kalidas Jhaveri discovered a woman who, he said, would demonstrate to us how spinning was done. We sent to her a member of the Ashram who was known for his great versatility in learning new things. But even he returned without wresting the secret of the art.
So the time passed on, and my impatience grew with the time. I plied every chance visitor to the Ashram who was likely to possess some information about handspinning with questions about the art. But the art being confined to women and having been all but exterminated, if there was some stray spinner still surviving in some obscure corner, only a member of that sex was likely to find out her whereabouts.
In the year 1917 I was taken by my Gujarati friends to preside at the Broach Educational Conference. It was here that I discovered that remarkable lady Gangabehn Majmudar. She was a widow, but her enterprising spirit knew no bounds. Her education, in the accepted sense of the term, was not much. But in courage and common sense she easily surpassed the general run of our educated women. She had already got rid of the curse of untouchability, and fearlessly moved among and served the suppressed classes. She had means of her own, and her needs were few. She had a well seasoned constitution, and went about everywhere without an escort. She felt quite at home on horseback. I came to know her more intimately at the Godhra Conference. To her I poured out my grief about the charkha, and she lightened my burden by a promise to prosecute an earnest and incessant search for the spinning-wheel.
We Found The Charkha(spinning-wheel) at Last. チャルカの発見
CHAPTER XL of the Autobiography: FOUND AT LAST !
At last, after no end of wandering in Gujarat, Gangabehn found the spinning-wheel in Vijapur in the Baroda State. Quite a number of people there had spinning-wheels in their homes, but had long since consigned them to the lofts as useless lumber. They expressed to Gangabehn their readiness to resume spinning, if someone promised to provide them with a regular supply of slivers, and to buy the yarn spun by them. Gangabehn communicated the joyful news to me. The providing of slivers was found to be difficult task. On my mentioning the thing to the late Umar Sobani, he solved the difficulty by immediately undertaking to send a sufficient supply of slivers from his mill. I sent to Gangabehn the slivers received from Umar Sobani, and soon yarn began to pour in at such a rate that it became quite a problem how to cope with it.
Birth of Khadi カディーの誕生
Mr. Umar Sobani’s generosity was great, but still one could not go on taking
advantage of it for ever. I felt ill at ease, continuously receiving slivers
from him.T1 Moreover, it seemed to me to be fundamentally wrong to use
mill-slivers. If one could use mill-slivers, why not use mill-yarn as well
? Surely no mills supplied slivers to the ancients ? How did they make
their slivers then ?
With these thoughts in my mind I suggested to Gangabehn to find carders who could supply slivers. She confidently undertook the task. She engaged a carder who was prepared to card cotton. He demanded thirty-five rupees, if not much more, per-month. I considered no price too high at the time. She trained a few youngsters to make slivers out of the carded cotton.
I begged for cotton in Bombay. Sjt. Yashvantprasad Desai at once responded. Gangabehn’s enterprise thus prospered beyond expectations. She found out weavers to weave the yarn that was spun in Vijapur, and soon Vijapur khadi gained a name for itself.
While these developments were taking place in Vijapur, the spinning-wheel gained a rapid footing in the Ashram. Maganlal Gandhi, by bringing to bear all his splendid mechanical talent on the wheel, made many improvements in it, and wheels and their accessories began to be manufactured at the Ashram. The first piece of khadi manufactured in the Ashram cost 17 annas per yard. I did not hesitate to commend this very coarse khadi at that rate to friends, who willingly paid the price.
I was laid up in bed at Bombay. But I was fit enough to make searches for the wheel there. At last I chanced upon two spinners. They charged one rupee for a seer of yarn; i.e., 28 tolas or nearly three quarters of a pound. I was then ignorant of the economics of khadi. I considered no price too high for securing hand-spun yarn. On comparing the rates paid by me with those paid in Vijapur I found that I was being cheated. The spinners refused to agree to any reduction in their rates. So I had to dispense with their services.
But they served their purpose. They taught spinning to Shrimatis Avantikabai, Ramibai Kamdar, the widowed mother of Sjt. Shankarlal Banker and Shrimati Vasumatibehn. The wheel began merrily to hum in my room, and I may say without exaggeration that its hum had no small share in restoring me to health. I am prepared to admit that its effect was more psychological than physical. But then it only shows how powerfully the physical in man reacts to the psychological. I too set my hand to the wheel, but did not do much with it at the time.
In Bombay, again, the same old problem of obtaining a supply of hand-made slivers presented itself. A carder twanging his bow used to pass daily by Sjt. Revashankar’s residence. I sent for him and learnt that he carded cotton for stuffing mattresses. He agreed to card cotton for slivers, but demanded a stiff price for it, which, however, I paid. The yarn thus prepared I disposed of to some Vaishnava friends for making from it the garlands for the pavitra Ekadashi. Sjt. Shivji started a spinning class in Bombay......
I now grew impatient for the exclusive adoption of khadi for my dress. My dhoti was still of Indian mill-cloth. The coarse khadi manufactured in the Ashram and at Vijapur was only 30 inches in width. I gave notice to Gangabehn that, unless she provided me with a khadi dhoti of 45 inches width within a month, I would do with coarse, short khadi dhoti. The ultimatum came upon her as a shock. But she proved equal to the demand made upon her. Well within the month she sent me a pair of khadi dhotis of 45T11 inches width, and thus relieved me from what would then have been a difficult situation for me.
All these experiments involved considerable expenditure. But it was willingly defrayed by patriotic friends, lovers of the motherland, who had faith in khadi. The money thus spent, in my humble opinion, was not wasted. It brought us a rich store of experience, and revealed to us the possibilities of the spinning-wheel.
An Instructive Dialogue with the Mill Owner ある工場経営者との会話
CHAPTER XLI of the Autobiography: AN INSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE
From its very inception the khadi movement, swadeshi move-ment as it was then called, evoked much criticism from the mill-owners. The late Umar Sobani, a capable mill-owner himself, not only gave me the benefit of his own knowledge and experience, but kept me in touch with the opinion of the other mill-owners as well. The argument advanced by one of these deeply impressed him. He pressed me to meet him. IT1 agreed. Mr. Sobani arranged the interview. The mill-owner opened the conversation.
‘You know that there has been swadeshi agitation before now ?’
‘Yes, I do,’ I replied.
‘You are also aware that in the days of the Partition (Partition of Bengal, which was annulled in December 1911) we, the mill-owners, fully exploited the swadeshi movememt. When it was at its height, we raised the prices of cloth, and did even worse things.’
‘Yes, I have heard something about it, and it has grieved me.’
‘I can understand your grief, but I can see no ground for it. We are not conducting our business out of philanthropy. We do it for profit, we have got to satisfy the shareholders. The price of an article is governed by the demand for it. Who can check the law of demand and supply ? The Bengalis should have known that their agitation was bound to send up the price of swadeshi cloth by stimulating the demand for it.’
I interrupted : ‘The Bengalis like me were trustful in their nature. They believed, in the fulness of their faith, that the mill-owners would not be so utterly selfish and unpatriotic as to betray their country in the hour of its need, and even to go the length, as they did, of fraudulently passing off foreign cloth as swadeshi.’
‘I knew your believing nature,’ he rejoined; ‘that is why I put you to the trouble of coming to me, so that I might warn you against falling into the same error as these simple-hearted Bengalis.’
With these words the mill-owner beckoned to his clerk who was standing by to produce samples of the stuff that was being manu-factured in his mill. Pointing to it he said : ‘Look at this stuff. This is the latest variety turned out by our mill. It is meeting with a widespread demand. We manufacture it from the waste. Naturally, therefore, it is cheap. We send it as far North as the valleys of the Himalayas. We have agencies all over the country, even in places where your voice or your agents can never reach. You can thus see that we do not stand in need of more agents. Besides, you ought to know that India’s production of cloth falls far short of its require-ments. The question of swadeshi, therefore, largely resolves itself into one of production. The moment we can increase our production sufficiently, and improve its quality to the necessary extent, the import of foreign cloth will automatically cease. My advice to you, therefore, is not to carry on your agitation on its present lines, but to turn your attention to the erection of fresh mills. What we need is not propaganda to inflate demand for our goods, but greater production.’
‘Then, surely, you will bless my effort, if I am already engaged in that very thing,’ I asked.
‘How can that be ?’ he exclaimed, a bit puzzled, ‘but may be, you are thinking of promoting the establishment of new mills, in which case you certainly deserve to be congratulated.’
‘I am not doing exactly that,’ I explained, ‘but I am engaged in the revival of the spinning-wheel.’
‘What is that ?’ he asked, feeling still more at sea.
I told him all about the spinning-wheel, and the story of my long quest after it, and added,
‘I am entirely of your opinion, it is no use my becoming virtually an agent for the mills. That would do more harm than good to the country. Our mills will not be in want of custom for a long time to come. My work should be, and therefore is, to organize the production of hand-spun cloth, and to find means for the disposal of the khadi thus produced. I am, therefore, concentrating my attention on the production of khadi. I swear by this form of swadeshi, because through it I can provide work to the semi-starved, semi-employed women of India. My idea is to get these women to spin yarn, and to clothe the people of India with khadi woven out of it. I do not know how far this movement is going to succeed; at present it is only in the incipient stage. But I have full faith in it. At any rate it can do no harm. On the contrary to the extent that it can add to the cloth production of the country be it ever so small, it will represent so much solid gain. You will thus perceive that my movement is free from the evils mentioned by you.’
He replied, ‘If you have additional production in view in organizing your movement, I have nothing to say against it. Whether the spinning-wheel can make headway in this age of power machinery is another question. But I for one wish you every success.’
Chapter 3 An Idea on Charkha (spinnning-wheel) チャルカの思想
Message conveyed by Charkha チャルカのメッセージ
But the message of the spinning-wheel is much wider than its circumference.
Its message is one of simplicity, service of mankind, living so as not
to hurt others, creating an indissoluble bond between the rich and the
poor, capital and labour, the prince and the peasant....
Young India, 17-9-1925
It(the spinning-wheel) is a symbol not of commercial war but of commercial peace. It bears not a message of ill will towards the nations of the earth but of goodwill and self-help. It will not need the protection of a navy threatening a world’s peace and exploiting its resources, but it needs the religious determination of millions to spin their yarn in their own homes as today they cook their food in their own homes. I may deserve the curses of posterity for many mistakes of omission and commission but I am confident of earning its blessings for suggesting a revival of the charkha. I stake my all on it. For every revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love....
Young India, 8-12-1921
Spinning as an Industry 産業としての糸紡ぎ
the only universal industry for the millions is spinning and no other. That does not mean that other industries do not matter or are useless. Indeed, from the individual standpoint, any other industry would be more remunerative than spinning. Watch-making will be no doubt most remunerative and fascinating industry. But how many can engage in it? Is it of any use to the millions of villagers? But if the villagers can reconstruct their home, begin to live again as their fore-fathers did, if they begin to make good use of their idle hours, all else, all the other industries will revive as a matter of course.
It is no use putting before famishing men a multiplicity of raw foods and expecting them to make their choice.
Young India, 30-9-1926
But when I came to the famine-stricken, what did I see? They were merely skin and bone, only waiting to die. They were then in that condition, because they would under no circumstances work.
Young India, 20-11-1924
The message of the wheel has to be carried to a people who have no hope, no initiative left in them and who would, if left to themselves, starve and die rather than work and live. Such was not the case before, but long neglect has made laziness a habit with them. That laziness can only be removed by the living contact and example of men of character and industry plying the wheel before them and by gently showing them the way.
Young India, 11-11-1926
Equality under Charkha チャルカの下の平等
I can only think of spinning as the fittest and most acceptable sacrificial body labour. I cannot imagine anything nobler or more national than that for say one hour in the day we should all do the labour that the poor must do and thus identify ourselves with them and through them with all mankind. I cannot imagine better worship of God than that in His name I should labour for the poor even as they do. The spinning-wheel spells a more equitable distribution of the riches of the earth.
Young India, 20-10-1921
He(The poet=Ravindranath Tagore) thinks, for instance, that I want everybody to spin the whole of his or her time to the exclusion of all other activity, that is to say, that I want the poet to forsake his muse, the farmer his plough, the lawyer his brief and the doctor his lancet. So far is this from truth that I have asked no one to abandon his calling but, on the contrary, to adorn it by giving every day only thirty minutes to spinning as sacrifice for the whole nation. I have, indeed, asked the famishing man or woman who is idle for want of any work whatsoever to spin for a living and the half-starved farmer to spin during his leisure hours to supplement his slender resources. If the Poet span half an hour daily his poetry would gain in richness. For it would then represent the poor man's wants and woes in a more forcible manner than now.
The Poet thinks that the charkha is calculated to bring about a death-like sameness in the nation and, thus imagining, he would shun it if he could. The truth is that the charkha is intended to realize the essential and living oneness of interest among India's myriads. Behind the magnificent and kaleidoscopic variety, one discovers in nature a unity of purpose, design and form which is equally unmistakable. No two men are absolutely alike, not even twins, and yet there is much that is indispensably common to all mankind. And behind the commonness of form there is the same life pervading all.....
Is not agriculture common to the vast majority of mankind? Even so, was spinning common not long ago to a vast majority of mankind? Just as both prince and peasant must eat and clothe themselves so must both labour for supplying their primary wants. The prince may do so if only by way of symbol and sacrifice, but that much is indispensable for him if he will be true to himself and his people. Europe may not realize this vital necessity at the present moment, because it has made of exploitation of non-European races a religion. But it is a false religion bound to perish in the near future. ....
Young India, 5-11-1925
Freedom Introduced by Charkha チャルカがもたらす自由
‘Why the charkha, why not the spinning mill?’ he will ask himself. The reply will be that everybody cannot own a spinning mill. If people depend on spinning mills for their clothing, whoever controls the spinning mills will control them and thus there will be an end to individual liberty. Today anyone can reduce the whole of London and New York to submission within 24 hours by cutting off theirelectric and water supply.
Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society. Only a Robinson Crusoe can afford to be all self-sufficient. When a man has done all he can for the satisfaction of his essential requirements he will seek the co-operation of neighbours for the rest. That will be true co-operation. Thus a scientific study of the spinning-wheel will lead on to sociology. The spinning-wheel will not become a power for the liberation of India in our hands unless we have made a deep study of the various sciences related to it. It will then not only make India free but point the way to the whole world....
Once one gets the scientific outlook it will be reflected in every act of his, in his eating, drinking, rest, sleep. Everything will be scientifically regulated and with a full appreciation of its why and wherefore. Finally, a scientific mind must have detachment or else it willl and itself into the lunatic asylum.
About Greed 欲望について
I believe that Independent India can only discharge her duty towards a groaning world by adopting a simple but ennobled life by developing her thousands of cottage [industries] and living at peace with the world. High thinking is inconsistent with complicated material life based on high speed imposed on us by Mammon worship. All the graces of life are possible only when we learn the art of living nobly.
Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. History gives ample proof of this. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment. He who is discontented, however much he possesses, becomes a slave to his desires. And there is really no slavery equal to that of his desires. All the sages have declared from the house-tops that man can be his own worst enemy as well as his best friend. To be free or to be a slave lies in his own hands. And what is true for the individual is true for society.
And, on the other hand, you find the less you possess the less you want, the better you are. And better for what? Not for enjoyment of this life, but for enjoyment of personal service to your fellow beings; service to which you dedicate yourselves, body, soul and mind.
The Guildhouse, 23-9-1931
Mahatma, vol.III, (1952), P.157
The human body is meant solely for service, never for indulgence. The secret of happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation is life. Indulgence spells death. Harijan, 24-2-1946
Manual Labour vs. Brain Work 肉体労働と知的労働について
If all laboured for their bread and no more, then there would be enough food and enough leisure for all. Then there would be no cry of over population, no disease, and no such misery as we see around. Such labour will be the highest form of a sacrifice. Men will no doubt do many other things either through their bodies or through their minds, but all this will be labour of love, for the common good. There will then be no rich and no poor, none high and none low, no touchable and no untouchable.
This may be an unattainable ideal. But we need not, therefore, cease to strive for it. Even if without fulfilling the whole law of sacrifice, that is, the law of our being, we performed physical labour enough for our daily bread, we should go a long way towards the ideal.
If we did so, our wants would be minimized, our food would be simple. We should then eat to live, not live to eat. Let anyone who doubts the accuracy of this proposition try to sweat for his bread, he will derive the greatest relish from the productions of his labour, improve his health and discover that many things he took were superfluities.
May not men earn their bread by intellectual labour? No. The needs of the body must be supplied by the body. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” perhaps applies here well. Mere mental, that is, intellectual labour is for the soul and is its own satisfaction. It should never demand payment. In the ideal State, doctors, lawyers and the like will work solely for the benefit of society, not for self. Obedience to the law of bread labour will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of society. Man’s triumph will consist in substituting the struggle for existence by the struggle for mutual service. The law of the brute will be replaced by the law of man.
it seems to us that, after all, nature has intended man to earn his bread by manual labour--- "by the sweat of his brow" --- and intended him to dedicate his intellect not towards multiplying his material wants and surrounding himself with enervating and soul-destroying luxuries, but towards uplifting his moral being ---- towards knowing the will of the Creator --- towards serving humanity and thus truly serving himself.
IIndian Opinion, 15-1-1910
Bodily sustenance should come from body labour, and intellectual labour is necessary for the culture of the mind. Division of labour there will necessarily be, but it will be a division into various species of body labour and not a division into intellectual labour to be confined to one class and body labour to be confined to another class.
Let me not be misunderstood. I do not discount the value of intellectual labour, but no amount of it is any compensation for bodily labour which every one of us is born to give for the common good of all. It may be, often is infinitely superior to bodily labour, but it never is or can be a substitute for it, even as intellectual food, though far superior to the grains we eat, never can be a substitute for them. Indeed without the products of the earth those of the intellect would be an impossibility.
Young India, 15-10-1925
Return to the villages means a definite voluntary recognition of the duty of bread labour and all it connotes. But says the critic, “millions of India’s children are today living in the villages and yet they are living a life of semi-starvation”. This, alas, is but too true. Fortunately we know that theirs is not voluntary obedience. They would perhaps shirk body labour if they could, and even rush to the nearest city if they could be accommodated in it.
Compulsory obedience to a master is state of slavery, willing obedience to one’s father is the glory of sonship. Similarly compulsory obedience to the law of bread labour breeds poverty, disease and discontent. It is a state of slavery. Willing obedience to it must bring contentment and health. And it is health which is real wealth, not pieces of silver and gold.
No Labour, No Meal 働かざる者食うべからず
My ashimsa would not tolerate the idea of giving a free meal to a healthy person who has not worked for it in some honest way, and if I had the power I would stop every Sadavarta where free meals are given. It has degraded the nation and it has encouraged laziness, idleness, hypocrisy and even crime. Such misplaced charity adds nothing to the wealth of the country, whether material or spiritual, and gives a false sense of meritoriousness to the donor. How nice and wise it would be if the donor were to open institutions where they would give meals under healthy, clean surroundings to men and women who would work for them. I personally think that the spinning-wheel or any of the processes that cotton has to go through will be an ideal occupation. But if they will not have that, they may choose any other work, only the rule should be: no labour, no meal.
Young India, 13-8-1925
I do feel that whilst it is bad to encourage begging, I will not send away a beggar without offering him work and food. If he will not work, I should let him go without food. Those who are physically disabled like the halt and the maimed and the blind have got to be supported by the State.
Self-Sufficiency and Co-operation 自立と協力
Our first duty is that we should not be a burden on society, i.e., we should be self-sufficient. That means self-sufficiency by itself is a kind of service. After becoming self-sufficient we shall use our spare time for the service of others. If all become self-sufficient no one will have any difficulty. In that case no one will be required to undertake service of others. But we have not yet reached that stage and therefore we have to think of social service. Even if we succeed in realizing complete self-sufficiency, man being a social animal we shall have to accept service in some form or other.
That is, man is as much dependent on others as he is dependent on himself. When dependence becomes necessary in order to keep society in good order it is no longer dependence but becomes co-operation. There is a fragrance in co-operation and there is no one weak or strong among the co-operators. Everyone is equal. There is a feeling of helplessness in dependency. Members of a family are as much self-dependent as interdependent, but there is no feeling of mine or thine. That is why they are called co-operators. Similarly when we take a society, a nation or the entire mankind as a family all men become co-operators. If we can conceive a picture of such co-operation we shall find that there is no need of depending upon lifeless machines. Or we shall have to use them the least, not the most, and therein lies the real security and self-protection of society.
SEVAGRAM, November 29, 1945
Khadi Jagat, December 1945
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without inter-relation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality. If man were so placed or could so place himself as to be absolutely above all dependence on his fellow-beings he would become so proud and arrogant as to be a veritable burden and nuisance to the world. Dependence on society teaches him the lesson of humility. That a man ought to be able to satisfy most of his essential needs himself is obvious; but it is no less obvious to me that when self-sufficiency is carried to the length of isolating one-self from society it almost amounts to sin. A man cannot become self-sufficient even in respectof all the various operations from the growing of cotton to the spinning of the yarn. He has at some stage or other to take the aid of the members of his family. And if one may take help from one’s own family why not from one’s neighbours? Or otherwise what is the significance of the great saying, ‘The world is my family’?
Young India, 21-3-1929
An eye which hopes to do without help from the hand does not practise self-help, it is just too proud. As the different limbs of our body practise self-help in regard to their own functions, and yet are of service to others because they help one another and dependent on others because they are helped by one another, so we, the thirty crore limbs of the body that is India, should follow the duty of self-help in our respective spheres of work and, to demonstrate that we are limbs of the same nation, exchange help with one another. Only then shall we have built up a nation and proved our claim to be patriots.
Chapter 4 Machinery and Human Being 機械と人間
Discussion on Mass Production 大量生産をめぐる議論
Q. Do you feel, Gandhiji, that mass production will raise the standard of livingof the people?
A. I do not believe in it at all. There is a tremendous fallacy behind Mr Ford’s reasoning. Without simultaneous distribution on an equally mass scale, the production can result only in a great world tragedy. Take Mr. Ford’s cars. The saturation point is bound to be reached soon or later. Beyond that point the production of cars cannot be pushed. What will happen then?
Mass production takes no note of the real requirement of the consumer. If mass production were in itself a virtue, it should be capable of indefinite multiplication. But it can be definitely shown that mass production carries within it its own limitations. If all countries adopted the system of mass production, there would not be a big enough market for their products. Mass production must then
come to a stop.
Q. I wonder whether you feel that this saturation point has already arrived in
the Western world. Mr. Ford says that there never can be too many articles of quality, that the needs of the world are constantly increasing and that, therefore, while there might be saturation in the market for a given commodity, the general saturation would never be reached.
A. Without entering upon an elaborate argument, I would categorically state my conviction that the mania for mass production is responsible for the world crisis. Granting for the moment that machinery may supply all the needs of humanity, still, it would concentrate production in particular areas, so that you would have to go in a round-about way to regulate distribution, whereas, if there is production and distribution both in the respective areas where things are required, it is automatically regulated, and there is less chance for fraud, none for speculation.
Q. The American friend mentioned Mr. Ford's favourite plan of decentralization of industry by the use of electric power conveyed on wires to the remotest corner, instead of coal and steam, as a possible remedy, and drew up the picture of hundreds and thousands of small, neat, smokeless villages, dotted with factories, run by village communities. “Assuming all that to be possible”, he finally asked Gandhiji,“how far will it meet your obejction?”
A. My objection won't be met by that, because, while it is true that you will be producing things in innumerable areas, the power will come from one selected centre. That, in the end, I think, would be found to be disastrous. It would place such a limitless power in one human agency that I dread to think of it. The consequence, for instance, of such a control of power would be that I would be dependent on that power for light, water, even air, and so on. That, I think, would be terrible.
Q. ... have you any idea as to what Europe and America should do to solve the problem presented by too much machinery?
A. You see that these nations are able to exploit the so-called weaker or unorganized races of the world. Once those races gain this elementary knowledge and decide that they are no more going to be exploited, they will simply be satisfied with what they can provide themselves. Mass production, then, at least where the vital necessities are concerned, will disappear.
Q. As a world organization.
Q. But even these races will require more and more goods as their needs multiply.
A. They will then produce for themselves. And when that happens, mass production, in the technical sense in which it is understood in the West, ceases.
Q. You mean to say it becomes local.
A. When production and consumption both become localized, the temptation to speed up production, indefinitely and at any price, disappears. All the endless difficulties and problems that our present-day economic system presents, too, would then come to an end. Take a concrete instance. England today is the cloth shop of the world. It, therefore, needs to hold a world in bondage to secure its market. But under the change that I have envisaged, she would limit her production to the actual needs of her 45 millions of population. When that need is satisfied, the production will necessarily stop. It won’t be continued for the sake of bringing in more gold irrespective of the needs of a people and at the risk of their impoverishment. There would be no unnatural accumulation of hoards in the pockets of the few, and want in the midst of plenty in regard to the rest, as is happening today, for instance, in America. America is today able to hold the world in fee by selling all kinds of trinklets, or by selling her unrivalled skill, whcih she has a right to do. She has reached the acme of mass production, and yet she has not been able to abolish unemployment or want. There are still thousands, perhaps millions of people in America who live in misery, in spite of the phenomenal riches of the few. The whole of the American nation is not benefited by the mass production.
Decentralization of Labour 生産の分散
Q. There the fault lies in distribution. It means that, whilst our system of production has reached a high pitch of perfection, the distribution is still defective. If distribution could be equalized, would not mass production be sterilized of its evils?
A. No, the evil is inherent in the system. Distribution can be equalized when production is localized; in other words, when the distribution is simultaneous with production. Distribution will never be equal so long as you want to tap other markets of the world to dispose of your goods.
That does not mean that the world has not use for the marvellous advances in science and organization that the Western nations have made. It only means that the Western nations have to use their skill. If they want to use their skill abroad, from philanthropic motives, America would say, ‘Well, we know how make bridges, we won’t keep keep it a secret, but we say to the whole world, we will teach you how to make bridges and we will charge you nothing.’ America says, ‘Where other nations can grow one blade of wheat, we can grow two thousand.’ Then, America should teach that art free of charge to those who will learn it, but not aspire to grow wheat for the whole world, which would spell a sorry day for the world indeed.
Q. Then, you do not envisage mass production as an ideal future of India?
A. Oh yes, mass production, certainly, but not based on force. After all, the message of the spinning-wheel is that. It is mass production, but mass production in people's own homes. If you multiply individual production to millions of times, would it not give you mass production on a tremendous scale? But I quite understand that your "mass production" is a technical term for production by the fewest possible number through the aid of highly complicated machinery. I have said to myself that that is wrong. My machinery must be of the most elementary type which I can put in the homes of the millions.
Under my system, again, it is labour which is the current coin, not metal. Any person who can use his labour has that coin, has wealth. He converts his labour into cloth, he converts his labour into grain. If he wants paraffin oil, whcih he cannot himself produce, he used his surplus grain for getting the oil. It is exchange of labour on free, fair and equal terms---hence it is no robbery. You may object that this is a reversion to the primitive system of barter. But is not all international trade based on the barter system?
Look, again, at another advantage, that this system affords. You can multiply it to any extent. But concentration of production ad infinitum can only lead to unemployment. You may say that workers thrown out of work by the introduction of improved machinery will find occupation in other jobs. But in an organized country where there are only fixed and limited avenues of employment, where the worker has become highly skilled in the use of one particular kind of machinery, you know from your own experience that this is hardly possible. Are there not over three millions unemployed in England today?
I hate privilege and monopoly. Whatever cannot be shared with the masses is taboo to me. That is all.
INTERVIEW TO CALLENDER LONDON, [October 16, 1931]
An American Press correspondent. Pyarelal Nayar, from whose article "Mass Production
versus Production by the Masses", this has been extracted does not mention
the name. This and the date of the interview have been taken from the manuscript
of Mahadev Desai’s Diary, 1931.
The interviewer had earlier met Ford in America, who had put forward the
view that demand for cheaper things would stimulate mass production.
Future of Mass Production 大量生産のゆくえ
Gandhi; We do not want to cut adrift from the whole world. We will have a free interchange with all nations, but the present forced interchange has to go. We do not want to be exploited, neither do we want to exploit any other nation. Through the scheme we look forward to making all children producers, and so to change the face of the whole nation, for it will permeate the whole of our social being. But that does not mean that we cut adrift from the whole world. There will be nations that will want to interchange with others because they cannot produce certain things. They will certainly depend on other nations for them, but the nations that will provide for them should not exploit them.
Q; But if you simplify your life to an extent that you need nothing from other countries, you will isolate yourselves from them; whereas I want you to be responsible for America also.
Gandhi; It is by ceasing to exploit and to be exploited that we can be responsible for America. For America will then follow our example and there will be no difficulty in a free interchange between us.
Q; But you want to simplify life and cut out industrialization.
Gandhi; If I could produce all my country’s wants by means of the labour of 30,000 people instead of 30 million I should not mind it, provided that the thirty million are not rendered idle and unemployed. I know that socialists would introduce industrialization to the extent of reducing working hours to one or two in a day, but I do not want it.
Q; They would have leisure.
Gandhi; Leisure to play hockey?
Q; Not only for that but for creative handicrafts for instance.
Gandhi; Creative handicrafts I am asking them to engage in. But they will produce with their hands by working eight hours a day.
Q; You do not of course look forward to a state of society when every house will have a radio and everyone a car. That was President Hoover's formula. He wanted not one but two radios and two cars.
Gandhi; If we had so many cars there would be very little room left for walking.
Q; I agree. We have about 40,000 deaths by accidents every year and thrice as many cases of people being maimed.
Gandhi; At any rate I am not going to live to see the day when all villages in India will have radios.
Q; Pandiit Jawaharlal seems to think in term of the economy of abundance.
Gandhi; I know. But what is abundance? Not the capacity to destroy millions of tons of wheat as you do in America?
Q; Yes, that's the nemesis of Capitalism. They do not destroy now, but they are being paid for not producing wheat. People indulged in the pastime of throwing eggs at one another because the prices of eggs had gone down.
Gandhi; That is what we do not want. If by abundance you mean everyone having plenty to eat and drink and to clothe himself with, enough to keep his mind trained and educated, I should be satisfied. But I should not like to pack more stuff in my belly than I can digest and more things than I can ever usefully use. But neither do I want poverty, penury, misery, dirt and dust in India.
Why Should We Work? なぜ働くのか
Q; My difficulty is this, that though people in our villages are working like asses from morning until night without an hour’s respite they do not get enough to eat. And you are asking them to labour still more?
Gandhi; What you say is news to me. The villages I know are those in which quantities of time are being wasted. But if as you say there are people who are being overworked, I am asking such people to accept nothing less than a living wage for nothing more than eight hours' work.
Q; But why not accept the machine with all its good points, eliminating the bad ones?
Gandhi; I cannot afford to keep our human machines idle. We have such an amount of human power lying idle that we have no room for other power-driven machines.
Q; Introduce the power-driven machines and get them to work for only as long as is needed for our purposes.
Gandhi; How do you mean? Supposing X produced all the cloth we needed, in mills specially constructed for the purpose, and gave work to say three million men, also distributing all the profit between them, what then? Then these three million men will be having all the money that used to be distributed between 300 million a hundred years ago.
Q; No, Sir, I propose that our men should not work more than is necessary for our purposes. same work is indeed necessary for all of us, but why should we work, say, more than a couple of hours a day and not devote the rest of our time to pleasant occupations?
Gandhi; So you would be satisfied if our men were to work only for one hour a day?
Q; That should be worked out. But I should certainly be satisfied.
Gandhi; Well there's the rub. I should never be satisfied until all men had plenty of productive work, say, eight hours a day.
Q; But why, I wonder, should you insist on this eight hours' minimum?
Gandhi; Because I know that millions will not employ themselves in work for the sake of it. If they did not need to work for their bread, they would lack the incentive. Supposing a few millionaires from America came and offered to send us all our food-stuffs and implored us not to work but to permit them to give vent to their philanthropy, I should refuse point-blank to accept their kind offer.
Q; That would be because the offer would hurt your self-respect?
Gandhi; No, not only because of that; but especially because it strikes at the root of the fundamental law of our being, viz., that we must work for our bread, that we eat our bread by the sweat of our brow.
Machinery for Mankind 人間のための機械
[R:] Are you against all machinery, Bapuji?
Gandhi; How can I be when I know that even this body is a most delicate piece of machinery? The spinning-wheel itself is amachine; a little tooth-pick is a machine. What I object to, is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such. The craze is for what they call labour-saving machinery. Men go on “saving labour” till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of starvation. I want to save time and labour, not for a fraction of mankind, but for all. I want the concentration of wealth, not in the hands of a few, but in the hands of all. Today machinery merely helps a few to ride on the backs of millions. The impetus behind it all is not the philanthropy to save labour, but greed. It is against this constitution of things that I am fighting with all my might.
[R:] Then Bapuji, you are fighting not against machinery as such, but against
its abuses which are so much in evidence today?
Gandhi; I would unhesitatingly say “yes”; but I would add that scientific truths and discoveries should first of all cease to be the mere instruments of greed. Then labourers will not be over-worked and machinery instead of becoming a hindrance will be a help. I am aiming, not at eradication of all machinery, but limitations.
[R:] When logically argued out, that would seem to imply that all complicated power-driven machinery should go.
Gandhi; It might have to go, but I must make one thing clear. The supreme consideration is man. The machine should not tend to make atrophied the limbs of man. For instance, I would make intelligent exceptions. Take the case of the Singer Sewing Machine. It is one of the few useful things ever invented, and there is a romance about the device itself. Singer saw his wife labouring over the tedious process of sewing and seaming with her own hands, and simply out of his love for her, he devised the sewing machine, in order to save her from unnecessary labour. He, however, saved not only her labour but also the labour of everyone who could purchase a sewing machine.
[R:] But, in that case, there would have to be a factory for making these Singer Sewing Machines, and it would have to contain power-driven machinery of ordinary type.
Gandhi; Yes. But I am socialist enough to say that such factories should be nationalized, or State-controlled. They ought only to be working under the most attractive and ideal conditions, not for profit, but for the benefit of humanity, love taking the place of greed as the motive. It is an alteration in the conditions of labour that I want. This mad rush for wealth must cease, and the labourer must be assured, not only of a living wage, but a daily task that is not a mere drudgery. The machine will, under these conditions, be as much a help to the man working it as to the State, or the man who owns it. The present mad rush will cease, and the labourer will work (as I have said) under attractive and ideal conditions.
This is but one of the exceptions I have in mind. The sewing machine had love at its back. The individual is the one supreme consideration. The saving of labour of the individual should be the object, and honest humanitarian considerations, and not greed, the motive. ... Therefore, replace greed by love and everything will come right.
Young India, 13-11-1924
Future of Industialization 工業化の将来
Industrialism is, I am afraid, going to be a curse for mankind. Exploitation of one nation by another cannot go on for all time. Industrialism depends entirely on your capacity to exploit, on foreign markets being open to you, and on the absence of competitors. It is because these factors are getting less and less every day for England that its number of unemployed is mounting up daily. The Indian boycott was but a flea-bite. And if that is the state of England, a vast country like India cannot expect to benefit by industrialization. In fact, India, when it begins to exploit other nations---as it must if it becomes industrialized---will be a curse for other nations, a menace to the world. And why should I think of industrializing India to exploit other nations? Don't you see the tragedy of the situation, viz., that we can find work for our 300 millions unemployed, but England can find none for its three millions and is faced with a problem that baffles the greatest intellects of England? The future of industrialism is dark. England has got succesful competitors in America, Japan, France, Germany. It has competitors in the handful of mills in India, and as there has been an awakening in India, even so there will be an awakening in South Africa with its vastly richer resources---natural, mineral and human.
The mighty English look quite pigmies before the mighty races of Africa. They are noble savages after all, you will say. They are certainly noble, but no savages and in the course of few years the Western nations may cease to find in Africa a dumping ground for their wares. And if the future of industrialism is dark for the West, would it not be darker still for India?
Young India, 12-11-1931
This is the old argument restated. The correspondent forgets that to make India like England and America is to find some other races and places of the earth for exploitation. So far it appears that the Western nations have divided all the known races outside Europe for exploitation and that there are no new worlds to discover. .. What can be the fate of India trying to ape the West?
To change to industrialism is to court disaster. The present distress is undoubtedly insufferable. Pauperism must go. But industrialism is no remedy.
Young India, 7-10-1926
Through highly industrialized processes, 30 crores must perform hara-kiri
or be killed off. I know that some enthusiastic patriots will not only
not mind such a process, but they will welcome it. They will say that it
is better to have one crore of happy, contented, prosperous Indians, armed
to the teeth, than to have 30 crores of unarmed creatures who can hardly
walk. I have no answer to that philosophy, because, being saturated with
the Harijan mentality, I can only think in terms of the millions of villagers
and can only make my happiness dependent upon that of the poorest amongst
them, and want to live only if they can live.
Manipulated Destruction of the Villages 巧妙に進む村の破壊
Any country that exposes itself to unlimited foreign competition can be reduced to starvation and therefore subjection if the foreigners desire it. This is known as peaceful penetration. One has to go only a step further to understand that the result would be the same as between hand-made goods and those made by power-driven machinery. We are seeing the process going on before our eyes. Little flour mills are ousting the chakkis, oil mills the village ghani, rice mills the village dhenki, sugar mills the village gur-pans, etc.
This displacement of village labour is impoverishing the villagers and enriching the monied men. If the process continues sufficiently long the villages will be destroyed without any further effort. No Chengis Khan could devise a more ingenious or more profitable method of destroying these villages. And the tragedy of it all is that the villagers are uncons-ciously but none the less surely contributing to their own destruction. To complete the tale of their woe let the reader know that even cultivation has ceased to be profitable. For some crops the villager does not cover even the cost of seed.
An improved plough is a good thing. But if, by some chance, one man could plough up by some mechanical invention of his the whole of the land of India and control all the agricultural produce and if the millions had no other occupation, they would starve, and being idle, they would become dunces, as many have already become. There is hourly danger of many more being reduced to that unenviable state. I would welcome every improvement in the cottage machine, but I know that it is criminal to displace the hand labour by the introduction of power-driven spindles unless one is, at the same time, ready to give millions of farmers some other occupation in their homes.
Young India, 5-11-1925
Opposition to mills or machinery is not the point. What suits our country most is the point. I am not opposed to the movement of manufacturing machines in the country, nor to making improvements in machinery. I am only concerned with what these machines are meant for. I may ask, in the words of Ruskin, whether these machines will be such as would blow off a million men in a minute or they will be such as would turn waste lands into arable and fertile land. And if legislation were in my hands, I would penalize the manufacture of [labour-saving] machines and protect the industry which manufactures nice ploughs which can be handled by every man.
Young India, 17-9-1919
Mechanization is good when the hands are too few for the work intended to be accomplished. It is an evil when there are more hands than required for the work, as is the case in India. I may not use a plough for digging a few square yards of a plot of land.
The problem with us is not how to find leisure for the teeming millions inhabiting our villages. The problem is how to utilize their idle hours, which are equal to the working days of six months in the year. Strange as it may appear, every mill generally is a menace to the villagers. I have not worked out the figures, but I am quite safe in saying that every mill-hand does the work of at least ten labourers doing the same work in their villages. In other words he earns more than he did in his village at the expense of ten fellow-villagers.
Thus spinning and weaving mills have deprived the villagers of a substantial means of livelihood. It is no answer in reply to say that they turn out cheaper, better cloth, if they do so at all. For, if they have displaced thousands of workers, the cheapest mill cloth is dearer than the dearest khadi woven in the villages. Coal is not dear for the coal-miner who can use it there and then, nor is khadi dear for the villager who manufactures his own khadi.
The machinery method is no doubt easy. But it is not necessarily a blessing on that account. The descent to a certain place is easy but dangerous. The method of the hand is a blessing, in the present case at any rate, because it is hard. If the craze for the machinery method continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God. Millions cannot keep themselves fit by games and athletics. And why should they exchange the useful, productive, hardy occupations for the useless, unproductive and expensive games and exercises? They are all right today for a change and recreation. They will jar upon us when they become a necessary occupation in order that we may have the appetite for eating the food in the production of which we had no hand or part.
Lastly, I do not subscribe to the belief that everything old is bad. Truth is old and difficult. Untruth has many attractions. But I would gladly go back to the very old Golden Age of Truth. Good old brown bread is any day superior to the pasty white bread which has lost much of its nutritive value in going through the various processes of refinement. The list of old and yet good things can be endlessly multiplied. The spinning-wheel is one such thing, at any rate, for India.
When India becomes self-supporting, self-reliant and proof against temptations and exploitation, she will cease to be the object of greedy attraction for any power in the West or the East and will then feel secure without having to carry the burden of expensive armament. Her internal economy will be India’s strongest bulwark against aggression.
Young India, 2-7-1931
Adequate Machinery 適正な機械
And I should think that these latter (spinning-wheels and handlooms) are no doubt machines. The handloom is a miniature weaving mill. The spinning-wheel is a miniature spinning-mill. I would wish to see such beautiful little mills in every home. But the country is fully in need of the hand-spinning and hand-weaving industry.
Agriculturists in no country can live without some industry to supplement agriculture. And in India, which is entirely dependent on favourable monsoons, the spinning-wheel and the handloom are like Kamadhenus. This movement is thus intended in the interests of 21 crore peasants of India. Even if we have sufficient mills in the country to produce cloth enough for the whole country, we are bound to provide our peasantry, daily being more and more impoverished, with some supplementary industry, and that which can be suitable to crores of people is hand-spinning and hand-weaving.
Young India, 17-9-1919
There is therefore no contradiction in the authors of the spinning movement trying to secure a wheel or a machine which would enable the cottagers in their own cottages to spin more or finer yarn in the same given time as the existing spinning-wheel does. The writer of the note should know that this progressive method of improving home machines has been handed down from ancient times. The takli or the distaff was displaced by the spinning-wheel. The spinning-wheel itself underwent gradual improvement as one sees even today from the different old patterns working in different provinces. The process of improvement was suddenly arrested when the spinning-wheel went out of fashion.
The Council of the All-India Spinners' Association is therefore but following the course that was suddenly stopped by the machinations of the East India Company's agents. The fact is that neither the Council nor I have any objection to machines as such, but we do submit that it is wrong to carry the process of mechanization of industry so far as to kill the cottage industries and concentrate them within a narrow field; in other words, they are against urbanization of India at the expense of her rural civilization and rural life.
Young India, 21-l l-1929
Chapter 5 Economics on Khadhi (hand-spun cloth) カディーの経済学
Economics based on Ethics 倫理に基づいた経済学
True economics never militates against the highest ethical standard just as all true ethics to be worth its name must at the same time be also good economics. An economics that inculcates mammon worship and enables the strong to amass wealth at the expense of the weak, is a false and dismal science. It spells death. True economics, on the other hand, stands for social justice, it promotes the good of all equally, including the weakest, and is indispensable for decent life.Harijan, 9-10-1937
I must confess that I do not draw a sharp or any distinction between economics and ethics. Economics that hurt the moral well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. Thus the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are immoral. It is sinful to buy and use articles made by sweated labour.
Young India, 13-10-1921
We, in our country, are in honour bound to prefer handspun khaddar to foreign cloth, no matter how inconvenient it may be to us. It is flimsy philosophy that teaches us to go to the cheapest market irrespective of what happens therethrough to our next-door neighbours.
Free donations of fine wheat from Australia or America will be poison to us, if that meant a workless India with her soil growing weeds instead of golden grain. Similarly a free gift of cloth from Manchester would be too costly a bargain for India to accept.
Young India, 17-1-1929
According to me the economic constitution of India and for the matter of that the world should be such that no one under it should suffer from want of food and clothing. In other words, every-body should be able to get sufficient work to enable him to make the two ends meet. And this ideal can be universally realized only if the means of production of elementary necessaries of life remain in the control of the masses. These should be freely available to all as God's air and water are or ought to be; they should not be made a vehicle of traffic for the exploitation of others. Their monopolization by any country, nation or groups of persons would be unjust. The neglect of this simple principle is the cause of the destitution that we witness today not only in this unhappy land but other parts of the world too.
Young India, 15-11-1928
Every human being has a right to live and therefore to find the wherewithal to feed himself and where necessary to clothe and house himself. But, for this very simple performance, we need no assistance from economists or their laws.
The Leader, 25-12-1916
Law of Khadi Economics カディーの経済法則
To give up khadi would be to sell the masses, the soul of India.
Young India, 19-1-1928
Some of them (laws of khadi economics) are essentially different from those that govern the general economics. Thus as a rule, articles manufactured in one place are sent or attempted to be sent to all parts of the world. Those who manufacture the articles need not use them at all. Not so with khadi. Its peculiarity is that it has to be used where it is produced and preferably by the spinners and weavers themselves. Thus, the demand for khadi when thus used is automatically assured.
No doubt this ideal will never be reached. But the worth of khadi will always be measured by the extent to which the ideal is reached. Khadi is a cottage industry in this special sense in which no other industry is or can be, except agriculture in a restricted sense, if agriculture may be regarded as an industry. Therefore it is necessary to educate the spinners and weavers to appreciate the simple economics of khadi. Where cloth is spun and woven by the spinners and weavers for their own use, it is naturally cheapest for them. It follows that we must not seek to send khadi for sale far away from its place of manufacture
Let this be borne in mind that khadi can be permanent only when it has obtained a permanent footing as village wear.
My own experience tells me that it is dangerous to befog the mass mind by putting khadi in juxtaposition with the gaudy mill-made cloth. It is very like putting human beings side by side with robots. Human beings may be worsted in the competition if they allow themselves to be compared to robots. Even so will khadi fare, in comparison with mill-made cloth. The planes of the two are different. The aims are opposite. Khadi gives work to all, mill-cloth gives work to some and deprives many of honest labour. Khadi serves the masses, mill-cloth is intended to serve the classes. Khadi serves labour, mill-cloth exploits it.
The greater the progress of khadi the more shall we find that our methods have to be far different from those hiterto adopted by the commercial world, which believes in selling at the highest price obtainable and buying at the cheapest rate possible. The world commerce at the present moment is not based upon equitable considerations. Its maxim is: ‘Buyers beware.’ The maxim of khadi economics is: ‘Equity for all.
Young India, 27-10-1927
Khaddar economics is wholly different from the ordinary. The latter takes no note of the human factor. The former wholly concerns itself with the human. The latter is frankly selfish, the former necessarily unselfish.
Competition and therefore prices are eliminated from the conception of khaddar. There is no competition between hotels and domestic kitchens. It never enters into the head of the queen of the house to calculate the cost of her labour, the floor space, etc. She simply knows that to conduct the domestic kitchen is as much her duty as it is to bring up children. If she were to count the cost, the logic of facts will irresistibly drive her to the destruction of her kitchen as well as her children. Some have done both. But thank God the cult makes no promise of appreciable increase. It is our innate laziness which prevents us from seeing that we sinned against Indian humanity when we destroyed the domestic wheel. Let us repent of our sin and return to the peace-giving wheel.
Young India, 16-7-1931
Life is more than money. It is cheaper to kill our aged parents who can do no work and who are a drag on our slender resources. It is also cheaper to kill our children whom we do not need for our material comfort and whom we have to maintain without getting anything in return. But we kill neither our parents nor our children, but consider it a privilege to maintain them no matter what their maintenance costs us.
Even so must we maintain khadi to the exclusion of all other cloth. It is the force of habit which makes us think of khadi in terms of prices. We must revise our notion of khadi economics. And when we have studied them from the point of view of the national wellbeing, we shall find that khadi is never dear. We must suffer dislocation of domestic economy during the transition stage.
When the people, either through State protection or through voluntary effort, have cultivated the habit of using only khadi, they will never think of it in terms of money, even as millions of vegetarians do not compare the prices of flesh foods with those of non-flesh foods. They will starve rather than take flesh foods even though they may be offered free.
where an article is produced for personal use, the greater the concentration of all the processes in the same family or even the same hands, the greater the economy of time and money. A person, who has a little land which he can call his own even for a fair period and works on it daily, can have his khadi for mere labour put in by him or his during their odd moments. All he needs is instruction or education to show how each one can make his own khadi practically for nothing.
When labour has to be paid for and that at an equal rate per period, spinning would take in the largest part of the outlay. For spinning yarn for one yard of Khadi takes longer than any of the other processes anterior or posterior to it will take. If a person gins, cards and spins for himself, which he can do easily, he will get his khadi almost at the same price as mill-cloth. The cost of an article represents the cost of labour spent in its production. So when the whole labour comes from the user himself the cost is practically nothing, when that labour is given during leisure hours. Self-suffcient khadi eliminates the middleman altogether. It is the easiest method of perceptibly increasing the income of the millions of the semi-starved villagers.
The Khadi Spirit カディーの精神
The khadi spirit means that we must know the meaning of what the wearing of khaddar carries with it. Every time that we take our khaddar garment early in the morning to wear for going out we should remember that we are doing so in the name of Daridrana-rayana and for the sake of saving the millions of India. If we have the khadi spirit in us we should serve ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life. Khadi spirit means illimitable patience. For those who know anything of production of khaddar know how patiently those spinners and weavers have to toil. Even so must we have patience while spinning the thread of swaraj. Khadi spirit means also equally illimitable faith. So must we have that illimitable faith in truth and non-violence ultimately conquering every obstacle in our way.
Khadi spirit means fellow-feeling with every living being on earth. It means the complete renunciation of everything that is likely to harm our fellow creatures. And if we are to cultivate that spirit amongst the millions of our countrymen, what a land this India of ours would be!
The Hindu, 13-9-1927
Every minute of my time I am fully conscious of the fact that if those who have consecrated their lives to khadi will not incessantly insist on purity of life, khadi is bound to stink in the nostrils of our countrymen.
From a photostat: S. N. 15851
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 werestriving 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
Program for Propagation of Khadi カディー普及のためのプログラム
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
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 1. COMMUNAL UNITY
Khadi is a controversial subject. Many people think that in advocating khadi I am sailing against a headwind and am sure to sink the ship of swaraj and that I am taking the country to the dark ages. I do not propose to argue the case for khadi in this brief survey. I have argued it sufficiently elsewhere. Here I want to show what every Congressman, and for that matter every Indian, can do to advance the cause of khadi. It connotes the beginning of economic freedom and equality of all in the country. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Let everyone try, and he or she will find out for himself or herself the truth of what I am saying. Khadi must be taken with all its implications. It means a wholesale swadeshi mentality, a determination to find all the necessaries of life in India and that too through the labour and intellect of the villagers. That means a reversal of the existing process. That is to say that, instead of half a dozen cities of India and Great Britain living on the exploitation and the ruin of the 7,00,000 villages of India, the latter will be largely self-contained, and will voluntarily serve the cities of India and even the outside world in so far as it benefits both the parties.
This needs a revolutionary change in the mentality and tastes of many. Easy though the non-violent way is in many respects, it is very difficult in many others. It vitally touches the life of every single Indian, makes him feel aglow with the possession of a power that has lain hidden within himself, and makes him proud of his identity with every drop of the ocean of Indian humanity. This non-violence is not the inanity for which we have mistaken it through all these long ages; it is the most potent force as yet known to mankind and on which its very existence is dependent. It is that force which I have tried to present to the Congress and through it to the world. Khadi to me is the symbol of unity of Indian humanity, of its economic freedom and equality and, therefore, ultimately, in the poetic expression of Jawaharlal Nehru, “the livery of India’s freedom”
Having explained the implications of khadi, I must indicate what Congressmen can and should do towards its promotion. Production of khadi includes cotton-growing, picking, ginning, cleaning, carding, slivering, spinning, sizing, dyeing, preparing the warp and the woof, weaving, and washing. These, with the exception of dyeing, are essen-tial processes. Every one of them can be effectively handled in the villages and is being so handled in many villages throughout India, which the A.I.S.A. is covering. According to the latest report the following are the interesting figures :
2,75,146 villagers, including 19,654 Harijans and 57,378 Mus-lims, scattered in at least 13,451 villages, received, as spinners, weavers, etc., Rs. 34,85,609 in 1940. The spinners were largely women.
Yet the work done is only one-hundredth part of what could be done if Congressmen honestly took up the khadi programme. Since the wanton destruction of this central village industry and the allied handicrafts, intelligence and brightness have fled from the villages, leaving them inane, lustreless, and reduced almost to the state of their ill-kept cattle.
If Congressmen will be true to the Congress call in respect of khadi, they will carry out the instructions of the A. I. S. A. issued from time to time as to the part they can play in khadi planning. Only a few broad rules can be laid down here:
1. Every family with a plot of ground can grow cotton at least for family use. Cotton-growing is an easy process. In Bihar the cultivators were by law compelled to grow indigo on 3/20 of their cultivable land. This was in the interest of the foreign indigo planter. Why cannot we grow cotton voluntarily for the nation on a certain portion of our land? The reader will note that decentralization commences from the beginning of khadi processes. Today cotton crop is centralized and has to be sent to distant parts of India. Before the war it used to be sent principally to Britain and Japan. 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.
2. Every spinner would buy---if he has not his own---enough cotton for ginning, which he can easily do without the hand-ginning roller frame. He can gin his own portion with a board and an iron rolling-pin. Where this is considered impracticable, hand-ginned cotton should be bought and carded. 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 slivers made, the process of spinning commences. I strongly recommend the dhanush takli. I have used it frequently. My speed on it is almost the same as on the wheel. I draw a finer thread and the strength and the evenness of the yarn are greater on the dhanush takli than on the wheel. This may not, however, hold good for all. My emphasis on the dhanush takli is based on the fact that it is more easily made, is cheaper than and does not require frequent repairs like the wheel. Unless one knows how to make the two mals and to adjust them when they slip or to put the wheel right when it refuses to work, the wheel has often to lie idle. Moreover, if the millions take to spinning at once, as they well may have to, the dhanush takli, being the instrument most easily made and handled, is the only that can meet the demand. It is more easily made even than the simple takli. 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 !
3. 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. It is clear enough that the finer and better the yarn the greater will be its value.
Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place 4. KHADI
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. 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.
Gram Udyog Patrika, Vol. I, p.352
If Congressmen will put their hearts into the work, they will make improvements in the tools and make many discoveries. 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.
In this scheme of nationwide spinning as a sacrifice, I do not expect the average man or woman to give more than one hour daily to this work.
Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place 4. KHADI
The Pledge of Swadeshi スワデシの誓い
swadeshi; use of things belonging to one's own country
“With God as my witness, I solemnly declare that from today I shall confine
myself, for my personal requirements, to the use of cloth manufactured
in India from Indian cotton, silk or wool and I shall altogether abstain
from using foreign cloth, and I shall destroy all foreign cloth in my possession.”
For a proper observance of the pledge, it is really necessary to use only hand-woven cloth made out of hand-spun yarn. Imported yarn, even though spun out of Indian cotton and woven in India, is not swadeshi cloth. We shall reach perfection only when our cotton is spun in India on indigenous spinning-wheels and yarn so spun is woven on similarly made handlooms. But requirements of the foregoing pledge are met, if we all only use cloth woven by means of imported machinery from yarn spun from Indian cotton by means of similar machinery.
I may add that covenanters to the restricted swadeshi referred to here will not rest satisfied with swadeshi clothing only. They will extend the vow to all other things as far as possible.
I am told that there are in India English-owned mills which do not admit Indian share-holders. If this information be true, I would consider cloth manufactured in such mills to be foreign cloth. Moreover, such cloth bears the taint of ill will. However well made such cloth may be, it should be avoided. The majority do not give thought to such matters. All cannot be expected to consider whether their actions promote or retard the welfare of their country, but it behoves those, who are learned, those who are thoughtful, whose intellects are trained or who are desirous of serving their country, to test every action of theirs, whether public or private, in the manner aforesaid, and when ideals which appear to be of national importance and which have been tested by practical experience should be placed before the people as has been said in the Divine Song, “the multitude will copy the actions of the enlightened”. Even thoughtful men and women have not hitherto generally carried on the above-mentioned self-examination. The nation has therefore suffered by reason of this neglect. In my opinion, such self-examination is only possible where there is religious perception.
Thousands of men believe that by using cloth woven in Indian mills, they comply with the requirements of the swadeshi vow. The fact is that most fine cloth is made of foreign cotton spun outside. Therefore the only satisfaction to be derived from the use of such cloth is that it is woven in India. Even on handlooms for very fine cloth only foreign yarn is used. The use of such cloth does not amount to an observance of swadeshi. To say so is simple self-deception.
Satyagraha, i.e., insistence on truth is necessary even in swadeshi. When men will say, “we shall confine ourselves to pure swadeshi cloth, even though we may have to remain satisfied with a mere loin cloth”, and when women will resolutely say, “we shall observe pure swadeshi even though we may have to restrict ourselves to clothing just enough to satisfy the sense of modesty”, then shall we be successful in the observance of the great swadeshi vow.
If a few thousand men and women were to take the swadeshi vow in this spirit, others will try to imitate them so far as possible. They will then begin to examine their wardrobes in the light of swadeshi. Those who are not attached to pleasures and personal adornment, I venture to say, can give a great impetus to swadeshi.
Generally speaking, there are very few villages in India without weavers. From time immemorial, we have had village farmers and village weavers, as we have village carpenters, shoemakers, blacksmiths, etc., but our farmers have become poverty-stricken and our weavers have patronage only from the poor classes. By supplying them with Indian cloth spun in India, we can obtain the cloth we may need. For the time being it may be coarse, but by constant endeavours, we can get our weavers to weave out of fine yarn and so doing we shall raise our weavers to a better status, and if we would go a step still further, we can easily cross the sea of difficulties lying in our path. We can easily teach our women and our children to spin and weave cotton, and what can be purer than cloth woven in our own home?
I tell it from my experience that acting in this way we shall be saved from many a hardship, we shall be ridding ourselves of many an unnecessary need, and our life will be one song of joy and beauty. I always hear divine voices telling me in my ears that such life was a matter of fact once in India, but even if such an India be the idle dream of the poet, it does not matter. Is it not necessary to create such an India now, does not our purushartha lie therein ?
I have been travelling throughout India. I cannot bear the heart-rending cry of the poor. The young and old all tell me, "We cannot get cheap cloth, we have not the means wherewith to purchase dear cloth. Everything is dear---provisions,
cloth and all. What are we to do?" And they heave a sigh of despair. It is my duty to give these men a satisfactory reply. It is the duty of every servant of the country but I am unable to give a satisfactory reply.
It should be intolerable for all thinking Indians that our raw materials should be exported to Europe and that we have to pay heavy prices therefor. The first and the last remedy for this is swadeshi. We are not bound to sell our cotton to anybody and when Hindustan rings with the echoes of swadeshi, no producer of cotton will sell it for its being manufactured in foreign countries. When swadeshi pervades the country, everyone will be set a-thinking why cotton should not be refined and spun and woven in the place where it is produced, and when the swadeshi mantra resounds in every ear, millions of men will have in their hands the key to the economic salvation of India. Training for this does not require hundreds of years. When the religious sense is awakened, people’s thoughts undergo a revolution in a single moment. Only selfless sacrifice is the sine qua non.
The spirit of sacrifice pervades the Indian atmosphere at the present moment. If we fail to preach swadeshi at this supreme moment, we shall have to wring our hands in despair. I beseech every Hindu, Mussulman, Sikh, Parsi, Christian and Jew, who believes that he belongs to this country, to take the swadeshi vow and to ask others also to do likewise. It is my humble belief that if we cannot do even this little for our country, we are born in it in vain. Those who think deep will see that such swadeshi contains pure economics. I hope that every man and woman will give serious thought to my humble suggestion. Imitation of English economics will spell our ruin.
The Bombay Chronicle, 18-4-1919; also New India, 22-4-1919
The Key to Success スワデシの成否
India cannot be free so long as India voluntarily encourages or tolerates the economic drain which has been going on for the past century and a half. Boycott of foreign goods means no more and no less than boycott of foreign cloth. Foreign cloth constitutes the largest drain voluntarily permitted by us. It means sixty crores of rupees annually paid by us for piece-goods. If India could make a successful effort to stop that drain, she can gain swaraj by that one act.
Young India, 19-1-1921
It has often been urged that India cannot adopt swadeshi in the economic life at any rate. Those who advance this objection do not look upon swadeshi as a rule of life. With them, it is a mere patriotic effort not to be made if it involved any self-denial. Swadeshi, as defined here, is a religious discipline to be undergone in utter disregard of the physical discomfort it may cause to individuals. Under its spell, the deprivation of pin or a needle, because these are not manufactured in India need cause no terror. A swadeshi will learn to do without hundreds of things which today he considers necessary.
I would urge that Swadeshi is the only doctrine consistent with the law of humility and love.
The Hindu, 28-2-1916
We must be prepared to be satisfied with such cloth as India can produce, even as we are thankfully content with such children as God gives us. I have not known a mother throwing away her baby even though it may appear ugly to an outsider. So should it be with the patriotic women of India about Indian manufactures. And for you, only hand-spun and hand-woven can be regarded as Indian manufactures.
During the transition stage you can only get coarse khadi in abundance. You may add all the art to it that your taste allows or requires. And if you will be satisfied with coarse khadi for a few months, India need not despair of seeing a revival of the fine rich and coloured garments of old which were once the envy and the despair of the world. I assure you that a six months' course of self-denial will show you that what we today regard as artistic is only falsely so, and that true art takes note not merely of form but also of what lies behind. There is an art that kills and an art that gives life. The fine fabric that we have imported from the West or the Far East has literally killed millions of our brothers and sisters, and delivered thousands of our dear sisters to a life of shame. True art must be evidence of happiness, contentment and purity of its authors. And if you will have such art revived in our midst, the use of khadi is obligatory on the best of you at the present moment.
Young India, 11-8-1921
Let no one suppose that the practice of swadeshi through khadi would harm the foreign mill-owners. A thief who is weaned from his vice or is made to return the property that he has stolen is not harmed thereby, on the contrary he is the gainer consciously in the one case, unconsciously in the other. The elimination of the ‘wages of sin’ is never a loss either to the individual concerned or to society.
Young India, 18-6-1931
Chapter 6 Toward Swaraj (self-rule, independence) スワラージへ向けて
The Foundation of All India Village Industries Association 全インド村落手工業協会の設立
During my extensive Harijan tour last year it was clearly borne in upon me that the way in which we were carrying on our khadi work was hardly enough either to universalize khadi or to rejuvenate the villages. I saw that it was confined to a very few and that even those who used khadi exclusively were under the impression that they need do nothing else and that they might use other things irrespective of how and where they were made.
Khadi was thus becoming a lifeless symbol, and I saw that, if the state of things was allowed to go on, khadi might even die of sheer inanition. It is not that a concentrated, intensive effort devoted exclusively to khadi would not be conducive to success, but there was neither that concentration nor intensity. All did not give all their spare time to the charkha or the takli, and all had not taken to the exclusive use of khadi---though their number was larger than that of the spinners. But the rest were all idle. There were multitudes of men with quantities of enforced leisure on their hands. That I saw was a state which could lead only to our undoing.
"These people" I said to myself, "could never win swaraj. For, their involuntary and voluntary idleness made them a perpetual prey of exploiters, foreign and indigenous. Whether the exploiter was from outside or from the Indian cities, their state would be the same, they would have no swaraj., So I said to myself,"Let these people be asked to do something else; if they will not interest themselves in khadi, let them take up some work which used to be done by their ancestors but which has of late died out.
There were numerous things of daily use which they used to produce themselves not many years ago, but for which they now depend on the outer world. There were numerous things of daily use to the town-dweller for which he depended on the villagers but which he now imports from cities. The moment the villagers decided to devote all their spare time to doing something useful and the town-dwellers to use those village products, the snapped link between the villagers and the town-dwellers would be restored. As to which of the extinct or moribund village industries and crafts could be revived, we could not be sure until we sat down in the midst of the villages to investigate, to tabulate and classify.
But I picked up two things of the most vital importance: articles of diet and articles of dress. Khadi was there. In the matter of articles of diet, we were fast losing our self-sufficiency.
Only a few years ago, we pounded our own paddy and ground our own flour. Put aside for the time being the question of health. It is an indisputable fact that the flour-mill and the rice-mill have driven millions of women out of employment and deprived them of the means of eking out their income. Sugar is fast taking the place of jaggery, and ready-made articles of diet like biscuits and sweetmeats are freely being imported into our villages.
This means that all the village industries are gradually slipping out of the hands of the villager, who has become producer of raw materials for the exploiter. He continually gives, and gets little in return. Even the little he gets for the raw material he produces he gives back to the sugar merchant and the cloth merchant. His mind and body have become very much like those of the animals, his constant companions.
When we come to think of it, we find that the villager of today is not even half so intelligent or resourceful as the villager of fifty years ago. For, whereas the former is reduced to a state of miserable dependence and idleness, the latter used his mind and body for all he needed and produced them at home. Even the village artisan today partakes of the resourcelessness that has overtaken the rest of the village. Go to the village carpenter and ask him to make a spinning-wheel for you go to the village smith and ask him to make a spindle for you, you will be disappointed. This is a deplorable state of things. It is as a remedy for it that the Village Industries Association has been conceived.
This cry of ‘back to the village” some critics say, is putting back the hands of the clock of progress. But is it really so? Is it going back to the village, or rendering back to it what belongs to it? I am not asking the city-dwellers to go to and live in the villages. But I am asking them to render unto the villagers what is due to them. Is there any single raw material that the city-dwellers can obtain except from the villager? If they cannot, why not teach him to work on it himself, as he used to before and as he would do now but for our exploiting inroads?
Am I turning back the course of modern civilization when I ask the villagers not merely to grow raw produce, but to turn it into marketable products and thereby add a few more pies to their daily income?
Each person can examine all the articles of food, clothing and other things that he uses from day to day and replace foreign makes or city makes by those produced by the villagers in their homes or fields with the simple inexpensive tools they can easily handle and mend. This replacement will be itself an education of great value and a solid beginning.
Khadi as the Main Village Industry 村の主要産業としてのカディー
khadi is the central sun round which the other village industries revolve like so many planets. They have no independent existence. Nor will khadi exist without the other industries. They are absolutely inter-dependent. The fact is that we have to make a choice between India of the villages that are as ancient as herself and India of the cities which are a creation of foreign domination. Today the cities dominate and drain the villages so that they are crumbling to ruin. My khadi mentality tells me that cities must subserve village when that domination goes.
Exploiting of villages is itself organized violence. If we want swaraj to be built on non-violence, we will have to give the villages their proper place. This we will never do unless we revive village industries by using the products thereof in place of things produced in city factories, foreign or indigenous.
Perhaps it is now clear why I identify khadi with non-violence. Khadi is the chief village handicraft. Kill khadi and you must kill the villages and with them non-violence. I cannot prove this by statistics. The proof is before our eyes.
SEGAON, January 14, 1940
Industry Harmless to the Health 国民の健康を損なわない産業
But if the cloth manufactured in mills displaces village hands, rice mills
and flour mills not only displace thousands of poor women workers, but
damage the health of the whole population in the bargain. Where people
have no objection to taking flesh diet and can afford it, white flour and
polished rice may do no harm, but in India, where millions can get no flesh
diet even where they have no objection to eating it, it they can get it,
it is sinful to deprive them of nutritious and vital elements contained
in whole-wheat meal and unpolished rice. It is time medical men and others
combined to instruct the people on the danger attendant upon the use of
white flour and polished rice.
No mechanized industry is allowed to interfere with the health of the people.
Some workers maintain that gur does not pay the cost of production. The growers who need money against their crops cannot afford to wait till they have turned cane-juice into gur and disposed of it. Though I have testimony to the contrary, too, this argument is not without force.
I have no ready-made answer for it. There must be something radically wrong when an article of use, made in the place where also its raw material is grown, does not pay the cost of labour. This is a subject that demands local investigation in each case.
Workers must not take the answer of villagers and despair of a remedy. National growth, identification of cities with villages, depend upon the solution of such knotty problems as are presented by gur. We must make up our mind that gur must not disappear from the villages, even if it means an additional price to be paid for it by city people.
Co-operative Farming 共同農業の提案
Our villagers depend on agriculture and cattle for ploughing. I am rather ignorant in this respect for I have no personal experience. But there is not a single village where we have no agriculture or cattle. There is the buffalo, but except in Konkan and a few other places it is not much used for agriculture. Even then it is not as if we have boycotted the buffalo. Our worker will have to keep a careful eye on the cattle wealth of his village. If we cannot use this wealth properly India is doomed to disaster and we also shall perish. For these animals will then, as in the West, become an economic burden to us and we shall have no option before us save killing them.
In regard to agriculture, we must do our utmost to prevent further fragmentation of land, and to encourage people to take to co-operative farming.
Khadi: Why and How, p. 162
My notion of co-operation was that the land would be held in co-operation by the owners and tilled and cultivated also in co-operation. This would cause a saving of labour, capital, tools, etc. The owners would work in co-operation and own capital, tools, animals and seeds etc., in co-operation. Co-operative farming of his conception would change the face of the land and banish poverty and idleness from their midst. All this was only possible if people became friends of one another and as one family. When that happy event took place, there would be no ugly sore in the form of communal problem.
Preparations Required of the Staffs 協会スタッフの心構え
Next to land is the question of water, not for agriculture but for drinking.
The worker will go and examine all the wells in the village. It will be his duty to clean them both inside and around. He will see how many wells of the village are fit for drinking water, whether the surroundings are clean, and whether there are any public urinals and latrines near them. If they are near the wells, he will explain to the people the dangers involved in having them so near. He will seek their co-operation in having them removed to a distance.
He will thus attend to the cleanliness of the entire village. Now we know about a worker's field of activity. He should have a thorough knowledge of village sanitation and efficient compost-making. He should convert this knowledge into practice. Of course there will be division of work but it should not be like that of the railway porter showing the green signal or like the woman-worker making soles in a leather factory. Such people are incapable of doing any other work save their own. This extreme division of work is degrading.
The village worker should acquire all-round knowledge about building up the whole village. There will be some sewing work in the village, smithy, carpentry,
leather work, agriculture, etc. The village worker should seek to bring about co-operation among the workers in these various occupations so as to make them serve as harmonious parts of one whole and thus organize the villages. All these activities appear to be too numerous but in fact they are not. This should not be too difficult for a worker resolved to employ his body and mind fully.
Khadi: Why and How, pp. 162-163
He should know about the economic, social and political condition of the country and also something about the condition of the world. This is rather difficult, it is true, but essential. Unless he knows what is happening in other countries, their political set-up, etc., how can he understand the relative conditions in India and where we are bound for? He must have especially detailed knowledge of the conditions prevailing in and about his place of work.
So much in regard to his general preparation which is only a preliminary part of his equipment. In regard to khadi, he should not only have thorough knowledge of the charkha, but he must also be well acquainted with the takli. Spinning alone will not do. He must know the entire science of khadi, i.e., evaluating the count, carding, identifying the variety of cotton, the kind of cotton required for a specific type of carding, spinning, etc. He must be in touch with the history of improvements in technique, viz., how carding reached its present stage, the various improvements effected in the charkha. He must also be able to repair and put the charkha in order. It means that the worker must know the elements of carpentry as well, for if he is not able to set right the damaged charkhas of the villagers, spinning will stop in the village and the cause will suffer.
Khadi: Why and How, p. 161
Faith in Non-Violence アヒンサーの精神
Self-sufficiency is a big word. Villages will be swept away, if they are not self-sufficient as to their primary wants and self-reliant as to their protection against internal disruption by dissensions and disease and external danger from thieves and dacoits.
Self-sufficience, therefore, means all the cotton processes and growing of seasonal food crops and fodder for cattle. Unless this is done there will be
And self-reliance means corporate organization ensuring adjustment of internal differences through arbitration by the wise men of villages and cleanliness by corporate attention to sanitation and common diseases.
No mere individual effort is going to suffice. And above all villagers must be taught to feel their own strength by combined effort to make their villages proof against thieves and dacoits. This is best done by corporate non-violence. But if the way to non-violence does not seem clear to workers, they will not hesitate to organize corporate defence through violence.
If the worker going to the village has no faith in non-violence, our work must fail. If he concerns himself with economics alone and disregards ethics and morality, all our efforts are of no avail. Non-violence is the basis on which our work is to be built. It will not do to ignore it. In the initial stages people might achieve something even without it but ultimately the edifice of swaraj will not be raised without the foundation of ahimsa. Workers must demonstrate non-violence in everything they do. They must be living embodiments of non-violence. If they cannot do this, their work will be but a showy nothing.
Khadi: Why and How, p. 163
I suggest that, if India is to evolve along non-violent lines, it will have to decentralize many things. Centralization cannot be sustained and defended without adequate force. Simple homes from which there is nothing to take away require no policing; the palaces of the rich must have strong guards to protect them against dacoity. So must huge factories. Rurally organized India will run less risk of foreign invasion than urbanized India, well equipped with military, naval and air forces.
SEGAON, December 25, 1939
Harijan, 30-12- 1939
I believe that if India, and through India the world, is to achieve real freedom, then sooner or later we shall have to go and live in the villages---in huts, not in palaces. Millions of people can never live in cities and palaces in comfort and peace. Nor can they do so by killing one another, that is, by resorting to violence and untruth.
I have not the slightest doubt that, but for the pair, truth and non-violence, mankind will be doomed. We can have the vision of that truth and non-violence only in the simplicity of the villages. That simplicity resides in the spinning-wheel and what is implied by the spinning-wheel. It does not frighten me at all that the world seems to be going in the opposite direction. For the matter of that, when the moth approaches its doom it whirls round faster and faster till it is burnt up. It is possible that India will not be able to escape this moth-like circling. It is my duty to try, till my last breath, to save India and through it the world from such a fate.
LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU October 5, 1945
From the Hindi original: Gandhi-Nehru Papers. Courtesy: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Do I still adhere to my faith in truth and non-violence? Has not the atom bomb exploded that faith? Not only has it not done so but it has clearly demonstrated to me that the twins constitute the mightiest force in the world. Before it the bomb is of no effect. The two opposing forces are wholly different in kind, the one moral and spiritual, the other physical and material. The one is infinitely superior to the other which by its very nature has an end. The force of the spirit is ever progressive and endless. Its full expression makes it unconquerable in the world. In saying this, I know that I have said nothing new. I merely bear witness to the fact. What is more, that force resides in everybody, man, woman and child, irrespective of the colour of the skin. Only in many it lies dormant, but it is capable of being awakened by judicious training.
I stand by what is implied in the phrase ‘Unto This Last’. That book marked the turning point in my life. We must do even unto this last as we would have the world do by us. All must have equal opportunity. Given the opportunity every human being has the same possibility for spiritual growth.
Chapter 7 The New Khadi Epoch 新しい計画
Mistakes Made 運動の誤算 第１日目の演説
SPEECH AT A. I. S. A. MEETING-I SEVAGRAM, September 1, 1944
I have thought a great deal over the subject of khadi during my detention. I shall briefly state the conclusions I have arrived at.
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. Though some of its activities continued, I saw clearly that the Government could exterminate it at its pleasure. That is to say, my belief that the movement for the revival of the spinning-wheel was indestructible, whatever the circumstances, had been dashed to the ground. The work had not been organized on an imperishable basis.
I realized in jail that there was something wrong in our method of khadi work, which must needs be amended. I had asked India to carry on spinning. I knew how this spinning work was to be carried on. But I did not lay the necessary stress on the requisite outlook and the spirit which was to underlie it. I looked at it from its immediate practical aspect. All my co-workers also laid stress on this practical side. So I suffered it, and also lent my helping hand to it. We have gone far in that direction. But today I cannot continue to ask people to spin in that manner.
I contemplated how to work in the future. I saw that our work would be incomplete, so long as we did not carry the message of the charkha to every home. That, I thought, accounted for our being far from our ideal. There are seven lakh villages in India. Thousands of them do not even know what the charkha is. This is our fault and it is because of this fault that we have failed to put khadi work on a sound basis. You must ponder over it.
All the thought and study I have been giving to this subject lately make me feel that the work would have to be decentralized if it is to spread far and wide and take permanent root.
It is often alleged that workers of the A.I.S.A. and the A.I.V.I.A., if not Gandhiites in general, are unintelligent and lifeless. People repose trust in them. But they (the Gandhiites) are not able to tell the people what exactly are the problems facing the country and how our programme is calculated to resolve these problems and take us to our goal. On the other hand, Marxian literature is fast increasing in the country and Gandhiites are not able to resist the impact of these external forces.
We say that we are devoted to non-violence. If so, we must reveal in our lives the force of non-violence. Every member of the Charkha Sangh should be a living witness of non-violence. If he is a devotee of non-violence or Gandhism, he must be a live wire.
Today Gandhism is a word of reproach. It no more connotes something virtuous or praiseworthy. Let us admit we have failed to make non-violence a part of our being. Otherwise we would find the charkha established in every village. I confess that I have failed. Had I been an adept in this art, I would have produced a concrete pattern of reconstructed village life in Sevagram at any rate. But today even if I put the charkha in the hands of the people of Sevagram they do not accept it. We teach them how to use it, tempt them by providing them with work, pay them more wages and serve them in various ways, yet all to little purpose.
It is not due to want of sacrifice in us. Amongst us are men and women who have sacrificed much. My head bends low before them. When I think of each of them my heart is deeply moved. My conscience tells me that a country which abounds in persons instilled with such a spirit of sacrifice can never fail. Yet in spite of this sacrifice, we have not yet made our country free. Freedom is coming, perhaps sooner than we believe. But it does not satisfy me. I do not hold anybody guilty. I am only pointing to the situation as it is. We should not feel satisfied with what we have done. We have tried our best, no doubt. But had we been able to develop the work of the Sangh according to the standard we had set before ourselves, there will not be the despair amongst us which we see today. In that case we would have accomplished forthwith a non-violent swaraj.
I lay before you a hard prescription. If you are prepared for it, well and good. But it should not be accepted in ignorance, nor out of foolhardiness. You should examine it thoroughly. If you agree with me you would wind up the A.I.S.A. and distribute all its property and assets among its workers for carrying on the work. The Sangh need not keep even a pice for future activities. All of us should be convinced that the charkha is the symbol of non-violent economic self-sufficiency. If we and the people grasp this significance of the charkha not a pice need be spent on propaganda for the charkha. There would then be no reason to fear Government ordinances either. Nor need we look to the rich for alms. We shall without effort become the centre of hope, and the people will come to us of their own accord. They will not go elsewhere to seek work. Every village will become the nerve-centre of independent India. India will then not be known by her cities like Bombay and Calcutta, but by her 400 millions inhabiting the seven lakhs of villages. The problems of Hindu-Muslim differences, untouchability, conflicts, misunderstan-dings and rivalries will all melt away. This is the real function of the Sangh. We have to live and die for it.
You will argue it is a very big task requiring much intelligence. I tell you that this cannot be acquired by mere study in libraries. We have to develop it by the labour of our hands. This is the idea underlying the Nayee Talim according to which the intellect is developed by the effort put forth by the hands and feet. In the same manner the pursuit of the charkha must become the mainspring of manifold other activities like village industries, Nayee Talim, etc. If we are able to adopt the charkha intelligently we can revive the entire economic life of our villages once more.
We must carry on untiring research on the charkha. No doubt we have put in a lot of effort for the charkha and made some improvements in it. We have also manufactured scores of charkhas but now we have to produce an expert, a shastri who is well-versed in the manufacture of machines. We should like him to devise such charkhas as can yield more and better quality of yarn. We should have undying faith in the charkha. When faith materializes it manifests itself through reason. It is not self-luminous. For when faith transcends its bounds and finds another medium to express itself it shines forth all the more. Faith is never lost; in fact it grows and sharpens the intellect. It is no use merely making speeches or giving lectures; we must make scientific experiments and declare from the house-tops the results of our experiments.
Necessity of Changes 方向転換 ２日目の演説
SPEECH AT A.I.S.A. MEETING-II SEVAGRAM, September 2, 1944
Yesterday, I was a little hasty while talking to you. Some work was indeed done but later I kept thinking over it. I had undertaken the stupendous task of preparing a draft for you. I even entered silence for the purpose. After much reflection last night and this morning I have prepared a draft which I shall now read out for your consideration.
1. The village is the centre for the charkha, and the Charkha Sangh can realize its highest ambitions only when its work is decentralized in the villages. Keeping this in view, this meeting of the A. I. S. A. resolves that the following changes be implemented in its present methods of work:
(a) The largest number of workers whose one passion is the charkha and whom the A. I. S. A. approves should go to the villages.
(b) The present sales-depots and production-centres should be curtailed.
(c) Training institutions should be developed and teaching courses enlarged.
(d) The Sangh should permit any province or district which wants to be independent and self-sufficient to become so.
2. A Standing Committee composed of the members of the A.I.S.A., A.I.V.I.A. and the Hindustani Talimi Sangh should be formed in order to issue necessary directions in the light of the new ideology. The three institutions must realize that their task is to achieve perfect non-violence.
I have no doubt at all that we have failed to realize the significance of the charkha only because of the inadequate manner in which we have done our khadi work.
It cannot be denied that believers in big industry and industrialization are also the friends of India. But the difference between them and me is like that between the two poles. City dwellers might well follow those who advocate mill production. But if you of the countryside were, even by mistake or oversight, to take to it, the picture of India would be thoroughly changed. Her face would then be altered beyond recognition. Thereby hundreds of millions of our poor people will meet their end while only a few millions will survive. I do aspire to live for 125 years. But I cannot bear the sight of a crore of people living after reducing to ashes 39 crores.
What I have tried to do is to serve the most oppressed and the handicapped, and to keep pace with them. It has been our endeavour to do this work through khadi during these years. Not many years ago we began. If you feel that no changes are desirable, well and good, but I will not accept defeat. You should come to a decision after weighing all the pros and cons. Who knows when it will be possible for so many of us to meet again? I have laid my heart open before you.
If you believe that the charkha is the supreme symbol of our objective and that we have not been able to achieve our objective by the present methods then our mode of working must needs be changed.
I do not mean to say that all we did so far was absolutely wrong. Whatever we did, we did with devotion to truth. And that is no small matter. Even with our limited funds, we were able to distribute among our village brethren more than four and a half crores of rupees up to date. The amount we spent in organizing this work was in comparison little. Yet from the standpoint of our objective, the work is not up to the standard.
We must not allow ourselves to be weighed down by the commercial aspect of our work. Jawaharlal has sent me a book describing the achievements of the co-operative movement in China. That movement, it seems to me, is nothing compared with what we are doing here. But judged by our own objective we have done little, very little. We have not yet reached the seven hundred thousand villages. We have done only one per cent of what the mills have done. Then what is there to be proud of? That is why I say that if we are not prepared to change our methods we shall be reduced to a mere philanthropic institution. I shall not be ashamed of it. If, on the other hand, we want to uphold our claim for khadi we shall have to live up to it. We should not deceive the public. We must think out ways and means of increasing our strength. If in seeking to change our mode of work you agree that it would be well to close the A.I.S.A. in its present form, rest assured that it would add to your strength.
Charkha Sanghka Navasamskaran, pp. 9-14
Turning Point for the Future 未来への分かれ道 ３日目の演説
SPEECH AT A. I. S. A. MEETING III SEVAGRAM, September 3, 1944
Our work had a very humble beginning. When I started khadi I had with me, apart from Maganlalbhai and others who had elected to live and die with me, Vithaldasbhai and a few sisters. We have travelled a long way since then and today about two crores of people have come under the influence of the charkha. So far, we have maintained that the charkha has the power to bring us freedom. With its help we have been able to provide the village people with a large amount of money. But can we still hold, as we have always maintained, that swaraj is impossible without the charkha? So long as we do not substantiate this claim the charkha is really no more than a measure of relief, to which we turn because we can do nothing else about it. It would not then be the means of our salvation.
Secondly, we have failed to carry our message to the crores of our people. They have neither any knowledge of what the charkha can do for them nor even the necessary curiosity for it.
The Congress did accept the charkha. But did it do so willingly? No, it tolerates the charkha simply for my sake. The Socialists ridicule it outright. They have spoken and written much against it. We have no clear or convincing reply to offer to them. How I wish I could convince them that the charkha is the key to swaraj! I have not been able to justify the claim all these years.
Now for my third point: non-violence is not something of the other world. If it is, I have no use for it. I am of the earth and if non-violence is something really worth while I want to realize it here on this earth while I am still alive. The non-violence I want is one which the masses can follow in practice. And how else can it be realized except in a society which has compassion and other similar virtues as its characteristics?
If you go to the house of one who has use for violence you will find his drawing-room decorated with tigers’ skins, deers’ horns, swords, guns and such like. I have been to the Viceregal Lodge, I also saw Mussolini. In the houses of both I found arms hanging on the walls. I was given a salute with arms, a symbol of violence.
Just as arms symbolize violence the charkha symbolizes non-violence, in the sense that we can most directly realize non-violence through it. But it cannot symbolize non-violence so long as we do not work in accordance with its spirit. The sword in Mussolini’s hall seemed to say ‘Touch me and I will cut you.’ It gave a vivid picture of violence. It seemed to ask you to touch it and realize its power. So also we must illustrate the power of the charkha so that a mere look at it may speak to us about non-violence. .But we are bankrupt today. What is our answer to the Socialists? They complain that we have been harping on the charkha for years and yet we have achieved nothing.
The charkha was there during Muslim rule also. Dacca was famous for its muslin. The charkha then was a symbol of poverty and not of non-violence. The kings took forced labour from women and depressed classes. The same was later repeated by the East India Company. Kautilya mentions in his Arthashastra the existence of such forced labour. For ages the charkha was thus a symbol of violence and the use of force and compulsion. The spinner got but a handful of grain or two small coins, while ladies of the court went about luxuriously clad in the finest of muslins, the product of exploited labour.
As against this, I have presented the charkha to you as a symbol of non-violence. If I did not make it clear to you so far, it was my mistake. You know I am among the maimed and can move but slowly. Yet I do believe that the work done so far has not been a waste.
I shall now pass to my fourth point. We have not yet proved that there can be no swaraj without the charkha. It cannot be proved so long as you do not explain it to Congressmen. The charkha and the Congress should become synonyms.
The task of proving the superiority of non-violence is a difficult one. We have to fathom its depths if we are to realize its truth. I have always supported all that I have said so far. The world is going to put me to the test. It may declare me a fool for my tall talk about the charkha. The task of making the charkha, which for centuries had been a symbol of poverty, helplessness, injustice and forced labour, the symbol now of mighty non-violent strength, of the new social order and of the new economy, has fallen on our shoulders. We have to change history. And I want to do it through you.
I hope you follow what I am saying. But if in spite of it you do not believe that the charkha has the power to achieve swaraj, I will ask you to leave me. Here you are at the crossroads. If you continue with me without faith you will be deceiving me and doing a great wrong to the country. I beg of you not to deceive me in the evening of my life.
It is I who am responsible for defects in our working so far. The fault is mine because I have remained the head even when I was conscious of its defects. But let bygones be bygones. Do we honestly believe today that the charkha is the emblem of non-violence? How many of us are there who believe so from the depths of our heart?
Now we have the tricolour flag. What is it but a piece of khadi of specific length and breadth? You can well have another piece in its place. But behind that khadi cloth lie encased your feelings. It is a symbol of swaraj, a symbol of national emancipation. We cannot forget it. We will not remove it. We are prepared to die for it. So also the charkha should be an emblem of non-violence.
What does the charkha, as an emblem of non-violence, signify in the economic sphere? Call it self-sufficiency or what you like. In the name of national reconstruction and self-sufficiency millions are being bled white in Western countries, as also in other countries for their sake. Ours is not a self-sufficiency of that pattern. The charkha is the way to get rid of exploitation and domination. I am not so much concerned with words as with the thing itself. Still, words have a miraculous power. They embody the feelings, which then acquire a definite shape with the aid of language.
We are familiar with the controversy in our religion as to whether God has a form or no. The believers in form prefer to worship God through an emblem. So if non-violence is to be pursued as an ideal, the charkha must be acknowledged as its true form and emblem, and kept ever before view. Whenever I think of non-violence the picture of the charkha comes before me.
We cannot visualize non-violence in the abstract. So we choose an object which can symbolize for us the formless. That is what the charkha does for me and that is why I worship it. Unless you understand and imbibe this spirit behind my worship of the charkha you will not gain an understanding of non-violence even for a hundred years. That capacity for non-violence which I find in the charkha can also be perceived by you only if you approach it with a heart like mine.
That is why I say: Follow me or leave me. If you want to come with me, I will give you a scheme and do everything possible. If you have not understood what I mean I am prepared to sit and discuss it with you the whole day. But if you say that you have grasped my meaning when you really have not, you will be deceiving both yourselves and me.
Ours is not an association for making profit. We do not seek loaves and fishes. There are a thousand fields in which we can serve the country. Why then remain in charkha work and sail under false colours? Please do not therefore remain with me under an illusion. Let me go my way alone. But if it were found that I was myself suffering from an illusion and that my belief in the charkha was mere idol-worship, either you may burn me to ashes with the wood of the charkha, or I myself would set fire to the charkha with my own hands.
If the Charkha Sangh has to go, let us wind it up with our own hands. That will put an end to all our struggle like the sun clearing the mist. Then the charkha which has for the moment put us into a labyrinth of difficulties will be left in the hands of a few who believe in it, and may in their hands prove to be a mighty weapon. If you regard it as sheer folly I certainly have no ambition to run an idiots’association and thus degrade the country. On the other hand, if you can demonstrate non-violence through the charkha, it will not merely move but sweep forward. You will not then have to worry about keeping it alive.
I repeat that you either leave me alone or digest what I say and follow me. I have brought this new idea to you after two years of penitential thinking. I do not know if I have succeeded in conveying my idea to you. If I have been able to carry conviction please do one thing. Those of you who want to remain with me give me in writing that you regard the charkha from today as the emblem
of non-violence. You have to make your decision today. If you do not or cannot regard the charkha as the emblem of non-violence and yet remain with me, then you will thereby put yourself in an awkward plight and also drag me down with you.
Charkha Sanghka Navasamskaran, pp. 14-20本文