Gandhi had a different view of Swaraj. To him, self-rule meant not only the by Indians but also and more importantly, a rule by Indians but also and more importantly, a rule by Indians rooted in Indian Values, and ethos. Gandhi was not satisfied with Indian becoming free just by throwing the British out. This could be done by done by revolting against them, as the Americans did in 1776, and Indians too tried to repeat the American feat in 1857, even if unsuccessfully. Indians talking up arms to defend their birth right of liberty, equality and fraternity would have not been an illegitimate activity. But Gandhi changed the picture and made the struggle for independence form British rule but also form modern civilization.
Elaborating on the means to attain Swaraj he tells the reader. “I believe that you want him million of Indians to be happy, not that you want to he reins of government in your hands. If that be so, we have to consider only one thing: how can the million obtain self-true?”3 Self administration by force of arms, for violence breeds violence and eye for eyes leaves every one blind. There is other way, a peaceful way. That is to refuse to obey the unjust laws and be ready to go to jail; to be beaten, and even killed. No government can function if the people in mass refuse to obey its laws. “What we need to do is sacrifice ourselves. It is a cowardly thought, that of killing others. Dhingra was a patriot, but his love was blind”.
Those who want to throe the British out by violence would not bring Swaraj. “In effect it means this: that we want English rule without the Englishman. You want the Tigers nature, but not the tiger; that is to say would make India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englistan. This is not the Swaraj that I want”.
The model of Swaraj he presented before the people of India was Ram Raj (rule of Lord Ram) wherein people were sovereign; they were free from all sufferings. They followed certain ethical norms under which rights and duties were weaved together in to a common whole. Even the king was not spared of his obligation. He had to go in exile because the queen mother so watched; he had to live his wife because people had doubts about her chastity; his younger brother refuse to become king because it was the privilege of the elder brother; he did not cross river Ganga without paying the charges to the boatman; and he was so kind and generous that the tribal communities habiting the forest thought which he passed on his way to Lanka become his most ardent followers, He likened them to his brothers. Rama talked about duties, not of right. Following his steps, Gandhi considered rights and duties as two side of the same coin; none could exist without the order. He gave priority to duties if all individuals, communicates, and government authorities performed their duties well, the alone leads to neglect of duties, clashes of interests, and animosities among the people.
What Gandhi said then, came true in 1947. We forced the British out but the British system of governance and the British mentality continue to this day. There is hardly a difference between the pomp and show the British officer exhibited and the ones that our ministers and show the British officers exhibited and the ones that our ministers and officials display. Every one in India wanted to be treated as ‘Lot Comandal’ the common man’s version of lord commander. Unless one gets X, Y, Z category security, he is not important. There are VIPs, VVIPs, VVVIPs,
India is the largest democracy of the world. Its democratic structure is a mixture of British and American systems. What is Indian therein? It is the people who run it – the Civil Servants, the members of parliament, and State Legislatures, and the judiciary. Only names have changed. ICS become IAS, House of Commons become Lok Sabha, House of Lord Become Rajya Sabha, and The Lord Chancellor becomes the Chief justice of India. It is surprising indeed that the draft of the Indian Pinal Code was prepared under the chairmanship Lord Macaulay and enriched by the provisions in the French Penal Code and Livingstone’s code of Louisiana and puisne judges of the Calcutta Supreme Court, was enacted in 1860. Unfortunately Macaulay did not survive to see his masterpiece enacted into a law.
Gandhi is gone but not his thoughts. He continues to inspire the people who work for human dignity and freedom. Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Marti Luther King in the USA have become African and American Gandhi’s. Dalai Lama and MS. Suu Kyi are current disciples of the Mahatma. In a recent interview US President Barack Obama expressed his wish to have a talk with Gandhiji over a lunch when he was asked whom he would choose among the great of the past and the present.
Gandhi concluded Hind Swaraj with the following summary:
“Before I leave you, I will take Swaraj with 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 love force.
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 want to retaliate but but because it is our duty to do so……….
5. In my opinion, we have used the term “Swaraj” without understanding its real significance. I have endeavored to explain it as I understand it, and my conscience testifies that my life hence forth is dedicated it its attainment.
The time has come to change our priorities. The country is progressing fast economically, but people are receding back morally and ethically. Violence against nature has brought us to the door steps of global warming and climate Change and violence against ourselves and our fellow beings has produced international terrorism. No one appears to be safe. Let us change our priorities. Let us think afresh. We need an economy where nature and people matter; we need money but we need love affection, integration and solidarity more. Let us look back and think over what the Mahatma had said and done. We need real decentralization of power to empower the people. Let us create conditions under which everyone. Feels secure