M K GANDHI- The Prophet of Neo-Traditonalism in the Modern World
MK Gandhi is the prophet of neo traditionalism of Indian variety in the modern world. He tried to articulate his position in the Indian context in an interview with N.K. Bose.
- The Salvation Army founded by him wants to teach people about God. But they come with Bread. For the poor bread is their God. Similarly we should bring food to the people through Khadi. When we have taught them what they can do through their own efforts, they will want to listen to us. That trust can be best generated through Khadi. (The aim of the Khadi is to build a new productive system based on the people's own efforts and under their own control. The aim is to reduce unemployment to the utmost extent rather the aim at doubling or trebling the quantity of Khadi produced for sale in distant markets. It should enable common people self acting in the end. The growth of initiative and self-confidence, through Khadi organization, will in its own time bear political consequences when the masses have gained so much in self development that they can see a wrong and are able to remedy it principally by their own non-violent effort, then their resistance becomes a natural and of the right type.
According to Mahatma Gandhi before civil disobedience can be plasticized on a vast scale, people must learn the art of Civil or voluntary obedience. Through Khadi we teach the people the art of civil obedience to an institution which they have built up for themselves only when they have learnt that art, can they successfully disobey something which they want to destroy in the non-violent way? I advise all workers not to fritter their fighting strength in many-sided battles, but to concentrate on peaceful Khadi work in order to educate the masses into a condition necessary for a successful practice of non-violent non co-operation.
Theoretically, in the Gandhian perspective, when there is perfect love there must be perfect non-possession. The body is our last possession. So a man can only exercise perfect love and be completely dispossessed if he is prepared to embrace death and renounces his body for the sake of human service.
Gandhi concedes that trusteeship is a legal fiction. Absolute trusteeship is an abstraction like Euclid's definition of a point, and is equally unattainable but if we strive for it, we shall be able to go farther in realizing a state of equality on earth then by any other method.
Once Gandhi said that it is his firm conviction that if the state suppressed capitalism by violence, if will be caught in the coils of violence itself and fail to develop non-violence at any rate. The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul but as the state is a soulless machine it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence. Hence he preferred the doctrine of trusteeship and appealed that every wasted interest must be subjected to scrutiny and confiscation ordered where necessary, with or without compensation as the case demanded.
Gandhi was very categorical that the violence of private ownership is less injurious than the violence of the state. While admitting that man actually lives by habit. He told that it is better for him to live by the exercise of will. I also believe that men are capable of developing their will to an extent that will reduce exploitation to a minimum.
He believed that every man is born in the world with certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain definite limitations which he cannot overcome. The law of Varna avoided all unworthy competition. On the one hand it guaranteed to each the fruits of his labours and on the other it prevented him from pressing upon his neighbors. In ideal social order will only be evolved when then implications of this law are fully understood and given effect to. This law determines the duties of man. Rights follow from a due performance of duties. Every expression of truth has in it the seeds of propagation, even as the sun cannot hide its light.