Monday, October 31, 2011

Hind Swaraj and My Views

A few days ago, hamare pyare Kush Bhai ne mujhse kaha, “Lagta hai aap Gandhian philosophy follow karte hain.” And I was dumb stuck because I had never thought upon what kind of philosophy I follow. I just followed whatever I liked, imbibed all the logically put views and was happy enough. So, there was no need to follow any particular view or philosophy. And hence all I could reply to Kush was, “umm…..hmmmm……..I dunno……………mmmmmmm…………..ya I think so, maybe I like the views of Gandhiji.” And then I said that I had read Hind Swaraj a few days back I agree with most of the things said by Baapu in that book.
I must agree that, as a child, I also was not a very big fan of Gandhiji (I don’t know even today whether I am his fan or not). But at time my views were a manifestation of what I heard from my friends and discussed with them. As there is the solution of all Indian problems in blaming our forefathers and ancestors, so was the attitude of most of the people around me. Most of the people around me thought it was Gandhiji who was responsible for division, for death of Bhagat Singh, for getting freedom in 1947 instead of 1942 and even the present situation of the country and many more things. Some of these allegations on Gandhiji are certainly not true, some might be, I don’t know. But I know one thing for sure that I loved reading hind Swaraj and agreed with most of the views of Baapu written there. And I believe that following the path of home rule as laid down in the book would lead us to better sufficiency as compared to that obtained from excessive consumerism and IT slavery and free market economy.

Anyway, here is my take on the views of Baapu on some of the issues taken up in the book:

Home Rule is Self Rule

Baapu said that it’s not enough if British leave India and we adopt the British-style governing model. As he said,“We want English rule without the Englishman……And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englishtan.” Baapu talked of self sustained village models for obtaining home rule. It sounds idealistic but it is possible and it is how we lived for ages. Probably our problems indeed can be solved that way. At least there would be more peace and less fight for power and hence less corruption. There would be more people around whom we would trust.

Rejection of Western Civilization

Well, I don’t agree much with this point of view. I believe that there are a lot of things which we can learn from Westerners. Hard work, honesty, and individual freedom are to name a few. But if one looks at it deeply, these were the things which were the crux of our own civilization in the past. We actually have forgotten these in the present times and there lies all the problems of the country. What we need is to learn these values and virtues back. And thus, this point of Baapu can actually be renamed as “Learning our own vales once again.”

Railways, Lawyers and Police are taking us away from Swaraj

Baapu argued that railways, lawyers and police are used by the English to rule us better. He argued that easier communication has lead to spread of problems more than it has eased the lives of people. He believed that a human being should only have his or her reach till the point he can do it using his muscle power. She/he should not try to overcome the natural limitation put on us by nature.

I agree to this point greatly. Faster communication has led to faster migration of people towards cities. And I can say with my personal experience that large cities are nothing but a big pain, both mental and physical. These might give a lot of money with greater opportunities but it denies us the real pleasures of life bestowed on us by Mother Earth. I know how I long for open grounds and clean and fresh surroundings living in the national capital.

Apart from that, it is faster and easier communication which has lead to heavy tourism in the hills of Uttarakhand. Result: Polluted hills and unhappy local inhabitants on the deteriorating condition of their heaven!

As far as police and laws are concerned, we all know that some of the laws are simply ridiculous and are made only for political reasons. And it very simple to find loop holes in any law. This is what many people have done in the past to have monetary and other gains and this is what they will do. And with police, if there are no laws then there is no need of police to keep a check on whether people are following the law.

There can be many situations when you need to break the law to save a life (like you driving a patient to hospital and getting stuck in traffic). So how is the law the ultimate governing authority then? Actually what we need is the law of conscience. What we think is correct and just should be followed. But again, that can’t be achieved until we moved towards “Home Rule”.

My Conclusion

 I know there are many arguments on the views expressed in the book. Many books have been written and many would be written in future. But I wrote what I thought is correct. Call me a Gandhian or anything, this is what I think. Aur waise bhi, we are a democracy; I can always have my point of view on anything! :-)

Chalte-Chalte: Chhath ki shubhkaamnayen! We are going to need more of Solar Energy in future. Hope the Sun God keeps blessing us with His presence!