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Article:Swaraj
Diff:
(After Gandhi)
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{{About|the concept of Swaraj developed by [[Mohandas Gandhi]]|the general usage of the term|Self-governance|other uses|Swaraj (disambiguation)}}
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The word swaraj first has been seen in "Satyarth Prakash by Swami Dyanand Saaswati in 1886"
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Refrence Satyarth Prakash Chapter Number 8
[[Image:Mahadev Desai and Gandhi 2 1939.jpg|thumb|Mahatma Gandhi (right)]]
 
'''Swaraj''' can mean generally [[self-governance]] or "self-rule", and was used synonymously with "home-rule" by Gandhi<ref>''[[Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule]]'', Gandhi, 1909</ref> ([[Hindi language|Hindi]]: ''[http://www.shabdkosh.com/en2hi/search.php?ts=1250502226250&e=स्वयं swa-]'' "self", ''[[wikt:raj|raj]]'' "rule") but the word usually refers to [[Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi|Gandhi's]] concept for [[Indian independence movement|Indian independence]] from foreign domination.<ref>[http://www.swaraj.org/whatisswaraj.htm What is Swaraj?]. Retrieved on July 12, 2007.</ref> Swaraj lays stress on governance not by a hierarchical government, but self governance through individuals and [[community building]]. The focus is on political [[decentralization]].<ref>Parel, Anthony. ''Hind Swaraj and other writings of M. K. Gandhi''. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 1997.</ref> Since this is against the political and social systems followed by [[UK|Britain]], Gandhi's concept of Swaraj laid stress on India discarding British political, economic, bureaucratic, legal, military, and educational institutions.<ref>[http://www.swaraj.org/whatisswaraj.htm What is Swaraj?]. Retrieved on March 3, 2007.</ref>
 
 
Although Gandhi's aim of totally implementing the concepts of Swaraj in India was not achieved, the voluntary work organizations which he founded for this purpose did serve as precursors and role models for peoples movements, voluntary organisations and some of the non-governmental organisations that were subsequently launched in various parts of India.<ref name="What Swaraj meant to Gandhi">[http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/swaraj.htm What Swaraj meant to Gandhi]. Retrieved on September 17, 2008.</ref> The [[Bhoodan movement]] which presaged land reform legislation activity throughout India, ultimately leading to India discarding the [[Zamindari system]], was also inspired by the ideas of Swaraj.
 
 
==Key concepts==
 
{{wikisource|Hind Swaraj|Swaraj}}
 
Swaraj warrants a stateless society; according to Gandhi, the overall impact of the state on the people is harmful. He called the state a "soulless machine" which, ultimately, does the greatest harm to mankind.<ref>Jesudasan, Ignatius. ''A Gandhian theology of liberation''. Gujarat Sahitya Prakash: Ananda India, 1987, pp 236-237.</ref> The raison d'etre of the state is that it is an instrument of serving the people. But Gandhi feared that in the name of moulding the state into a suitable instrument of serving people, the state would abrogate the rights of the citizens and arrogate to itself the role of grand protector and demand abject acquiescence from them. This would create a paradoxical situation where the citizens would be alienated from the state and at the same time enslaved to it which according to Gandhi was demoralising and dangerous. If Gandhi's close acquaintance with the working of the state apparatus [[Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in South Africa|in South Africa]] and [[Indian independence movement|in India]] strengthened his suspicion of a centralized, monolithic state, his intimate association with the [[Indian National Congress|Congress]] and its leaders confirmed his fears about the corrupting influence of political power and his skepticism about the efficacy of the party systems of power politics (due to which he resigned from the Congress on more than one occasion only to be persuaded back each time) and his study of the British parliamentary systems convinced him that representative democracy was incapable of meting out justice to people.<ref>''Hind Swaraj''. M.K. Gandhi. Chapter V</ref> So he thought it necessary to evolve a mechanism to achieve the twin objectives of empowering the people and 'empowering' the state. It was for this that he developed the two pronged strategy of resistance (to the state) and reconstruction (through voluntary and participatory social action).
 
 
Although the word Swaraj means self-rule, Gandhi gave it the content of an integral revolution that encompasses all spheres of life. "At the individual level Swaraj is vitally connected with the capacity for dispassionate self-assessment, ceaseless self-purification and growing self-reliance".<ref>M. K. Gandhi, Young India, June 28, 1928, p. 772.</ref> Politically swaraj is self-government and not good government (for Gandhi, good government is no substitute for self-government) and it means a continuous effort to be independent of government control, whether it is foreign government or whether it is national. In other words, it is sovereignty of the people based on pure [[moral authority]]. Economically, Swaraj means full economic freedom for the toiling millions. And in its fullest sense, Swaraj is much more than freedom from all restraints, it is self-rule, self-restraint and could be equated with ''moksha'' or [[salvation]].<ref>"M. K. Gandhi, Young India, December 8, 1920, p.886 (See also Young India, August 6, 1925, p. 276 and Harijan, March 25, 1939, p.64.)</ref>
 
 
Adopting Swaraj means implementing a system whereby the state machinery is virtually nil, and the real power directly resides in the hands of people. Gandhi said, "Power resides in the people, they can use it at any time."<ref>Jesudasan, Ignatius. ''A Gandhian theology of liberation''. Gujarat Sahitya Prakash: Ananda India, 1987, pp 251.</ref> This philosophy rests inside an individual who has to learn to be master of his own [[Self (spirituality)|self]] and spreads upwards to the level of his community which must be dependent only on itself. Gandhi said, "In such a state (where swaraj is achieved) everyone is his own ruler. He rules himself in such a manner that he is never a hindrance to his neighbour";<ref>Murthy, Srinivas.''Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy Letters''. Long Beach Publications: Long Beach, 1987, pp 13.</ref> and also "It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves."<ref>[[M. K. Gandhi]]. ''Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule''. Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Navajivan Publishing House, 1938.</ref>
 
 
Gandhi explained his vision in 1946: {{quotation|"Independence begins at the bottom... A society must be built in which every village has to be self sustained and capable of managing its own affairs... It will be trained and prepared to perish in the attempt to defend itself against any onslaught from without... This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbours or from the world. It will be a free and voluntary play of mutual forces... In this structure composed of innumerable villages, there will be ever widening, never ascending circles. Growth will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose center will be the individual. Therefore the outermost circumference will not wield power to crush the inner circle but will give strength to all within and derive its own strength from it."<ref>Murthy, Srinivas.''Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy Letters''. Long Beach Publications: Long Beach, 1987, pp 189.</ref> }}
 
 
Gandhi was undaunted by the task of implementing such a [[utopian]] vision in India. He believed that by transforming enough individuals and communities society at large would change. He said, "It may be taunted with the retort that this is all Utopian and, therefore not worth a single thought... Let India live for the true picture, though never realizable in its completeness. We must have a proper picture of what we want before we can have something approaching it."<ref>Parel, Anthony. ''Hind Swaraj and other writings of M. K. Gandhi''. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 1997, pp 189.</ref>
 
 
==After Gandhi==
 
<!-- Image with inadequate rationale removed: [[Image:JayaprakashNarayanLakshminarayanLal.jpg|thumb|Jayaprakash Narayan]] -->
 
After Gandhi's assassination [[Vinoba Bhave]] formed the Sarva Seva Sangh at the national level and Sarvodya Mandals at the regional level to the carry on integrated village service - with the end purpose of achieving the goal of Swaraj. Two major nonviolent movements for socio-economic and political revolution in India: the Bhoodan movement led by Vinoba Bhave and the Total Revolution movement led by [[Jayaprakash Narayan]] were actually held under the aegis of the ideas of Swaraj. These movements had some success, but due to the socialist tendencies of Nehruvian India were not able to unleash the kind of revolution that was aimed at.
 
 
Gandhi's model of Swaraj was strongly opposed and entirely discarded by the [[Jawaharlal Nehru|Nehruvian government]]. He had wanted a system of a classless, stateless [[direct democracy]].<ref>Bhattacharyya, Buddhadeva. ''Evolution of the political philosophy of Gandhi''. Calcutta Book House: Calcutta, 1969, pp 479.</ref> On January 29, 1948, in what is known as his ''Last Will and Testament'', Gandhi suggested disbanding of the Congress as a political forum. On the next day he was killed.
 
 
In that message about dismantling Congress, he said, "Its task is done. The next task is to move into villages and revitalize life there to build a new socio-economic structure from the bottom upwards."<ref> [http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/eduresources/article15.htm His Last Will And Testament]</ref> He wanted the Congress party to change into a constructive work organisation - Lok Sewak Sangh was the name he proposed - to conscientise and mobilise the people to work and struggle for Swaraj. However none of these objectives were achieved when India became independent. India, although a federation, got a strong central government. [[Representative Democracy|Representative democracy]], rather than direct democracy was adopted. The Congress Party was not disbanded. Rather it went on to become one of the frontrunners in running the government of India.
 
 
Additionally, modern India has kept in place many aspects of British (and Western) influence, including widespread use of the [[English language]], [[Common-law]], [[industrialization]], [[liberal democracy]], military organisation, and the bureaucracy.
 
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
 
==External links==
 
{{Refbegin}}
 
* [http://www.swaraj.org/ The Swaraj Foundation]
 
* [http://www.kigs.org/ Kumarappa Institute Of Gram Swaraj]
 
* [http://www.gandhianmovement/ Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj]
 
{{Refend}}
 
 
{{Indian independence movement}}
 
{{Gandhi}}
 
 
[[Category:Indian independence movement]]
 
[[Category:Philosophical movements]]
 
[[Category:Anarchist theory]]
 
[[Category:Community building]]
 
[[Category:Gandhism]]
 
 
[[es:Swaraj]]
 
[[fr:Swaraj]]
 
[[hi:स्वराज]]
 
[[id:Swaraj]]
 
[[mr:स्वराज्य]]
 
[[ru:Сварадж]]
 
[[ta:சுவராஜ்]]
 
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