A journey in awakened nationalism
Hind Swaraj ki Anant Yatra (Hindi), Ajay Kumar Upadhyaya, Prabhat Prakashan, Pp 266, Rs 250.00
To arouse the spirit of nationalism among the Hindus who had become resigned to their fate under foreign rule, the concept of swarajya, though mentioned even earlier, was given impetus by Swami Vivekananda who said, “Freedom is the only sign of spiritual growth.” So when Mahatma Gandhi expounded his views on swarajya, he showed through his life and actions what the word meant. In this connection, he even wrote in his paper Harijan thus: “I do not lay claim to have founded new principles. I have merely tried to apply in my own way the Sanatan truths to my daily life and its problems.”
It was through study and absorption of the knowledge gained through books written by saints and reformers that Mahatma Gandhi astounded the entire world and showed that anybody, even the weakest of human beings, can reach the highest peak of humanity if he so wishes.
The author says that though Mahatma Gandhi was neither a scholar nor an intellectual like Sri Aurobindo or Swami Dayanand Saraswati, nor was he an enlightened spiritual leader like Swami Vivekananda, but he was the one who gave momentum to the revolution initiated by them to become its leader and help in its spread.
Defining his dharma, Gandhiji had said, “I am religious but without getting alienated from humanity, I do not seek the path of religion. I have chosen the field of politics as my field of work to prevent separation of religion from human beings… Segregating religion from society and politics is not possible. Man’s objective in life is to work which becomes his religion. I am not aware of a religion that does not subscribe to fulfilment of one’s daily duties.”
Similarly, he announced the swarajya of his dreams in which he told man to learn to live in harmony with the others. He wrote his last article for his paper Harijan just a day before his death and it was like a will for the Congress party. His article was published on February 22, 1948 wherein he questioned the utility of the Congress party following the subcontinent’s Partition. He said that after achieving Independence, the role of the Congress in its then form had to end. What was still required was to acquire social, religious and economic Independence for the seven lakh villages of the country so that the country could march towards democracy. He said that we should protect the Congress from competing against other political parties and fundamentalist organisations.
Gandhiji laid down the conditions for attaining swarajya and some of these included use of khadi material for clothes, adoption of prohibition, avoidance of the practice of untouchability, establishment of unity between all castes and tolerance towards all religions and removal of gender inequality for bringing about a just social order. He wanted every person to remain in touch with the villager and try to educate him, teach him about cleanliness and health care and make him self-sufficient in his agricultural activities like farming and in cottage industries.
The author says that Hind Swaraj will continue to show the right path by throwing light on man’s endless journey through life.
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