Hind Swaraj – Learning to Rule Self
Author- MK Gandhi
Review: Shekhar KC
Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule is the second book of Gandhi ji, I read so far. Earlier was the Autobiography in Nepali translated version which I read some 3 years back in 2009 while I was studying Bachelor. I found this book, Hind Swaraj more influencing; though provoking than Gandhi ji’s thorough description of his experiment with truth in his autobiography. Hind Swaraj or ‘Indian Home Rule’ was published in 1938 and its contents revolve around the Gandhi ji’s quest to convince what Hind Swaraj truly mean for Indian and all.
Gandhi ji’s answers in this book is very difficult to decode in its original form by a lay readers or anyone who have very little encounters with spiritual knowledge or essence of universal religious doctrines. The whole book is the subsequent questioning and answering by reader and Gandhi ji respectively in quest to remove all the confusions and establish clarity over the real essence of Hind Swaraj and how it can be achieved with regards to the role of each and every one concerned directly or indirectly.
The roles of Machines, railways, doctors, lawyers are neutrally condemned by Gandhi ji in its deserving form, without allowing to create a single penny of hatred for any of the group or nationality. Gandhi ji sticks firmly to his doctrine of non-violence and patience, Dharma and self-dependent at the cost of one’s life and starve. He believed that India can only liberate from the clutch of British Raj or prevent further from the affliction of modern civilization if each and everyone walks on the path to the liberation of soul. In other words, India can gain its original form not by driving away the British or destructing any existing infrastructures and institutions but rather not allowing the British rule and those aspects of modern civilization to strengthen their root further. India will attain the Home rule if each and every India know how to get self ruled, attain the knowledge to get mastery over owns mind, body and soul.
Why Gandhi ji doesn’t want machines to flourish and multiply further? He believes that these machines were intended to satisfy the unlimited needs and greeds of limited elite money-minded people while he assert that those machines and tools are to be used at the level and quantity existing which only serve the primary needs of human beings other than luxury.
The issue of Nationalism is dealt very sophisticatedly. In the book, Gandhi ji goes on defending British figures against Indian aversion for them. Gandhi ji acknowledges the role British contribution for founding the root of Home Rule for India while the ‘extremist’ political groups in India were aggressive in their objective to drive, kill and retaliate British with gun and violent means. Gandhi ji, remind them that even if India attained it own own army, its own government by killing and driving away British, then Hind Swaraj will not be achieved but India will achieve the same as the British archived by using their brute force in most of their colonies.
In the middle of the book, it seems like Gandhi ji looses his focus and become unsure about the true nature of Hind Swaraj. Some Indian wants British to be driven away from India while Gandhi ji believes that their presence and contribution was utmost to achieve Swaraj in India.
In the book, Gandhi ji, argues that the modern civilization is the root cause behind England degradation and it is slowly afflicting India. This civilization due to its very nature of satisfying greeds of limited people should be rejected in India. Only those product and mechanism should be accepted that satisfy human primary needs. Gandhi ji throws some of the must-spell sarcasms on the nature and preconception of civilization that are often retrieved from book written by day-dreamer- the one who defends modern civilization without giving full-sided justice to the topic dealt. According to him, Modern civilization lacks morality and true religious sentiment; it just serves the bodily happiness of millionaires by sucking the blood of poor and unprivileged ones.
Gandhi ji answers why it will take time for India to attain Hind Swaraj. Indian Home rule and modern civilization was made analogy with goodness and evil. According to Gandhi ji, Goodness travels at snails speed but with true sentiment while evil have wings, they propagate at speed or rapidity. Gandhi ji justified who India despite having two hostile religions Hindu and Muslims which share historical enmity, can live in harmony and peace with each other without the interference or judgment of their party.
I learnt from this book that Hind Swaraj or Indian Home rule is ‘learning to rule own-self’. Unless one has inclination towards spiritual insights and knowledge, its very difficult to know the real essence of ‘self-rule’.