Magazine 2012
Gandhian Ideology : An Attempt to  
Reconstruct Industry and Society  
Dr. Shashi Mishra  
R. J. College,Mumbai.  
Mahatma Gandhi was an inspired teacher and prophet. He always emphasized his role as a citizen of the world.  
He had achieved a calmness of spirit and an integration of personality which are reserved for the blessed few.  
Non-violence was the basic element in Gandhian method of Satyagraha and its root was in the tradition of  
Indian culture. He promoted and believed in changing the society by bringing about change in himself first. The  
important principles which he followed and preached was Satya (Truth), Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Vegetarianism,  
Mauna (silence & simplicity), Nai Talim (basic education).  
Gandhi believed in the supermacy of ethnical values and Sarvodaya (the good of all). The philosophy of  
Sarvodaya is based on the concept of the unity of existence. It refuses to be satisfied with the progress and well  
being of a class or a nation but advocates the emancipation or realization of the good of all living beings. It is  
the symbol of supreme moral and spiritual strength. Gandhi considered truth and non violence to be absolutely  
binding. The idea of non violence should not be lowered as a concession to oneb s weakness. Non violence is  
the strongest force known. Satya (truth), as per Mahatma Gandhi b Truth is far more powerful than any weapon  
of mass destructionb . Gandhi believed, b Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path  
of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. The tendency of the Indian  
Civilization is to elevate the moral being that of the Western civilization is to propagate immorality.b  He emphasized  
that a child through the process of socialization in society learns the norms, values, customs, traditions discipline  
and respect for others culture which helps in making a healthy civilization.  
Gandhi was opposed to the industrial civilization of the western countries which were based on the exploitation  
of weaker people .The modern civilization, therefore, was equivalent to darkness and disease. Gandhi fought  
the concepts of racialism, imperialism, communalism and untouchability. In India, as a reformer, he fought  
against social injustice, tyrannies and oppressions. His noble crusade for the liberation of the suppressed lower  
classes shows his deep attachment to the concept of social justice. He hence favored the cottage industry  
which generated employment for a larger number of people.  
Gandhi preached simplicity. In the context of modern India he appeared as a ruralist. He felt that the devastating  
effect of British capitalism had threatened the very existence of rural economy. Gandhi saw that India lived in the  
villages. He advocated the revolutionary doctrine that land belongs to him who tills it. He accepted the concept  
of economic equality. He advocated a return to simplicity and nature. However we also find him realistic  
enough, as he advocated a reconciliation of large scale and small scale industries, the nationalization of key  
industries, and the organization of urban centers not as lop sided out growths but functioning as catering to the  
interests of the village where the real soul of India lay. He was against capitalism since it was a negation to the  
idea of Ahimsa. But he would not sanction the forcible overthrow of capitalism. He championed the revolutionary  
doctrine of equal distribution. He thought that the rich should become trustees of their surplus wealth for the  
good of society. Gandhi said that he wanted to bring religion into politics. He said, b For me the road to  
salvation lies throught the service of my country and of humanity. In the language of the Gita, I want to live at  
peace with both friends and foe. So my patriotism is for me a stage on my journey to the land of eternal  
freedom and peace.b   
Gandhi condemned bitterly the western democratic politics because they believed in limitless expansion of  
capitalism and this resulted in exploitation of the weaker people. He criticized the policies of racialism followed  
in South Africa and the southern parts of the U.S.A. Gandhi stressed that non- violence alone could lead to true  
democracy. He wanted India to evolve b True Democracyb . He postulated that in the ideal state of Ramarajya or  
the Kingdom of God, where upon earth there will be the sovereignty of the moral authority of the people, and  
the state as a structure of violence would be extinct. But he was not for the immediate ending of the state power.  
The increasing perfection of the state should be the immediate goal although the ultimate aim is philosophical  
and moral anarchism.  
For the healthy growth of industry and society, he introduced the following stages:  
) Gandhi promoted the concept of trusteeship of property to meet the economic challenge. Accumulation of  
wealth in some hands is unavoidable. But wealth is also a social product. It is the contribution from many in a  
set of circumstances. It has a social responsibility. The entire society has claims to it. The owners of property  
most recognize this claim. Thus they must hold property as a trust held by them on behalf of the many. They  
must utilize property to bring the best returns for the society and not simply to maximize profits. The best part  
of an individualb s character must emerge to meet the needs that society will be facing. Trusteeship has the  
weakness that no law can enforce it. That is exactly what Gandhi sees as the highest quality of Gandhism. There  
is no alternative for the individualb s sense of fairness and responsibility. Compulsion will unleash evil forces. Man  
must rise to his best self and manage society without the need of the state to dectate.  
) Gandhi was against the concentration of power in the hands of a few people as it led to the exploitation  
masses. Decentralization of power is an integral part of Gandhib s ideology. The state ultimately reduces man to  
absolute conformity. Insignificance and implicit obedience are his characteristics. Gandhism makes man the  
measure of all things as much as the philosophy of the Renaissance does and applies that standard to every  
field of activity. Decentralisation must reduce the state to an organization for rendering the necessary service  
with the least power at its command. Gandhib s idea of the self governing villages corresponds with the idea of  
Gandhism. Similarly production and distribution also must be decentralized. Gandhi was against gigantism in  
the industry.  
) A man must realize his needs and limitation. He must not emphasize a lot on luxury. Means are as important  
as ends in the ideology of Gandhism. Purity of ends as well as means is implicit in all the virtues that are  
integrated into Gandhism. It is a simple non violent, decentralized society. It is opposed to capitalism as well  
as statesmanship that become a practical part of socialism.  
) For the healthy development of the society, he gave great importance to cottage and handicraft industry so  
that the villagers became self employed. Gandhi called for the abolition of all distinctions between mental and  
manual labour and for the dignity of work done by hands. Gandhism recommends that the people should be  
made aware of their inner strength and be encouraged to solve their problems themselves, instead of seeking  
governmental action. Rajniti (power) must be replaced by lokniti (politics of the people). Society should  
resolve conflicts by conciliation, or rather; conflicts should not be allowed to appear at all instead of seeking  
resolution through struggle, competition bargains, pressures and force.  
Gandhism challenged the foundation of modern civilsation and preached a return to simplicity and the absence  
of pretentiousness and luxury. He believed in the supremacy of ethical values, Sarvodaya, truth and non-  
violence. His aim was to reconstruct the society through love and mutual trust.  
Mathew James, K. b The matchless Weapon, Satyagrihab , Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1989  
Sheean Vincent,b  Mahatma Gandhi-A Great Life in Brief,b  Publications Divisions, Ministry of Information and  
Broadcasting, New Delhi, 1990