Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'India of My Dreams'- Mahatma Gandhi

Everything in India attracts me. It has everything that a human being with the highest possible aspirations can want.

India is essentially my karmabhumi (land of duty) in contradistinction to bhogabhumi (land of enjoyment)

India is one of the few nations on the earth which have retained some of their ancient institutions although they have been overlaid with superstition and error. But she has hitherto shown an inherent capacity for purging herself of error and superstition. My faith in her ability to solve the economic problems that face her millions has never been so bright as it is today.

I feel that India's mission is different from that of others. India is fitted for the religious supremacy of the world. There is no parallel in the world for the process of purification that this country has voluntarily undergone. India is less in need of steel weapons, it has fought with divine weapons, it can still do so. Other nations have been votaries of brute force. The terrible war going on in Europe furnishes a forcible illustration of the truth. India can win all by soul force. History supplies numerous instances to prove that brute force is as nothing before soul force.poets have sung about it and seers have described their experiences.

If India takes up the doctrine of sword, she may gain momentary victory, Then India will cease to be the pride of my heart. I am wedded to India because I owe my all to her. I believe absolutely that she has a mission for all the world. She is not to copy Europe blindly. India's acceptance of the sword will be the hour of my trial. I hope I shall not be found wanting. My religion has no geographical limits. If I have a living faith in it, it will transcend my love for India herself. My life is dedicated to service of India through the religion of non violence.

If India makes violence her creed, and I have survived, I would not cae to live in India. She will cease to evoke any pride in me. My patriotism is subservient to my religion. I cling to India like a child to its mother's breast, because I feel that she gives me the spiritual nourishment I need. She has the environment that responds to my highest aspirations. When the faith is gone, I shall feel liek an orphan without hope of ever finding a guardian.

I would like to see India free and strong so that she may offer herself a willing and pure sacrifice for the betterment of the world. India's freedom  must revolutionize the world's outlook upon peace and war. Her impotence affects the whole of mankind.

I am humble enough to admit that there is much that we can profitably assimilate from the west. Wisdom is no monopoly of one continent or one race. My resistance to western civilization is really a resistance to its indiscriminate and thoughtless imitation based on the assumption that Asiatics are fit only to copy everything that comes from the west...I do believe that if India has patience enough to go through the fire of suffering and to resist any unlawful encroachment upon her own civilization which, imperfect though it undoubtedly is, has hitherto stood the ravages of time, she can make a lasting contribution to the peace and solid progress of the world.

India;s destiny lies not along the bloody way of the west, if which she shows signs of tiredness, but along the bloodless way of peace that comes from a simple and godly life India is in danger of losing her soul. She cannot lose it and live. She must not, therefor, lazily and helplessly say, " I cannot escape the onrush from the west." She must be strong enough to resist it for her own sake and that of the world.

European civilization is no doubt suited for the European but it will mean ruin for India, if we endeavor to copy it. This is not to say that we may not adopt and assimilate whatever may be good and capable of assimilation by us as it does not also mean that even Europeans will not have to part with whatever evil might have crept into it. The incessant search for material comforts and their multiplication in such an evil, and I make bold to say that the Europeans themselves will have to remodel their outlook, if they are not to persih under the weight of comforts to which they are becoming slaves. It may be that my reading is wrong, but I know that for India to run after golden fleece is to court certain death. Let us engrave in our hearts that the motto of a western philosopher, 'plain living and high thinking'. Today it is certain that the millions cannot have high libing and we the few who profess to do the thinking for the masses run the risk, in a vain search after high living, of missing high thinking.

I shall strive for a constitution, which will release India from all thraldom and patronage, and give her, if need be, the right to sin. I shall work for an India, in which the poorest shall feel it is their country in whose making they have an effective voice; an India on which there shall be no high class and low class of people; an Indai in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such an India for the curse of untouchability or the curse of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Women will enjoy the same rights as men. Since we shall be at peace with all the rest of the world, neither exploiting, not being exploited, we should have the smallest army imaginable. All interests not in conflict with the interests of the dumb millions will be scrupulously respected, whether foreign or indigenous. Personally, I hate distinction between foreign and indigenous. This is the India of my dreams...I shall be satisfied with nothing less

( This is not one piece of article but Shri R.K. Prabhu's skillful collection from Mahatma Gandhi's writings spanning over hundreds of pages. The above constitutes Chapter one of the book "India of my Dreams" first published in August 1947)