Issue 26: Hind Swaraj, and Village Management
(Vol. 7, No. 1, January – March, 2009)

1. The Pioneer of Village Reconstruction Organization: Fr. Michael A Windey SJ by Alex Ekka

Abstract: Speaking of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, and Village Management, one cannot but think of Fr. Michael Windey SJ, the founder Director of Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), Ranchi and the Village Reconstruction Organization at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. Such was the zeal of Fr. Windey for social work that being dissatisfied with the teaching at St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, he started the Social Service League in 1955 for the college students whom he trained as professionals to work for the urban and the rural poor. It was but a coincidence that after working at XISS for eight years, Fr. Windey started a new venture in 1969- the Gandhian Centenary Year – working among the cyclone victims of Andhra Pradesh and rehabilitating them more permanently through proper housing and all the amenities of a self-reliant village community. To this enterprise, he gave the name Village Reconstruction Organization (VRO), which he established in 1971. Since then there has been no turning back. He has worked 40 long years with the VRO, taking inspiration from Gandhi’s Sarvodaya and rural reconstruction. Choosing remote villages mostly of the poor and the marginalized, he has indeed reorganized the villages, making them anew in collaboration with the villagers and making them self-reliant and proud of their culture. As of today, the VRO is working in about 6 states of the country on the principle of voluntarism. It has indeed become a movement of village reconstruction in the country so very highly acclaimed in India and abroad. Fr. Windey is truly a unique Gandhian Jesuit. Last year in November he told the story of founding XISS and VRO to all the Faculty and Staff of XISS. But to substantiate the paper, the author has referred to a VRO leaflet and the website.

2. Gandhigiri in Management by Sachchidananda

Abstract: Gandhi’s legacy is multifaceted. He is hailed as the ‘father of the nation’. He unleashed the strength of the ordinary man, the ‘am adami’ for attaining independence from the mighty British Empire. He knew that the goal he had set to achieve was not easily attainable. But he had a clear vision and he reinvented tried and tested strategies to tackle situations as they surfaced on after the other. He knew that he could not light the British with violence. He was a great change manager, used the right kind of leadership style, connected with the people, and changed people’s mindsets through satyagrahas and constructive programmes. He was a good team leader, a good listener and a great risk taker and an innovator of strategies and techniques. All these qualities are the requisites of a corporate culture. While he was leading India towards freedom, he was also holding a bescon to some ground breaking HR practices. Some corporate leaders are making use of Gandhi’s concepts and action points. This paper seeks to highlight these issues.

3. The Relevance of M. K. Gandhi’s Welfare Economics and Drez-Sen Model of Indian Economic Development by Bireshwar Ganguly

Abstract: The paper deals with the relevance of M. K. Gandhi’s welfare economics and the mixed-economy model of economic development for India in the last decade of the twentieth century and first decade of the twenty first century, as presented by Amartya Sen and Jean Drez.

Both the models of Gandhi and Sen-Drez belong to the normative science of Welfare Economics. There are six basic concepts which are essential elements in Gandhian Welfare Economics, e.g. (i) swadeshi, (ii) bread-labour, (iii) aparigraha or non-possession, (iv) trusteeship, (v) non-exploitation, and (vi) equality.

If we ponder over the relevance of Gandian Economics in the twenty-first century, we shall discover that the latest industrial revolution, ushered in by the computer and electronic revolution, has made the decentralization of production a greater reality than was possible in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Jean Drez and Amartya Sen have critically dealt with India’s economic development beyond liberalization under a democratic government in their 1995 edition of ‘India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity’, which was updated in 2002 in the revised edition, entitled ‘India: Development and Participation’. They have laid particular emphasis on the following set of jointly relevant concerns:-

  1. The recognition and realization of the strong growth potential of the Indian economy;
  2. The importance of achieving equitable and participatory growth, in constrast with the divisive patterns that prevailed;
  3. The urgent need for a broader programme of economic reform, which takes due note of the requirement of equitable and participatory growth, including the need for major initiatives in fields such as basic education, health care, and social security, along with reducing the hold of red tape and the ‘liecence raj’; and
  4. The role of civil and political activism bringing about the required changes in public policy.
They are of the opinion that corruption in public life is the crucial bottleneck to development.

4. Hind Swaraj and Leadership of M. K. Gandhi by K. D. Gangrade

Abstract: Hind Swaraj aims at building the desirable society based on Truth, Non-violence, Love, Non-exploitation, No-poverty, Harmonious and Peaceful Community. The paper has four sections. First, is devoted to Genesis of Gandhian Values. Second, has in detail critically examined Hind Swaraj with special reference to Gandhi’s leadership. It also covers that his assassination was a Great disservice to India and humankind. Third, spiral Decline in Morals of Leaders. It laments that political leaders took to politics to exploit people and amass wealth rather than serve them. Fourth, conclusions, is a plea to rise above selfish-interests to provide a genuine leadership. It also exhorts the voters to exercise their choice to elect their representative/s wisely without caste, class, creed, regional, and religious considerations at the time of election/s at all levels from the village panchayat to the Parliament.

In reality, Hind Swaraj is the seminal document and its relevance can be likened to the sun which never sets. Let us not become slave to modern civilization. If we do, we will meet the same fate as moths rushing swiftly into a blazing fire for their own destruction.

5. Hind Swaraj: A Contextual Review for Grassroots Action by G. Palanithurai

Abstract: The Hind Swaraj is an unaltered, basic text of M. K. Gandhi regulates human activities to achieve progress and development of the society in the world. Argument is projected that it is still relevant to save the world from deep disaster by altering the paradigm of development even though it is not fully practiced. Equally critics argue that world has gone far ahead and far away from the basic arguments of M. K. Gandhi. It is obvious from the experience that the development is seen from the perspective of the west. By following the model of the west human society could not live in peace. M.K. Gandhi has developed a perspective for development from the east by rejecting the west. Having fed up with the western paradigm of development humanity looks for alternative. The existing problems are compounded with the advent of Globalization.

In the context of globalization one has to visualize the increasing volume of miseries of the poor in the world. Here also there is an opportunity for them as decentralization is emerging as a movement throughout the world. While translating the concept of decentralization in to reality, the Hind Swaraj can be relooked and evolve practical guidelines for application by using the new Panchayati Raj Institutions. Hence what we need is contextual review of Hind Swaraj in the backdrop of the introduction of New Panchayati Raj System. The new Panchayati Raj System has provided enormous opportunities to mobilize people to participate in Governance and Development. By doing so an alternative, paradigm of governance and development will be evolved.

6. Hind Swaraj and its relevance Today by Vasant Nargolkar

Abstract: Hind Swaraj is a small booklet written by Gandhiji in 1908 and serially published by him in “the Indian Opinion in South Africa”. He wrote this booklet in answer to the arguments of some Indian anarchists in London and others who believed in using violent means for driving out the British from India. The alternative title of the booklet is ‘Indian Home Rule’. That explains the subject-matter.

Now the question before us is: ‘Are the ideas and views expressed by Gandhiji in 1908 in Hind Swaraj relevant today, that is, eighty years after the booklet was published?

The language of the booklet is somewhat crude and harsh. Had Gandhiji rewritten the booklet, he would certainly have softened the tone and brought refinement in the expression of his ideas and opinions. Some of the topics discussed in the booklet such as the partition of Bengal and the methods to be used for achieving Home Rule or independence for India, have now become out-of-date due to passage of time. But as averred by Gandhiji more than once after 1908, the substance of the arguments in the booklet was valid for him till the end of his life.

In brief, Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj teaches “the gospel of love in place of that of hate. How would it be irrelevant any time even in future? Until making learns to live simply, to abhor the ‘Satanic’ civilization that has been developed in the west during the two or three centuries, absorb the good points of the spiritually rich, ancient Indian culture and work for a brotherhood of peoples living in peace and amity, the substance of Hind Swaraj will surely continue to be relevant for a long time to come.

7. Reinventing Swadeshi Towards Swaraj: Agrarian Crises and Question of Food Sovereignty in India by D. M. Diwakar

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to examine the question of agrarian challenges and food sovereignty with a perspective of swadeshi as an alternative to globalizing market and industrialism. Analysis suggests that livelihood concerns of the majority of the people in India dependent on agriculture have been aggravating. In the coils of uncritical diversification and value added unprotected agriculture farmers suicides compounded agrarian crises as green revolution technology to maintain food self sufficiency in the long run could not be sustained amidst environmental complications and faster pace of globalization of market and changing policy regime of WTO. Undermining agriculture and livelihood of poor will lead to further deterioration in the social harmony and peace.

Therefore, reorienting composite research and development inputs for agriculture are the need of the hour. Hence, means and ways to recall and reinvent Gandhi and his discourse in the Hind Swaraj focusing Swadeshi embedded with Satyagraha to mobilize and educate people to build their own society need to be explored.

Research Note

8. Fresh Initiative Against Global Imperialism: A Proceeding by Indu Shekhar Prasad Sinha

Book Review

9. Kumar, Paty Chittaranjan (Ed.), (2007). Forest, government and Tribe, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, pp.i-xii and pp.1-152. Rs. 330/- by Alex Ekka