"Gandhiji, how do you
think making one's own cloth and inheriting one's ancestral profession solve
modern problems ?"
One has to
acknowledge that poverty and unemployment are still Himalayan problems in
the modern world. We started spinning and weaving as a means of solving
unemployment as well as a resolution of self-reliance (Indians need
not depend on the European mills for clothing). As we progress
technologically, it is of utmost importance to include the downtrodden and
the under-privileged in the scheme of things. While making of one's own
cloth was only symbolic, in India it represented a non-violent protest
against the British rule, as it culminated in the boycott of western
clothing. I believe that for a nation to prosper, it is very important that
its people are employed and the nation is self-reliant.
The issue of
ancestral profession, while common in many other societies, is a problem of
enormous proportion in India, where one's dignity in the society was
attached to one's profession. I have done everything in my capability to
fight against untouchability and indignity of labor. Again, in a country
divested of its resources by the occupying powers, new jobs are hard to come
by and I felt that as long as we can work to remove social barriers attached
to professions, inheriting the family profession is the best way to employ
the newer generation.
not come from money. It can come from taking pride in one's work and
recognizing its contribution to society as a whole. So it is of primary
importance that in a society, especially one under foreign rule, there are
jobs for people to work and feed their families. Only then we can fight for
other rights such as freedom.
"Gandhiji, how do you think making one's own cloth
and inheriting one's ancestral profession solve modern problems ?"
not mean making peace. On the other hand, it means fighting bravely and
sincerely for truth and doing what is just. Like all fights, there will be a
terrible loss and pain. But a satyagrahi (soldier of civil
disobedience) must go on.
My success with
civil disobedience in South Africa and in India has not come easy. A large
number of people sacrificed a great deal, including their lives while
fighting for truth and justice.
The doctrine of
Satyagraha works on the principle that you make the so called enemy see and
realize the injustice he is engaged in. It can work only when you believe in
God and the goodness of the people to see that they are wrong. As a
satyagrahi, I do believe that non-violence is a potent weapon against all
evils. I warn you however, that the victory will not come easy- just like it
will not come easy with violent methods such as fighting with weaponry.
"Why do they refer to you as Mahatma - the Great
Mahtma (great-soul) has deeply pained me a number of times. I have
nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence (ahimsa) are as old
as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a
scale as I could.
But I certainly
like to narrate my experiments in spiritual field which are known only to
myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in
the political field. A large number of people have told me that they revere
me because I understand them like none other.