(GIST OF YOJANA) Towards an Egalitarian Society [OCTOBER-2019]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Towards an Egalitarian Society


Towards an Egalitarian Society

Mahatma Gandhi was a man of many purls He was not and never considered himself just as a political leader with a singular mission to free India from the British yoke. With a multi-dimensional mission, he wanted to touch every aspect of our individual, national and even international life. In particular, his heart and mind remained ever ignited to work for the total regeneration of the Indian society-be it political, economic, social, cultural, religious or spiritual aspects. In the political field, he applied the age-old principles of truth and non-violence and their derivative Satyagraha to build up a mass movement which ultimately resulted in the freedom of India on 15 August. 1947. In the economic field, he challenged (lie very foundational values of the western model of development viz

  • it is the self-interest that moves man and Ins society and that
  • it is the ever spiralling desires and aspirations of man which lead to the progress of human society.

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Bread Labour:

The simple meaning of the principle of bread labour is that one must work to live. In other words, what entitles a man to have his bread is the physical labour. He might be engaged in any kind of mental work, but he has to put in some amount of physical work to cam his bread. It was the Russian leader, T.M Bondarek who first propounded this principle. Later, Tolstoy popularized it. Gandhi was aware that the dignity of labour was missing from our socio-cultural value system. He wanted to establish it as one of the core social values of the Indian society. Hence, he made it apart of the Ekadash Vrata. Not only that, performance of bread labour became an integral part of Gandhi's daily routine both at Sabarmati and Sevagram ashram. Every inmate of these ashrams was to follow this routine including that of physical labour. Gandhi also associated this principle of bread labour with Jajna concept of the Bhagavad Gita.

Sparsh Bhuvana (Elimination of Untouchability):

From his early days, Gandhi was totally against the scourge of untouchability. He was fully aware that it was based on the false belief that the upper caste Hindus would get polluted by coming into any kind of physical contact with the people born in certain castes and families. Some of them were taken to be unapproachable as even their sight was considered to have a polluting effect. He considered the entire spectrum of untouchability as a blot on the lair lace of Hinduism.

Hence, we have to fraternise and mingle with them, taking them as our brethren. Four, it is nothing short of the practice of love and Ahimsa. The elimination of untouchability amounts to removal of barriers between man and man. Hence, it is a major step towards an egalitarian society. He found scavenging as the most essential act in human society. But being confined to a section of people, it has become the symbol of indignity of labour. Hence, he pleaded for self-scavenging.

These two Gandhian ideas of Sparsh Bhavana and sharirik shram appear very relevant to the present situation. India has covered a lot of ground in these areas. During our fight for independence, thousands of freedom fighters practiced these ideas both in their private and public life.

But it would not be correct to say that we have totally succeeded on these fronts. Long back untouchability was abolished by law and an attempt was also made to firmly establish a new
social value of dignity of labour. It is true that a lot has been done and achieved. But it is equally true to say that a lot remains to be done. The battle is won. but the war is still on and it must continue to usher India into a new era of equality between man and man as dreamt by Bapu and other freedom fighters.

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