(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.
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
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