'Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule'
(by Mahatma Gandhi)
It is certainly my good fortune that this booklet of mine is
receiving wide attention. The original is in Gujarati. It has a
chequered career. It was first published in the columns of the
Indian Opinion of South Africa. It was written in 1908
during my return voyage from London to South Africa in answer to
the Indian school of violence and its prototype in South Africa.
I came in contact with every known Indian anarchist in London.
Their bravery impressed me, but I felt that their zeal was misguided.
I felt that violence was no remedy for India's ills, and that her
civilisation required the use of a different and higher weapon for
self-protection. The Satyagraha of South Africa was still
an infant hardly two years old. But it had developed sufficiently
to permit me to write of it with some degree of confidence. What I
wrote was so much appreciated that it was published as a booklet. It
attracted some attention in India. The Bombay Government prohibited
its circulation. I replied by publishing its translation. I
thought it was due to my English friends that they should know its contents.
In my opinion it is a book which can be put into the hands of a
child. It teaches the gospel of love in place of that of hate.
It replaces violence with self-sacrifice. It pits soul force against
brute force. It has gone through several editions and I commend it
to those who would care to read it. I withdraw nothing except one
word of it, and that in deference to a lady friend.
The booklet is a severe condemnation of 'modern civilisation'. It
was written in 1908. My conviction is deeper today than ever. I feel
that if India will discard 'modern civilisation', she can only gain
by doing so.
But I would warn the reader against thinking that I am today aiming
at the Swaraj described therein. I know that India is not
ripe for it. It may seem an impertinence to say so. But such is my
conviction. I am individually working for the self-rule pictured
therein. But today my corporate activity is undoubtedly devoted to
the attainment of Parliamentary Swaraj in accordance with
the wishes of the people of India.
I am not aiming at destroying railways or hospitals, though I would
certainly welcome their natural destruction. Neither railways nor
hospitals are a test of a high and pure civilisation. At best they
are a necessary evil. Neither adds one inch to the moral stature of
a nation. Nor am I aiming at a permanent destruction of law courts,
much as I regard it as a 'consummation devoutly to be wished'. Still
less am I trying to destroy all machinery and mills. It requires
a higher simplicity and renunciation than the people are today
The only part of the programme which is now being carried out is
that of non-violence. But I regret to have to confess that even
that is not being carried out in the spirit of the book. If it were,
India would establish Swaraj in a day. If India adopted the
doctrine of love as an active part of her religion and introduced
it in her politics. Swaraj would descent upon India from heaven. But
I am painfully aware that that event is far off as yet.
I offer these comments because I observe that much is being quoted
from the booklet to discredit the present movement. I have even
seen writings suggesting that I am playing a deep game, that I
am using the present turmoil to foist my fads on India, and am
making religious experiments at India's expense. I can only answer
that Satyagraha is made of sterner stuff. There is nothing
reserved and nothing secret in it. A portion of the whole theory
of life described in Hind Swaraj is undoubtedly being carried into
practice. There is no danger attendant upon the whole of it being
practised. But it is not right to scare away people by reproducing
from my writings passages that are irrelevant to the issue before
Mohandas K Gandhi
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Young India. January 1921)
Read Hind Swaraj: Chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 19 | 11 | Conclusion
'Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule' is a book written by
Mahatma Gandhi in 1909 which sparked off the Indian Nationalist Movement.