Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has attained an
iconic status in the world and in history is undisputable.
About a hundred volumes of his collected works have
been published by the Government of India, more than
three thousand five hundred books have been written on
Gandhi, and his symbols and words continue to inspire
and encourage. As we celebrate a hundred years of his
acknowledged magnum opus Hind Swaraj, it is time to
reflect on the importance of both the text and the
context of this renowned work. Hind Swaraj is a seminal
and a foundational work, and it is widely seen as the bible
of non-violent revolutions as well as providing the blue
print of all kinds of revolutions. Though Gandhi wrote
extensively, Hind Swaraj was his earliest text, in which he
questioned the accepted myths and the truths of his
times. The text is not only a tract on political
methodology, philosophy or political movements; it is a
statement of faith. Therefore, its relevance goes much
beyond the time frame in which it was written.
Gandhi wrote this short tract in 1909 originally in
Gujarati on a return voyage from London to South Africa.
9 Reflections on Hind Swaraj
He completed the work in short period of ten days, and
when his right hand was tired he wrote with his left hand.
It appears that the ideas in the book were written in a
state of frenzy, and that these ideas formulated faster
than his words. The text consists of twenty short
chapters, cast in the form of a dialogue between Gandhi
who is called the ‘editor’ and his interlocutor known as the “reader.” The style is similar to the Socrates dialogue in Plato’s Republic and the Upanishads. Writing 275
pages, Gandhi struck down his original words only ten
times. Such was the vision and passion with which he
wrote this text.
Despite the fact that the work is shot through with
complex philosophical ideals, arguments, and values,
doctrines of action, and notions of self rule or swaraj,...