GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Senior Gandhian Scholar, Professor, Editor and Linguist

Gandhi International Study and Research Institute, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229

E-mail- dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net;

dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com

Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India

 

International Trade and Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Hindustani, i.e., a blend of Hindi and Urdu, should be accepted as the national language for future use. So, the future members of the councils will take a pledge that till the use of English is stopped in correspondence, etc., at the national level, Hindustani should be used in the Imperial Council and regional languages should be used in the Provincial Councils. They should resolve that Hindustani would be implemented as the compulsory co-language in middle schools with freedom to choose either the Devanagari or the Urdu script. English language will be accepted in the field of administrative matters, diplomacy, and international trade. 1

He began by saying that the study of English was not absolutely necessary except for the purpose of carrying on our international trade and acquiring knowledge of modern sciences. He emphasized that the study of Hindi was essential inasmuch as it ensured a feeling of national brotherhood in the country. It must be made the lingua franca of India. Continuing, he said that Hindi which is the language of Kasi Vishwanath ought to be the language of the masses. They are longing to be a united and compact nation and they should discard provincial pride. Hindi can be learnt, he said in three months. Referring to the lavish praise bestowed upon him by the people he remarked that he did not like it. He wanted his principles to be carried out in practical life. He believed that the charkha or the spinning-wheel would bring about the salvation of the country. In his opinion the spinning wheel would serve the purpose of machine-guns and dreadnoughts. When the East India Company came into existence, it gave a death-blow to spinning. From that time, he said, the moral and economic degradation of India began. He advised the audience not to take to the flashy and gorgeous robes manufactured in the West but to satisfy themselves with the simplicity of homespun fabrics however coarse they might be, for home-made cloth had a history behind it, would have a soul of its own, and would possess its own aroma. He next spoke of the miserable condition of Orissa. In passing he exhorted the vakils and students to non-co-operate. If, however, they failed to follow his advice, they would be grievously neglecting a duty which they owed not only to themselves but to the country at large. By the way, he deplored the habit of drinking so prevalent in India. In conclusion, he said that the following things would achieve swaraj for them purity of mind and body, Hindu-Muslim unity, and the use of swadeshi goods. 2 

Oh yes, mass production, certainly, but not based on force. After all, the message of the spinning-wheel is that. It is mass production, but mass production in people’s own homes. If you multiply individual production to millions of times, would it not give you mass production on a tremendous scale? But I quite understand that your ‘mass production’ is a technical term for production by the fewest possible number through the aid of highly complicated machinery. I have said to myself that that is wrong. My machinery must be of the most elementary type which I can put in the homes of the millions. Under my system, again, it is labour which the current coin, not metal is. Any person who can use his labour has that coin, has wealth. He converts his labour into cloth; he converts his labour into grain. If he wants paraffin oil, which he cannot himself produce, he used his surplus grain for getting the oil. It is exchange of labour on free, fair and equal terms hence it is no robbery. You may object that this is a reversion to the primitive system of barter. But is not all international trade based on the barter system? Look, again, at another advantage, that this system affords. You can multiply it to any extent. But concentration of production ad infinitum can only lead to unemployment. You may say that workers thrown out of work by the introduction of improved machinery will find occupation in other jobs. But in an organized country where there are only fixed and limited avenues of employment, where the worker has become highly skilled in the use of one particular kind of machinery, you know from your own experience that this is hardly possible. Are there not over three million unemployed in England today? A question was put to me only the other day: "What are we doing today with these three million unemployed?" They cannot shift from factory to field in a day. It is a tremendous problem. 3

The essay (which should be in English) should trace the early history of the barter system, the causes of its decline, and the possibilities of its revival at present. It should also describe the purpose it served in the past and the part it can play in the future economic life of the world, with particular reference to its adaptability to the Indian village life concerning some or all of the departments of its activities. The essay should discuss the conditions congenial for its successful working and development and to what extent the assistance of the ruling power is required for the same, and should indicate the nature and mode of exchange if the adoption of the system is recommended. The essay should also discuss the effects of the barter system on the development of the internal and international trade of India. 4

 

References:

 

  1. Letter to Mazharul Haque, March 18, 1920
  2. The Hindu, 1-4-1921  
  3. Harijan, 2-11-1934
  4. Harijan, 31-8-1935

 

 

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