In the recent past year of 2009, we have celebrated the Centenary of M.K. Gandhi’s ‘Hind Swaraj’. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule is one of the most important works authored by Mahatma Gandhi in 1909. In Gandhi’s own words, “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.”
The concept of ‘Swaraj’ for Gandhi was not just independence from British rule, but also self-discipline and self-rule by Indians. Swaraj as self rule means inner peace and inner freedom i.e. freedom from hatred, jealously, selfishness, oppression, accumulation, corruption etc. In Hind Swaraj, Gandhi affirmed that true independence can never be win without self-rule and self-discipline. Gandhi viewed that freedom from British Raj will be only momentary freedom; the real freedom comes from inner self.
This affirmation of Gandhi seems to be so true in recent times. We have gained freedom from British rule but we still do not have independence. We are unable to experience true freedom and are clutched by selfishness, accumulation, possession, subjugation, oppression, discrimination, injustice, violence, corruption and hatred.
Hind Swaraj holds a broader perspective of independence and freedom. Gandhi stressed that ’emancipating self’ (individual) should come before ’emancipating nation or society’. Inner transformation within an individual is a starting point of outer changes in society. Self-emancipation and moral change leads to real and permanent freedom.
More than hundred years have passed but still many of us are not familiar of the powerful conversations in Hind Swaraj. Let us pay a tribute to this great epic by reading, understanding and practicing it for bringing self-realization and self-discipline. Each doctrine of Hind Swaraj is the torchbearer to the whole humanity. It is a must read for students and teachers because the basic goal of education is to achieve real freedom through values.