This is a thoroughly revised edition of the *Constructive Programme* which I first wrote in 1941. The items included in it have not been arranged in any order, certainly not in the order of their importance. When the reader discovers that a particular subject though important in itself in terms of Independence does not find place in the programme, he should know that the omission is not intentional. He should unhesitatingly add to my list and let me know. My list does not pretend to be exhaustive; it is merely illustrative. The reader will see several new and important additions.
Readers, whether workers and volunteers or not,
should definitely realize that the constructive programme is the truthful and
non-violent way of winning Poorna Swaraj. Its wholesale fulfillment is complete
Independence. Imagine all the forty crores of people busying themselves with the
whole of the constructive programme which is designed to build up the nation
from the very bottom upward. Can anybody dispute the proposition
that it must mean complete Independence in every sense
of the expression, including the ousting of foreign domination? When the critics
laugh at the proposition, what they mean is that forty crores of people will
never co-operate in the effort to fulfill the programme, No doubt, there is
considerable truth in the scoff. My answer is, it is still worth the attempt,
Given an indomitable will on the part of a band of earnest workers, the
programme is as workable as any other and more so than most. Anyway, I have no
substitute for it, if it is to be based on non-violence.
Civil Disobedience, mass or individual, is an aid
to constructive effort and is a full substitute for armed revolt, Training is
necessary as well for civil disobedience as for armed revolt. Only the ways are
different. Action in either case takes place only when occasion demands.
Training for military revolt means learning the use of arms ending perhaps in
the atomic bomb. For civil disobedience it means the Constructive Programme.
Therefore, workers will never be on the look-out
for civil resistance. They will hold themselves in readiness, if the
constructive effort is sought to be defeated. From one or two illustrations it
will be seen where it can be, and where it cannot be, offered. Political pacts
we know have been and can be, but personal friendship with individuals cannot
be, prevented. Such friendships, selfless and genuine, must be the basis for
political pacts. Similarly, centralized khadi can be defeated by the Government,
but no power can defeat individual manufacture and use of khadi. The manufacture
and use of khadi must not be imposed upon the people, but it must be
intelligently and willingly accepted by them as one of the items of the freedom
movement. This can be done only from the villages as units. Pioneers even in
such programmes can be obstructed. They have had to go through the fire of
suffering throughout the world. There is no Swaraj without suffering. In
violence, truth is the first and the greatest sufferer; in non-violence it is
ever triumphant. Moreover, men composing the Government are not to be regarded
as enemies. To regard them as such will be contrary to the non-violent spirit.
Part we must, but as friends.
If this preliminary observation has gone home to
the reader, he will find the constructive programme to be full of deep interest.
It should prove as absorbing as politics so-called and platform oratory, and
certainly more important and useful.