Suppose I have come by a fair amount of wealth
either by way of legacy, or by means of trade and industry, I must know that all
that wealth does not belong to me, what belongs to me is the right to an
honorable livelihood, no better than that enjoyed by millions of others .The
rest of my wealth belongs to the community enunciated this theory when the
socialist theory was placed before the country in respect to the possessions
held by zamindars and ruling chiefs. They would do away with these privileged
classes. I want them to out grow their bread by labour. The labourer has to
realize that the wealthy man is less owner of his wealth than labourer is owner
of his own, viz. the power to work.
The question how many can be real trustees
according to this definition is beside the point. If the theory is true, it is
immaterial whether many live up to it or only one man lives up to it. The
question is of conviction. If you accept the principle of ahimsa, you have to
strive to live up to it .The question is of conviction. If you accept the
principle of ahimsa, you have to strive to live up to it, no matter whether you
succeed or fail. There is nothing in this theory which can be said to be beyond
the grasp of intellect, though you may say it is difficult of practice.
You may say that trusteeship is a legal fiction.
But if people meditate over it constantly and try to act up to it, then life on
earth would be governed far more by love than it is at present. Absolute
trusteeship is an abstraction like Euclids definition of a point, and is
equally unattainable. But if we strive for it, we shall be able to go further in
realizing a state of equality on earth than by other method
. It is my firm
conviction that if the state suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be
caught in the coils of violence itself, and fails to develop non-violence at any
time. The state is a soulless machine; it can never be weaned from weaned from
violence to which it owes its very existence. Hence I prefer the doctrine of
trusteeship. The fear is always there that the state may use too much violence
against those who differ from it. I would be very happy indeed if the people
concerned behaved as trustees ; but if they fail, I believe we shall have
deprive them of their possessions through the state with the minimum exercise of
(that is why I said at the round table conference that vested interest
must be subjected to scrutiny , and confiscation ordered necessary
without compensation as the case demanded) What I would prefer would be not a
centralization of power in the hands of state , but an extension of the sense of
trusteeship; as in my opinion the violence of private ownership is less
injurious than the violence of the state . However, if it is unavoidable, I
would support a minimum state-ownership.
The modern review 1933, p.412
It has become the fashion these days to say that
society cannot be organized or run on non-violent lines .I join issue on that
point. In a family, when the father slaps his delinquent child, the latter does
not think of retaliating. He obeys his father not because of the deterrent
effect of the slap but because of the offended love which he senses behind it.
That in my opinion is an epitome of the way in which society is or should be
governed. What is true of the family must be true of society which is but a
I hold that non violence is not merely a
personal virtue. I t is also social virtue to be cultivated like the other
virtue to be cultivated like the other virtues. Surely society is largely
regulated by the expression of non-violence in its mutual dealings. What I ask
for it an extension of it on a larger, national and international scale.
My theory of trusteeship is no make-shift,
certainly no camouflage. I am confident that it will survive all other theories.
It has the sanction of philosophy and religion behind it. That possessors of
wealth have not acted up to the theory does not prove its falsity; it proves the
weakness of the wealthy, No other theory is compatible with non-violence. In the
non-violent method the wrong does compasses his own end, if he does not undo the
wrong. For, either through non-violent non-cooperation he is made to see the
error he finds himself completely isolated.
Harijan, 16- 12- 39
I have no hesitation in endorsing the opinion that
generally rich men and for that matter most men are not particular as to the way
the make money. In the application of the method of non-violence, one must
believe in the possibility of every person, however, depraved, being reformed
under humane and skilled treatment. We must appeal to the good human beings and
expect response. It is not conducive to well being of society that every member
uses all his talents, only not for personal aggrandizement but for the good of
all? We do not want to produce a dead equality of using where every person
becomes or is rendered incapable of using his ability to the utmost possible
extent. Such a society must ultimately perish. I therefore suggest that my
advice that moneyed men may earn their crores (honestly only, of course) but so
as to dedicate them to the service of all is perfectly sound.
a mantra based on uncommon knowledge. It is the surest method to evolve a new
order of life of universal benefits in the place of the present one where each
one lives for himself without regard to what happens to his neighbor.