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Theory of Trusteeship
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 violence (that is why I said at the round table conference that vested interest must be subjected to scrutiny , and confiscation ordered necessary with or 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 larger family.
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. . is 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.