The real implication of equal distribution is that each man shall have the wherewithal to supply all his natural needs and no more. For example, if one man has a weak digestion and requires only a quarter of a pound of flour for his bread and another needs a pound, both should be in a position to satisfy their wants. To bring this ideal into being the entire social order has got to be reconstructed. A society based on non-violence cannot nurture any other ideal. We may not perhaps be able to realize the goal, but we must bear it in mind and work unceasingly to near it. To the same extent as we progress towards our goal we shall find contentment and happiness, and to that extent too shall we have contributed towards the bringing into being of a non-violent society.
It is perfectly possible for an individual to
adopt this way of life without having to wait for others to do so. And if an
individual can observe a certain rule of conduct, it follows that a group of
individuals can do likewise. It is necessary for me to emphasize the fact that
no one need wait for anyone else in order to adopt a right course. Men generally
hesitate to make a beginning of they feel that the objective cannot ne had in
its entirety. Such an attitude of mind is in reality a bar to progress.
>Now let us consider how equal distribution can be
brought about through non-violence. The first step towards it is for him who has
made this ideal part of his being to bring about the necessary changes in his
personal life. He would reduce his wants to a minimum, bearing in mind the
poverty of India. His earnings would be free of dishonesty .The desire for
speculation would be renounced. His habitation would be self- restraint
exercised in every sphere of life. When he has done all that is possible in his
own life, then only will he be in a position to preach this ideal among his
associates and neighbours.
Indeed at the root of this doctrine of equal
distribution must lie that of the trusteeship of wealthy for the superfluous
wealth possessed by them .For according to the doctrine they may not possess a
rupee more than their neighbours. How is this to be brought about?
Non–violently? Or should the wealthy be dispossessed of their possessions? To do
this we would naturally have to resort to violence. This violent action cannot
benefit society. Society will be the poorer, for it will lose the gifts of a man
who knows how to accumulate wealth. Therefore the non-violent way is evidently
superior. The rich man will be left in possession of his wealth, of which he
will use what he reasonably requires for his personal needs and will act as a
trustee for the remainder to be used for the society. In this argument honesty
on the part of the trustee is assumed.
As soon as a man looks upon himself as a servant
of society, earns for its sake, spends for its benefit, then purity enters into
his earnings and there is ahimsa is venture. Moreover, if men’s minds turn
towards this way of life, there will come about a peaceful revolution in
society, and that without any bitterness.
It may be asked whether history at any time
records such a change in human nature. Such change has certainly taken place in
individuals. One may not perhaps be able to point to them in a whole society.
But this only means that up till now there has never been an experiment on a
large scale in non-violence. Somehow or other the wrong belief has taken
possession of that ahimsa is pre-eminently a weapon for individuals and its use
should, therefore be limited to that sphere. In fact this is not the case.
Ahimsa is definitely an attribute of society. To convince people of this truth
is at once my effort and my experiment. In this age of wonders no one will say
that a thing or idea is worthless because it is new. To say it is impossible
because it is difficult is again not in consonance with the spirit of the age.
Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming
possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing
discoveries will be made in the field of non-violence .But I maintain that far
more undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible.
We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the
field of non-violence. The history of religion is full of such examples. To try
to root out religion itself from society is a wild goose chase. And were such
an attempt to succeed, it would mean the destruction of society. Superstition,
evil customs and other imperfections creep in from age to age and mar religion
itself remains because the existence of the world in a broad sense depends on
religion. The ultimate definition of religion may be said to be obedience to the
law of god. God and his law are synonymous terms. Therefore God signifies an
unchanging and living law. No one has really found him. But avatars and prophets
have by means of their tapasya, given to mankind a faint glimpse of eternal law.
If, however, in spite of the utmost effort, the
rich do not become guardians of the poor in true sense of the term and the
latter are more and more crushed and die of hunger, what is to be done? In
trying to find the solution to this riddle I have lighted on Non-violent
Non-co-operation and civil disobedience as the right and infallible means. The
rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor people in
society. Man has been conversant with violence from the beginning, for he has
inherited this strength from the animal in his nature. It was only when he rose
from the state of a quadruped (animal) to that of a biped (man) that the
knowledge of the strength of ahimsa entered into his soul. This knowledge has
grown within him slowly but surely. If this knowledge would become strong and
would learn how to free themselves by means of non-violence from the crushing
inequalities which have brought them to the verge of starvation.