Independence must begin at the bottom. Thus, every village will be a Republic or Panchayat having full powers. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world. It will be trained and prepared to perish in its attempt to defend itself against any onslaught from without. Thus, ultimately, it is the individual who is the unit. This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbors or from the world. It will be free and voluntary play of mutual forces. Such a society is necessarily highly cultured, in which every man and woman knows what he or she wants and, what is more, knows that no one should want anything that others cannot have with equal labor.
This society must naturally be based on Truth and
Non-Violence which, in my opinion, are not possible without a living belief in
God, meaning a self-existent, all-knowing living force which inheres every other
force known to the world but which depends on none and which will live when all
other forces may conceivably perish or cease to act. I am unable to account for
my life without belief in this all-embracing living light.
In this structure composed of innumerable villages
there will be ever widening, never ascending circles. Life will not be a pyramid
with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be the individual always
ready to perish for the village, the letter ready to perish for the village,
sharing the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral units.
Therefore, the outermost circumference will not
wield power to crush the inner circle but give strength to all within and derive
its own from the centre. I may be taunted with the retort that this is all
Utopian and therefore not worth a single thought. If Euclid’s point, though
incapable of being drawn by human agency, has an imperishable value, my picture
has its own for mankind to live. Let India Live for this true picture, though
never realizable in its completeness. We must have a proper picture of what we
want before we can have something approaching it. If there ever is to be a
republic of every village in India, then I claim verity for my picture in which
the last is equal to the first, or in other words, none is to be the first and
none the last.
In this picture every religion has its full and
equal place. We are all leaves of a majestic tree whose trunk cannot be shaken
off its roots which are deep down in the bowels of the earth. The mightiest of
wind cannot move it.
In this there is no room for machines that would
displace human labor and that would concentrate power in a few hands. Labor has
its unique in a cultural human family. Every machine that helps every individual
has a place. But I must confess that I have never sat down to think out what
that machine can be. I have thought of singer’s sewing machine. But even that is
perfunctory. I do not need it to fill in my picture.