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Village Industries
Extinction of village industries would complete the ruin of the 7, 00,000 villages of India.
I have seen in the daily press criticism of the proposals I have adumbrated. Advice has been given to me that I must look for salvation in the direction of using the powers of nature that the inventive brain of man has brought under subjection .The critics say that water, oil and electricity should be fully utilized as they are being under subjection.  The critics say that water, air, oil, and electricity should be fully utilized as they are being utilized in the go-ahead West. They say that control over these hidden powers of nature enables every American to have thirty-three slaves. They say that control over these hidden powers of nature enables every American to have thirty – three slaves.
Repeat the process in India and I dare say that it will thirty- three times enslave every inhabitant of this land, instead of giving every one thirty–three slaves.
Mechanization is good when the hands are too few for the work intended to be accomplished. It is an evil when there are more hands then required for the work, as is the case in India. I may not use a plough for digging a square yard of a plot of land. The problem with us is not how to find leisure for the teeming millions inhabiting our villages. The problem is how to utilize their idle hours, which are equal to the working days of six months in the year. Strange as it may appear, every mill generally is a menace to the villagers. I have not worked out the figures, but I am quite safe in saying that every mill-hand does the work of at least ten laborers doing the same work in their villages. In other words, he earns more than he did in his village at the expense of ten fellow-villagers. Thus spinning and weaving mills have deprived the villagers of substantial means of livelihood. It is no answer in reply to say that they turn out cheaper, better cloth, if they do so at all. For, if they have displaced thousands of workers, the cheapest mill cloth is dearer than the dearest Khadi woven in the villages. Coal is not dear for the coal miner who can use it there and then, nor is Khadi dear for the villager who manufactures his own Khadi. But if the cloth manufactured in mills displace thousand of poor women workers, but damage the health of the whole population in the bargain. Where people have no objection to taking flesh diet and can afford it, white flour and polished rice may do no harm, but in India, where millions can get no flesh diet even where they have no objection to eating it if they can get it, it is sinful to deprive them of nutritious and vital elements contained in whole wheat meal and unpolished rice. It is time medical men and others combined to instruct the people on the danger attendant upon the use of white lour and polished rice.
I have drawn attention to some broad, glaring facts to shown that they way to take work to the villagers is not through mechanizations but that it lies through revival of the industries they have hitherto followed.
Harijan, 16-11-‘34

The idea behind the village industries schemes its that we should look to the villages for the supply of our daily need and that, when we find that some need are not so supplied, we should see whether with a little trouble and organization they cannot be profitably supplied by the villagers. In estimating the profit, we should think of the villager, not of ourselves. It may be that in the initial stage we might have to pay a little more than the ordinary price and get an inferior article in the bargain.  Things will improve, if we will interest ourselves in the supplier of our needs and insist on his doing better and take the trouble of helping him to do better.
Haijan, 23-11-‘34

I would say that if the village perishes India will perish too. India will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost. The revival of the village is possible only when it is no more exploited. Industrialization on a mass scale will necessarily lead to passive or active exploitation and marketing come. Therefore we have to concentrate on the village being self-contained, manufacturing mainly for use. Provided this character of the village industry is maintained, there would be no objection to villagers using even the modern machines and tools that they can make and can afford to use. Only they should not be used as a means of exploitation of others.
Harijan, 29-8-‘36

We have to make a choice between India of the villages that are as ancient as her and India of the cities which are a creation of foreign domination. To day the cities dominate and drain the villages so that they are crumbling to ruin. My Khadi mentality tells me that cities must sub serve villages when that domination goes. Exploiting of villages is itself organized violence. If we want Swaraj to be built on non-violence, we will have to give the villages their proper place.
Harijan, 20-1-‘40

Khadi
Khadi to me is the symbol of unity of Indian humanity, of its economic freedom and equality and, therefore, ultimately, in the poetic expression of Jawaharlal Nehru, “the livery of India’s freedom”.
Moreover, Khadi mentality means decentralization of the production and distribution of the necessaries of life. There for, the formula so fare evolved is, every village to produce all its necessaries and a certain percentage in addition for the requirements of the cities.
Heavy industries will needs be centralized and nationalized. But they will occupy the least part of the vast national activity which will mainly be in the villages.
Production of Khadi includes cotton growing, picking, ginning, cleaning, carding, slivering, spinning, sizing, dyeing, preparing the warp and the woof, weaving, and washing. These, with the exception of dyeing, are essential processes. Every on of them can be effectively handled in the villages and is being so handle din many village throughout India which the A.I.S.A. is covering.
Since the wanton destruction of this central village industry and the allied handicraft, intelligence and brightness have fled from the villages, leaving them inane, lusterless, and reduced almost to the state of their ill – kept cattle.
Constructive Program me, P.12

Other village industries
These stand on a different footing from Khadi. There is not much scope for voluntary labor in them. Each industry will take the labor of only a certain number of hands. These industries come in as a handmaid to Khadi. They cannot exist without Khadi, and Khadi will be robbed of its dignity without them. Village economy cannot be complete without the essential village industries such as hand-grinding, hand-pounding, soap-making, paper making, match-making, tanning, oil-pressing, etc. Congressmen can interest themselves in these and, if they are villagers or will settle down in villages, they will give these industries a new life and a new dress. All should make it a point of honor to use only village articles whenever and wherever available. Given the demand there is no doubt that most our wants can be supplied from our villages. When we have become village-minded, we will not want imitations of the West of machine-made products, but we will develop a true national taste in keeping with the vision of a new India in which pauperism, starvation and idleness will be unknown.
Constructive Programme, p. 15

Compost Manure
Given the willing co-operation of the masses of India, this country can not only drive out shortage of food, but can provide India with more than enough. This organic manure ever enriches, never impoverishes the soil. The daily waste, judiciously composted, returns to the soil in the form of golden manure causing a saving of millions of rupees and increasing manifold, the total yield of grains and pulses. In addition, the judicious use of waste keeps the surrounding clean. And clean-lines is not only next to godliness, it promotes health.
Harijan, 28-12—‘47

Village Tanning
Village tanning is as ancient as India itself. No one can say when tanning became a degraded calling. It could not have been so in ancient times. But we know today that on e of the most useful and an indispensable industry has consigned probably a million people to hereditary untouchability. An evil day dawned upon this unhappy country when labor began to be despised and therefore neglected. Millions of those who were the salt of the earth, on whose industry this country depended for its very existence, came to be regarded as low classes, and the microscopic leisured few became the privileged classes, with the tragic result that India suffered morally and materially. Which was the greater of the two losses it is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate. But the criminal neglect of the peasants and artisans has reduced us to pauperism, dullness and habitual idleness. With her magnificent climate, lofty mountains, mighty rivers and an extensive seaboard, India has limited resources, whose full exploitation in her villages should have prevented poverty and disease. But divorce of the intellect from body-labor has made of us perhaps the shortest-lived, most resource less and most exploited nation on earth. The state of village tanning is, perhaps, the best proof of my indictment.
It is estimated that rupees nine cores worth of raw hide is annually exported from India and much of it is returned to her in the shape of manufactured articles. This means not only a material, but also an intellectual, drain. We miss the training we should receive in tanning and preparing the innumerable articles of leather we need for daily use.
Here is work for the cent percent Swedish lover and scope for the harnessing of technical skill to the solution of a great problem. It serves the Harijans. It serves the villagers, and it means honorable employment for the middle class intelligentsia who are in search of employment. Add to this the fact that the intelligentsia has a proper opportunity of coming in direct touch with the villagers.

How to Begin
Correspondents have been writing, and friends have been seeing me, to ask me how to begin the village industries work and what to do first.
The obvious answer is, “Begin with yourself and do first that which sis easiest for you to do.”
This answer, however, does not satisfy the enquirers. Let me, therefore, be more explicit.
Each person can examine all the article of food, clothing and other things, that he used from day to day and replace foreign makes or city makes, by those produced by the villagers in their homes or fields with the simple inexpensive tools they can easily handle or mend. This replacement will be itself an education of great value and a solid beginning. The next step will be opened out to him of itself. For instance, say, the beginner has been hitherto using a tooth-brush made in a Bombay factory. He wants to replace it with a village brush. He is advised to use a babul twig. If he has weak teeth or is toothless, he has to crush one end of it, with a rounded stone or hammer, on a hard surface. The other end he slits with a knife and uses the halves as tongue-scrapers. He will find these brushes to cheaper and much cleaner than the very unhygienic factory made tooth-brush. The city-made tooth-powder he naturally replaces with equal parts of clean, finely-ground wood-charcoal and clean salt. He will replace mill-cloth with village-spun Khadi, and mill husked rice with hand-husked, unpolished rice, and white sugar with village-made guru. These I have taken merely as samples already mentioned in these columns. I have mentioned them again to deal with the difficulties the question with me.
Harijan, 25-1-‘35