Independence must mean that of the people of India, not of those who are today ruling over them. The rulers should depend on the will of those who are under their heels. Thus, they have to be servants of the people, ready to do their will.
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 the 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 neighbours
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 labour.
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 and 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 Force.
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 an oceanic circle whose centre will be the
individual always ready to perish for the village, the latter ready to
perish for the circle of villages, till at last the whole becomes one life
composed of individuals, never aggressive in their arrogance but ever
humble, sharing the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral
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 winds cannot move it.
In this there is no room for machines that would displace human labour and that
would concentrate power in a few hands. Labour .has its unique place 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.