In a chapter in his Autobiography (Part IV, Chapter XVIII) entitled 'The Magic Spell of a Book' Gandhiji tells us how he read Ruskin's Unto This Last on the twenty-four hours' journey from Johannesburg to Durban. 'The train reached there in the evening. I could not get any sleep that night. I determined to change my life in accordance with the ideals of the book.... I translated it later into Gujarati, entitling it Sarvodaya.'
Sarvodaya is here re-translated into English, Ruskin's winged words being retained as far
At the end of that chapter
Gandhiji gives us a summary of the teachings of Unto This Last as he
1. The good of the
individual is contained in the good of all.
2. A lawyer's work has
the same value as the barber's, as all have the same right of earning their
livelihood from their work.
3. A life of labour, i.e. the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
Nothing more need be said
as regards the paraphrase of Ruskin's four chapters, but Gandhiji's conclusion
(pp. 77-80), written as it was in South Africa long before he returned to India
in 1915, is prophetic and fit to be treasured by India for all time to come. And
the last paragraph of the booklet is a pearl beyond price.