Socialism is a beautiful word,
and, so far as I am aware in socialism all the members of society are equal-none
low, none high. In the individual body the head is not high because it is the
top of the body, nor are soles of the feet low because they touch the earth.
Even as members of the individual body are equal, so are the members of the
society. This is socialism.
In it the prince and the
peasant, the wealthy and the poor, the employer and the employee are all on the
same level. In the terms of religion there is no duality in socialism. It is all
unity. Looking at society all the world over, there is nothing but duality or
plurality. Unity is conspicuous by its absence. This man is high, that one is
low, that is a Hindu, that a Muslim, third a Christian, fourth a Parsi, fifth a
Sikh, sixth a Jew. Even among these there are subdivisions. In the unity of my
conception there is perfect unity in the plurality of designs.
In order to reach this state we
may not look on things philosophically and say that we need not make a move
until all are converted to socialism. Without changing our life, we may go on
giving addresses, forming parties and, hawk-like, seize the game when it comes
our way. This is no socialism. The more we treat it as game to be seized, the
farther it must recede from us.
Socialism begins with the first
convert. If there is one such, you can add zeros to the one and the first zero
will account for ten and every addition will account for ten times the previous
number. If, however, the beginner is a zero, in other words, no one makes the
beginning, multiplicity of zeros will also produce zero value. Time and paper
occupied in writing zeros will be so much waste.
This socialism is as pure as
crystal. It, therefore, requires crystal-like means to achieve it. Impure means
result in an impure end. Hence the prince and the peasant will not be equalized
by cutting off the prince’s head, nor can the process of cutting off equalize
the employer and the employed. One cannot reach truth by untruthfulness.
Truthful conduct alone can reach truth. Are not non-violence and truth twins?
The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Non-violence is embedded in truth and vice
versa. Hence has it been said that they are faces of the same coin. Either is
inseparable from the other. Read the coin either way. The spelling of words will
be different. The value is the same. This blessed state is unattainable without
perfect purity. Harbour impurity of mind or body and you has untruth and
violence in you.
Therefore, only truthful,
non-violent and pure hearted socialists will be able to establish a socialistic
society in India and the world. To my knowledge there is no country in the world
which is purely socialistic. Without means described above, the existence of
such a society is impossible.
Harijan, 13-7-47, p. 232
Truth and Ahimsa must
incarnate in socialism. In order that they can, the votary must have a
living faith in God. Mere mechanical adherence to truth and Ahimsa is likely
to break down at the critical moment. Hence have I said that truth is God.
This God is a living Force. Our life is of that Force. That Force resides
in, but is not the body. He who denies the existence of that great Force,
denies to himself the use of that inexhaustible Power and thus remains
impotent. He is like a rudderless ship which, tossed about here and there,
perishes without making any headway. The socialism of such takes them
nowhere, what to say of the society in which they live.
If such be the case, does it
mean that no socialist believes in God? If there be any, why have they not made
any visible progress? Then again, many godly persons have lived before now; why
have they not succeeded in founding a Socialistic State?
It is difficult completely to
silence these two doubts. Nevertheless, it is possible to say that it has
perhaps never occurred to a believing socialist that there is any connection
between his socialist and belief in God. It is equally safe to say that godly
men as a rule never commended socialism to the masses.
Superstitions have flourished
in the world in spite of godly men and women. In Hinduism itself untouchability
has, till of late, held undoubted sway.
This fact is that it has always been a matter of strenuous research to know this great
Force and its hidden possibilities.
My claim is that in the pursuit
of that search lies the discovery of Satyagraha. It is not, however, claimed
that all the laws of Satyagraha have been laid down or found. This I do say,
fearlessly and firmly, that every worthy object can be achieved by the use of
Satyagraha. It is the highest and infallible means, the greatest force.
Socialism will not be reached by any other means. Satyagraha can rid society of
all evils, political, economic and moral.
Harijan, 20-7-47, p. 240
I have claimed that I was
Socialist long before those I know in India had avowed their creed. But my
socialism was natural to me and not adopted from any books. It came out of
my unshakable belief in non-violence. No man could be actively non-violent
and not rise against social injustice, no matter where it occurred.
Unfortunately Western socialists have, so far as I know, believed in the
necessity of violence for enforcing socialistic doctrines.
I have always held that social
justice, even unto the least and the lowliest, is impossible of attainment by
force. I have further believed that it is possible by proper training of the
lowliest by non-violent means to secure redress of the wrongs suffered by them.
That means is non-violent non-co-operation. At times non-co-operation becomes as
much a duty as co-operation. No one is bound to co-operate in one’s own undoing
or slavery. Freedom received through the effort of others, however benevolent,
cannot be retained when such effort is withdrawn. In other words, such freedom
is not real freedom. But the lowliest can feel its glow as soon as they learn
the art of attaining it through non-violent non-co-operation.
Harijan, 20-4-40, p. 97
Socialism was not born with
the discovery of the misuse of capital by capitalists. As I have contended,
socialism, even communism, is explicit in the first verse of Ishopanishad1
What is true is that when some reformers lost faith in the method of
conversion, the technique of what is known as scientific socialism was born.
I am engaged in solving the same problem that faces scientific socialists.
It is true, however, that my approach is always and only through
unadulterated non-violence. It may fail. If it does, it will be because of
my ignorance of the technique of non-violence. I may be a bad exponent of
the doctrine in which my faith is daily increasing.
Harijan, 20-2-37, p. 12
The basis of socialism is
economic equality. There can be no Ramarajya2
in the present state of iniquitous inequalities in which a few roll in
riches and the masses do not get even enough to eat. I accepted the theory
of socialism even while I was in South Africa. My opposition to the
socialists and others consists in attacking violence as a means of effecting
and lasting reform.
Harijan, 1-6-47, p. 172
My socialism means ‘even
unto this last’. I do not want to rise on the ashes of the blind, the deaf
and the dumb. In their socialism, probably these have no place. Their one
aim is material progress. For instance, America aims at having a car for
every citizen. I do not. I want freedom for full expression of my
personality. I must be free to build a staircase to Sirius if I want to.
That does not mean that I want to do any such thing. Under the other
socialism, there is no individual freedom. You own nothing, not even your body.
Harijan, 4-8-46, p. 246
. A well known Upanishad revealing the uniqueness of the Spirit and man’s purpose in life.
. Reign of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana; beneficent rule.