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Panchayat Raj
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.
Harijan, 28-7’46

When panchayat raj is established, public opinion will do what violence can never do. The present power of the zamindars, the capitalist and the rajas can hold sway so long as the common people do not realize their own strength. If the people non – co – operate with the evil of zamindari or capitalism, it must die of inanition. In panchayat Raj only the panchayat will be obeyed and the panchayat can only work through the law of their making.
Harijan 1-7-’47