Hind Swaraj Summary

What is the summary of Hind Swaraj by Gandhi?

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Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj while on a boat from London to South Africa in 1909. In this tract, written in Gujarati, Gandhi lays out the argument for Indian home rule as a dialogue between an editor and reader. The editor, who is the voice of Gandhi, says that he wants home rule that is not the same as simply adopting an English style of government. He says, "You want the tiger's nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make India English." Instead, the editor wants an Indian style of government. In a striking sentence, the editor says, "That which you consider to be the Mother of Parliaments is like a sterile woman and a prostitute." He says that the English Parliament is sterile because it can't accomplish anything and is like a prostitute because it is led by constantly changing ministers. The editor says that elements of English administration and culture, including railroads, lawyers, and doctors, have only brought ruin to India, not progress. He suggests that all machinery in India become disused as a way of getting rid of the evils of western civilization. The editor also advocates the creation of one nation out of India; as he says, "India cannot cease to be one nation because people belonging to different religions live in it." He wants to create one India with different religions, including Hinduism and Islam.

To free India of English rule, the editor says that India must not resort to violence. As he says, "What we need to do is to sacrifice ourselves. It is a cowardly thought, that of killing others." Instead of using violence, Indians have to resist through what he calls "the force" and goes on to describe "as love-force, soul-force, or, more popularly but less accurately, passive resistance." The editor advocates passive resistance as the highest and most powerful form of resisting English rule and gaining home rule for India.

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In his book Gandhi discusses the problems not only facing humanity in general but also those directly impacting his home country of India which is under British colonization. He offers his opinion on the causes of these problems and some remedies. The book uses two characters, a reader (Indian countryman) and an editor (Gandhi). The reader states the issues and beliefs surrounding the current colonial situation while the editor offers explanations and solutions to the issues.

Gandhi advocates for “Home rule” which simply translates to self rule. He states that Indians should not strive to make India English after attaining their independence and asserts that independence can be achieved without violence. He advises that since the English are in India because of trade, then the Indians should boycott all trade relations with them. This clearly shows that the British government has no consent from the governed and through non violence they will see no point of staying in India.

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Gandhi's work was one of his first forays into the then inconceivable notion of Indian Independence.  The idea of the British Raj coming to an end in India was something that could not have been seen in the early 1900s.  Yet, Gandhi's writing in Hind Swaraj allows the reader to fully grasp that he envisioned a time when Indian Independence was a reality that could be embraced.  Even in the earliest of stages, Gandhi believed that Indian Independence was only possible if seen as a byproduct of a search for truth.  In his work, it is apparent that spiritual freedom is the foundation upon which political freedom is based.  It is this basic premise that Gandhi brings out in Hind Swaraj.  The idea of being able to speak to the Indian people, as a nation or a group that does not exist as servants to the British, is another striking element of Gandhi's writing that makes it a distinct work of the Independence Movement.

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