October 10, 2009, Deendayal Research Institute Auditorium, New Delhi
Chaired by: Shri Baldev Bhai Sharma, Editor, Panchjanya (Weekly)
Speakers: Dr. Ramji Singh, Noted Gandhian & Former MP, Lok Sabha
Shri Ashutosh, Managing Editor, IBN-7
Prof. Amit Sharma, Department of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University
A seminar on Hind Swaraj in the centenary year of its publication was very timely. Its relevance in today’s world lies in the fact that millions of people across the globe suffer from the adverse effects of modernity, which Gandhiji had anticipated in 1909. Interestingly, it was not an issue of man versus machine. Rather it was the pressing question of sustaining the environment. In a way, Hind Swaraj exemplified Gandhiji’s efforts of providing an indigenous alternative to the Western model of life. The contemporary perspective of social consciousness and change springs from Gandhian philosophy. Not only that, one of the celebrated foreign authors, Rudolphs, located the genesis of post-modernity in Gandhiji’s classic Hind Swaraj when he titled his work on Gandhiji as ‘Post-modern Gandhi’.
The vision and farsightedness of Gandhiji is vindicated by modern man’s sufferings all over the world. Although he was ridiculed as anarchist in the beginning, it is now an undisputed fact that human society can undeniably find solace by adhering to the principles and practices spelt out by Gandhiji in Hind Swaraj. With this profound realization, India Policy Foundation organized the seminar on Hind Swaraj on the occasion of its centenary celebrations.
Dr Ramji Singh said that in today’s world where violence and disparity have become the order of the day Hind Swaraj provides answers to our problems. The word Hind (India) in the book does not signify the geographical limits of the country, but the Indian model of development.
Dr. Amit Kumar Sharma said that it is not possible to understand Hind Swaraj without understanding Indian philosophy. In Indian philosophy man is one amongst the many beings. The world is his stage for Karma and not for consumption and enjoyment. Sh. Ashutosh said that no person, civilization or culture should be defined on the basis of one book. Gandhiji, he said, should be understood on the basis of his actions. Gandhiji believed in the purity of both means and the ends. Sh. Baldev Bhai Sharma said that Hind Swaraj may thematically be divided into two parts. Some things were of immediate relevance to the British era, whereas its more important things belong to all times. He said that interest in Gandhiji is growing amongst the youth.