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Gandhiji in Ahmedabad

Sudarshan Iyengar ()
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Sudarshan Iyengar: Former Faculty, Gujarat Institute of Development Research

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2021, vol. 23, issue 1, No 2, 4-24

Abstract: Abstract This essay deals with M.K. Gandhi’s experiments in practicing swaraj by him and his companions living in an ashram environment. He conceptualized ashram as a social laboratory for community living. It was to be the place to train volunteers for rebuilding India as a nonviolent society. He had begun the experiments in South Africa and continued it after returning to India in 1915. His experiments were aimed at training individuals for self-rule and for rebuilding rural society with decentralized economy consisting of agriculture, dairy (which included leather work), hand-spun cloth making which included weaving and dying. He named this entire process: swadeshi and swavalamban—self-reliance. This essay describes experiments he carried out at two locations: Kochrab and Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. He named his ashrams as Satyagraha Ashram. This essay gives a brief sketch of three institutions Gandhiji founded: Gujarat Vidyapith—a nationalist university for educating the new generation and turning them into volunteers for rural reconstruction, Majoor Mahajan Sangh, a unique trade union where cloth mill workers and owners came together to resolve industrial disputes; and a publishing house to propagate his thought and actions on swaraj, swavalamban, swadeshi, emancipation of women, Hindu-Muslim harmony and removal of untouchability based on Truth and Non-violence. This essay finally analyses his emergence as the leader of the common people and the Indian National Congress between 1915 and 1930.

Keywords: Ashram; Swaraj; Practice of observances; Engaging India; Emerging leadership (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-021-00148-y

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