Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Mahatma Gandhi propounded the theory of Trusteeship. Trusteeship means the following:

a) limit your needs, and

b) keep the surplus with you as if you are its Trustee and do not hesitate to spend it for the benefit of the society.

The theory is beautiful. Gandhi put it into practice, too. Can we Gandhitopians think in this directon? I want to hear from you all. Let us discuss the real issues which are must to change oneself and then the society.

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I must say that I did not realise that this was a basic principle of Gandhi. It is very similar to ideas of Quakers, Society of Friends, which I thought was a very worth while idea, so I did not really understand the term before.
I am not much aware about Society of Friends. Would you please let me know?
Idea of Trusteeship is basically an idea of utmost living faith in God. It is not to have a faith in God, it is really living faith in presence of God. Our basic problem is that we do have faith in God in a traditional way, that is not living faith. That is believe faith that is learnt from religious teachings. That is why the word Trusteeship has not been fully understood. Some Captalists have diverted their profits in a registred Trust and have declaired themselves as Trustee, but this is not true Trusteeship. True trusteeship is living in the presence of God always. That is what Gandhi lived and died for. Gandhi had never made Bank balances, he living faith in the presence of God.
I think we should work for enhancing spiritual quotient of our children. What we are doing with our children today, we are paying attention on enhancing their IQ. We are desirous of sending them to IITs/IIMs without giving them ethical founation and therefore, they are after money throughout their life and hence they are not happy. We have to have basic changes in our education system, too.
Trusteeship is a good idea and we have had very good debate on this site through blog. Debators discussed every aspect of the Trusteeship principle. At least one of the Gandhitopians Christopher Wroth (Chris) has made serious attempts to form a Trust for educational needs of next generations. of his family. Of course his aim was limited to education of future generation but the whole idea was based on a trust.
To be realistic, a man with modest means - and in the Indian context where 77 % of the population cannot earn more than Rs. 20 ( less than half a dollar) a day - the principle cannot be truly put into practice by people in general. Any way, the concept is meant for those who have surplus earned from profit. The principle does not dispossess the big people of their wealth but wants them to use it as a trustee. This cannot be left to an individual and change of heart and all that do not work in the real world. Even if they work they cannot become a normal practice. We may come across some examples of personal sacrifice. Gandhi has not elaborated on how to put the principle into practice (at least I am not aware of it). However, I think the trusteeship is not what the recent philanthro - capitalists are practising.
In the circumstances micro level efforts may not be successful. It is necessary to work on macro level that is forcing governments through public campaigns to restrict the profit making capability of a person so that the wealth can be transferred to the poor. Can we do something to empower these people not only in India but in African continent ? Will it be justified to teach them the virtues of renunciation and, of restricting their needs? They do not have NEEDS, Sir, they have WANTS. How can they restrict their WANTS?. They even otherwise forego a full lunch in a day.
There will be no poverty if trusteeship principle is followed in a community, area, group, village etc. Rich people should think of their relatives first. Let them ensure that their surplus resources are used for their poor relatives. Later it can be extended to others. One has to be highly spiritual to follow this principle. Change from hunger of waelth to their generous use can not happen overnight. One must start the purification process of one's innerself by practicing technique like vipassana, art of living etc.
At what point does concern for "our own relatives first" contradict a spirit of unified community? If none of my relatives are the poorest people in my community, do I still look after them "first"?
You are lucky if it so. The whole world is your family. You decide the fittest of the case.
Well .. I am replying to the views of Ms.Bridget; you have mentioned to the other thread also "Trusteeship,, Can it be realized?"

You said: The richest 2% of the USA are very, very good at looking after their families...

There is only half the truth in this!

Some of them do care about the poor as their families but in their own ways. They do claim that "to do good to the poor, we don't need Gandhi."

Doing good in the ways and methods of Gandhian Trusteeship is what that makes a moral distinction. The capitalists' approach and government policies, I perceive, might be the hindrances for implementing the Trusteeship in its fullest form.

In todays world, we see many variations of trusteeship running variety of organizations, institutions, schools, colleges and even universities. Each of them have their own style of functioning and claim to have their concept of trusteeship in working. Even the poor behaving more like corporations is nothing but a symbol of development and prosperity yet,it need not be seen as trusteeship or a variation of trusteeship.

Gandhi's trusteeship is all about common-wealth, common-privileges, common-welfare and common-rights. Every one is equally measured and respected in the organization and every one shares the responsibilities and functions.

Nowadays we could see many variations of trusteeship, not the real one.
I agree with you. Gandhian Trusteeship is different. A capitalist has to treat himself as trustee of his wealth. This could put an end to exploitation. Other trusts or philanthropist capitalists do not want to accept Gandhian principles. What they do is charity. having enjoyed all the fruits of market they come out in support of charitable works, sometimes with the benefit of tax relief. If only they agree to pay their taxes honestly and do not pressurise governments to adopt pro-rich policies, they would be very useful as citizens. The poor are poor because of the policies of the governments framed under such pressure. Then they earn huge profits and come out with trusts or with charitable ideas. They earn prestige that way. Governments must act to curb this profiteering and divert funds towards welfare of the poor. Gandhi wanted a change of heart but that does not mean that governments cannot act.
Ram you keep saying .........WE........... but the Truth is that each individual must DO something not the illusion of WE. I have no idea of what religious discipline you may be from but the greatest thing to read and absorb is the GITA as it argues out the way WE should all live our lives evry hour of every day for all of our lives.
Yes we need change in our educational systems.

Dear Garvin, I am ardent follower of GITA. She is just like my mother who is taking care of every moment of my life. I am also trying to be good son and do my best to follow her instructions. I am very happy to learn that you, too, believe in GITA.


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