The quintessence of Gandhi's thinking was contained in his little booklet Hind Swaraj. Its import is so revolutionary, so different from what most of us are used to, that a real paradigm shift is a basic pre-requisite to grasping what he had in mind. That is why even close followers and admirers of his, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, just could not stomach what he had said in Hind Swaraj.
The most important thing that Gandhi conveyed through this booklet is a meaning to Swaraj which is totally removed from the political context in which we normally understand this concept. He looked at the root meaning of the word Swaraj = Swa+Raj, that is apne ooper raj. As he explained in his booklet: Real home rule is self-rule or self-control.1 In other words, for him Swaraj stood for our taking control of ourselves, freeing ourselves from the slavery to the mind and its desires. As he explained, the way to it is the awakening of the soul- force or love-force which frees us from the ‘I’-ness of the mind. Thus, his concept of Swaraj is very different from, and in many ways diametrically opposite of, the 'independence' that we Indians celebrate on every 15th Aug.
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