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Sustainable Development in Gandhian Way: Quest for an Alternate Vision

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  • Published
    28th Dec, 2019
  • There is well known wider acceptance across the country about reviving Gandhian value and living Gandhian ideology.
  • It is well-known that the central aim of the Gandhian programme of action is the attainment of Swaraj and Sarvodaya which in general parlance mean the all-round, holistic development of humanity. 

Gandhian values in modern day society

  • Contemporary society has been characterized as knowledge society. But in spite of such easy and widespread access to information and knowledge, in daily living we confront natural phenomena which are practically incomprehensible, inexplicable and hence mind-boggling to most people.
  • It is true that the scientific revolutions in the fields of quantum mechanics, bio-genetics and artificial intelligence are dramatically reshaping the destiny of humanity positively. But they too are not sure about the fate of our universe and the intelligent life in it.
  • Knowledge, traditionally viewed as an aid to service, came to be considered a mere instrument for the attainment of power and domination. Sir Francis Bacon put it succinctly: ‘knowledge is power.
  • The idea that unlimited physical comforts and sensuous enjoyment could be chased and realized disclosed into a new theory and ideology known as developmentalism.
  • Development at any cost has become the motto of modern civilization, Irrespective of the divergent political ideologies followed by different nation state.
  • Modern civilization with its uni-dimensional focus on physical comforts and sensuous enjoyment, developed by the West, in the West, and thrust upon the rest (of the world) by them, was glorified by the elite classes around the world as the ideal way of life to be aspired and attained by all.  
  • Alternate Vision Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj contained, among other things, a sever critique of modern western civilization.
  • He diagnosed the root cause of the disease of modern civilization as violence. The other dangers that Gandhi identified in modern western civilization were that it dismissed religion and morality from human life and transaction as redundant and elevated physical comfort to the level of the ultimate foal to be sought after in life.
  • In keeping with the Marxian perspective, it measured the level of human civilization on the basis of its increased technological capacity to dominate over, manipulate and control nature.
  • Several studies, while warning humanity against the impending possibility of a total global catastrophe, also presented alternative visions of a sustainable future civilization and it is fascinating that these visions arte mostly in consonance with the Gandhian alternative.
  • The UN Declaration Document clearly states that the focus of the programme is on people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, points repeatedly emphasized by Gandhi on many occasions.
  • It also state that the member nations are determined to take steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.  
  • As the UN, rightly posed it, the question before us is simple and obvious: Are we ready to read the clear signs on the horizon and change on to a sustainable path.
  • This was, precisely, what Gandhi had asked in his Hind Swaraj and it was the basic principle of a sustainable civilization that he enunciated in it. Our responsibility is to translate them into reality.

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