M K Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (A Critical Edition)

M K Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (A Critical Edition)

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Item Code: NAG850
Author: Suresh Sharma and Tridip Suhrud
Publisher: Orient Blackswan Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English Text with Hindi Translation
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788125039181
Pages: 207
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5 inch X 7.5 inch
Weight 590 gm
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About the Book


Hind Swaraj, Gandhi’s seminal text in Gujarati, was written between 13 and 22 November 1909 abord the Kildonan Castle bound for South Africa. It is a dialogue on modern civilisation, composed at a moment in modern history when the pre-modern in the world beyond Europe could still be touched and spoken of, not as mere memory or longing but as a living form. As a mode of exposition and argument, Hind Swaraj stems from a cognitive universe that abides beyond the ambit of modernity. It is perhaps the only critique of the modern order that seeks an understanding of its salient facts. Its referents are tradition and modernity, the ancient and moder, ethical-moral and instrumental-efficient. Hind Swaraj is a plea for non-violence as a mode of self-affirmation and resistance against oppression and injustice. For anyone engaged with the life and thought of Gandhi and with the question of the meaning of life within the modern order of things, Hind Swaraj remains a critical text.


This critical centenary edition is intended as a renewal of a deeper engagement with the text and the discourse around it. It reinstates the 1910 edition of the English reinstates and the original in Gujarati as the first textual referent in conversation with the 1921 edition and the authorised second edition of 1939. It is presented along three axes: margin-notes (alternative readings/translations of the Gujarati original), footnotes (notations for categories-concepts) and Hindi translation (to mute the current placement of English as the exclusive mediation between languages). This is also the first edition of Hind Swaraj in two languages.


About the Author


Suresh Sharma is a historian and anthropologist. He is Senior Fellow and Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. Currently, he is working on a commentary on Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and a comparative reading of St Augustine’s Confessions and Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth.


Tridip Suhrud is a political scientist and cultural historian, working on the Gandhian intellectual tradition and the social history of Gujarat of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Currently, he is Professor at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. At present, he is working on the English translation of Govardhanram Tripathi’s four-part novel Sarasvatichandra.




It is not without hesitation that the translation of ‘Hind Swaraj’ is submitted to the public. A European friend with whom I discussed the contents, wanted to see a translation of it and, during our spare moments, I hurriedly dictated and he took it down. It is not a literal translation but it is a faithful rendering of the original. Several English friends have read it, and whilst opinions were being invited as to the advisability of publishing the work, news was received that the original was seized in India. This information hastened the decision to publish the translation without a moment’s delay. My fellow-workers at the International Printing Press shared my view and, by working overtime-a labour of love-they have enabled me to place the translation before the public in an unexpectedly short time. The work is being given to the public at what is practically cost-price. But, without the financial assistance of the many Indians who promised to buy copies for themselves and for distribution, it might never have seen the light of day.


I am quite aware of the many imperfections in the original. The English rendering, besides sharing these, must naturally exaggerate them, owing to my inability to convey the exact meaning of the original. Some of the friends who have read the translation have objected that the subject matter has been dealt with in the form of a dialogue. I have no answer to offer to this objection except that the Gujarati language readily lends itself to such treatment and that it is considered the best method of treating difficult subjects. Had I written for English readers in the first instance, the subject would have been handled in a different manner. Moreover, the dialogue, as it has been given, actually took place between several friends, mostly readers of Indian Opinion and myself. Whilst the views expressed in ‘Hind Swaraj’ are held by me, I have but endeavoured humbly to follow Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau, Emerson and other writers, besides the masters of Indian philosophy Tolstoy has been one of my teachers for a number of years. Those who want to see a corroboration of the views submitted in the following chapters, will find it in the works of the above named masters. For ready reference, some of the books are mentioned in the Appendices.


I do not know why ‘Hind Swaraj’, has been seized in India. To me, the seizure constitutes further condemnation of the civilisation represented by the British Government. There is in the book not a trace of approval of violence in any shape or form. The methods of the British Government are, undoubtedly, severely condemned. To do otherwise would be for me to be a traitor to Truth, to India, and to the Empire to which I own allegiance. My notion of loyalty does not involve acceptance of current rule or government irrespective of its righteousness or otherwise. Such notion is based upon the belief-not in its present justice or morality but-in a future acceptance by governments of that standard of morality in practice which it at present vaguely and hypocritically believes in theory. But I must frankly confess that I am not so much concerned about the stability of the Empire as I am about that of the ancient civilisation of India which, in my opinion, represents the best that the world has ever seen. The British Government in India constitutes a struggle between the Modern Civilisation, which is the Kingdom of Satan, and the Ancient Civilisation, which is the Kingdom of God. The one is the God of War, the other is the God of Love. My countrymen impute the evils of modern civilisation to the English people and, therefore, believe that the English people are bad, and not the civilisation they represent. My countrymen, therefore, believe that they should adopt modern civilisation and modern methods of violence to drive out the English. ‘Hind Swaraj’ has been written in order to show that they are following a suicidal policy, and that, if they would but revert to their own glorious civilisation, either the English would adopt the latter and become Indianised or find their occupation in India gone.


It was at first intended to publish the translation as a part of Indian Opinion, but the seizure of the original rendered such a course inadvisable. Indian Opinion represents the Transvaal Passive Resistance struggle and ventilates the grievances of British Indians in South Africa generally. It was, therefore, thought desirable not to publish through a representative organ, views which are held by me personally and which may even be considered dangerous or disloyal. I am naturally anxious not to compromise a great struggle by any action of mine which has no connection with it. Had I not known that there was a danger of methods of violence becoming popular, even in South Africa, had I not been called upon by hundreds of my countrymen, and not a few English friends, to express my opinion on the Nationalist movement in India. I would even have refrained, for the sake of the struggle, from reducing my views to writing. But, occupying the position I do, it would have been cowardice on my part to postpone publication under the circumstances just referred to.




I have written some chapters on the subject of Indian Home Rule which I venture to place before the readers of Indian Opinion. I have written because I could not restrain myself. I have read much, 1 have pondered much, during the stay, for four months in London of the Transvaal Indian deputation. I discussed things with as many of my countrymen as I could. I met, too, as many Englishmen as it was possible for me to meet. I consider it my duty now to place before the readers of Indian Opinion the conclusions, which appear to me to be final. The Gujarati subscribers of Indian Opinion number about 800. I am aware that, for every subscriber, there are at least ten persons who read the paper with zest. Those who cannot read Gujarati have the paper read to them. Such persons have often questioned me about the condition of India. Similar questions were addressed to me in London. I felt, therefore, that it might not be improper for me to ventilate publicly the views expressed by me in private.


These views are mine, and yet not mine. They are mine because I hope to act according to them. They are almost a part of my being. But, yet, they are not mine, because I lay no claim to originality. They have been formed after reading several books. That which I dimly felt received support from these books.


The views I venture to place before the reader are, needless to say, held by many Indians not touched by what is known as civilisation, but I ask the reader to believe me when I tell him that they are also held by thousands of Europeans. Those who wish to dive deep, and have time, may read certain books themselves. If time permits me, I hope to translate portions of such books for the benefit of the readers of Indian Opinion.


If the readers of Indian Opinion and others who may see the following chapters will pass their criticism on to me, I shall feel obliged to them.


The only motive is to serve my country, to find out the truth, and to follow it. If, therefore, my views are proved to be wrong, I shall have no hesitation in rejecting them. If they are proved to be right, I would naturally wish, for the sake of the Motherland, that others should adopt them.


To make it easy reading, the chapters are written in the form of a dialogue between the reader and the editor.




Preface to the English Translation





The Congress and its Officials



The Partition of Bengal



Discontent and Unrest



What is Swaraj?



The Condition of England






Why was India Lost?



The Condition of India



The Condition of India (cont.): Railways



The Condition of India (cont.): The Hindus and the Mahomedans



The Condition of India (cont.): Lawyers



The Condition of India (cont.): Doctors



What is True Civilisation?



How can India become Free?



Italy and India



Brute Force



Passive Resistance











Appendix I: Some Authorities


Appendix II: Testimonies by Eminent Men



हिंदी स्वराज



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