Modern Indian Thinkers Gandhi-the Swaraj, Concept of the Swaraj and Important Quotes on Swaraj

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Modern Indian Thinkers: Gandhi- The Swaraj (Philosophy)

The Concept of Swaraj

  • The Gandhian concept of Swaraj has a far broader and deeper significance than English terms like freedom and independence.

  • Swaraj for Gandhi had both negative and positive implications.

  • Negatively speaking, swaraj meant freedom from the British or the alien rule and its influences on the Indian civilisation.

  • On the other hand, positively it meant for the masses of India to develop self-governance.

  • According to Gandhi, self-governance implies freedom for the people, the peasants, the workers, the women, children, etc.

  • In short, it includes everyone.

  • The people’s swaraj for Gandhi is four dimensional in nature.

  • It includes the domains of politics, social, economic and moral facets.

  • Gandhi considered them as constituting the “square of swaraj”.

  • Unless these four dimensions are in perfect accordance with each-other, the square of swaraj will always present a distorted picture.

  • Gandhi quotes, “It will be out of shape, if any of its angles in untrue.”

  • In short, it can be said that swaraj for Gandhi was the position where the people constitute their own sovereign power.

  • According to him, swaraj is the perfect democracy.

  • He says, Swaraj is the perfect democracy. It is so because in it exist no inequalities on the premise of wealth, colour, race, caste, creed, religion, sex, etc.

  • In other word, there is freedom of worship, speech and the press.

  • In swaraj, the land and the state belong to the people themselves.

  • As a result, justice is prompt, effective, perfect and cheap.

  • The Concept of Swaraj

    The Concept of Swaraj

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Gandhi’s swaraj is the state of existence where all the social distinctions wither away.

  • He quotes, “every community would be on a par with every other, under the swaraj constitution.”

  • Gandhi was indebted to the idea of swaraj from the concept of ram-rajya.

  • Ram-rajya or Divine rajya where even the dog attained justice.

  • It is important to note that he did not consider ram-rajya as a Hindu concept.

  • Rather, the concept of ram-rajya was profoundly non-religious in nature. According to him, it is the divine, the kingdom of God where justice was served swifty, even to a dog.

  • Emphasis on self-restraint and self-rule or swaraj remained a significant cornerstone of Gandhi’s moral philosophy.

  • Gandhi also borrows heavenly from the philosophical ideas of Gita.

  • He laid emphasis on the importance of the performance of Duty.

  • According to him, “performance of duty and observance of morality are conceivable terms.”

  • He believed in the welfare of the society (lokasamgraha).

  • As a result, he also believed in the concept of nish-kama-karma, or disinterestedness in action.

  • Wilfred Wellock avers, Gandhi’s swaraj is the small community such as a village and the small marker town. He says so because only in such a society, politics is local and vital.

  • It is so because they have to do with the organisation of the local economic life, where real politics, economic freedom and self-responsibility are all equally involved.

Important Quotes on Swaraj

  • “It is swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves”

  • “In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals.”

  • “Those who seek justice will have to do justice to others”

  • “There is enough on Earth for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.’’

  • “Swaraj is our birth right; no one can deprive us of it, unless we forget it ourselves.”


1. Gandhi’s idea of swaraj includes

A. Positive swaraj

B. Negative swaraj

C. Both A and B

D. None of these

Answer: C

2. The four square of Swaraj constitutes ________ domains;

A. Moral, Religious, Secular and Economic

B. Politics, Social, Economic and Moral

C. Politics, Religious, Social and Secular

D. None of these

Answer: B

3. Which amongst the following statements is False in relation to Gandhi’s ideology?

A. He believed in the concept of Lokasamgraha

B. He believed in the concept of Nishkama-karma

C. He believed in the concept of retributive punishment

D. The concept of Ram-rajya is non-religious in nature

Answer: C

4.”There is enough on Earth for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.’’ is said by

A. Gandhi

B. Tagore

C. Vivekananda

D. Aurobindo

Answer: A