Change and Development in Industrial Society

Change and Development in Industrial Society

Question

Gandhi on Machinery, in Hind Swaraj 1924:

“What I object to is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such. The craze is for what they call labour-saving machinery. Men go on ‘saving labour’ till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of starvation. I want to save time and labour, not for a fraction of mankind, but for all. I want the concentration of wealth, not in the hands of the few, but in the hands of all.”

1934: “When as a nation we adopt the spinning wheel, we not only solve the question of unemployment but we declare that we have no intention of exploiting any nation, and we also end the exploitation of the poor by the rich.

Give an example how machinery creates a problem for workers. What alternative did Gandhi have in mind? How does adopting the spinning wheel prevent exploitation?

Answer

Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi the father of nation, was not only a great politician of that time, but he was a great humanitarian and economic reformer. He did not like a poor India and unemployed people in his country. He gave new means of struggle of economy also. He favour cottage and small scale industry. He wanted spinning wheel, khadi and weave cloth and cottage industries for Indians. All machineries he had written Hindu-Swaraj in 1924. He objected the craze for machinery. He was not opposed to use machinery but he did not like machinery upto that extent till machinery takes away work from the workers. He wanted to use machine for the help of labour and not to make him unemployed. He opposed the craze of those industrialists who called labour-saving machinery. He knew very well that thousands of men were unemployed in India. According to him unemployment was a great curse for individual and for society as a whole. He opposed machine if they are used to open streets to die of starvation. He wanted to save time and labour of the man. But not for a fraction of mankind.

He did not like concentration of wealth in the few hands but he wanted the distribution of wealth in the hands of all for social and economic justice in the society.

He wrote after ten year after 1934 that as a nation the people of India had adopted spinning wheel as a symbol national flag. Spinning wheel was adopted as tool to solve the problem of unemployment by providing employment to thousands and thousands villagers, poor urban people, farmers and labourers.

Gandhi was opposed of all types of exploitations. He did not like exploitation of any nation by India and he also did not like that any one country or the other of the world should exploit India. He was really a great socialist of his own kind. He opposed exploitation of the poor (people) by the rich (people).

We can give examples how machinery creates a problem for workers. For example an automatic printing machine prints books automatically with the help of two or three persons. Without the use of big automatic printing machine nearly two hundred labourers are required to do the same work or produce the same volume of production. It means due to use of big automatic machine unemployment is generated. Gandhiji had alternative in his mind that India should be labour-intensive modern industrial units or firms.

Adopting spinning wheel all people can spin cotton. They can prepare cloth on handloom.

More Chapters from Change and Development in Industrial Society