Gandhiji firmly believed that self-reliant villages form a sound basis for a just, equitable and non-violent order. This can be a guiding principle for all citizens, constructive workers and policy makers in India.
returning from South Africa Gandhiji developed his ideas on villages from
his direct experiences. He was convinced that "If the villages perish, India
will perish too. It will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will
get lost."1 For him rebuilding of the nation could be achieved
only by reconstructing villages. He himself initiated such efforts at
certain places like Champaran (1917), Sevagram (1920) and Wardha (1938).
With the passage of time, he visualised an elaborate programme of
constructive work, which included economic self-reliance, social equality
and decentralized political system.
Gandhiji wanted to rebuild India from the lowest level with the poorest and
the weakest. So he gave a call to the people to go back to villages for
village reconstruction. He had visualized self-reliant villages, free from
exploitation and fear, as an important part of the decentralized system.
According to him, life will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the
bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose centre will be the individual
always ready to perish for the village, the latter ready to perish for the
circle of villages, till at last the whole becomes one life composed of
individuals, never aggressive in their arrogance but ever humble, sharing
the majesty of the oceanic circle of which they are integral units.2
is the time to listen to Gandhiji's voice carefully, which says, "We are
inheritors of a rural civilization. The vastness of our country, the
vastness of the population, the situation and the climate of the country
have, in my opinion, destined it for a rural civilization... To uproot it
and substitute for it an urban civilization seems to me an impossibility."3