idea of gandhi ji on selfhood

The word ‘Selfhood’ means a vision that indicates being self-supporting in economic terms and relying on one’s resources. India has been self-reliant from the period of Indus Valley Civilisation during the times of traditional methods of agricultural production and non-agricultural production. Gandhi Ji has reflected his ideas on the same in his book Hind Swaraj, 1909. He states:

  1. The development of mind, body, and soul is essential for self-reliance, and that one must limit his desires.
  2. He advocated the system of local governance and economic development.
  3. He opposed capitalism as it resulted in the exploitation of human labor.

Property, on the other hand, can be defined as the “Bundle of Rights.” But considering his viewpoint, the property is both the Bundle of Rights and Right in Rem (vested against the whole world). Property is held by an individual with the backing up of some laws. The laws are those rules and regulations which protect one’s property in the eyes of law. There are concepts in Property law that protect one’s property from the interference of others. It makes it legally yours. The law protects the possession and the ownership of one’s property.

Gandhi Ji was of the view that property and self are born together and die together.[1] During the times when there was no selfhood, there was no property and when there was no law, there was the existence of property. An individual can be a holder of the property only when he is self-sufficient and he can be called as the holder of the property when there are laws, which give him the ownership over that property and this ownership would provide him with a duty to serve the benefit of all. According to him, the possession of the property is the means of purporting love and non-violence. If the exercising of the rights over the property harms others in any way, then this would not come under the category of welfare. The doctrine of Swadeshi supports Sarvodaya because it focuses on the welfare of all individuals. Swadeshi means the preference the local products even if they are of inferior quality and boycotting foreign goods and Sarvodaya means equality and freedom of all and making progress together. Gandhi Ji evolved the idea that one must have enough resources by his ways and means by which he can hold the property to himself with the presence of laws. This can be further demonstrated by his way of using charkhasfor the production of clothes as he invented this machine and was the rightful owner and this can be used for others too.

 Hence, Gandhi’s idea of selfhood is inter-linked to the concepts of law and property. Taking into consideration the above-discussed ideas on Selfhood, it is clear that those were how a property can be held by any individual if one relies on his self rather than depending upon other sources or other persons. This is the only way when your things can be with you for a longer period without any kind of hindrances and it would efficiently and effectively promote the welfare of the citizens as well as help the country in its progress and making recognition worldwide.


[1] Mindful use: Gandhi’s Non- Possessive Property Theory, page 16.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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