Reaching The Destiny


Reaching the Destiny

Chandan Sukumar Sengupta*

[in the context of the Social, Environmental and Economic thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. J. C. Kumarappa]


Better to Best

            If we start moving toward the horizon and try to reach certain destiny by putting all our efforts being converged accordingly with subtle understanding then after reaching the desired target there will be some other higher destiny waiting for us. In this manner our journey will be a continuous one from primarily fixed goal toward some higher achievable goals. It is the best combination of human understanding, needs and wishes. What we think of development and what we try to attain through differently guided efforts are often impregnated with some predetermined ideals of progress. Keeping pace with the changing scenario of the state our efforts receive some concrete guidance having timely relevance. Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and one of his associate Dr. J. C. Kumarappa[1] was one such kind of timely relevant planned initiatives aimed toward attaining sufficiency in terms of productivity, wealth and human efforts. That time the major problem mounted in the country was in the form of British Rule.[i] The focus of all efforts directed toward bringing people out of such oppression and torture through giving them some mechanism of adopting self-sufficiency as well as self-reliance.  It was considered a journey of the Indian Society from a worst condition (as being visualized by Dr. Kumarappa through his study of Matar Development Block of Gujarat)[2] to a considerably better condition. Decentralised as well as village centred practices of small scale and cottage industry was a planned initiative proposed by the gandhian economist was a journey of the society from a better condition to the best one.[3]

Class Differences and Unreached Segment

            The class difference between rich and poor, learned and illiterate, village folks and urban go getters increasing to a considerable amount day by day because of differently projected access of people to facilities like education, basic amenities, health services and financial support. People involved in Agriculture and off farm un-organized services consider themselves adequately insecure in terms of financial gains, and because of this reason neo literates start migrating toward urban settlement in search of a better living. It further creates a situation of Virtual Unemployment.[ii] Such non utilization or under utilization of the man power in a developing country is obviously a tremendous set back in terms of the continuation of progressive as well as prosperous efforts of development. Rather than draining out the raw materials and man power proper utilization of the same will pave a path of some sort of higher profile of economic practices. Some of the remote sections of Indian society still remain cut off from the main stream. Situation of Tribal community in some areas are of such type. They are even not in a position to adapt themselves with the changing scenario of the adjoining townships.

Brilliant Postulates[4]

            Dr. Kumarappa considered Gandhi’s life as devotion to Truth and Nonviolence and any economy being associated with his name should of such kind that accept Truth and Nonviolence as the base. These eternal principles considered as having prime importance in Economic Practices was a unique stand point of both Mahatma and Dr. Kumarappa. Whatever primary demands of food, shelter and clothing made by our body is the concern of Natural Economy[iii]. Such kind of economy keeps our body and Conscious mind in a perfectly working condition. The economy creating goods without referring actual human demand will be considered as an artificial economy[iv]. Foreign dominations of all kinds can be reduced considerably by fulfilling local needs locally and reducing as well as regulating the inflow of foreign goods in the country. Untruth in business force people for making false statements as well as overstatements and propaganda. They often go for false advertisements for promoting their goods. These objectionable efforts should be prohibited. Standards of living can be evaluated on the bases of simplicity and complicated life rather than higher and lower level of life. Economic practices should be directed primarily toward fulfilling basic needs of people. Basic facilities such as Transportation, Medical Support etc. should be looked upon by public enterprises. People should not be allowed to be accessible to exploiters.  Trade cycles should be directed toward soft and swift flow of currency and not toward restricted flow or toward any kind of accumulations of currency.  War factor is also regulated by the business affinity of manufacturing and driving out the plenty of production toward some outer destiny for grabbing a considerably big amount of wealth. Centralised industrial practices give birth directly or indirectly to unrest, malpractices, corruption, violence and oppression because of its affinity of promoting surplus production even by bypassing the lack of actual demand. Large enterprises often create a centralized compulsion of driving out wealth from the society in terms of profitable gains, it may also promote unwanted accumulation of wealth in the selected hands leading toward the formation of inequality in capabilities and status of people.[v]

What We Need

Our need and our want should culminate perpetually for exercising the healthy economic practices based on the principles of peace and nonviolence. It will be even strongly guided by the higher level of consciousness through which we come across the fact of considering the process of production before accepting anything for our consumption. Cheaper products coming out of the cycles of exploitation should be readily rejected. Self-sufficiency and limiting our wants might imply a strong regulation in promoting the peaceful and nonviolent economy[vi]. It will be the subject of self-controlled and disciplined life moving primarily toward establishing a self-guided regulation on the wants.[5] It must not suffice our basic need to a considerable degree and intensity. It will also work as a key factor in regulating our standard of living and in a gradual succession we must move on toward making our life more and more simplified by discarding complicated parts and practices involved in it.

Some of the postulates of the Economy of Gandhi and Kumarappa reflect following aspects:


1. Economics of any type is entirely  unrealistic as well as absurd if it ignores or disregards fundamental human values.

2. Exercising the right to earn a living as per the level of understanding and availability of resources for maintaining the livelihood is the desired exercise any individual rightfully should adopt.

3. The life of artisans, crafts person, farmers and labourers, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, is a life worth living. It should signify the Dignity to Labour.

4. Equal opportunities to all and easy access to resources should be exercised through implementing Village Self Government.

5. Earning livelihood by putting labour should be a common practice having proper mechanism of involving a large segment of people in the National Productivity.

6. Giving adequate importance to the manual labour for enabling them to feel the security while delivering their services at work places.

7. Starting from the lowest segment of society (Antyodaya) and moving ultimately toward welfare of all (Sarvodaya).

8. Replacement of competition by Co-operation and Co-ordination will be a best way out for enhancing rural productivity.

9. Cottage industry should be oriented toward manufacturing marketable goods for fulfilling basic needs of people.

10.  Obliterating the affinity toward large profit and concentrating toward maintenance of the small surplus.

11.  Giving adequate importance to all occupations.

12.  Decentralization is more progressive effort than compared to centralized profit oriented practices.

13.  Economic independence of the perfect kind will work out to bring political independence for the entire community.

14.  Development and governance supplemented with both bottom-up and top-down approach with adequate co-ordination bring harmony in economic practices.

15.  Self-defined objectives for fulfilling locally analysed demand will lead the entire system toward sustained development.

16.  Production of goods for basic needs and not for attending any high comfort, luxury or lavish life.

17.  Fulfilling the need should be prioritized for bringing people under the umbrella of ensured progress.

18.  Economic Partnership should replace the Economic Dictatorship for enhancing the productivity chain directed toward adequate and proper utilization of resources..

19.  Betterment of environment and ecosystem receives adequate attention in the economics based on peace and nonviolence.

20.  Dependency of the economics on nature cannot be ruled out. All economic practices therefore should be of such type that proper care of the nature is ensured by all means. Creating harm to nature will put the entire human society in trouble.



A Strategic Way Out

            We understand anything in a better way when we come across the same situation on a regular basis. Regular and routing practice of physical exercise is essential for people like sports persons and soldiers for maintaining the pace of their increased intensity of physical efforts. Similar the case will be for people involved in the productive works. Mahatma introduced daily spinning as an essential part of the daily routine of social workers and volunteers of freedom struggle because of enhancing their skills of understanding the relevance of the work force getting involved in the National Productivity and economic practices. It was not because of the show piece or of any propaganda. It was a kind of worship impregnated for teaching us the dignity of labour.

            Promoting and safeguarding cottage industry does not mean an utter halt to the foreign trade. It should be guided perpetually in terms of the exchange of the surplus production of certain commodity.[vii] First and foremost priority should be given to utilize the materials availed locally. Thereafter comes the scope of exchanging the surplus production against fulfilling some of the basic needs.

            Implements of whatever better performance and of base concept like fundamental human values[viii], peace and nonviolence, it should come from within the human consciousness for attaining self-sufficiency, happiness and harmony. Not to exploit and not to be exploited is the highest order of humanitarian initiative meant for congregating the peaceful as well as prosperous world order.


*A Graphic Designer and Developer working in the field of Informatics and Education since 1995 onwards.




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*a Graphic Designer and Development Worker by profession offering services to different organisations of Development and Education working in the South Asian Sub Continent since 1995 onwards.


[1] A well known economist worked throughout the entire life on the basis of the gandhian principles of development and empowerment.

[2] Kumarappa began to be invited to address public meetings in various parts of the country. In the course of such travels and as a result of his study of Matar taluka he became well aware of the problems facing the Indian countryside under colonial rule and began to think about the economic reconstruction and revitalisation of India’s villages. (Refer Biography of Dr. J. C. Kumarappa, Pranjali Bandhu).


[3] Dr. J. C. Kumarappa coined the term “Gandhian Economics” and people started recognizing him as a Gandhian Economist.

[4] In the context of “The Gandhian Economy and the way to realise it” by Dr. J. C. Kumarappa.

[5] Gandhi advocated an alternative way of living.  It was a neat blend of physical, intellectual and spiritual life; as Gandhi would say ‘harmony between word, thought and deed’.  J C Kumarappa articulated it as ‘appropriate’ lifestyle. .. Dr. D. John Chelladurai. An alumni of Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Dr D John Chelladurai



[i] At the outset of World War II, the British imperialist rule was at its highest. Provisional Congress ministries were dismissed and poor agriculturists were heavily burdened. Therefore Kumarappa wrote, ''Stone for Bread" an article in 1942, for which he was under detention and trial for a year and a half in both Bombay and Nagpur. Again, during the Quit India Movement, he had a hand in the underground activities in Bombay along with his Congress colleagues. These secret sabotage activities led to his arrest.

[ Ref: A Biographical note on Life and Mission of Dr J. C. Kumarappa,]


[ii] Virtual Unemployment refers to a state of human involvement in which job seekers opt for selected streams of services and deny joining other sources of income usually availed in the rural as well as semi urban areas. The term Virtual Economy is also used by Dr Kumarappa for focusing upon the non-stability of such kind of economic practices.

[iii] Natural Economy refers to a type of economy in which resources transferred and shared amongst people without exchange of money. Sharing out in accord to a traditional custom, allocating resources through direct bartering and entitlement by law are widely practiced.

Refer: Arthur H. Gibson. Birmingham, An Introduction to Natural Economy


[iv] The amount of liquidity that has been pumped into the global financial system appeared to be superlative and it is simply a matter of time before the massive debt level accumulated by the National Government. The situation of super loose easing of monetary system often create such kind of Artificial Economy.

[Source and References:]


[v] Alexandru Jivan of West University of Timisorara, Romania mentioned the involvement of invisible hand in driving out the wealth and creating the situation of poverty and unemployment in a society.

[vii] The race towards death did not stop here. It continued ahead. The resources of power given by nature are of two categories, one type is perennial in nature belonging to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. These may be called the ‘current resources’ and the other type is in short supply in nature like coal, iron, petrol and the like belonging to the mineral kingdom. These are not being manufactured under the bowels of the earth and their exhaustion means lessening in the total quantity available. These limited resources may be called the ‘reservoir’ type. Dr. J. C. Kumarappa, Cow in Our Economy.


[viii] Human Values correlate the cultural base of a human being through which presence of other differences and plurality of varying community duly acknowledged through adopting the diverged dimensions of the World Culture.

[ For obtaining more references and also for some additional readings… ]