Gandhi’s concept of Sarvodaya is a term derived from Sanskrit, combining the words “sarva” (all) and “udaya”. It refers to the principle of the upliftment and well-being of all, encompassing the idea of a just and equitable society.
Sarvodaya was a central element of Gandhi’s philosophy and vision for social and economic transformation. The concept can be understood through the following key elements:
1. Nonviolence: Gandhi believed that Sarvodaya could only be achieved through nonviolent means. Nonviolence, or Ahimsa, was the core principle of his philosophy and his preferred method for social and political change. He argued that violence and coercion only perpetuated injustice, while nonviolence had the power to bring about lasting transformation based on compassion, understanding, and dialogue.
2. Trusteeship: Gandhi advocated for a society based on the principles of trusteeship. He believed that wealth and resources were not to be accumulated and hoarded by individuals but should be held in trust for the welfare of society as a whole. According to this concept, those with wealth and power had a responsibility to use their resources for the benefit of others, particularly the poor and marginalized.
3. Decentralization and Self-Sufficiency: Gandhi emphasized the importance of decentralization and self-sufficiency in achieving Sarvodaya. He believed that centralization of power and resources led to exploitation and inequality. Instead, he advocated for local self-governance and the development of self-reliant communities. Gandhi envisioned a society where individuals and communities were empowered to meet their own needs and make decisions that directly affected their lives.