Gandhi’s Concept of Bread Labour and Sarvodaya

Mahatma Gandhi are one of the legend figures associated with India and it’s Independence. Born on 2 October 1869, Gandhi Ji always stood strong about their principles. Two of their very famous principles; Bread Labour and Sarvodaya are explored in this article.

Bread Labour is a concept that is referred to as a blessing to those who observe non-violence and worship truth. When we talk about labour there exists two types of labour, manual labour and intelligence labour. Manual labour, as the name suggests refers to work that includes physical handwork like carpentry or labours that help in construction works. Intelligence labour talks about work that uses the intellect of a human being for example scientists, teachers, salesmen etc.

Gandhi advocated that an individual must labour to fulfil their daily needs and desires but along with this the individual should also make use of their intellect to help others and provide service to mankind. E.g. NGOs, social workers who labour for the well-being of others.

Gandhi ji first practiced the ideal of Bread Labour in Phoenix Settlement and Tolstoy farm in South Africa. Bread labour was a compulsion for certain hours of every day in the ashrams and people performed activities like agriculture, dairying, weaving, carpentry etc.

When Gandhi ji returned to India he continued with the bread labour concept in his Sabarmati Ashram along with providing people with basic educational activities. The reason why Gandhi ji strongly believed in Bread Labour and encouraged it was because he believed that upon the adoption of bread labour, we will have a classless and casteless society.

Gandhi ji also said that a rich man cannot forever be happy with his riches and will someday get bored of them.  And that this rich man will be able to understand others and feel satisfied only when he takes upon physical work and engages in the activity of bread labour.

In his concept of Sarvodaya Gandhi ji explores a more a comprehensive, social, economic, political, moral and spiritual philosophy.

Sarvodaya is a term meaning ‘Universal Uplift’ or ‘Progress of All’. It is based on the principle of duties rather than rights of individuals. It lays great emphasis on moral and spiritual values. It seeks to create new social and economic values.

The term was first coined by Mohandas Gandhi as the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin’s tract on political economy, “Unto This Last”, and Gandhi came to use the term for the ideal of his own political philosophy.

Gandhi advances the concept of Sarvodaya, which were the based on three basic principles:

  1. That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
  2. That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s in as much as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
  3. That is a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.

Gandhi ji were of the firm view that the earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not for every man’s greed. The concept of possession yields places to the concept of trusteeship. In the Sarvodaya society of Gandhi ji’s dream, therefore, every member will be free from any greed for limitless acquisition of material wealth and more and more luxurious living and they will follow the motto of simple living and high thinking. Everyone will, thus, get ample opportunity to produce and earn sufficiently through honest work for decent and dignified living. Consequently there will be no problem of unemployment.

In short we can say that the concept of Sarvodaya and Bread Labour is for the betterment of the society and holds a significant role even today in its application.

Categories: Education, Learning

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