It was Mahatma Gandhi who first used the word ‘Sarvodaya’ in modern times. Etymologically speaking, Sarvodaya means ‘the rise or welfare of all’. Gandhiji borrowed this concept from John Ruskin’s ‘Unto This Last’. The proper rendering of ‘Unto This Last’ would be Antyodaya (uplift of the last) rather than Sarvodaya.
Vinobha Bhave rightly says: “Of course the last one’s uplift is included in the uplift of all, but in emphasizing the last, the object is that work should begin from that end.” For Gandhiji, Sarvodaya is the true panacea for all types of social or political problems experienced by Indian society. After the death of Gandhiji, AcharyaVinobaBhave and Jayaprakash Narayan have highlighted the essentials of Sarvodaya in their own light. Vinoba Bhave developed Gandhiji’s concept of Sarvodaya keeping in view changing socio-economic circumstances. The movement of Bhoodan and Gramdan and his unique method of spreading his message of compassion through padayatra have attracted worldwide attention. J. P. Narayan holds the view that Sarvodaya stands for the sublime goals of freedom, equality, brotherhood, and peace. Realization of a rich, total and integrated life is the basic objective of Sarvodaya philosophy. According to Kumarappa, Sarvodaya represents the ideal social order according to Gandhiji. Its basis is all-embracing love.J. P. Chandra opines that by bringing about a countrywide decentralization of both political and economic powers, Sarvodaya provides an opportunity for the all-round development of the individual and the society.
Sarvodaya seeks the happiness of each and all. Hence it is superior to the utilitarian concept of’the greatest happiness of the greatest number.’ Dada Dharmadhikari highlighted the distinction between Sarvodaya and western Isms which speaks of three stages in the evolution of humanist thought; first came Darwin with his advocation of the principle of the survival of the fittest; next came Huxley with the doctrine ‘live and let live’ and today, ‘Sarvodaya’ going one step further asserts ‘Live in order to help others live’.
The Main Tenets Of The Sarvodaya Philosophy
Sarvodaya reiterates belief in God and, further, it identifies that belief with faith in the goodness of man and with services, of humanity.
It attaches importance to the principle of trusteeship as implying the abolition of private ownership and the application of the principle of non-possession to public institutions.
Sarvodaya envisages a new humanistic socialist society. Man will be the center of such a society. Unless man cultivates values like love, sincerity, truth, an abiding sympathy etc., the emergence of a new society would only remain a pious dream. In this process of change, the State has little role to play. The State, at best, can effect change at the level of the external behavior of man. It fails to influence the inner springs of life. This mental transformation is only possible through appeal and persuasion.
Sarvodaya visualizes a simple, non-violent and decentralized society. In capitalism and state socialism, the individual becomes alone and isolated. Sarvodaya is opposed to both. In the scheme of Sarvodaya, the people are endowed with real power. Democracy becomes meaningful and assumes significance only when its structure is reared on the foundation of village Panchayats. The Sarvodaya movement inculcates this democratic awareness among the people, especially among the ruralites. Again in the scheme of Sarvodaya decentralization of industry takes place through the organization of small-scale, cottage and village industries. The reason is not far to seek. In a country like India where there is an acute shortage of capital and abundance of labor, any attempt at industrialization through high technology is doomed to failure. Moreover, the decentralization of production would prevent bureaucratization of the economic system.
Sarvodaya idea contains the content of egalitarianism. It rests on the principle of true equality and liberty. It stands opposed to the exploitation of any kind.
The concept of Sarvodaya views works as an offering to the Lord. Further, the principle of equality of all religions finds better elucidation in some of the thinkers of Sarvodaya philosophy.
In the Sarvodaya programme, the standard of life is fundamental and not the standard of living. A rise in the standard of living might even lower the standard of life by reducing man’s physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual standards and powers.
The Sarvodaya philosophy stands opposed to parliamentary democracy and party system. It is because the party system divides the society into various groups. J. P. Narayan wanted to replace the existing parliamentary system through political and economic decentralization of powers and functions. Sarvodaya stands for the establishment of an integrated cooperative society.
Sarvodaya programme gives prime place to planning. According to the scheme of Sarvodaya planning must proceed with two objects: removal of natural or man-made impediments in the road to the development of man and provision of means, training, and guidance for it.
Satyaniketan has been working for the overall development of the downtrodden communities and other backward class people of Akole Tahasil in Ahmednagar District, since 1950. Sarvodaya movement is but a symbolic and characteristic monument of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, in which careful has been to activate various constructive schemes of the upliftment of the down-trodden people in the far interior and tribal regions of the country. However, the actual work began in the year 1950-1951 in Ahmednagar district. Rajur is the tribal area in Akole Tahasil, eminent personalities & devoted activists Shri. R.V. Patankar and Shri. Bapusaheb Shende has been appointed as the chief director of the Sarvodaya Movement. About sixty remote villages of the western part of Akole Tahasil had been selected as work area under this scheme. The basic nature of this movement was to focus on the overall development of the villages, self-eradication schemes, family-planning programmes, water-supply, sanitation schemes and malnutrition schemes were at the help of the movement.