While Mahatma Gandhi is best known for his struggle to liberate India from British colonialism half a century ago, he devoted most of his life to the renewal of India's vitality and culture from the ground up. He was a tireless advocate for what he called swadeshi, or local self-sufficiency. He felt that India's soul was in the village community and that freedom for the Indian people could only be achieved by creating a confederation of self-governing people with faith in themselves as their own employers. They would live in villages and live off what they produced on their own land.
History has it that Gandhi's ideas were largely unknown after India's independence, especially his doctrine of frugality and resource conservation. Like many other developing countries, India flirted during a period of socialism, but dropped it in favor of Western market reforms. Today, all key political parties in India are in favor of a high-tech future, a development that in the short term is likely to bring economic prosperity to some Indians, but not without long-term social and environmental ones. . .
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