Short Stories For Everyone
Inspiring incidents from Gandhiji's Life: Selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi
(For the children in the age group of 10 to 15 years)

Gandhiji writing


Gandhi's inspiring short stories selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi

Editor by : Rita Roy

Table of Contents

  1. All for A Stone
  2. A Car And A Pair of Binoculars
  3. My Master's Master
  4. Enter The Monkeys
  5. Premchand Quits His Job
  6. Returning His Medals
  7. Basic Pen
  8. Prisoner No. 1739
  9. Gandhi's White Brother
  10. Who Saw Gandhi?
  11. An Early School
  12. An Unusual March
  13. Spiritual Heir
  14. The Less You Have The More You Are
  15. An Old Goat Talks
  16. The Phoenix Settlement
  17. Gandhi in Amsterdam
  18. Something To Be Shy About?
  19. Gandhiji The Matchmaker
  20. Gandhi's Army
  21. Dandi Snippet
  22. Hiding Something
  23. The Image Maker
  24. Creative Reader
  25. Postcards To The Rescue
  26. A Non-violent Satyagraha 214 Years Ago
  27. Gandhi And Delhi
  28. Gandhiji's Constructive Programme
  29. Gandhi Looks At Leprosy
  30. Baba Amte
  31. They Gave Peace A Chance
  32. From Mahatma To God
  33. Customs Are Out of Fashion
  34. The Man 'Charlie' Wanted To Meet
  35. It Came Naturally To Him
  36. Crossing The Sea of Narrow-Mindedness
  37. Wear Clothes As They Should Be Worn
  38. Education: For Life, Through Life
  39. The Abode of Joy
  40. To Cling to A Belief
  41. The Fruit of A Child's Labour
  42. An Ideal Prisoner
  43. How A Film Became Something More
  44. Gandhi: Beyond India
  45. Gandhi's Life-Saving Medicine
  46. Understanding The Mechanics of Life With Gandhi
  47. The Lokmanya and The Mahatma
  48. Man's Gift To Nature
  49. Gurudev And His Mahatma
  50. One-man Boundary Force
  51. What Does Mahatma Gandhi's Message Mean To Me?
  52. Let's Play Together
  53. Children's Response To Conflict
  54. Beggar By Choice
  55. The Better Half
  56. Uncle Gandhi
  57. The Watch: An Instrument For Regulating Life
  58. Light The Lamp of Your Mind
  59. Gandhi's Bet!
  60. Gandhi Feeling At Home In The Kitchen
  61. What Is Simplicity?
  62. Bapu And The Sardar
  63. The Power of Quality
  64. Gandhi: The Teenager!

Chapter 46: Understanding The Mechanics of Life With Gandhi

In our hi-tech, state-of-the-art age, one often tends to question Gandhiji's views on industrialization and use of machinery and dismiss him as an eccentric faddist. But let us see what he had to say on the subject and then pass our judgement.

Once, during an interview on this very theme, Bapu pointed to his spinning wheel and said, "It is quite wrong to say I don't believe in machinery. This spinning wheel is a beautiful piece of machinery." But he judged all machines and in fact he judged every form of material progress by what it contributed or took away from life.
Ahmedabad, the city of mills, was the place where Gandhi chose to make his ashram. The ashram was a sort of a collection of huts built very simply and without any sense of architectural design or anything like that; and yet, there were so many trees around, so many fruit trees, so many flowers, that the place looked extraordinarily beautiful. And it was on a very high river bank. If the factories of Ahmedabad had a disturbing influence on the lives of the people then the ashram provided them with a natural instinctive beauty. The hum of his spinning wheel on one side of the river, was so different from the dark, gaunt mills on the other. There was a great contrast between the industrial life in India which the English brought into the country, and the very simple rural life, which Gandhi wanted his people to live.
I want simple machines, not big monsters which nobody can possess," said Gandhi. "My ideal is a machine which anybody can have. With me man comes first. What is good for man is good for Gandhiji; what is not good for man is not good for Gandhi. But how is one to judge as to what is good and what is not?"
In the course of a discussion with late G. Ramchandran, Gandhiji was asked many questions on his views about machinery and industrialization. One such question was "When you exclude the sewing machine, you will have to make exceptions of the bicycle, the motor car etc.?" "No, I don't," said Bapu, "because they do not satisfy any of the primary wants of man, for it is not the primary need of man to travel with the rapidity of a motor car. The needle on the other hand, happens to be an important thing in life - a primary need."
The Mahatma's classic answer is even now taken as an original approach of Gandhiji for eliminating poverty. A question related to this was put forth to him, "Are you against machinery as such?" Replied the Mahatma, "How can I be against machinery? This body itself is a most delicate machine," and proceeded, "What I object to, is the 'craze' for machinery, not machinery as such. The craze is for what they call labour saving machinery. Men go on 'saving labour' till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of hunger. The force behind it all is not the feeling or intention of doing good to others by saving them from doing work, but greed. I am a determined enemy of all machinery that is designed for exploitation of people."
Gandhi's idea was not to finish off all machinery but to keep a control on its use instead of abusing it. Further it was man, and not the machine, that should be the master and should dictate the terms. Besides, for him, human labour was all important. Bapu says that he would welcome an improved form of a plough. "But if by any chance one man could plough up by some mechanical invention of his, the whole of the land of India and control all the agricultural produce and if millions had no other jobs, then they would starve, and being idle, they would become dunces." Did this mean that he opposed all the great inventions? Gandhiji's response was, "I would prize every invention of science made for the benefit of all. There is a difference between one invention and another. I should not care fur poisonous gases capable of killing masses of men at a time. I also have no consideration for machinery which is meant either to enrich a few at the expense of the many, or without reason to displace the labour of the people. The machine should not be allowed to cripple the limbs of man."

The Romance Behind the Singer Sewing Machine

Take the case of the Singer Sewing Machine. It is one of the few useful things ever invented and there is a romance about the device itself. Singer saw his wife labouring over the tedious process of sewing and seaming with her own hands and simply out of his love for her he devised the sewing machine, in order to save her from unnecessary labour. He however, saved not only her labour but also the labour of everyone who could purchase a sewing machine.

M. K. Gandhi