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Indian Home Rule or Hind Swaraj
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Editor's introduction


Hind Swaraj is Gandhi's seminal work. It is also a work which he himself translated from Gujarati into English: no other work of his, not even the Autobiography (translated by his secretary), enjoys this distinction. As such, the English text of this work, which is being presented here, possesses an authority all of its own. It was this text Tolstoy and Romain Rolland, Nehru and Rajaji read and commented upon. It was through this, not the Gujarati text, that the he hoped, as he put it, 'to use the British race' for transmitting his 'mighty message of ahimsa' to the rest of the world (Watson) 1969, 176). And it was to this text that the returned throughout his career as if to the source of his inspiration.

    Hind Swaraj is the seed from which the tree of Gandhian thought has grown to its full stature. For those interested in Gandhi's thought in a general way, it is the right place to start, for it is here that he presents his basic ideas in their proper relationship to one another. And for those who wish to study his thought more methodically, it remains the norm by which to assess the theoretical significance of his other writings, including the Autobiography. It can also save them from the danger of otherwise getting drowned in the vast sea of Gandhian anthologies. No wonder that it has been called 'a very basic document for the study of Gandhi's thought' (M. Chatterjee 1983, 89), his 'confession of faith' (Nanda 1974, 66), 'a rather incendiary manifesto' (Erikson 1969, 217), 'a proclamaation of ideological independence' (Dalton 1993, 16), and 'the nearest he came to producing a sustained work of political theory' (Brown 1989, 65). It has been compared to such diverse works as Rousseau's Social Contract (heard 1938, 450), the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola (Catlin 1950, 215), and chapter IV of St Matthew or St luke (The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (hereafter cited as CW) 10: viii). This last

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