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Indian Home Rule or Hind Swaraj
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* Introduction

comparison, thought its allusion to Jesus would have embarrassed Gandhi, still merits attention. Just as it is in the these Gospel chapters that we find Jesus first announcing his messianic mission, so it is in Hind Swaraj that we find Gandhi first announcing his own life-mission. This is nothing other than showing the way for the moral regeneration of Indians and the political emancipation of India.

    The very composition of Hind Swaraj has something of the heroic about it. It was written in ten days, between 13 and 22 November 1909, on board the ship kildonan Castle on the author's return trip from England to south Africa, after what proved to be an abortive lobbying mission to London. The whole manuscript was written on the ship's stationery, and the writing went on at a such a furious pace that when the right hand got tired, Gandhi continued with the left, forty of the 275 manuscript pages were written by the left hand. And he wrote as if under inspiration. In the entire autograph, only sixteen lines have been scratched out and only a few words changed here and there (Prabhudas Gandhi 1957, 87-8). Critics speak of Gandhi's profound experience of illumination' on board the Kildonan Castle and compare it to Rousseau's on the road to Vincennes (murry 1949, 424). At any event, Gandhi himself felt that he had produced 'an original work', for that was how he described it in a letter to his friend Hermann Kallenbach, the first to know about the book's completion (Gandhi 1909-46, I, 94).


The book is addressed to a mixed audience: the expatriate Indians greatly attracted to terrorism and political violence, the Extremists and Moderates of the Indian National Congress, the Indian nation, and 'the English' (ch.xx). By the Indian nation Gandhi means ordinary Indians, irrespective of their religious, linguistic, regional or caste differences, as well as the new emerging middle class, referred to in the text as 'doctors', 'lawyers' and 'the wealthy'. And by 'the English' he means both the British ruling class living in India and Britons living in Great Britain.

    As to why he wrote the book, there was first of all the question of an

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