We remember “Bapu” for leading the Indian independence movement which resulted in India gaining independence from British imperialism. We remember that he is an icon of equality, civil rights, anti-discrimination and non-violence and has inspired people the world over. However, we overlook the symbol of sustainability that he truly was.
His belief in austerity and localism be it food, clothing or anything else made it clear to people that Indians were being enslaved by their dependence on British products, especially clothing. Indian farmers, yarn dyers and indigo growers lost their jobs and British empires gained. He felt that a simple life with few needs which are provided for locally was the most non-violent way of life. His dream world was where people lived in self-sufficient small communities who rule themselves without hindering others and sustain themselves in harmony with nature. He didn’t want India to copy the western lifestyle but rather set our own benchmark of harmonious living in our land. Nothing today can be more different that the current idea of progress than his dream of sustainability.