Excerpts from My Theory of Trusteeship by M.K. Gandhi
edited by Anand T. Hingorani and available previously on Internet (see address at bottom of page)
43. ZAMINDARS IN FREE INDIA
Q (1) WHAT are the differences between a nationalist Zamindar and a nationalist non- Zamindar, in your opinion?
(2) What position do you assign to Zamindars and Inamdars, and the capitalists in a free and Independent India? Will these classes be allowed to fully play their proper and active part in national development ? Can these two classes expect justice and fairplay in an Independent India?
A. (1) A nationalist Zamindar will try to live like non-Zamindar. He will regard his tenants as his co-proprietors : in other words, he will hold his Zamindari in trust for his tenants, taking a moderate commission for the use of his labours and capital. A nationalist non-Zamindar will not regard the Zamindar as his natural enemy, but will seek redress of his wrongs by the process of conversion. I have shown before now that this is not a long drawn out agony.
(2) This is answered in the foregoing. Antagonism between the classes will be removed. I do not envisage a dead and artificial level among the people. There will be a variety among them as there is among the leaves of a tree. There will certainly be no have-nots, no unemployment, and no disparity between classes and masses such as we see to-day. I have no doubt whatsoever that if non-violence in its full measure becomes the policy of the State, we shall reach essential equality without strife.
-Harijan : April 27, 1940.
62. TO LANDLORDS AND PEASANTS
I AM no lover of the Zamindari system. I have often spoken against it; but I frankly confess that I am not the enemy of the Zamindars. I own no enemies. The best way to bring about reform in the economic and social systems, whose evils are admittedly many, is through the royal road of self-suffering. Any departure from it only results in merely changing the form of the evil that is sought to be liquidated violently. Violence is incapable of destroying the evil, root and branch.
-Harijan : Mar. 30, 1947.