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My Contentions with Gandhi's "Village Swaraj"

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I have taken my time exploring Gandhi. My first encounter with his words were in the form of 'Gandhi's Talisman' that graced the inner cover of every book I had throughout school. It said, when it doubt, asked yourself whether your actions will, in any way, help the poorest person you know to live a more secure life. During my PhD fieldwork, Gandhi's autobiography, 'My Experiments With Truth' was an antidote to issues personal, professional and philosophical. Far from family and negotiating data collection through what I like to call iteration and 'controlled experimentation', it was heartening to read his experiments with life, his failings and lessons along the way, and his wise advice on working with one's hands, renunciation, and outward and inward ahimsa (non-violence).

And so, in the year that I have returned to fieldwork, this time in rural Karnataka, I looked forward to Gandhi's 'Village Swaraj'. But the tone, content and oversi…