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Mahatma Gandhi on inequalities

No Labour No Meal

Some time ago I was taken to a magnificent mansion call the “Marble Palance” in Calcutta. It is richly furnished with some very expensive and some very beautiful paintings. The owners feed the in the compound in the front of the palace all the beggars who choose to go there, and I am told that the number everyday is several thousand. This is no doubt a princely charity. It does great credit to the benevolent spirit of the donors but the incongruity of this ruffed humanity feeding whilst the majestic palace is, as it were mocking to their wretched condition does not seem to strike the donors at all. Another such painful sight was witnesses by me on my visit to Suri, where the reception committee had arranges for feeding of beggars eating off their dusty leaves spread on the ground. Some almost trampled over them. It was by no means a pleasant spectacle. In Suri it was a little more decently managed, for the crowd was not to pass though the line of beggars as they were eating. I felt humiliated, more so to think that this was all done in y honour, because, as it was put to me by one of the friends there, I was ‘friend of poor’. My friendship for them must be a sorry affair if I could be satisfied with a large part of humanity being reduced to beggary. Little did my friends know that my friendship for the paupers of India has made me hard-hearted enough to contemplate their utter starvation with equanimity in preference to their utter reduction to beggary. My Ahimsa would not tolerate the idea of giving a free meal to a healthy person who has not worked for it in some honest way, and if I had the power I would stop ever sadavrat where free meals are given.  It has degraded the nation and has encouraged laziness, idleness, hypocrisy and even crime.

Young India. 13/8/1925

The Bridge to Close the Gulf

I do not grudge the price his place and the millionaire his mansion, but it is my earnest request to the, to do something to bridge the gulf that separates them from the peasants. Let them construct a bridge that would bring them closer to the poor...Let their lives bear some proportion to the lives of the poor around them. I have been trying according to my lights to construct this bridge which, I submit in all humility, you cannot construct by means of all your gold mines and Bhadravatis.

Young India 4/8/1927