Devanagari: सर्वोदय, Gujarati: સર્વોદય) is a term meaning 'universal uplift' or 'progress of all'. The term was first coined by Mohandas Gandhi as the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin's tract on political economy, " Unto This Last", and Gandhi came to use the term for the ideal of his own political philosophy. [Bondurant, Joan. "Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict." (Princeton, 1958) p 156.] Later Gandhians, like the Indian nonviolent activist Vinoba Bhave, embraced the term as a name for the social movement in post-independence Indiawhich strove to ensure that self-determination and equality reached all strata of India society.
Origins and Gandhi's political ideal
Gandhi received a copy of Ruskin's "
Unto This Last" from a British friend while working as a lawyer in South Africa. In his "Autobiography", Gandhi remembers the twenty-four hour train ride when he first read the book, being so in the grip of Ruskin's ideas that he could not sleep at all: "I determined to change my life in accordance with the ideals of the book." ["Autobiography", part IV, chapter xviii.] As Gandhi construed it, Ruskin's outlook on political-economic life extended from three central tenets:
#That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
#That a lawyer's work has the same value as the barber's in as much as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
#That a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
The first of these I knew. The second I had dimly realized. The third had never occurred to me. "Unto This Last" made it clear as daylight for me that the second and third were contained in the first. I arose with the dawn, ready to reduce these principles to practice. [Ibid.]
Four years later, in 1908, Gandhi rendered a paraphased translation of Ruskin's book into his native tongue of Gujarati. He entitled the book "Sarvodaya", a compound (
sandhi) he invented from two Sanskritroots: "sarva" (all) and "udaya" (uplift) -- "the uplift of all" (or as Gandhi glossed it in his autobiography, "the welfare of all").
Although inspired by Ruskin, the term would for Gandhi come to stand for a political ideal of his own stamp. (Indeed Gandhi was keen to distance himself from Ruskin's more conservative ideas. [See Bondurant (1958), pp. 156-159.] ) The ideal which Gandhi strove to put into practice in his
ashrams was, he hoped, one that he could persuade the whole of India to embrace, becoming a light to the other nations of the world. The Gandhian social ideal encompassed the dignity of labor, an equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom. [Bondurant (1958), chapter 5.]
Gandhi's ideals have lasted well beyond the achievement of one of his chief projects, Indian independence ("
swaraj"). His followers in India (notably, Vinoba Bhave) continued working to promote the kind of society that he envisioned, and their efforts have come to be known as the Sarvodaya Movement. Anima Bose has referred to the movement's philosophy as "a fuller and richer concept of people's democracy than any we have yet known." Sarvodaya workers associated with Vinoba, J. P. Narayan, Dada Dharmadhikari, Dhirendra Mazumdaar, Shankarrao Deo, K. G. Mashruwala undertook various projects aimed at encouraging popular self-organisation during the 1950s and 1960s, including " Bhoodan" and "Gramdan" movements. Many groups descended from these networks continue to function locally in India today.
*"Sarvodaya" is also the name of a registered charity in India.
Sarvodaya Shramadana Movementoffers a comprehensive development program, based on these Gandhian principles, to villages in Sri Lanka.
*"Sarvodaya" is also a chain of schools run by a Christian organization in
Kerala, India. The school is secular in nature.
Sarvodaya Sanskrit Ashram[" [http://sarvodayaashram.org/default.aspx Sarvodaya Sanskrit Ashram] , "A not-for-profit school for the poor in India"] is a not-for-profit school for the poor in India.
Humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
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