In a Single Garment of Destiny by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

In a Single Garment of Destiny by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Author:Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780807086063
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published: 2012-09-13T16:00:00+00:00

1. Persuading large land owners to give up some of their holding to landless peasants;

2. Persuading small land owners to give up their individual ownership for common cooperative ownership by the villages;

3. Encouraging farmers and villagers to spin and weave the cloth for their own clothes during their spare time from their agricultural pursuits.

Since these measures would answer the questions of employment, food and clothing, the village could then, through cooperative action, make just about everything that it would need or get it through barter or exchange from other villages. Accordingly, each village would be virtually self sufficient and would thus free itself from the domination of the urban centers that are today like evil lodestones drawing the people away from the rural areas, concentrating them in city slums and debauching them with urban vices. At least this is the argument of the Bhoodanists and other Gandhians.

Such ideas sound strange and archaic to Western ears. However, the Indians have already achieved greater results than we Americans would ever expect. For example, millions of acres of land have been given up by rich landlords and additional millions of acres have been given up to cooperative management by small farmers. On the other hand, the Bhoodanists shrink from giving their movement the organization and drive that we in America would venture to guess that it must have in order to keep pace with the magnitude of the problems that everybody is trying to solve.

Even the government’s five-year plans fall short in that they do not appear to be of sufficient scope to embrace their objectives. Thus, the three five-year plans were designed to provide 25,000,000 new jobs over a 15 year period but the birth rate of India is 6,000,000 per year. This means that in 15 years there will be 9,000,000 more people (less those who have died or retired) looking for the 15 million new jobs. In other words, if the planning were 100 per cent successful, it could not keep pace with the growth of problems it is trying to solve.

As for what should be done, we surely do not have the answer. But we do feel certain that India needs help. She must have outside capital and technical know-how. It is in the interest of the United States and the West to help supply these needs and not attach strings to the gifts.

Whatever we do should be done in a spirit of international brotherhood, not national selfishness. It should be done not merely because it is diplomatically expedient, but because it is morally compelling. At the same time, it will rebound to the credit of the West if India is able to maintain her democracy while solving her problems.

It would be a boon to democracy if one of the great nations of the world, with almost 400,000,000 people, proves that it is possible to provide a good living for everyone without surrendering to a dictatorship of either the “right” or “left.” Today India is a tremendous force for peace and non-violence, at home and abroad.


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