What is Swaraj
“The word Swaraj is a sacred word, a Vedic word, meaning self-rule and self-restraint, and not freedom from all restraint which ‘independence’ often means.
“Freedom as Swaraj is something more than mere translation of the English word ‘freedom’ or ‘independence’. It is an ancient classical word which meant precisely sovereignty, self-control, and self-rule. It refers more to self-discipline rather than uncontrolled anarchy. Ultimate freedom is the state of enlightenment without any bondage of karma and klesha (deeds and mental defaults). Seeds of bondage are reversible and eradicable. To achieve such freedom, a person needs conducive social and geographical environment within which the person’s mind can flower in goodness and experience the awakening of the unconditional intelligence. That requires a conducive inner and outer state where the person’s basic potential could be developed in its natural form. “
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche in Tibet: A Future Vision, Page8
Published by Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Center, Delhi, 1996
“ As Gandhi unfurled his epic struggle for Indian freedom from the British he redefined Freedom as Swaraj , Self-Rule. Not political freedom or independence from the foreign rule but, economic, political cultural and moral freedom in terms of its five hundred thousand villages, meaning self-governance in matters of fulfilling such basic economic , political, cultural and moral needs of man that the smallest unit of society and nation may enjoy sovereignty in terms of human dignity and freedom, extending its cooperative relationships with the rest so that the needs that cannot be fulfilled locally can be met at higher level of social-political organization. Traditionally Indian society was organized on the patterns of local self-sufficiency, decentralization, use and service of the closest at the exclusion of the farther (Swadeshi) based on skills, science, technology and industry based on different principle than the modern. The lowliest and the last must feel the governance, the rule, the state belongs to him. This is possible in a system of all round justness and where man is moral. Modern man confuses freedom and power with what is nothing less than an abject bondage to one’s instinct, passion, sentiments or interest or unexamined opinion. Freedom in Traditional Indian parlance means opposite of that, for only in quest for such freedom can man chart a course of life which is moral, cooperative, non-consumerist, simple and need –based rather than want –based. That is how Gandhi defined civilization as “that mode of conduct which shows to man path of duty. Duty and morality are convertible terms. One can become moral by controlling one’s mind and passions. So doing one knows himself. Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj in order define Indian ideal of a state of an individual and the state of a state. Structural nonviolence is what one may call the order based on the vision of Swaraj. “
Rajiv Vora, from his discourses on Hind Swaraj