Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Kumarappa - a life of luxury involves exploitation

Lord Lothian came and spent over three hours at Maganvadi in a closely argued discussion. He came with the idea that to practice non violence and truth one need not necessarily take to a low standard of life. He passed off Gandhiji as an ascetic. He could not see that a life of luxury involves exploitation. He was not alone in this opinion. 

It is generally common in all imperialistic countries and the rich do not see why they cannot lead a life of ease with a light conscience. Kumarappa pointed out a great length that man – rich or poor – had a right only to his wages in return for his labour, that anything more than that involved exploitation of others whether visible or invisible, and exploitation was violence. He held that Gandhiji was no ascetic but was an aristocrat to his fingettips. His simple living was a result of self control and renunciation, and that he expected to earn no merit thereby.

Lord Lothian asked Kumarappa where he lived and he was informed that he lived in a hut on the eastern part of Maganvadi. He expressed a wish to see it and they both repaired to the hut. …After a good look at the quarters leaning on the central pillar, he remarked thoughtfully, “They call me a rich man and I profess to be a strong pacifist but you have shown me that I am living in a fool’s paradise.”

On his return to Sevagram he seems to have given Gandhiji a report of his interview with Kumarappa and a cheque of 100 pounds. Gandhiji sent the cheque to Kumarappa saying that he had earned it by his ‘lecture’ and A.I.V.I.A had the benefit of it.

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