Every day, we hear thousands of statements about this phenomenon called ‘development’. It has become a central organising principle that defines global social order. On one hand, the prevailing development model has created enormous material wealth but on the other hand, it has engendered inequality and environmental crisis. The growing inequality, particularly of wealth, has reached the point where the top 1% own more than one-fourth of total wealth shares. According to the latest World Inequality Report, if inequality is not adequately addressed, it will result in various sorts of political, economic, and social catastrophes. At the same time, human civilisation is breaking through thresholds of delicately interconnected planetary boundaries, which delineate the safe operating space for humanity. The growth of civilisation beyond these ecological limits will result in non-linear, abrupt environmental change, and will have a fatal impact if not checked. Thus, reducing inequality while keeping civilisation within planetary boundaries is one of the most critical challenges facing humanity today. At this critical juncture, the presentation explores a potential alternative development pathway called Swaraj (self-rule) based on the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and his associate, the economic thinker, J C Kumarappa. Further, it discusses the pragmatic ways in which this form of development can be established by taking the case of Janapada Khadi initiative in Karnataka.
Janapada Seva Trust, Karnataka
Sumanas Koulagi has recently finished his PhD in International development at the University of Sussex. He is intrigued by the concept of development, an indispensable dynamic of present day existence. He is involved both in theory and praxis of swaraj development paradigm proposed by M K Gandhi and J C Kumarappa. Currently, he is associated with the Janapada Khadi initiative of Janapada Seva Trust in Karnataka.