Chapter 158: His Last Will and Testament
[The following is the constitution, drafted by Gandhiji, for the Congress on the day
of his assassination. His intention was to show how the Congress
which was till now mainly concerned with achieving political
independence may convert itself into an Association for the Service
of the People (Lok Sevak Sangh), and work for the establishment of a
non-violent society. —Ed.]
Though split into two, India having attained political independence
through means devised by the Indian National Congress, the Congress
in its present shape and form, i.e. as a propaganda vehicle and
parliamentary machine, has outlived its use. India has still to
attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven
hundred thousand villages as distinguished from its cities and
towns. The struggle for the ascendency of civil over military power
is bound to take place in India's progress towards its democratic
goal. It must be kept out of unhealthy competition with political
parties and communal bodies. For these and other similar reasons,
the A.I.C.C. resolves to disband the existing Congress organization
and flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh under the following rules with
power to alter them as occasion may demand.
- Every Panchayat of five adult men or women being villagers or
village-minded shall form a unit.
- Two such contiguous Panchayats shall form a working party under a
leader elected from among themselves.
- When there are one hundred such Panchayats, the fifty first grade
leaders shall elect from among themselves a second grade leader and
so on, the first grade leaders meanwhile working under the second
grade leader. Parallel groups of two hundred Panchayats shall
continue to be formed till they cover the whole of India, each
succeeding group of Panchayats electing a second grade leader after
the manner of the first. All second grade leaders shall serve
jointly for the whole of India and severally for their respective
areas. The second grade leaders may elect, whenever they deem
necessary, from among themselves a chief who will, during pleasure,
regulate and command all the groups.
(As the final formation of provinces, or districts is still in a
state of flux, no attempt has been made to divide this group of
servants into Provincial or District Councils, and jurisdiction over
the whole of India has been vested in the group or groups that may
have been formed at any given time. It should be noted that this
body of servants derive their authority or power from service
ungrudgingly and wisely done to their master, the whole of India.)
- Every worker shall be a habitual wearer of Khadi made from self-spun yarn
or certified by the A.I.S.A. and must be a teetotaller. If a Hindu,
he must have abjured untouchability in any shape or form in his own
person or in his family and must be a believer in the ideal of
inter- communal unity, equal respect and regard for all religions
and equality of opportunity and status for all irrespective of race,
creed or sex.
- He shall come in personal contact with every villager within his
- He shall enroll and train workers from amongst the villagers and keep a
register of all these.
- He shall keep a record of his work from day to day.
- He shall organize the villages so as to make them self-contained and
self-supporting through their agriculture and handicrafts.
- He shall educate the village folk in sanitation and hygiene and take
all measures for prevention of ill health and disease among them.
- He shall organize the education of the village folk from birth to death
along the lines of Nayee Talim, in accordance with the policy laid
down by the Hindustani Talimi Sangh.
- He shall see that those whose names are missing on the statutory
voters' roll are duly entered therein.
- He shall encourage those who have not yet acquired the legal
qualification, to acquire it for getting the right of franchise.
- For the above purposes and others to be added from time to time, he
shall train and fit himself in accordance with the rules laid down
by the Sangh for the due performance of duty.
The Sangh shall affiliate the following autonomous bodies :
- * A. I. S. A.
- A. I. V. I. A.
- Hindustani Talimi Sangh
- Harijan Sevak Sangh
- Goseva Sangh
The Sangh shall raise finances for the fulfillment of its mission,
from among the villagers and others, special stress being laid on
collection of the poor man's pice.
New Delhi, 29-1-'48
- All India Spinners' Association.
- All India Village Industries Association.
- Society for Basic Education.
- Society for service of "untouchables".
- Society for Cow Protection and Improvement.