HIND SWARAJ, the title of the first definitive writing of Mahatma Gandhi, and which continues to evoke critical interest the world over even now, literally means ‘self-rule in India’.
This small book of about 30,000 words was written in Gujarat in November 1909 on board the ship during Gandhi's return trip from England to South Africa after an abortive mission, within 10 days, 40 of the 275 pages being written with left hand. As stated by Gandhiji himself: "I wrote the entire Hind Swaraj for my dear friend Dr. Pranjivan Mehta. All the argument in the book is reproduced almost as it took place with him." [CWMG 71: 238] It was published in the Indian Opinion in Natal and was soon banned by Government in India because it contained 'matter declared to be seditious'. On that, Gandhi published the English translation from Natal to show the innocuous nature of its contents. The ban was finally lifted on 21 December 1938.
A number of editions have been published thereafter, the most common being that published by Navjivan press in India in 1938 with the title 'Hind Swaraj: the Indian Home Rule'. In 1924, an American edition, called 'Sermon on the Sea', (Intro. by John Haynes Holmes) was published from Chicago. Recently, a Reader on it has been published under the 'Cambridge Texts in Modem politics', edited by Professor Anthony J. Parel of University of Calgary (Canada) in 1997.
The book has 20 chapters and 2 appendices. Appendix I lists twenty references for further reading, including six by Tolstoy, two by Thoreau, two by Ruskin, one by Plato (Defence and Death of Socrates), and one by Mazzini (Duties of Man), and one each by Dadabhai Navroji, and R. C. Dutt on the economic condition of colonial India.
71 quotations from 'Hind Swaraj'(1938 edition), covering the essential philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, are being given hereafter.