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The Price of Freedom Venu Madhav Govindu and Deepak Malghan Although increasingly receding from our public commemoration Independence Day remains an occasion to recall the contributions and sacrifices of the many Indians who wrought for freedom Central to the story of our struggle for freedom is the role of Gandhi and the working of a unique non violent revolution that changed the face of the world Behind this success of Gandhi lies an entire ecosystem of men and women of all hues and colours of varying political predilections and from diverse religious class caste and national groups This Gandhian ecosystem to coin a phrase consisted of two broad kingdoms The first and the well studied part consists of Gandhi s political colleagues The story of Gandhi s relationship with this diverse group consisting of persons like Nehru Patel Rajaji and several other politically prominent leaders is well documented In contrast the non political section of the Gandhian ecosystem has not received the attention that it deserves Many of these individuals were described under the broad rubric of constructive workers The work of these individuals was not limited merely to end British rule in India Rather they were inspired to aim for the lofty ideal of Purna Swaraj that encapsulated Gandhi s civilisational mission of according autonomy and dignity to every individual While one may explain this neglect of the non political part of the Gandhian ecosystem as a consequence of the modern intellectual preference of the political over the moral and social dimensions of life it nevertheless results in a limited understanding of what Gandhi represented Although the Mahatma was undoubtedly their leader these colleagues and compatriots were ineffable to Gandhi s own personal evolution Perhaps we can gauge the significance of such non political figures in the Gandhian ecosystem by considering the fact that Gandhi broke his customary weekly silence on only two occasions in his eventful life The

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