Today I got the chance to read “Unto This Last: A Paraphrase” by Mahatma Gandhi. Unto this last is a wonderful guide to Social Economy. If you want to enlighten yourself with the ideas and thoughts that changed the life of Gandhi then you must read this book. Unto This Last was originally written by John Ruskin. It was first published in December 1860 in the monthly journal Cornhill Magazine in four articles. In the beginning these articles were badly criticized. Even the publisher was forced to stop the publication after four months. In these four essays, John Ruskin has critically analyzed the shortfalls of Capitalist Economy and discussed the advantages of Socialist Economy. Unto This Last had a very significant impact on Mahatma Gandhi’s thinking and philosophy.
He read this book in 1904. After reading the book, he decided immediately not only to change his thinking, philosophy and principles according to Ruskin’s teaching. Later, Gandhi translated Unto This Last into Gujarati in 1908 under the title of Sarvodaya (“well being of all”).
Summary of Unto This Last (According to Gandhi)
- The good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
- A lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s, as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
- A life of labor, i.e. the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.