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Trusteeship is a socio-economic philosophy that was propounded by Mahatma Gandhi[1] .

Putting it in Gandhiji's words "Supposing I have come by a fair amount of wealth – either by way of legacy, or by means of trade and industry – I must know that all that wealth does not belong to me; what belongs to me is the right to an honourable livelihood, no better than that enjoyed by millions of others. The rest of my wealth belongs to the community and must be used for the welfare of the community." [1] Gandhiji along with his followers, after their release from the prison formulated a "simple" and a "practical" formula where Trusteeship was explained.

It had the following 6 points, which were later published in the newspaper 'Harijan'.

"1) Trusteeship provides a means of transforming the present capitalist order of society into an egalitarian one. It gives no quarter to capitalism, but gives the present owning class a chance of reforming itself. It is based on the faith that human nature is never beyond redemption.

2) It does not recognize any right of private ownership of property except so far as it may be permitted by society for its own welfare.

3) It does not exclude legislative regulation of the ownership and use of wealth.

4) Thus under State-regulated trusteeship, an individual will not be free to hold or use his wealth for selfish satisfaction or in disregard of the interests of society.

5) Just as it is proposed to fix a decent minimum living wage, even so a limit should be fixed for the maxmum income that would be allowed to any person in society. The difference between such minimum and maximum incomes should be reasonable and equitable and variable from time to time so much so that the tendency would be towards obliteration of the difference.

6) Under the Gandhian economic order the character of production will be determined by social necessity and not by personal whim or greed."

Harijan, 25-10-1952


The founder of the Tata group, JRD Tata was influenced by Gandhi's idea of trusteeship. He developed his personal and professional life based on this idea.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b M. K. Gandhi, Compiled by Ravindra Kelekar, Trusteeship, April 1960, Printed and Published by : Jitendra T. Desai Navajivan Mudranalaya, Ahemadabad-380014 India, ISBN 81-7229-091-8
  2. ^ Dr. Sundar SARUKKAI, Friday, 27 May 2005, 'The Idea of Trusteeship in Gandhi and JRD Tata'


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