Social enterprise is eroding civil society

Amitabh Behar

An incisive editorial cartoon shows Mahatma Gandhi being read a letter stating that his funding proposal for spinning cloth is being rejected because the link between the proposal and the struggle against the British empire is not clear. The response is arrogant, foolish and shows a complete inability to make sense of socio-economic and political processes unfolding at the time. The use of the spinning wheel is particularly pointed: Gandhi made symbolic use of it not only as a tool of political action for shaking the economic basis of British imperialism, but for building a culture of self-reliance among Indians.

As a civil society practitioner, this cartoon has stayed with me as I encounter very similar behaviour from too many of today’s philanthropists.

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