This term connotes ‘the greatest good of all’. In Gandhi’s view, the highest objective of the State and of the individual should be the realization of this ideal. In contradistinction to the utilitarian philosophy of the West which aims at the greatest good of the greatest number (which according to Gandhi is a heartless doctrine), the concept of Sarvodaya aims at the promotion of the greatest good of all which can only be achieved through self-sacrifice on the part of all. And a Satyagrahi should strive for the greatest good of all the people and in this regard, he should be prepared to sacrifice even his life, if necessary.
Gandhi Concept of Swadeshi:
Although Gandhi advocated the concept of Sarvodaya, being a nationalist he believed in the advantages of Swadeshi movement for the freedom of India. Thus the freedom movement of which he was the leader, was inspired by Swadeshi as applied in the political sphere. The concept of Swadeshi urges people to adopt indigenous political institutions. Accordingly, the Indian political system should be based on the ancient Indian Institutional framework, i.e., the system of village panchayats. His belief in Swadeshi was the basis of his economic concepts as well. He emphasized that Swadeshi was that spirit within the human beings which urged them to the use and service of their immediate surroundings to the exclusion of those of the more remote. Thus one should use the products manufactured or produced in one’s own country.
Swadeshi did not mean opposition to the large-scale industry but it stressed the need for reliance on cottage industries because as far as India is concerned only this policy could make India self-sufficient. Swadeshi as applied to the religious sphere one should follow one’s hereditary religion. This is the reason for his objection to conversion from one religion to another. Swadeshi seeks to inculcate the qualities of self-confidence, courage and the spirit of self-reliance among the people of India. According to this concept, one should establish spiritual links with his/her environment as well.