Mahatma Gandhi: Sustainable Transportation Visionary?

Mahatma Gandhi's utilization of non-violent civil disobedience to fight for civil rights is taught to school children around the world, but his views on the importance of biking and walking are less well known. Navdeep Asija investigates.

"Gandhi was [a] strong supporter of cycling and walking, who can perhaps be credited with starting the sustainable transport movement in India," writes Asija, the 2011 recipient of the National Award of Excellence from India’s Ministry of Urban Development. "In his book Hind Swaraj, he defined the principle of sustainability as, 'More from less for more'."

As Asija explains, walking and biking were an essential part of Gandhi's daily routine and both the method and subject of his protests. However, modern India has strayed from sustainable transport. "Today’s urban planning is dominated by motorized vehicles," he laments. 

"It’s impossible to imagine what might have happened if had India followed Gandhi’s ideals on sustainable transport and urban planning from its founding, and given support to the local informal sector, which includes non-motorized transport," says Asija. "Although it’s sad to see that none of the principles given by Gandhi are currently being adopted into India’s transportation policies, it’s not too late to implement them." 

Full Story: Ahead of his time: Gandhi’s ideals on sustainable transport and urban planning

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