“That human beings were necessarily interdependent and formed an organic whole was another ‘basic’ truth about them according to Gandhi. Individuals owed their existence to their parents, without whose countless sacrifices they would neither survive nor grow into sane human beings. They realized their potential in a stable and peaceful society, made possible by the efforts of thousands of anonymous men and women. They became rational, reflective, and moral beings within a rich civilization created by scores of sages, saints, savants, and scientists. In short, every human being owed his humanity to others, and benefited from a world to the creation of which he contributed nothing. For Gandhi human beings were ‘born debtors’, and involuntarily inherited debts that were too vast to be repaid. Even a whole lifetime was not enough to pay back what they owed their parents, let alone all others. Furthermore their creditors were by their very nature unspecifiable. Most of them were dead or unknown, and those who were alive were so numerous and their contributions so varied and complex that it was impossible to decide what one owed to whom. To talk about ‘repaying’ the debts did not therefore make sense except as a clumsy and metaphorical way of describing one’s response to unsolicited but indispensable gifts.”
-Bhikhu Parekh, Gandhi, a Very Short Introduction