Sunteți pe pagina 1din 49

Gandhis Concept of Satyagraha is an exceptional and novel way to resist evil.
This is the heart and soul of the entire Gandhian theory and philosophy, and his
exclusive contribution to the modern Indian political thought. Through this
mechanism, Gandhi aimed at resisting any kind of unjust, impure or untruthful

This concept also aims at furtherance of love and self-purification. Satyagraha

can be regarded as a vindication of truth by taking self-suffering in the form of
love. It is the weapon of the bravest and the strongest. It is an antidote for
coercion. It was believed that Satyagraha enables elevation of spiritual and
moral qualities of an individual.

The main function of a Satyagraha is not to injure the enemy by any means. It is
an appeal to the enemy either through reason or by a gentle rational argument.
It is something like a sacrifice of the self. Satyagraha has two positive features,
viz., it showers blessings on those who practice it and secondly, it blesses those
individuals against whom Satyagraha is practiced.

The concept of Satyagraha advocates that it is through suffering that there are
achievements. For instance, just like a mother who takes all the suffering for the
sake of a child, Satyagraha also takes all the pain for the cause of the fellow

This ideal also expounded that there is a direct relationship between the purity of
the suffering and the extent of progress. It believes that the purer the suffering,
the greater the material and spiritual progress. The theory of Satyagraha has
three main purposes firstly, it purifies the sufferer; secondly, it intensifies
favorable public opinion; and thirdly, makes a direct appeal to the soul of the

Gandhi differentiated between the terms Satyagraha and Passive resistance. The
former, according to him, is a moral weapon and the latter is a political weapon.
The victory of the soul power over the physical force is reflected in the idea of
Satyagraha. The former is dynamic, while the latter is static.

The ultimate aim of Satyagraha is to achieve success, despite his extreme

sufferings, with cheerfulness and love unlike passive resistance that is
undertaken in a situation of weakness and despair. Ultimately, Satyagraha offers
a substantial and effective opposition to injustice and tyranny in comparison to
passive resistance.
Techniques of Satyagraha:

Some of the major techniques of Satyagraha are non-cooperation, civil

disobedience, Hijrat, fasting and strike.

The following is a brief explanation of each of the techniques:


Gandhi was of the opinion that injustice prevails in the society only when both,
the government perpetuates and the people extend their cooperation. Once this
cooperation is withdrawn, then the entire system paralyses. It is widely accepted
that even the most despotic leader cannot continue for long if he lacks the
consent of his subjects.

However, a despot seeks the consent through force. But if the people are firm in
revolting against the despot, he remains nowhere. Non-cooperation is, therefore,
one of the weapons of Satyagraha to force the unjust and immoral power to
rectify his mistakes. The main goal of non-cooperation is to strike the imagination
of people as well as the social ostracism or picketing.

Hartal should be occasionally used based on the non-violent and voluntary

measures. The social ostracism is a kind of social boycott against those who defy
public opinion. Gandhi suggested in a limited sense, picketing as another weapon
that relies on the force of public opinion. Non-cooperation cannot be regarded as
a negative creed, but it is very much a positive philosophy of constructive and
social development.

Civil Disobedience:

According to Gandhi, civil disobedience is an effective and bloodless substitute

for the armed revolt. This is another method of violating the established order of
the state in a non-violent and peaceful fashion. However, necessary care has to
be taken to make the entire act more sincere, respectful and principled.

It should never be carried out with ill-will and hatred. It needs careful planning
and practice and without this the entire act might lose its vitality and
significance. Those who practice civil disobedience, according to Gandhi, must
ensure that the violence and general lawlessness would not break out as it could
disturb the peaceful environment in society.


Etymologically, the term implies voluntary exile from ones permanent place of
habitation. One of the main reasons for the people to resort to Hijrat is when
they feel oppressed either due to loss of self-respect or honourable living; they
attempt to migrate permanently to other places. In simple terms, it is a protest
against the oppressor. Gandhi suggested this measure to the Harijans mainly due
to their oppression, especially by the dominant classes in some places.
The Chaura Chauri incident prior to independence was a valid example of the
Harijans and the Dalits who have taken the route of permanent exile as a form of
their protest. Hijrat is, therefore, another non-violent method of protest that
attempts to make the oppressor realize his inhuman and unjust acts of behaviour
against the poor, the weak, just and innocent people.


This was another strong weapon suggested by Gandhi in his non-violent struggle
for freedom. However, he was clear that this act of fasting must not be used as
and when, and at every occasion. He stated that unwarranted use of the device
would lose its importance, and for this reason he suggested that it must be
sparingly used.

Gandhi was of the opinion that those who are spiritually fit and have purity of
mind and thought, humility, discipline and faith should alone undertake fasting. It
should not be viewed as the physical stamina, but the spiritual content of fasting
that gives it greater significance and credibility.

Gandhi also expressed the opinion that if those who have no moral character
undertake fast for either legitimate or illegitimate purpose, they would only
devalue the act. He, therefore, suggested that the technique must be used with
great caution and restraint.


The last device a Satyagraha uses is the strike demanding justice for legitimate
cause as well as the redressal of grievances. Strike is considered a voluntary
suffering undertaken for the transformation of the erring opponent. Gandhi was
not in favor of Marxist principle of class war and forceful takeover of the means
of production from the bourgeoisie.

He was of the opinion that a firm or an industry is like a trust either under the
capitalists and the labour. A strike is meant to end injustice, inefficiency,
corruption and short-sightedness of the capitalists. However, in strikes adequate
care has to be taken to ensure that it remains non-violent as well as peaceful and
makes their demands meaningful, just and feasible.

Therefore, it can be stated that Satyagraha is a weapon for justifying individual

rights as against the oppressive, coercive attitude of the Britishers. Gandhi
initially used this weapon in South Africa and owing to its success there, he
applied the same in India during the freedom struggle. His firm belief in two
mighty weapons, namely, Satya and Ahimsa, made it clear to the entire world
that the path of righteousness and justice would one day make anybody or any
nation powerful on the earth.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who first used the word Sarvodaya in modern times.
Etymologically speaking, Sarvodaya means the rise or welfare of all. Gandhiji
borrowed this concept from John Ruskins Unto This Last. The proper rendering of
Unto This Last would be Antyodaya (uplift of the last) rather than Sarvodaya.

Vinobha Bhave rightly says: Of course the last ones uplift is included in the
uplift of all, but in emphasizing the last, the object is that work should begin from
that end. For Gandhiji, Sarvodaya is the true panacea for all types of social or
political problems experienced by Indian society. After the death of Gandhiji,
Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan have highlighted the essentials
of Sarvodaya in their own light.

Vinoba Bhave developed Gandhijis concept of Sarvodaya keeping in view

changing socio-economic circumstances. The movement of Bhoodan and
Gramdan and his unique method of spreading his message of compassion
through padayatra have attracted worldwide attention. J. P. Narayan holds the
view that Sarvodaya stands for the sublime goals of freedom, equality,
brotherhood and peace. Realization of a rich, total and integrated life is the basic
objective of Sarvodaya philosophy.

According to Kumarappa, Sarvodaya represents the ideal social order according

to Gandhiji. Its basis is all-embracing love. J. P. Chandra opines that by bringing
about a countrywide decentralisation of both political and economic powers,
Sarvodaya provides opportunity for the all-round development of the individual
and the society.

Sarvodaya seeks the happiness of each and all. Hence it is superior to the
utilitarian concept of greatest happiness of the greatest number. Dada
Dharmadhikari highlighted the distinction between Sarvodaya and western Isms
which speaks of three stages in the evolution of humanist thought; first came
Darwin with his advocation of the principle of the survival of the fittest; next
came Huxley with the doctrine live and let live and today, Sarvodaya going
one step further asserts Live in order to help others live.

The main tenets of the Sarvodaya philosophy as propounded by Gandhiji and

subsequently explained by the pioneers of this movement are as follows:

1. Sarvodaya reiterates belief in God and, further, it identifies that belief with
faith in the goodness of man and with services, of humanity.

2. It attaches importance to the principle of trusteeship as implying the abolition

of private ownership and the application of the principle of non-possession to
public institutions.

3. Sarvodaya envisages a new humanistic socialist society. Man will be the centre
of such a society. Unless man cultivates values like love, sincerity, truth, an
abiding sympathy etc., the emergence of a new society would only remain a
pious dream. In this process of change the State has little role to play. The State,
at best, can effect change at the level of the external behaviour of man. It fails to
influence the inner springs of life. This mental transformation is only possible
through appeal and persuasion.

4. Sarvodaya visualises a simple, non-violent and decentralised society. In

capitalism and state socialism the individual becomes alone and isolated.
Sarvodaya is opposed to both. In the scheme of Sarvodaya the people are
endowed with real power. Democracy becomes meaningful and assumes
significance only when its structure is reared on the foundation of village

The Sarvodaya movement inculcates this democratic awareness among the

people especially among the ruralites. Again in the scheme of Sarvodaya
decentralisation of industry takes place through the organisation of small-scale,
cottage and village industries. The reason is not far to seek.

In a country like India where there is acute shortage of capital and abundance of
labour, any attempt at industrialization through high technology is doomed to
failure. Moreover, the decentralization of production would prevent
bureaucratisation of the economic system.

5. Sarvodaya idea contains the content of egalitarianism. It rests on the principle

of true equality and liberty. It stands opposed to exploitation of any kind.

6. The concept of Sarvodaya views work as an offering to the Lord. Further, the
principle of equality of all religions finds better elucidation in some of the
thinkers of Sarvodaya philosophy.

7. In Sarvodaya programme the standard of life is fundamental and not the

standard of living. A rise in the standard of living might even lower the standard
of life by reducing mans physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual standards and
8. The Sarvodaya philosophy stands opposed to parliamentary democracy and
party system. It is because the party system divides the society into various
groups. J. P. Narayan wanted to replace the existing parliamentary system
through political and economic decentralisation of powers and functions.
Sarvodaya stands for establishment of an integrated cooperative society.

9. Sarvodaya programme gives prime place to planning. According to the

scheme of Sarvodaya planning must proceed with two objects: removal of
natural or man-made impediments in the road to the development of man and
provision of means, training and guidance for it.

Sarvodaya movement entails economic, political, philosophical and ethical

implications. They are as follows:

Economic implications:

Gandhijis concept of Sarvodaya aims at welfare of all. It is founded on the

philosophy of limited wants. According to him, Civilization in the real sense of
the term consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary
reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment and
increases capacity for service. Our economy should be based on simple living,
high thinking.

He fought for an economy free from exploitation and corruption, limitation of

human wants, equality and basic needs for all. In the words of Prof. V. P. Varma,
If the Bhoodan and Gramdan are techniques of agrarian revolution based on
moral force, Sampattidan is a significant path in the transformation of capitalism
into the Sarvodaya society.

The essential features of the economic philosophy of Sarvodaya as emphasised

by Vinobaji constitute elimination of poverty, forging bonds of mutual help and
fellow-feeling between big landholders and landless ruralites, revival or
furtherance of Indian culture based on yagna, Dana and tapas, giving an
opportunity to all political parties to work unitedly in rooting out bitterness and
self-aggrandisement and helping world peace.

Philosophical and ethical implications:

Sarvodaya aims at the spiritualisation of politics. It seeks to replace party strifes,

jealousies and competition by the sacred law of cooperative mutuality and
dominant altruism. According to the concept of Sarvodaya, man is essentially
good. Human character can improve either by Tapasya (self effort) or by appeals
made to him by others through such non-violent techniques as Satyagraha, non-
cooperation and fasting.

Political implications:

Sarvodaya attaches importance to lokniti. The concept of lokniti signifies self-

restraint, self-abnegation, selfless service to the people, discipline, faith in God
and performance of duties with benign motive. Sarvodaya condemns the
majority rule, elections, political parties and centralisation of power. Gandhiji
wanted a Stateless democracy in which even weakest have the same
opportunity as the strongest. The ideal democracy will be a federation of
Satyagrahi village communities based on non-violence.

The Law of Our Species

I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist. The religion of nonviolence

is not meant merely for the rishis and saints. It is meant for the common people
as well. Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute.
The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical
might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law-to the strength of
the spirit....
The rishis who discovered the law of nonviolence in the midst of violence were
greater geniuses than Newton. They were themselves known the use of arms,
they realized their uselessness, and taught a weary world that its salvation lay
not through violence but through nonviolence.

My Ahimsa

I know only one way-the way of ahimsa. The way of himsa goes against my grain.
I do not want to cultivate the power to inculcate himsa...The faith sustains me
that He is the help of the helpless, that He comes to one's succour only when
one throws himself on His mercy. It is because of that faith that I cherish the
hope that God will one day show me a path which I may confidently commend to
the people.
I have been a 'gambler' all my life. In my passion for finding truth and in
relentlessly following out my faith in nonviolence, I have counted no stake too
great. In doing so I have erred, if at all, in the company of the most distinguished
scientist of any age and any clime.
I learnt the lesson of nonviolence from my wife, when I tried to bend her to my
will. Her determined resistance to my will, on the one hand, and her quiet
submission to the suffering my stupidity involved, on the other, ultimately made
me ashamed of myself and cured me of my stupidity in thinking that I was born
to rule over her and, in the end, she became my teacher in nonviolence.
The doctrine that has guided my life is not one of inaction but of the highest
I must not...flatter myself with the belief--nor allow entertain the
belief that I have exhibited any heroic and demonstrable nonviolence in myself.
All I can claim is that I am sailing in that direction without a moment's stop.

Character of Nonviolence

Nonviolence is the law of the human race and is infinitely greater than and
superior to brute force.
In the last resort it does not avail to those who do not possess a living faith in the
God of Love.
Nonviolence affords the fullest protection to one's self-respect and sense of
honour, but not always to possession of land or movable property, though its
habitual practice does prove a better bulwark than the possession of armed men
to defend them. Nonviolence, in the very nature of things, is of no assistance in
the defence of ill-gotten gains and immoral acts.
Individuals or nations who would practice nonviolence must be prepared to
sacrifice (nations to last man) their all except honour. It is, therefore, inconsistent
with the possession of other people's countries, i.e., modern imperialism, which
is frankly based on force for its defence.
Nonviolence is a power which can be wielded equally by all--children, young men
and women or grown-up people, provided they have a living faith in the God of
Love and have therefore equal love for all mankind. When nonviolence is
accepted as the law of life, it must pervade the whole being and not be applied
to isolated acts.
It is a profound error to suppose that, whilst the law is good enough for
individuals, it is not for masses of mankind
For the way of nonviolence and truth is sharp as the razor's edge. Its practice is
more than our daily food. Rightly taken, food sustains the body; rightly practised
nonviolence sustains the soul. The body food we can only take in measured
quantities and at stated intervals; nonviolence, which is the spiritual food, we
have to take in continually. There is no such thing as satiation. I have to be
conscious every moment that I am pursuing the goal and have to examine
myself in terms of that goal.

Changeless Creed

The very first step in nonviolence is that we cultivate in our daily life, as between
ourselves, truthfulness, humility, tolerance, loving kindness. Honesty, they say in
English, is the best policy. But, in terms of nonviolence, it is not mere policy.
Policies may and do change. Nonviolence is an unchangeable creed. It has to be
pursued in face of violence raging around you. Nonviolence with a nonviolent
man is no merit. In fact it becomes difficult to say whether it is nonviolence at all.
But when it is pitted against violence, then one realizes the difference between
the two. This we cannot do unless we are ever wakeful, ever vigilant, ever
The only thing lawful is nonviolence. Violence can never be lawful in the sense
meant here, i.e., not according to man-made law but according to the law made
by Nature for man.

Faith in God

[A living faith in nonviolence] is impossible without a living faith in God. A

nonviolent man can do nothing save by the power and grace of God. Without it
he won't have the courage to die without anger, without fear and without
retaliation. Such courage comes from the belief that God sits in the hearts of all
and that there should be no fear in the presence of God. The knowledge of the
omnipresence of God also means respect for the lives even of those who may be
called opponents....
Nonviolence is an active force of the highest order. It is soul force or the power of
Godhead within us. Imperfect man cannot grasp the whole of that Essence-he
would not be able to bear its full blaze, but even an infinitesimal fraction of it,
when it becomes active within us, can work wonders.
The sun in the heavens fills the whole universe with its life-giving warmth. But if
one went too near it, it would consume him to ashes. Even so it is with God-head.
We become Godlike to the extent we realize nonviolence; but we can never
become wholly God.
The fact is that nonviolence does not work in the same way as violence. It works
in the opposite way. An armed man naturally relies upon his arms. A man who is
intentionally unarmed relies upon the Unseen Force called God by poets, but
called the Unknown by scientists. But that which is unknown is not necessarily
non-existent. God is the Force among all forces known and unknown.
Nonviolence without reliance upon that Force is poor stuff to be thrown in the
Consciousness of the living presence of God within one is undoubtedly the first

Religious Basis

My claim to Hinduism has been rejected by some, because I believe and

advocate nonviolence in its extreme form. They say that I am a Christian in
disguise. I have been even seriously told that I am distorting the meaning of the
Gita, when I ascribe to that great poem the teaching of unadulterated
nonviolence. Some of my Hindu friends tell me that killing is a duty enjoined by
the Gita under certain circumstances. A very learned shastri only the other day
scornfully rejected my interpretation of the Gita and said that there was no
warrant for the opinion held by some commentators that the Gita represented
the eternal duel between forces of evil and good, and inculcated the duty of
eradicating evil within us without hesitation, without tenderness.
I state these opinions against nonviolence in detail, because it is necessary to
understand them, if we would understand the solution I have to offer....
I must be dismissed out of considerations. My religion is a matter solely between
my Maker and myself. If I am a Hindu, I cannot cease to be one even though I
may be disowned by the whole of the Hindu population. I do however suggest
that nonviolence is the end of all religions.
The lesson of nonviolence is present in every religion, but I fondly believe that,
perhaps, it is here in India that its practice has been reduced to a science.
Innumerable saints have laid down their lives in tapashcharya until poets had felt
that the Himalayas became purified in their snowy whiteness by means of their
sacrifice. But all this practice of nonviolence is nearly dead today. It is necessary
to revive the eternal law of answering anger by love and of violence by
nonviolence; and where can this be more readily done than in this land of Kind
Janaka and Ramachandra?

Hinduism's Unique Contribution

Nonviolence is common to all religions, but it has found the highest expression
and application in Hinduism. (I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate
from Hinduism).
Hinduism believes in the oneness not of merely all human life but in the oneness
of all that lives. Its worship of the cow is, in my opinion, its unique contribution to
the evolution of humanitarianism. It is a practical application of the belief in the
oneness and, therefore, sacredness of all life. The great belief in transmigration
is a direct consequence of that belief. Finally, the discovery of the law of
Varnashrama is a magnificent result of the ceaseless search for truth.
I have also been asked wherefrom in Hinduism I have unearthed ahimsa. Ahimsa
is in Hinduism, it is in Christianity as well as in Islam. Whether you agree with me
or not, it is my bounden duty to preach what I believe to be the truth as I see it. I
am also sure that ahimsa has never made anyone a coward.

The Koran and Non-violence

[Barisaheb] assured me that there was warrant enough for Satyagraha in the
Holy Koran. He agreed with the interpretation of the Koran to the effect that,
whilst violence under certain well-defined circumstances is permissible, self-
restraint is dearer to God than violence, and that is the law of love. That is
Satyagraha. Violence is concession to human weakness, Satyagraha is an
obligation. Even from the practical standpoint it is easy enough to see that
violence can do no good and only do infinite harm.
Some Muslim friends tell me that Muslims will never subscribe to unadulterated
nonviolence. With them, they say, violence is as lawful and necessary as
nonviolence. The use of either depends upon circumstances. It does not need
Koranic authority to justify the lawfulness of both. That is the well-known path
the world has traversed through the ages. There is no such thing as
unadulterated violence in the world. But I have heard it from many Muslim
friends that the Koran teaches the use of nonviolence. It regards forbearance as
superior to vengeance. The very word Islam means peace, which is nonviolence.
Badshahkhan, a staunch Muslim who never misses his namaz and Ramzan, has
accepted out and out nonviolence as his creed. It would be no answer to say that
he does not live up to his creed, even as I know to my shame that I do not one of
kind, it is of degree. But, argument about nonviolence in the Holy Koran is an
interpolation, not necessary for my thesis.

No Matter of Diet

Ahimsa is not a mere matter of dietetics, it transcends it. What a man eats or
drinks matters little; it is the self-denial, the self-restraint behind it that matters.
By all means practice as much restraint in the choice of the articles of your diet
as you like. The restraint is commendable, even necessary, but it touches only
the fringe of ahimsa. A man may allow himself a wide latitude in the matter of
diet and yet may be a personification of ahimsa and compel our homage, if his
heart overflows with love and melts at another's woe, and has been purged of all
passions. On the other hand a man always over-scrupulous in diet is an utter
stranger to ahimsa and pitiful wretch, if he is a slave to selfishness and passions
and is hard of heart.

Road to Truth

My love for nonviolence is superior to every other thing mundane or

supramundane. It is equaled only by my love for Truth, which is to me
synonymous with nonviolence through which and which alone I can see and
reach Truth.
....Without ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find Truth. Ahimsa and Truth are
so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them.
They are like the two sides of a coin, or rather of a smooth, unstamped, metallic
disc. Who can say which is the obverse, and which is the reverse? Nevertheless
ahimsa is the means; Truth is the end. Means to be means must always be within
our reach, and so ahimsa is our supreme duty. If we take care of the means, we
are bound to reach the end sooner of latter. When once we have grasped this
point, final victory is beyond question.
Ahimsa is not the goal. Truth is the goal. But we have no means of realizing truth
in human relationships except through the practice of ahimsa. A steadfast
pursuit of ahimsa is inevitably bound to truth not so violence. That is why I swear
by ahimsa. Truth came naturally to me. Ahimsa I acquired after a struggle.
But ahimsa being the means, we are naturally more concerned with it in our
everyday life. It is ahimsa, therefore, that our masses have to be educated in.
Education in truth follows from it as a natural end.

No Cover for Cowardice

My nonviolence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear
ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer
violence to cowardice. I can no more preach nonviolence to a coward than I can
tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes. Nonviolence is the summit of
bravery. And in my own experience, I have had no difficulty in demonstrating to
men trained in the school of violence the superiority of nonviolence. As a coward,
which I was for years, I harboured violence. I began to prize nonviolence only
when I began to shed cowardice. Those Hindus who ran away from the post of
duty when it was attended with danger did so not because they were nonviolent,
or because they were afraid to strike, but because they were unwilling to die or
even suffer an injury. A rabbit that runs away from the bull terrier is not
particularly nonviolent. The poor thing trembles at the sight of the terrier and
runs for very life.
Nonviolence is not a cover for cowardice, but it is the supreme virtue of the
brave. Exercise of nonviolence requires far greater bravery than that of
swordsmanship. Cowardice is wholly inconsistent with nonviolence. Translation
from swordsmanship to nonviolence is possible and, at times, even an easy
stage. Nonviolence, therefore, presupposes ability to strike. It is a conscious
deliberate restraint put upon one's desire for vengeance. But vengeance is any
day superior to passive, effeminate and helpless submission. Forgiveness is
higher still. Vengeance too is weakness. The desire for vengeance comes out of
fear of harm, imaginary or real. A dog barks and bites when he fears. A man who
fears no one on earth would consider it too troublesome even to summon up
anger against one who is vainly trying to injure him. The sun does not wreak
vengeance upon little children who throw dust at him. They only harm
themselves in the act.
The path of true nonviolence requires much more courage than violence.
The minimum that is required of a person wishing to cultivate the ahimsa of the
brave is first to clear one's thought of cowardice and, in the light of the
clearance, regulate his conduct in every activity, great or small. Thus the votary
must refuse to be cowed down by his superior, without being angry. He must,
however, be ready to sacrifice his post, however remunerative it may be. Whilst
sacrificing his all, if the votary has no sense of irritation against his employer, he
has ahimsa of the brave in him.
Assume that a fellow-passenger threatens my son with assault and I reason with
the would-be-assailant who then turns upon me. If then I take his blow with grace
and dignity, without harbouring any ill-will against him, I exhibit the ahimsa of
the brave. Such instances are of every day occurrence and can be easily
multiplied. If I succeed in curbing my temper every time and, though able to give
blow for blow, I refrain, I shall develop the ahimsa of the brave which will never
fail me and which will compel recognition from the most confirmed adversaries.
Inculcation of cowardice is against my nature. Ever since my return from South
Africa, where a few thousand had stood up not unsuccessfully against heavy
odds, I have made it my mission to preach true bravery which ahimsameans.

Humility Essential

If one has pride and egoism, there is no nonviolence. Nonviolence is impossible

without humility. My own experience is that, whenever I have acted non violently,
I have been led to it and sustained in it by the higher promptings of an unseen
power. Through my own will I should have miserably failed. When I first went to
jail, I quailed at the prospect. I had heard terrible things about jail life. But I had
faith in God's protection. Our experience was that those who went to jail in a
prayerful spirit came out victorious, those who had gone in their own strength
failed. There is no room for self-pitying in it either when you say God is giving
you the strength. Self-pity comes when you do a thing for which you expect
recognition from others. But there is no question of recognition.
It was only when I had learnt to reduce myself to zero that I was able to evolve
the power of Satyagraha in South Africa.



Though the non-cooperation movement was suspended, yet it left a ray of hope
for the people. However, a group for Congress leaders likes C.R. Das, Motilal
Nehru etc. were dissatisfied with the sudden suspension of the movement.
They formed a separate party known as Swaraj Party and were ready to contest
in elections for Council entry. Their purpose was to oppose the government from

In the election of 1923, the Swaraj Party secured absolute majority in Bengal and
Central Provinces. But gradually they joined the Gandhian movement.

In 1927, the British Government appointed the Simon Commission consisting of

seven members of the British Parliament with Sir John Simon as its chairman. The
Commission was to look into the functioning of the Government of India Act 1919
and to suggest further constitutional reforms for India. Since not a single Indian
was included in it, the National Congress rejected to co-operate with the
Commission. Everywhere, the Commission was greeted with hartals, black flags
and slogans of Simon Go Back.

In such a hostile atmosphere, the Commission completed its inquiry and

submitted its report. But before the report could be considered by the British
parliament, the Government proposed to convene a Round Table Conference to
determine the nature of future constitutional reforms in India. Being challenged
by the British Government to prepare a constitution acceptable to all political
parties in India, the Congress appointed a committee under the chairmanship of
Motilal Nehru. The Nehru Committee Report suggested for a representative
government in India like other dominions such as Canada and Australia. But the
British Government even did not assure a Dominion status for India.

In such circumstances, the Congress session was held at Lahore in 1929 where
the Congress dropped. The Nehru Report and instead of Dominion status, it
demanded Poorna Swaraj. The historic Independence Resolution was adopted
and the tri-colour flag of independence was hoisted at the midnight of 31st
December 1929. The Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi
presented a definite challenge to the British Government. The Congress also
authorized Gandhiji to start a Civil Disobedience Movement which can lead India
in the direction of complete independence.

The Movement:

As the British Government did not show any interest in providing meaningful
political concessions to Indians, Gandhiji decided to start the Civil Disobedience
Movement.On 2th March 1930, Gandhiji wrote his famous letter to Lord Irwin, the
Viceroy of India, narrating the evils of the British rule, He also communicated the
decision to launch the Satyagraha campaign by manufacturing salt at Dandi, a
village on the sea coast of Gujarat, in case his eleven point demands were turned
down by the Government.

Some of these demands were abolition of salt tax, reduction of the land revenue,
reduction of military expenditure and expenditure on civil administration,
imposition of custom duty on foreign cloth, release of all political prisoners, and
prohibition of intoxicants etc. When Lord Irwin did not pay any attention to his
demands and warned him of the consequences of his action, Gandhiji was left
with no alternative but to start the Civil Disobedience Movement.

On March 12, 1930, Gandhiji led a march from his Sabarmati Ashram with his 78
followers and reached the sea at Dandi on 5 th April 1930. The distance covered
was 241 miles. There was tremendous enthusiasm among the people during the
march. On the morning of 6th April Gandhiji and other Satyagrahis prepared salt
as an instance of braking the Salt Law. In response to Gandhijis call for Civil
Disobedience, the people of India in large number took part in the movement.

Mostly the activities of the Satyagrahis were taking out processions, holding of
meetings, boycotting of foreign goods, withholding payment of and revenue,
picketing before the liquor shops, violating restraint orders, distributing leaflets
among the people, celebrating national weeks etc.. Thousands of women also
came out of their homes to participate in the movement and even did not fear of
imprisonment. The imperialistic government was made alarmed. The people who
first doubted the very approach of Gandhi that a small object like salt could not
be an issue of a national movement, now were forced to change their opinion.

Government resorted to severe repression. Mass arrests, torture, firing, lathi

charges and police excesses became common incidents. The Congress was
outlawed and nearly ninety thousand people were put behind the bar. On 5 th May
1930, Gandhiji and other top leaders of Congress were imprisoned. Meanwhile,
the British Government summoned the First Round Table Conference at London
on 12 November 1930 to discuss the Simon Commission Report. But when
Congress boycotted it, the conference was adjourned sine die.

Gandhiji and other important leaders of Congress were released from jails in the
last week of January 1931. The situation forced the British Government to
negotiate with the Congress for a rapprochement. As a result of a long
negotiation, on 5th March 1931, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed. The government
agreed to remove all repressive ordinances, to restore the confiscated property,
to set free all prisoners except those who were guilty of having committed any

The government also allowed the manufacture of salt by the people and for
peaceful picketing before the liquor shops and foreign goods shops. Il return, the
Congress agreed to suspend the Civil Disobedience Movement and to attend the
Second Round Table Conference. With this pact, the government indirectly
accepted the Congress as the representative organisation of the Indians.

Since the British Government did not accept any important demands of the
Congress, the pact was made subject to criticism. The Congress ratified the pact
at the Karachi Session of march 1931. But there was protest against it. Even
Gandhi was shown black flags when he arrived to attend the session.
It was due to his failure to get the release of Bhagat Singh and two of his
comrades who had been given death sentence and were executed only two days
before the Karachi session of the Congress. However, the Congress suspended
the Civil Disobedience Movement and deputed Gandhiji as the sole
representative of the Congress to participate in the Second Round Table

In the Second Round Table Conference, Gandhiji made it clear that India would
think of Dominion status, if it was to be given at once and in full and also India
would be made equal with Britain. But the Conservative Party which came to
power in the general elections of November 1931, refused to concede the
demands of Gandhiji. So Gandhiji could not achieve any practical success and
returned empty handed. Lord Irwin was replaced by Lord Willingdon as the
Viceroy of India and he revived again the repressive policy of the government.

The new Viceroy regarded the GandhiIrwin Pact as dead and gone. The
moment Gandhiji reached India, he was arrested along with many other leaders.
A reign of terror was let loose. In this circumstance, Gandhi decided to revive the
Civil Disobedience Movement and it was again started in January 1932. The
Viceroy was determined to crush the movement. All important Congress leaders
were arrested, their property was confiscated, the Congress organisation was
declared illegal. Despite the police atrocities, the movement continued for more
than six months.

In August 1932, the British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald announced the
Communal Award by providing separate electorate to Muslims, Sikhs,
Europeans and the other depressed class. Gandhiji started his fast till death
which created a deep emotion among the leaders of all sections of the people.
An agreement known as Poona Pact was signed with the leaders of the oppressed

The Pact provided representation to depressed classes along with the caste
Hindus and their seats were to be reserved on the basis of their population.
However, it is alleged that the Poona Pact shifted the attention of the Indian
leaders from the central motive of the movement. When Gandhiji became
concerned with the Harijan movement, his lion became weak on the Civil
Disobedience Movement.

Usually the movement lost its vigor and vitality. The congress off- sally
suspended the movement in May 1933 and withdrew it in April 1934. Besides the
oppression of -the British Government, the disunity among the Indian leaders
were primarily responsible for the failure of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Moreover, the diversion of Gandhijis attention towards the sensible communal
issues was another factor which highly contributed for the weakening of the

However, this movement is memorable in the history of India. It was more

widespread than the previous one. Mass participation provided the Congress a
new all-India status. Therefore, the government decided to give encouragement
to communal, regional and other forces which would work against the Indian
unity. But the Poona Pact saved the Indian society.

Though the Congress boycotted the Third Round Table Conference, yet after the
conclusion of the conference a white paper was published in May 1933, which
became the basis of the Government of India Act 1935. This Act was far away
from the demand of the Congress and was totally disappointing. Yet the Congress
decided to participate in the election which was announced as the provision of
the Act.

The Congress was able to form government in six and coalition government in
two other out of the total eleven provinces. The Congress Governments resigned
in October 1939 when India was made a party with the Britain in the Second
World War without any consultation with the Indian leaders. The British
Government encouraged communalism to the maximum extent by giving
support to the Muslim League. When the Congress was out of power, the Muslim
League observed it as the Day of Deliverance. With the support of British
Government, the Muslim League demanded a separate homeland for Muslims on
the soil of India in May 1940.

In order to win the support of Indians for Britains war efforts, the Viceroy of
India, proposed the so called August Offer on 8th August 1940. It promised to
grant Dominion Status to India and also assured the framing of the Constitution
by the representatives of India after the end of the war.

Both the Congress and the Muslim League rejected the offer. With the direction of
Gandhi, individual Satyagraha was started. But when Japan entered the Second
World war against the Allies, Britain was forced to change its attitude. In order to
have some sort of understanding with the Indians, the British Government sent a
Mission to India under Sir Stafford Cripps in March 1942.

The Mission talked to the leaders of the different sections of India. Finally, it
offered for the Dominion status to India after the war. Cripps also gave the
proposal of a Constituent Assembly consisting of the elected members of the
Lower House of Provincial Legislatures and representatives of Princely States to
formulate a Constitution for India. But the Cripps proposal was rejected by both
the Congress and the Muslim League.

The Congress Working Committee reiterated the demand for freedom before
India could join the war. But the Conservative Government of Britain did not
desire to share power with the Indians during the war. The Muslim League
rejected the proposal as it did not clearly pointed to the formation of a separate
state for the Muslims.
Mr. MK Ganghis politics has been criticized with the modern form of politics
argue that for Gandhi the ground of moral action is fearlessness, while that of
political reason is security and self defense. Gandhi sees that the context of the
moral action in the mundane fabric of everyday life, especially in the place such
as the families and the villages. For this reason Gandhi does not believe that
moral action requires being supplemented by the particular kind of unity which
politics and the state call for and necessitate. Thereby, Uday Mehta work on
Gandhi draw out the reason for Gandhis disagreement with the modern form of
politics is interesting and find his argument gain plausible. Gandhi was criticized
by many other including Uday Mehta, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Arundhati Roy Dr.
Kusoom Vadgama and many youngsters in India.

It is very hard to imagine to criticized the greatest Indian politicians and father of
nation who is the real hero of many world leaders including Mr. Barack Obama US
president. On the other hand, Gandhiji was a human being who can commit
many mistakes like ordinary person in human society; it is true that for Gandhi,
the ground of moral action is fearlessness whereas his political reason is security
and self defense. Gandhi views on democracy is complicated, his ideas of writing
is replete with comments critical of the ideas of election, representation and
individual rights. In his famous slogan Hind Swaraj he characterized British
parliament as sterile women and a prostitute which is highly questionable.

According to my observation Mr. Gandhi did not think about the value of freedom
lay in giving individual sense of their political power as citizen but he did
occasionally speak about individual rights; nevertheless it was obligations, and
not the right that he emphasized. He did not approve of a conception of politics
in which the quest for individual and collective security was motivationally and
normatively primary because he recognized that emphases as alloyed with the
sanction of state violence in both domestic and international politics. His
endorsement of democracy was very much in a lower key because he was not
draw to cognate ideas such as the territorial integrity of state or the importance
of nations having the power to reaffirm that integrity. His concept of unity linked
with the social pattern and civilization life but much less with what is now
associated with the imperative of nation state, which for him supplied the
condition of moral action and not the elevated gravity of the political, which he
express in negative always had larger purpose. On the other hand, the ideas of
self-rule, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness were associated with
Gandhis ethos of democracy. For Gandhi, violence and politics while often
mutually reinforce each other, also detracted from an attentiveness to the ethical
gravity and context of everyday life; because Gandhi saw an essential link
between violence and politics, non-violence could not be stably affirmed within
any political orientation. Thereby, for Gandhi, moral action is fearlessness, while
that of political reason is security and self defense. In Quit India Movement
August 8, 1942 Gandhi said do or die which itself is contradictory to his own
spirit of non-violence This is where it has underlying the link between violence
and politics and what for Gandhi was a related diminishing of an everyday ethic
that is evidence on Gandhis ambivalence to democracy as political form.

Critic to Gandhi

Gandhi was criticized many people including B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956): He

criticizes Mohandas K. Gandhi, whom he accused of reducing the untouchable
community to object of pity. Ambedkar criticized to Gandhi for speaking two
words; Gandhi had one of the first Indian leaders to call for abolition of
untouchables and discrimination but he write in Gujarat local paper in support of
caste system. However Gandhi was a champion for harijans and broke the taboos
by visiting their slums and taking bath at Harijan wall but he would never eat
out of untouchable hands because he belief in caste system. He was criticized for
refusing awarding separate electoral for harijan by Ambedkar. Lastly, he was also
criticized his role in the partition of India and Pakistan, his reaction to the
partition massacres in August-September 1947, and his adherence to Non-
violence. Gandhi and Ambedkar through noted historian Ramchandra Guhas
book (Here is an excerpt-

International Business Times UK: August 9, 2014 18:09 BST; Dr. Kusoom
Vadgama is chair of this years 400 thanniversary celebrations of Britain and
Indias political relation. She said Gandhis habit of sleeping naked with young
women in order to test his commitment to a life of celibacy had been
overlooked in the years since his death in 1948, but can no longer be ignored.

Arundhati Roy, the booker prize winning author has criticized to Mahatma Gandhi
of discrimination and caaled for institutions bearing his name to be renamed.
Speaking at Kerala University in the Southern Indian City of Triruvananthapuram,
Roy, 52, described the generally accepted image of Gandhi as a lie. it is time to
unveil a few truths about a person whose doctrine of nonviolence was based on
acceptance of a most brutal social hierarchy ever known, the caste system Do
we really need to name our universities after him? Roy said.

Personal view and critics to Gandhi: Mr. M.K. Gandhi was a excellent social activist,
great inspiring and a great politician in human history. He fought against evil on
untouchability, establishing secularism, self-government and united India under
single government. He is worthy to be praise and I considered him a great hero
but as a human he has his own weakness;

Criticism of Gandhis ideology

some of his ideas, Non-Violence, complete freedom, self-reliance, equality etc.

are highly respected but on the other hand Gandhis ideology is unjust by
analyzing his statement I dont care if you are a good leader or not, unless you
agree with me, I will not support you example: Gandhi has a problem with C.
Rajagopalachari, Dr. BR. Ambedkar and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

He opposes science and technologies deeming it to be satanic. He stuck to his

ideology by refusing to give injection to her wife because he urged that injections
are violent. (see Freedom at Midnight)

Criticism of Gandhis Actions

Non-Cooperation movement; Gandhi has always had ideas for destroying what
he had planted, due to Chauri Chaura incident, he call off the movement which
lead to death of 6 peoples in police custody, 19 people were sentence to death
and 110 people were sentence to life imprisonment. This kind of action is highly
condemnable (see Chauri Chaura incidentTrials and convictions)

Quit India Movement: Gandhi started with good intention but eventually help fuel
to the partition. Many people support it including The Communist Party of India
and Muslim leaders opposed it. And whole his life he preaches about Non-
Violence but here he make a mistake by pronouncing Do or Die slogan, which
is totally against his own preaching.

Criticism of Gandhi inconsistency:

Gandhiji dont have consistency in his stand and belief, he kept on changing;
Gandhi opposed untouchability but supported the caste system ((see Caste system
in India). He opposed imperialism in India but in south Africa, he said that the
white-race of South Africa should be the predomination race (see The collection
of MK. Gandhi, Government of India (CWMG), Vol. I, P. 105) and he was preaching
about Non-Violent but involved in World War I Gandhi agreed to recruit India
soldier not for logistics or for the ambulance corps, but for combat. Killing for
independence is wrong but killing for British is okay. (see Mahatma Gandhi).

Conclusion: critics on Gandhis politics by Uday Mehta were very interesting and
plausible. Uday Mehta recent work on Ganghis critic of politics with the modern
form of politics argue that for Gandhi the ground of moral action is fearlessness,
but his political reason is security and self defense. Gandhi understands the
context of the moral action in the mundane fabric of everyday life, especially in
the place such as the families and the villages. He has been criticizing by B.R.
Ambedkar, Arundhati Roy and Dr. Kusoom Vadgama for some reasons. We come
to know that Gandhi does not believe that moral action requires being
supplemented by the particular kind of unity which politics and the state call for
and necessitate. Mr. Uday Mehta work on Gandhi draw out the reason for
Gandhis disagreement with the modern form of politics is interesting and find his
argument gain plausible.

I was a great fan of Mr. M.K Gandhi when we study his autobiography, Chapter in
Champaran protest under CBSE board, and a history of Swaraj, Quit India
Movement, and Satyagraha. I regarded him as greatest politician of India and a
savior of Indian struggle for independence. We saw his picture in everyday life in
our money as the Father of nation he deserved our respect but we have to
accept his mistake too. He is a great leader, indeed.

I was a great fan of Mr. M.K Gandhi when we study his autobiography, Chapter in
Champaran protest under CBSE board, and a history of Swaraj, Quit India
Movement, and Satyagraha. I regarded him as greatest politician of India and a
savior of Indian struggle for independence. We saw his picture in everyday life in
our money as the Father of nation he deserved our respect but we have to
accept his mistake too. He is a great leader, indeed

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhihero of Indias independence through his

nonviolence movement and one of the most revered figures in the nations
historyled a glorious life, one which seekers of peace and wisdom have
emulated for decades. He is known as Mahatma, or great soul, a title
reserved only for the most righteous and most venerated of men.

Then again, its also worth noting that he was human, and to be human is to err.
Over the years, historians and critics have found certain controversial quirks in
the mans life

Criticism of Non-violence

Many critics express grave doubts regarding the probabilities of experimentation

in non-violence but in order to comprehend Gandhiji s thought it will be essential
to set aside the general pragmatic idea and approach the hub of the problem
whence the utility of non-violence, for purposes of all kinds of health and
permanent improvements will become transparent.

There of course, are some practical doubts about the possibility of trustees.
Progress is imminent in the attempts of making practical Vinobajis campaign of
Gandhism. Only the future can tell the extent of its practicability. Gandhiji
endeavoured to discover the fundamental solution of all problems.

Another major reason why his solution of existing problems and his sketches of
mans future see impractical is that human society has not achieved that level
and mar also lacks the necessary moral strength to successfully use those

But the only conclusion which can be drawn from this is that society will have to
acquire moral strength to proceed upon his path Non- violence is a means in
moral behaviour.

The means contradicting it are violence and use of brutal strength. In order to
conclude which of these two means is superior and to the extent to and reason
for which it is so, it is necessary to precede it by analyzing right and wrong.

From the ethical view point, right is that which is good and conversely, bad is
wrong. Now, the result of any moral action can consist of two aspects-individual
and social, upon the object.

If any activity favour the perpetrator but harms the object or if the result of an
action benefits the individual and harms society, or if it is favorable immediately
but detrimental in the long run, then the activity cannot be said to be good
because in order to be so, the result of an activity must be good for the
individual and society, at present and in future.

Here, this question arises only when the reason and the result differ. In the
preceding example the result implies the reason. Judging violence from this
criterion, we realize that it can benefit either the individual or the society, never
for the two togethera wealthy person exploits the poor and lives in luxury but
he causes misery to innumerable more who subsist in misery and poverty.

In a hierarchical society, there is of course general progress but in the absence of

a state of independent thought the persons personality remains dwarfed.
Besides, only the more immediate result of violence can be good.

Over a long period it benefits neither the individual nor society. The tendencies of
a violent person become degenerate and his character devolves. People fear him
but also hate him unostentatiously.

Then he is always conscious of misgivings about his opponents seeking after

revenge. Violence gives rise only to further violence. On the contrary non-
violence results in just the converse way.

It may lead to some delay in the maturation of the result but the results are
permanent as well as good. , It is possible, too, that the one that pursues non-
violence may even have to sacrifice his life and bear pain without being

But even this suffering produces result calculated to aggrandize the spiritual
pleasure of both himself and his opponent. The patience of man is dependent
upon his character.

A non-violent person is conscious of intrinsic happiness although he may be

undergoing extrinsic pain infliction. Even though the opponent does ostensibly
resist any such overtures, he internally becomes addicted to this and finally
submits himself.

The next question to be considered is whether the use of force is admissible

under city circumstances or not? The answer is that in some exceptions it is both
necessary and possible.

Violence or resorting to force is objected to only when it is used either

indiscriminately or for the interests of this or that class or individual. If a
particular individual class refuses to abandon, by any means, his incorrect and
deplorable path and does immense harm to others then use of force also
becomes necessary.

At this stage it can be objected that how is it possible to make use of one person
or class as a means to the benefit of another class or individual? Its solution is
that the person conducting himself in an objectionable maimed does the greatest
extent of damage to himself.

Gita goes to the extent of saying that although apparently alive, he is in reality
dead. In this way, it becomes irrefutably clear that use of force is in the interest
of the offending person or class and all others concerned and also that if
peaceful means are not going to yield any desirable result then the use of force
is both unavoidable and moral.

Yudhisthiras lying and Sri Krishnas urging Aijuna to war claim the sanction of
identical argument Pandavas had made unsuccessful and fruitless use of all
peaceful means.

The misconduct on the part of the Kauravas has assumed such proportions as to
have caused the degeneration of society. Both in the interest of society and the
fulfillment of duty it had become indispensable for Arjuna to fight, it being
absolutely non-violent to have engaged in war, both from the mental and
spiritual viewpoints, as it was qualified by lack of yearning and done with the
intention of offering to God.

Thus it was also moral. In the present age, Gandhi too has licensed resort to use
of force in exceptional cases.

But it is a necessary condition that all other means should have proved
ineffective and use of force should be in positive interests of both the one using
it and the one upon whom it is used.

Even Gandhiji himself behaved in a similar way sometimes. The infringement of

the salt law was both an evidence of use of force and unconstitutional but it was
violating the law of India hi the interests of India.

There was no other alternative at hand. At the same time it also caused moral
improvement of the English people because having reduced India to dependence
they were acting in an extremely humeral way.
It is also worth noting that this action was purely for the sake of duty and done
without attachment in the war against the English Gandhiji invariably advocated
love and not hatred for them. He declared himself the best friend of the Britons.

In this way, the morality or immorality of resorting to force can be judged obey
with reference to the entire situation and hi some cases it becomes inevitable.
Gandhi's core ideal was Ahimsa (Non-violence). I agree with the ideology. But he
took it to extreme. So much so that according to Gandhi, self defence too was a
form of Himsa (Violence). Now this philosophy is stupid. Let me quote him:

"Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews
should have offered themselves to the butchers knife. They should have thrown
themselves into the sea from cliffs. I believe in hara-kiri. I do not believe in its
militaristic connotations, but it is a heroic method. That would have been
heroism. It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to the evils
of Hitlers violence, especially in 1938, before the war. As it is they succumbed
anyway in their millions.

You see, what he thought? Apparently, by committing suicide, the Jews would
have died a heroic death. So, Jews should have neither fought back nor tried to
escape, because then there wouldn't be any difference between them and Hitler.

In my opinion, he completely misunderstood Ahimsa. Non violence should be

preached to the aggressor and not the victim. A victim has a complete and moral
right to self defence.

Now let me quote George Orwell whose thoughts speak volumes about Gandhi:

"Gandhi has been regarded for twenty years by the Government of India as one
of its right hand men. I know what I'm talking about-I used to be an officer in the
Indian police. It was always admitted in the most cynical way that Gandhi made
it easier for the British to rule India, because his influence was always against
taking any action that would make any difference.

The reason why Gandhi in prison is always treated with such lenience and small
concessions sometimes made when he has prolonged one of his fasts to a
dangerous extent, is that the British officials are in terror that he may die and be
replaced by someone who believes less in "soul force " and more in bombs.

It is very important to understand this. George Orwell had served once and
therefore was in a position to judge Gandhi. If your enemy likes you, you are
seriously going wrong.

Gandhis non-violence was selective.

In 1930, two platoons of Hindu troops refused to fire on Muslim rioters, instead
breaking ranks and fraternizing with them.

Rather than supporting this non-violence, Gandhi said A soldier who disobeys an
order to fire breaks that oath which he has taken and renders himself guilty of
criminal disobedience. I cannot ask officials and soldiers to disobey; for when I
am in power I shall in all likelihood make use of the same officials and those
same soldiers. If I taught them to disobey I should be afraid that they might do
the same when I am in power. Reply to French journalist Charles Petrasch on
the question of the Gahrwali Soldiers, Le Monde, 20 February 1932.

Now let us look at his views on technology and modernization He is far from what
is claimed. He is a mere reactionary.

"It is not the British people who are ruling India, but it is modern civilization
through its railways, telegraphs, telephone, and almost every other invention has
been claimed to be a triumph of civilization ... Medical science is the
concentrated essence of black magic ... Hospitals are the instruments that the
Devil has been using for his own purpose, in order to keep his hold on his
kingdom ... If there were no hospitals for venereal diseases or even for
consumptives, we would have less consumption, and less sexual vice amongst
us. India's salvation consists in unlearning what she has learnt during the past
fifty years or so. The railways, telegraphs, hospitals, lawyers, doctors and such
like all have to go." [2]

There is another reason why I criticize his actions. He spent too much time
fighting over different paths to achieving freedom. Why he never embraced
revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Bose is beyond me. End of the day, they
too were fighting for the same cause. He may not have agreed with their means,
but he should have lauded them for their goals as they gave their lives for it.

This further led to a great divide among intellectuals even after independence.

Having said this, in conclusion, I feel that he led people into believing extremely
wrong and delusional notions like passivity and inaction which he camouflaged
as non-violence.


When Gandhi was no longer on the scene, it was left to others to refine his vision
of satyagraha in a newly unfolding political reality. Even his closest followers
were split on the issue of the legitimate place for nonviolence in a democracy.
For example Gandhis spiritual heir, Vinoba Bhave, later famous for his Bhoodan
land gift movement, laid down what he saw as the four principles of satyagraha
ten years after Gandhis death. They were that satyagraha is positive not
negative, it should proceed from gentle to gentler to gentlest, there should be
happiness on the mere hearing of the word satyagraha, and, finally, that there
should be no insistence on the part of the satyagrahi, insistence should come
from truth itself.

Here he was being completely consistent with Gandhis view of ideal satyagraha.
Like his mentor, Vinoba placed high importance on swaraj, or self-rule, a
concept both of them defined in terms that encompassed far more than the mere
political. Vinoba remarked that the term meant ruling the self, and that was
impossible if one was under some other persons command: It is one mark of
swaraj not to allow any outside power in the world to exercise control over
oneself. And the second mark of swaraj is not to exercise power over any other.
These two things together make swaraj no submission and no exploitation.
For the maintenance of consistency, this meant that satyagraha had to remain
non-coercive and had to respect the sovereignty of the opponent by relying
solely on conversion. In order to achieve this, satyagraha had to be spiritualized
by conforming to the precepts laid down by Vinoba. In his time, Gandhi had to
practice the science of satyagraha in an atmosphere of foreign domination,
while in an atmosphere of democracy Vinoba was under much less pressure to
compromise on the ideals. Vinoba was also apparently of the belief that until the
Gandhian movement had gained the strength and public acceptance to launch
effective pure satyagraha campaigns it should refrain from employing

There was also another factor according to Vinoba. He explained that with the
progress of science and the creation of nuclear weapons, humanity faced
ultimate destruction. In order to neutralize this force of violence and to arouse
the worlds conscience, Gandhis nonviolence had to take on more subtle and
finer forms. Satyagraha could no longer afford to create agitation or tension in
the minds of the opponent, it had to avoid a collision of minds and seek
harmony in thought.Until change was brought about through understanding and
acceptance, rather than through imposition, the seeds of violence, imperialism
and world wars would not be rooted out.

Satyagraha had to progress as the political situation progressed (from imperialist

domination to democracy in India) and as science progressed. Consequently,
Vinoba declared that Jesus concept of resist not evil and Gandhis nonviolent
resistance were no longer adequate and what now had to take their place was
nonviolent assistance in right thinking.Without this all that could be achieved
was legislative reform, and that could never lead to total revolution. Vinoba was
determined not to end up where the Mahatma had found himself at several
points in his life. Unlike his mentor, he would never have to admit to the mistake
of placing civil disobedience before the slower, surer path to more lasting and
real reform through constructive work. In other words, for Vinoba at times Gandhi
did not live up to his own ideals. But then, most people are not as spiritual as the
saintly Vinoba and this raises the question of how practical his totally non-
coercive method is.

Of course not all in the Gandhian movement followed Vinobas approach to

satyagraha. Before coming to national and world prominence with the
inauguration of the Bhoodan movement, Vinoba had spent much of his life as a
semi-recluse in the quest of spiritual fulfillment and the study of sacred texts. By
way of contrast, Jayaprakash Narayan had spent most of his life as a major actor
on the political stage. In the 1920s, JP undertook seven years of higher education
in the United States where he studied Marx and completed a highly praised M.A.
dissertation analyzing societal changes from a Marxist perspective. On his return
to India he worked closely with Nehru and became a spokesman for the socialist
members of the Indian National Congress. During the war years JP was
imprisoned, escaped and spent a year underground as a progressively more
notorious (and in popular circles, celebrated) revolutionary.

Following independence, JP became one of the founders of the Socialist Party and
severe critic of the ruling Congress Party. Soon, however, he began to have
doubts about the efficacy of power politics. Increasingly he looked to Gandhis
praxis as a way of bringing about the social revolution he had so long struggled
to achieve. He took part in Vinobas Bhoodan movement, retired from party
politics and, in 1954, took a vow of jivandan (life-gift) a pledge to devote
the remainder of his life to Sarvodaya and Bhoodan work. For many years he
remained in Vinobas shadow and his speeches reflected Vinobas world-view.
However, eventually their paths were to diverge and JP went back to a more
interventionist political satyagraha, like the one Gandhi had undertaken against
the British but without the otherworldly underpinnings. Unlike Vinoba, he
embraced the position of Gandhi the politician over Gandhi the saint.


Of course not everyone believes that democracy works in a way that should
exclude nonviolent activism, and probably most do not. For many, conscience
plays a large part in their very existence and a narrow view of democracy cannot
overcome this, and for many others the answers to the worlds ills are not found
in organised power politics that centre around political parties. They have to
come from grass-roots activism and this often calls for nonviolent protest.
However, this does not mean that they necessarily agree with Gandhis ideas of

Gene Sharp, the main contemporary theorist of pragmatic nonviolence, claims

that Gandhis approach to nonviolence is unrealistic and can be confusing.Those
who take this line point out, quite rightly, that while Gandhi may have chosen
nonviolence for moral reasons most who have employed it against repressive
opponents have done so for far more prosaic ones. They did so simply because
military or physical force was not a viable option for them and that nonviolence
was the only perceived form of struggle available to them. Generally they did not
do it to make peace, to convert opponents or to self-suffer. They did it to win.

Sharp was worried about Gandhis eccentricities and religious symbolism and
language which more often confuses than clarifies. He saw that for Westerners
generally, and Americans in particular, this may cause a problem in adequately
evaluating the Mahatmas political significance. He tried to make Gandhi
palatable by a process of secularisation. At first he secularised Gandhi and
his message so that both could be taken seriously. Eventually, because
ultimately Sharps life work became one of promoting his own brand of
nonviolence not Gandhi or Gandhis satyagraha, Sharp more or less abandoned
the Mahatma. For him the most important task became one of discovering a
nonviolent alternative to war, one that is realistic and pragmatic and in the
end, for him too, in this task Gandhi seems to have become a liability rather than
an asset.

When he was specifically asked to address the links between Gandhi and
nonviolence, Sharp noted that the Mahatma tried to convince people who did
not believe in ahimsa [nonviolence] on ethical grounds to adopt nonviolent
methods as a practical expedient, a technique that works. In his foreword to a
later edition of War Without Violence, Krishnalal Shridharanis 1939 classic study of
Gandhis satyagraha, Sharp makes it clear that he is much less interested in the
extreme religious pacifist and moral arguments approach to nonviolence, which
emphasises conversion (that is, arguably, Gandhis approach), preferring instead
a technique approach. In a more recent interview Sharp, in the words of the
reviewer, sees nonviolent action as a strategy for imperfect people in an
imperfect world. Sharp notes that many people understand that nonviolent
action has the best chance of achieving their objectives and that nonviolence is
not there to resolve the conflict or eliminate the conflict but as a way of
conducting conflict. This, of course, does not mean that Sharp now believes it to
be wrong to be a moral pacifist, merely that one must operate in a context that
enables the rest of the population to adopt nonviolent means without that

Sharps best known work is his three volume magnum opus, The Politics of
Nonviolent Action. Here he writes at length about the notion of power, historical
examples of nonviolent struggle, catalogues 198 different methods of nonviolent
action, and examines the dynamics of nonviolent action, including action against
violent and repressive opponents. He states that nonviolent action consists of
acts of protest and persuasion, noncooperation and nonviolent intervention
designed to undermine the sources of power of the opponent in order to bring
about change.All the Gandhian references aside, this is a work without the
feel of Gandhi as presented by those that can be called exponents of
ideological, principled, conscientious, or positive nonviolence. For Sharp,
the key feature is power rather than ethical principle: nonviolent action is a
technique by which people who reject passivity and submission, and who see
struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action
is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem, of
how to act effectively in politics, especially how to wield power effectively. He
often refers to nonviolence as an alternative weapons systemand even
describes it as a means of combat, as is war. It involves the matching of forces
and the waging of battles, it requires wise strategy and tactics, employs
numerous weapons and demands of its soldiers courage, discipline, and
sacrifice.The central dynamic is one of political jiu-jitsu rather than the moral
jiu-jitsu of Gandhi and the first analyst of his satyagraha, Richard Gregg.

This, to Gandhi and those who see nonviolence in a Gandhian vein, is negative
or pragmatic nonviolence where nonviolent action is used because it is
believed to be the most effective method available in the circumstances. Conflict
is viewed as a relationship between antagonists with incompatible interests, and
the goal is to defeat the opponent. The stream which adheres more closely to
Gandhian values, relies on a religious or ethical objection to violence. It is
concerned with reestablishing communication and, through self-suffering if
necessary, attempts to convince the opponent of the error of their ways, of
converting rather than coercing them. Or, according to nonviolent activist and
scholar Robert Burrowes, those with a principled approach choose [nonviolent
action] for ethical reasons and believe in the unity of means and ends. They view
the opponent as a partner in the struggle to satisfy the needs of all; if anyone
suffers, it is the practitioner of nonviolence. More fundamentally, this practitioner
may view nonviolence as a way of life.

Sharp notes that this may be fine if it occurs, but the simple assertion that
nonviolence must be adopted as an ethical principle ignores the social reality in
which we must operate. As long as violent sanctions are accepted, violence
cannot be removed from political societies by witnessing against it or
denouncing it on moral grounds (this is what he seems to have reduced
Gandhian principled nonviolence to). He states that, first, nonviolence must
reach the position where it is seen as an alternative form of sanction, and once
that major changeover has been completed, or at least well under way, then
people can consider and deal with the finer ethical problems which arise in the
application of nonviolent sanctions. In short, be realistic, start with what is most
easily achievable. Later he was able to say of his early Gandhian principled
pacifist period that I changed a lot of ideas; sometimes I reversed them. I found
that people didnt need to believe right to engage in nonviolent struggle, and of
himself he could observe that I (now) dont agree with myself then.

However, for the Mahatma the process was about the achievement of self-
realization, nothing less. For Gandhi the fundamental principle was that of the
unity of existence (or in the more immediate, the unity of humanity). People are
related to each other in a way that is transcendental in nature and conflict should
be seen as a gift providing a rich opportunity, potentially to the benefit of all, to
realize a higher self. A desired outcome of conflict, in this line of argument, is
nothing short of the creation of a new social structure and a higher level of self-
purification in both actors.

According to Gandhian practice, conflict stems from unmet needs and in order
for needs to be met they must first be understood, and this requires true self-
awareness. For Gandhi the discovery of Self was the primary task of life. In short,
conducting conflict in what can be termed a Gandhian, as opposed to a Sharpian,
context may not only be instrumentally valuable but may be intrinsically
important in an existential sense. In Gandhis vision, satyagraha was not only a
useful technique for the resolution of conflicts, and the satyagrahi was far more
than a mere practitioner of a certain skill. The satyagrahi was the embodiment of
an ideal and the satyagrahi lifestyle was the lifestyle worth living. Sharp does not
emphasise the potential positively transformative effect of nonviolent action (for
example in terms of empowerment, openness, participation, gaining of skills) on
either the activists themselves or on others, more or less limiting its use to a tool
for achieving extrinsic goals.

When writing about the meaning of success in nonviolent action Sharp takes a
far more objective view than would many other nonviolent activists. The
important questions for him are: were the opponents objectives frustrated, what
factors in the social or political situation allowed the opponent to be defeated? or
whether the stated goals of the nonviolent group were achieved because of the
struggle.The subjective, and we could say existential, payoffs that are so
important to Gandhi are not considered. While Sharp is concerned with social and
political freedom, Gandhis focus is on a search for Truth.And, according to
Hayes, this means that in a theoretical-practical sense, Gandhis ideals can be
seen to be directly aimed at addressing many of the existential effects of being
dominated, and of being a dominator, and what nonviolent actors might be or
become as a result of their struggle.

Nevertheless, a friend of Sharp has pointed out that this debate must be seen in
context. Ralph Summy notes that Sharp is trying to promote nonviolence in a
highly acquisitive capitalist society and adds that Gandhi would be the first to
proclaim that a satyagraha that discounted the views and passions rife in its
society and proceeded blindly on its own purist path was tantamount to pursuing
merely personal redemption and not societal change.In short, the reasons for a
Gandhian or more pragmatic approach to nonviolence, and hence the way that it
is conducted, need to be determined by each individual practitioner of

Little Originality in Gandhism

Critics hold that Gandhism lacks originality. It simply restates the old principles in
a new form. It is a mixture of different religions and ideas of different
philosophers and scholars. It incorporates the principles of individualism,
anarchism, liberalism, socialism and communism. It offers no new philosophy or

Critics point out that Gandhian philosophy is full of contradictions. Like socialism,
Gandhism supports the idea that every individual should be provided necessities
of daily life. But at the same time, it opposes the socialist principles of
nationalisation and mass production. Like communism, it condemns capitalism,
but at the same time it is not in the favour of ending it. Like anarchism, it
considers state as an evil, but at the same time it is not in favour of abolishing it.
Mahatma Gandhi was a religious person whose ethics is grounded in his religious
faith. Although not systematic his ethics voices the spirit of the age. But not
withstanding this redeeming feature from scholarly viewpoint his ethics or moral
thoughts are unorganized and unbalanced. Thus he has been subjected to severe
criticism. His thoughts lack any originality. According to B.G. Ray, Gandhiji starts
from Hindu religion, and the metaphysical solution of eternal problems from a
Hindu angle of vision form the basis of his philosophy. He has not sought to
answer or solve the problem from an independent perspective of experience or
reason. It is not too incorrect to say that Gandhiji did not present any novel
moral laws but he cannot be said to be completely without originality.

He gave to the old moral laws a completely new form. Gandhiji was the first one
to introduce non-violence into the political field and he also made successful use
of it. He declared punishment immoral. Gandhiji was the precursor of non-
violent revolution.
Man is not all good

According to Gandhism, man by nature is very good. He has the inherent power
for the full development of his life. The possibilities of development are the same
in every person. But this picture of man is far from reality. Man by nature is social
as well as selfish. He is mostly a self-centered person. He cooperates with others
to the extent his own interests get promoted. At times, he does not refrain from
harming others for his self-interests. According to Miller, Gandhiji belongs to the
type of sanyasis who repress the flesh consciously, reject all the colour and
warmth of life, denounce everything which is not necessary for mere livelihood,
hasten the dissolution of the body, so that the spirit imprisoned in it may the
more quickly be united with the divine.

Gandhiji is called an extremist, an allegation of undeniable veracity, but it should

not be forgotten that he made the utmost effort to make his vows practicable
and proved their practicability by following them himself

Excessive emphasis upon repression of senses has led to his ethics becoming
permeated with stringency. Probably his assumption regarding celibacy may
strike one as untalented and even harmful to happy matrimonial life but a
balancing stress upon qualities like non-violence, love, equanimity etc., have
prevented his sermons from becoming utterly heartless.

Actually, Gandhiji himself was an experimenter and did not recognize any means
as the final. He had hoped that there would be new experiments in the
application of non-violence and looked at attentively that this hope does not
impress one as a false one.

Criticism of Gandhi's ideology

What is Gandhi's ideology? Non-violent resistance, complete freedom, self-

reliance and equality. All are good ideas and worthy to aspire to. But there are
some unsaid parts of Gandhi's ideology one of which seemed to say,

"I don't care if you are a good leader or not, unless you agree with me, I will not
support you."

[Just to be clear, I'm not saying he said this statement, I'm saying his actions
demonstrated this statement. I apologize for this ambiguity]

Here are a few examples on which I base this claim:-

In 1927 Mahatma Gandhi, referring to C. Rajagopalachari, had declared,

"I do say he is the only possible successor", Rajaji was clearly his favorite then.
But because of a disagreement between both these men in 1942 about the
Cripps commission, Rajaji was kicked out of the congress! And Gandhi was
quoted to have said
"Not Rajaji, but Jawaharlal will be my successor."

This meant that a great statesman like Rajaji would only be a mere governor-
general while Nehru would occupy the most important post in India. A tragedy.

[By the way, I'm not saying Nehru didn't deserve the PM post, I'm just saying
that the process of electing him was not very democratic, but authoritarian]

Another example is passive-aggressively forcing Netaji to resign from the Indian

National Congress and parting ways. This forced Netaji to deal with fascist
regimes like Japanese Imperialism and Nazism and ultimately led to his sad
demise. A great statesman was once again wasted.

These are not isolated examples, preferring Panditji over Sardarji (another great
politician) is also another oft-repeated instance of Gandhi's dictatorial

Also, take a note of Gandhi's ego here. To him, Gandhi's successor and Indian
prime minister mean the same thing!

I also think he did a poor job of explaining how it should work. Some people think
just surrendering yourself to the enemy is Gandhism. This lead to people like
Rasaiah Prathipan (does any one know him?) to their sad and untimely demise.

He also opposed science and technology deeming it to be "satanic". He stuck to

this ideology so blindly that he let his wife die instead of giving her an injection
because he argued that injections are violent. (Read Freedom at Midnight)

A politician should know to compromise, sometimes your ideology won't be the

best. For instance, Abraham Lincoln was able to convince the Liberal
Republicans, conservative republicans and radical republicans to work together
even if they opposed each other. Why couldn't Gandhi do that?

Criticism of Gandhi's actions

Although I liked and appreciate movements like Champaran and Kheda (justice
to peasants) and Salt Satyagraha (defying taxation) I have problems with
movements like Non-Cooperation movement, Quit India movement.

Allow me to explain my problems with each of them: -

(i) Non-cooperation: - This was a very novel idea at the time and was initially a
massive success. The British feared for the first time that they might loose India.
But they didn't have much to fear, because Gandhi always had a talent for
destroying what he had painfully created.
Due to Chauri Chaura incident, he called off the movement.

The Largest Independence movement in history was called off because of his
I really think if he tried, he would be able to persuade his followers to get back to
peaceful methods (similar to what he did to alleviate communal violence after
1947), but no! Instead he called it off. Do you now what happened after that?

19 people were sentenced to death, 110 people were sentenced to life

imprisonment and 6 people died in police custody!
(see Chauri Chaura incident "Trials and convictions")

(ii) Quit India movement: - I am sorry Gandhi, but this is the worst thing you have
ever done! Yeah, you made a great speech, but nothing else was good. Even
though this started with good intentions(everything Gandhi did started with good
intentions!), it eventually help fuel the partition. A lot many people did not
support it.

The communist party of India opposed it because it wanted to support Soviet

Union. Muslim leaders opposed it completely, due to which the Muslim League
made a deal with the British. They seemed to say,

"We will support you in the war provided you support us in our bid for partition"

[Again, I'm not saying this exact quote was said]

this allowed the Muslim league to grow tremendously and allowed it to recruit
thousands of Indians. (Read Freedom at midnight)

Which makes me come to the partition. Most congress leaders thought that
partition was unavoidable and voted for it. But why did they?! When the
Southern states seceded from the United States, Abraham Lincoln did not say,
"Well, it is inevitable isn't it?". No, he launched a full-fledged war and preserved
the union. Why couldn't Gandhi do that? Oh yeah, ahimsa.

Gandhi's hypocrisy

In a way, Gandhi is the world's most famous hypocrite. He contradicted himself

so often that when one of his followers asked, "Why do you say one thing this
week and another thing the next?!"
Gandhi replied, "Ah! Because I have learned something new this week!"

(Freedom at midnight)

This sounds like something profound, but I assure you, it was a very weak

Some instances of his hypocrisy:-

In world war I, Gandhi agreed to recruit Indian soldiers not for logistics or for the
ambulance corps, but for combat. Killing for independence is wrong but killing for
the British is okay. (see Mahatma Gandhi)
He opposed imperialism in India but in South Africa, he said "that the white race
of South Africa should be the predominating race." (seeThe Collected Works of
Mahatma Gandhi, Government of India (CWMG), Vol. I, p. 105.)

He opposed untouchability but supported the caste system. (see Caste system in

D) Indirect consequences of Gandhi's actions: -

It is almost common knowledge that Gandhi, Patel, Nehru, Rajaji and other
pacifists were given significantly less stringent sentences than some of the
firebrand activists . This is not to say that GPNR did not suffer, they did. But at
least they were given a fair trail. This had dire consequences for other
revolutionaries like Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana
Ahmadullah etc (taken from Cellular Jail).

They were jailed in the infamous Cellular jail.

This gave the British a kind of protection. When people accused them of brutality
and racism, they would just point to the moderate prisoners like Gandhi and
claim that they treated their detractors with respect.

Gandhi also influenced Nehru on his disastrous economic principles and defense.
For instance, Nehru refused to order an air strike to assist the Indian army. (See
India after Gandhi pg 400-401)

When a non-Russian thinks of powerful Russian leaders, Ivan the terrible, Peter
the great and Josef Stalin come to mind.

When a non-American thinks of American leaders, Benjamin Franklin, John

Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln come to mind.

But when a non-Indian thinks of India, Gandhi and only Gandhi comes to mind.
This is unfair because Patel, Nehru and Netaji were also great leaders.

I also think people of different states like Gandhi to different extents. The people
of Bengal, for instance like him a lot more than the rest for his role in stopping
communal violence whereas, the people of Punjab like him to a lesser extent
because of failing to do so in their state.

Gandhism advocates the use of Satyagraha for facing evil, injustice and tyranny.
However, it is very difficult to make a proper use of this 'weapon'. A Satygrahi is
required to have high quality of moral force. Such men are rarely found. Gandhiji
himself admitted that Satyagraha is a dangerous weapon and it should be used
very cautiously. I consider him a great social worker but an average politician
blinded by his idealism

Gandhian Economy cannot work in practice

It is difficult to give a practical shape to Gandhian economics in modern states.

Payment of tax by doing labour is theoretically a good principle but it cannot be
given a practical shape. The principle of trusteeship property is morally sound. At
the same time it is idealistic and Utopian.

There is little chance that the capitalists can really come forward to use their
private property for public welfare. It is just a dream. In the modem age of
science, machine and technology, it is very difficult for village and cottage
industries to compete with modern industries.

Communists allege that Gandhism supports capitalistism. It rejects the principles

of class struggle and nationalization. It wrongly advocates that the capitalists
and workers can work together with co-operation and good-will. It wrongly
considers capitalists as the trustees of social property. All these ideas are in the
interest of capitalists and against the workers.

The communists hold that the interests of capitalists and workers are always
opposed to each other. The capitalists always want to earn more profit and
naturally they always pay less wages to the workers. Capitalism is a system of
exploitation of labour. Workers demand for more wages always means less profit
for the capitalists. Critics point out that Gandhism is a Utopian philosophy. The
ideal statethe Ram Rajya which Gandhism visualises cannot be established on
this earth. It can exist only in heaven. Stateless democracy is an emotional idea.
For the state to be a non-violent agency is an idea away from reality. It is
impossible for the military and the police to be non-violent. Political problems
cannot be solved only on the basis of morality.

Was Gandhi gay? questioned various newspapers across the globe, as private
correspondence between him and a former associate, Hermann Kallenbach,
surfaced in 2013. Gandhi and Kallenbach had lived together from 19071909 in
South Africa. Gandhis letters to Kallenbach contained such statements as My
dear Lower House, addressing Kallenbach, and were signed Sinly yours, Upper

Critics, of course, noted that previous stories regarding Gandhis sexual antics
figured almost scandalously in historical and political circles. The man was
notorious for sleeping with other women. In many cases, these women were
either married, extremely young, or both. Girls like Manuben, his 18-year-old
grandniece, and Abha, the 16-year-old wife of his grandnephew, slept naked beside
him. On some nights, he would have both of them fully nude in his bed. In a way,
this let Gandhi practice self-control. Yet some have gone as far to suggest that
Gandhi forbade other men to sleep with their wives while doing so himself.

Opinions vary as to how to view these acts. Were they acceptable, or were they
simply perversions of a dirty old man? Did Gandhi use his position to sexually
exploit young women?

As mentioned, Gandhis sexual perversions were, according to him, a means to

resist carnal temptation. However, he also practiced celibacy in his marriage.
Kasturba, his wife of over two decades, was denied sex for years after bearing
his children. Critics have also pointed out how Gandhi had mistreated his wife. In
some cases, he had forbidden Kasturba from keeping gifts that were meant for her.
Earlier in their married life, Gandhi was said to have compared his wife to a cow .
Gandhi said he could not bear to look at Kasturbas face, because it gave the
impression of a meek cow trying to say something.

In 1943, when Kasturba had contracted an illness and was hemorrhaging badly,
Gandhi allegedly wrote to her: My struggle is not merely political. It is religious
and therefore quite pure. It does not matter much whether one dies in it or lives.
I hope and expect that you will also think likewise and not be unhappy. Gandhi
also forbade doctors from giving his wife penicillin, arguing that it was a foreign
medicine and stating that: If God wills it, he will pull her through. God did not
his wife died on February 22, 1944, after months of suffering.

However, when Gandhi contracted malaria, he did resist the idea of taking
quinine as a medicine, if only for a time. As a last resort, however, he had to allow
doctors to administer a cure just to survive. One of his great-grandsons, Tushar
Gandhi, explains that critics might have taken some of the events out of context
and that Gandhi simply did not wish to have penicillin administered to his wife
as she was a strict vegetarian.


Gandhi had a bitter quarrel with his eldest son Harilal. The young man wished to
have a life of his own, which the great Mahatma could not comprehend. He
wanted his children to follow in his footsteps against their own wishes. To Gandhi,
his eldest son reflected his own lack of discipline and direction in life when he
had been younger. To Harilal, his fathers ideology was a delusion, a miscalled
enlightenment. Harilal had even written to the aforementioned Hermann
Kallenbach, telling him of how his father had simply forgotten that he had a

Harilal would later convert to Islam and denounce his father in public;
meanwhile, Gandhi saw fit to disown Harilal, even instructing other family
members not to share anything with his son. When a younger son gave his elder
brother some money, Gandhi practically banished him. Despite the pleas of family
members for the two to mend their relationship, it was not to be. After his
fathers assassination, an unkempt Harilal joined the funeral procession. It was
said that he was in such a bad state that, at first, none of his family recognized
him. As grim as it sounds, Harilal followed in his fathers footstepsto the grave
dying a drunkard on June 18, 1948, just months after his father.

More stories of the strained relationship between father and son have persisted.
One such story involved Gandhi accusing Harilal of raping his own daughter in 1935
and subsequently saying that he would rather see his son die than drink alcohol.
Of course, this happened decades after Harilal had already severed his ties with
his family and the relationship had reached a boiling point. The aforementioned
Tushar Gandhi claims that, again, the media and critics have taken everything out of
context. Harilal did not rape his daughter but rather his sister-in-law. Its hard to
see how that excuses Harilals actions, so that one is a point in Gandhis favor. As
for wishing death upon Harilal, Gandhi was merely saying that he would rather
see his son embrace death than use alcohol as a rather dubious form of

The gravest disagreement Gandhi had with his son Harilal was on the subject of
education. Harilal wanted to be a barrister, just like his father. Gandhis concept
of following in his footsteps was less about his old profession and more about
his outlook later in life. Indeed, Gandhi had denied education to his children because
of his political opinions.

Gandhi could have sent his children to exclusive schools that would have readily
accepted them due to Gandhis social standing. He could have also enrolled
them in schools run by Christian missionaries. Instead, he simply rejected those
ideas, because he believed that young children should not be separated from
their parents. He also did not want his sons admitted to schools that had
previously rejected other Indian children. Similarly, he viewed such educational
institutions as being biased toward the West and therefore detrimental to his pro-
independence stance.

Gandhi also espoused a concept of unlearning, stating in 1909 that Indias

salvation consists of unlearning what she has learnt during the past fifty years.
The railways, telegraphs, hospitals, lawyers, doctors, and such like have all to
go. Jawaharlal Nehru, who became Indias first Prime Minister in 1947,
vehemently disagreed, as he disliked Gandhis praise of poverty and suffering.
Gandhis socialist leanings were, in a sense, rooted in cultural heritage and
tradition, but this too might have been an extreme.


A statue to honor Mahatma Gandhis contributions to South African society,

unveiled in Johannesburg in 2003, triggered a wave of controversy. It was
supposed to have represented Gandhis opposition to racism and prejudice in the
country during his stay there from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Instead,
critics were reminded of the many times Gandhi had actually made racist remarks in

Gandhi addressed a public gathering in 1896, saying that Europeans sought to

degrade Indians to the level of raw kaffirnatives of Africa. Kaffir is also a
derogatory term considered worse than the N-word. To Gandhi, the only occupation
native Africans knew was hunting, their only ambition was to collect cattle to buy
a wife, and their only contentment in life was to pass it in indolence and

Gandhi also considered the natives incredibly lazy, thinking that they were not as
hardworking as Indians and that they pretty much avoided work completely.
Gandhi fought a prejudicial registration of Indian workers, though he was
accepting of the same happening to black people. Gandhi, in many publications,
exalted the virtues of his fellow Indians and humiliatingly derided black people at
every turn. Gandhi stated that natives gave little benefit to the country and owed
their prosperity to Indians. Similarly, he believed that black people were hustling
and abusing good citizens, whereas the better-class Indians were a lot more
respectable. You can read more about such highly controversial statements here.

Gandhism considers religion and politics as very near and related. For elevating
politics, Gandhiji advocated spiritualisation of politics. But the meaning of
religion which Gandhiji understood is beyond the comprehension of a common
man. The notion of an ordinary man regarding religion is very narrow.

Critics point out that religion is a personal affair and it is concerned with the
conscience of the individual where as Politics is a public affair and it has no
relationship with morality. The interference of religion in politics can give birth to
religion-mixed politics of middle ages.

One additional event provides us with a glimpse into the past: the Bambatha
Rebellion of 1906. Zulus protested against the taxes imposed by the British after
the end of the Boer War. The British responded with a massacre of thousands of
Zulus. Between 3,0004,000 Zulus were killed, 7,000 were imprisoned, and 4,000
were viciously flogged. British losses amounted to 25 men.

Gandhis role during the conflict was a highly controversial one. Prior to actively
recruiting volunteers to fight in no mans land during World War I, he had
actually pestered the British to recruit Indians as part of the army against the
Zulus. This was partly due to his aim of gaining favor with the British overlords
and, in effect, helping to legitimize the citizenship of Indians. Critics also insisted
that this was motivated by racism. Gandhi commanded a detachment of
volunteers who bore the wounded on stretchers, although he felt that this
activity was a waste of men. Gandhi wanted Indians to have the opportunity of a
thorough training for actual warfare.

Perhaps its also worth adding that this event may have changed Gandhi for the
better. Upon seeing the damage inflicted by the British on the hapless Zulus, his
compassion may have led him to reassess what his life had been until then.

The forgotten battles of Imphal and Kohima were largely uncelebrated in India despite
the bravery of Indians in defending their homeland against the Japanese
onslaught. This was due to World War II still being perceived as India fighting for
a European power rather than for its own survival. Gandhi played his part in
solidifying this opinion for decades to come. His bold move during the darkest
years of World War II was to launch a massive civil disobedience campaign for
the British to Quit India. Never mind that the Japanese were already at their
doorstep; the nation still had to be rid of British rule.

Gandhi, much like he had done during his wifes death throes, preferred that
Indias fate was left to God. If it could not be left to a divine power, then Gandhi
preferred that it was left to anarchy instead. Gandhi felt India could eventually sort
out its problems. Critics over the years have become aghast at this view, as
Gandhi was perhaps out of touch with the reality of how much death and
destruction anarchy would bring to the country.

Gandhi felt that the Japanese should just occupy as much of India as they
wished. He also wanted fellow Indians to show nonviolence and noncooperation so as
to make the invaders feel unwanted. Surrender in the face of the enemy was not
limited to the Japanese; Gandhi also said that Britain should surrender to the
Nazis. He claimed that nonviolence should have extended so far as to invite
Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take possession of that beautiful island with
its many beautiful buildings.

How do we draw the line between honorable nonviolence movement and willful
and senseless death?

In his letters to Adolf Hitler, Gandhi beseeched the madman to avoid going to war.
Gandhi addressed the Fuhrer as Dear Friend, using kindness and compassion to
let Hitler know the error of his ways. He was optimistic, but as some critics have
pointed out, it bordered on utter foolishness. It was also the most extreme form
of nonviolence that Gandhi had wanted the Jews of Europe to practice. He
believed that civil disobedience against Hitler would have strengthened their
cause; it would have aroused the world.

How far should it have gone?

A biographer asked Gandhi whether the Jews should have committed mass suicide.
Gandhi said, Yes, that would have been heroism. Despite knowledge of the
atrocities committed during the Holocaust, Gandhi responded by saying that the
Jews should have willingly offered themselves to the butchers knife; they should
have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs. As to why such a horrible deed
was necessary, Gandhi replied that, if the Jews had followed his advice, their
deaths would have been more significant.


1.Gandhi used to sleep with girls of aged between 18 to 25. Very few people
know about this but its true (for detail you can read books by Dr L .R.

slept with Gandhi accepted this. Gandhi used to say that he is doing all this

for his BRAHMCHARI Experiments. What from his experiments he was wanted to
prove nobody knows? Gandhi himself accepted this that at the time of going to
London for higher studies he decided to keep himself away from MEAT, DARU and
SEX, but he accepted that he could not control himself in the matter of SEX.
2.Gandhi went to South Africa just for earning money and name because here in
India he could not do well(flop) there he went mainly to save Abdullah &co.
whose business was of smuggling and charged very much for this.

3.In 1932, Gandhi collected 1crore & 32 lakh Rs in the name of TILAK SWRAJ
fund, which was collected for the use of DALITS. However, he did not spend even
a single penny on DALITS.

4.In his whole life Gandhi kept on shouting that, he is in the supports AAHINSA.
However, at the time of Second World War he himself sends Indian army for the
fight from England side. AAHINSA kaha gaye uss waqt?

5.During daytime, Gandhi spent the day in the Jhugis but he spent the night in
the rest house of


.6.Gandhi advised people to live a simple life, but his simplicity was that when he
was in jail therewere three women in the jail to serve him for his simplicity!

7.Gandhi did not open a single door of a Hindu temple in Gujarat his home
province in India for theUNTOUCHABLES.

8.Gandhi used to say that Subhash Chander Bose is like his own son, but Gandhi
went on hungerstrike until Bose leave his post in congress. Gandhi promised to
British govt. that if we found Bose we willhand over him to you (Bose was wanted
in those days).

9.Gandhi kept people in dark that he is trying to save Bhagat Singh. However,
the truth is that henever tried to contact VICEROY about Bhagat Singh issue. This
all is said by the friend of VICEROY & BhagatSingh named MANMATH NATH in his
writings. Gandhi was feared about the popularity of Bhagat Singhbecause the
popularity of Bhagat Singh was increasing of which Gandhi felt nervous.

10. Gandhi was saying that if the Pakistan would made it will only happen after
his death. However, itwas Gandhi who signed 1st on the proposal of making

11.Gandhi cheated all Indians at ROUND TABLE CONFERENCES by not giving the
details in proper & those details, which were true.

12.Gandhi started so many ANDOLANS & LEHARS against British govt. but after a
month or after 2months he withdraw he all those ANDOLANS & LEHARS. Then
what was the use of starting all those? Whatabout the sacrifice of all those
people who took part in all those ANDOLANS? In addition, he never went to lead
people in those ANDOLANS. Even Gandhis own sons were against him but I do
not know why all people were following him.

13.Now a days almost all Hindu people say Gandhi as a revolution air, but what
he said I have comehere on earth to fulfill the laws of caste. How can one say
such a person as a revolution air? A true Revolution air never thinks according to
caste line, not according to rich, poor etc.

These are very few points there are many more truths about Gandhi. In addition,
from above points you people can decide about Gandhi. In BABA SAHEBs own
words Gandhi Age is the Dark Age of India. BABA SAHEB has also said in

The concept of Sarvodaya has been the target of criticism from

different corners.

1. Sarvodaya philosophy has been branded as Utopia. It is because Sarvodaya

assumes the human being to be an epitome of virtues only. But in reality
jealousy, selfishness, acquisitiveness etc. are ingrained in human nature. Hence
establishing a Sarvodaya society based on mutual love, cooperation, selfless
service etc. is, indeed, an impossible task.

2. Sarvodaya movement views the state as an instrument of coercion. But this is

only half-truth. The state especially a democratic state can also serve as an
instrument to promote material well-being of the people.

3. Gandhian concept of simple living and high thinking has been contested on
the ground that sometimes people with simplest of food and practice of
austerities nurture all types of sinister desires and activities. In some quarters, in
fact, wealth is believed to be an indispensable prerequisite of culture and higher

4. Critics hold the view that large-scale production and industrialization can raise
the standard of living of the people and release human energy for more creative
pursuits. Cottage industries may generate employment. At the same time it may
be a failure due to high cost of production and low quality of products.

5. Proposals regarding the trusteeship system and complete decentralisation of

all economic and political set up are nothing more than academic exercises.

6. J. C. Johari rightly observes that the Marxists would scoff at the whole school of
Sarvodaya as one belonging to the world of Owenites and Saint Simonians; the
collectivists would not endorse the suggestion of a very limited government in
view of mans life of minimum wants and liberals would have every reason to
doubt the feasibility of an ideal society as conceived by the advocates of the
sarvodaya philosophy.
In fine, Sarvodaya society ensures a society free from exploitation and offers the
opportunity to each and everyone to prosper and work for the well being of all. It
creates a condition not only for participatory democracy but also for establishing
a new form of socialism. It envisages a new pattern of life based on
decentralisation of economic and political power ensuring the moral freedom of

As Erich Fromm says, The aim of humanistic socialism can be attained only by
the introduction of a maximum of decentralisation compatible with a minimum of
centralisation necessary for the functioning of an industrial society. The function
of a centralised state must be reduced to a minimum, while the voluntary
activity of freely cooperating citizens constitutes the central mechanism of social

As I said in the beginning, I consider Gandhi to be a person of towering intellect
and morality. He fought against the evils on untouchability, established
secularism and united India under a single banner. Because of him, we are able
to trade with the British without any hard feelings. I consider him a great social
worker but an average politician blinded by his idealism.

I also think people of different states like Gandhi to different extents. The people
of Bengal, for instance like him a lot more than the rest for his role in stopping
communal violence whereas, the people of Punjab like him to a lesser extent
because of failing to do so in their state.
Mahatma Gandhi was the primary leader of Indias independence movement and
also the architect of a form of non-violent civil disobedience that would influence
the world.


Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India, Mahatma Gandhi studied law and
advocated for the civil rights of Indians, both at home under British rule and in
South Africa. Gandhi became a leader of Indias independence movement,
organizing boycotts against British institutions in peaceful forms of civil
disobedience. He was killed by a fanatic in 1948.

Early Life

Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known

as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar,
India, which was then part of the British Empire. His father, Karamchand Gandhi,
served as a chief minister in Porbandar and other states in western India. His
mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious woman who fasted regularly. Gandhi
grew up worshiping the Hindu god Vishnu and following Jainism, a morally
rigorous ancient Indian religion that espoused non-violence, fasting, meditation
and vegetarianism.

Young Gandhi was a shy, unremarkable student who was so timid that he slept
with the lights on even as a teenager. At the age of 13, he wed Kasturba Makanji,
a merchants daughter, in an arranged marriage. In the ensuing years, the
teenager rebelled by smoking, eating meat and stealing change from household

In 1885, Gandhi endured the passing of his father and shortly after that the
death of his young baby. Although Gandhi was interested in becoming a doctor,
his father had hoped he would also become a government minister, so his family
steered him to enter the legal profession. Shortly after the birth of the first of
four surviving sons, 18-year-old Gandhi sailed for London, England, in 1888 to
study law. The young Indian struggled with the transition to Western culture, and
during his three-year stay in London, he became more committed to a meatless
diet, joining the executive committee of the London Vegetarian Society, and
started to read a variety of sacred texts to learn more about world religions.

Upon returning to India in 1891, Gandhi learned that his mother had died just
weeks earlier. Then, he struggled to gain his footing as a lawyer. In his first
courtroom case, a nervous Gandhi blanked when the time came to cross-
examine a witness. He immediately fled the courtroom after reimbursing his
client for his legal fees. After struggling to find work in India, Gandhi obtained a
one-year contract to perform legal services in South Africa. Shortly after the birth
of another son, he sailed for Durban in the South African state of Natal in April

Spiritual and Political Leader

When Gandhi arrived in South Africa, he was quickly appalled by the

discrimination and racial segregation faced by Indian immigrants at the hands of
white British and Boer authorities. Upon his first appearance in a Durban
courtroom, Gandhi was asked to remove his turban. He refused and left the court
instead. The Natal Advertiser mocked him in print as an unwelcome visitor.

A seminal moment in Gandhis life occurred days later on June 7, 1893, during a
train trip to Pretoria when a white man objected to his presence in the first-class
railway compartment, although he had a ticket. Refusing to move to the back of
the train, Gandhi was forcibly removed and thrown off the train at a station in
Pietermaritzburg. His act of civil disobedience awoke in him a determination to
devote himself to fighting the deep disease of color prejudice. He vowed that
night to try, if possible, to root out the disease and suffer hardships in the
process. From that night forward, the small, unassuming man would grow into a
giant force for civil rights.

Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 to fight discrimination. At the
end of his year-long contract, he prepared to return to India until he learned at
his farewell party of a bill before the Natal Legislative Assembly that would
deprive Indians of the right to vote. Fellow immigrants convinced Gandhi to stay
and lead the fight against the legislation. Although Gandhi could not prevent the
laws passage, he drew international attention to the injustice.

After a brief trip to India in late 1896 and early 1897, Gandhi returned to South
Africa with his wife and two children. Kasturba would give birth to two more sons
in South Africa, one in 1897 and one in 1900. Gandhi ran a thriving legal
practice, and at the outbreak of the Boer War, he raised an all-Indian ambulance
corps of 1,100 volunteers to support the British cause, arguing that if Indians
expected to have full rights of citizenship in the British Empire, they also needed
to shoulder their responsibilities as well.
Gandhi continued to study world religions during his years in South Africa. The
religious spirit within me became a living force, he wrote of his time there. He
immersed himself in sacred Hindu spiritual texts and adopted a life of simplicity,
austerity and celibacy that was free of material goods.

In 1906, Gandhi organized his first mass civil-disobedience campaign, which he

called Satyagraha (truth and firmness), in reaction to the Transvaal
governments new restrictions on the rights of Indians, including the refusal to
recognize Hindu marriages. After years of protests, the government imprisoned
hundreds of Indians in 1913, including Gandhi. Under pressure, the South African
government accepted a compromise negotiated by Gandhi and General Jan
Christian Smuts that included recognition of Hindu marriages and the abolition of
a poll tax for Indians. When Gandhi sailed from South Africa in 1914 to return
home, Smuts wrote, The saint has left our shores, I sincerely hope forever.

The Road to Independence

Gandhi was released from prison in January 1931, and two months later he made
an agreement with Lord Irwin to end the Salt Satyagraha in exchange for
concessions that included the release of thousands of political prisoners. The
agreement, however, largely kept the Salt Acts intact, but it did give those who
lived on the coasts the right to harvest salt from the sea. Hoping that the
agreement would be a stepping-stone to home rule, Gandhi attended the London
Round Table Conference on Indian constitutional reform in August 1931 as the
sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The conference, however,
proved fruitless.

Gandhi returned to India to find himself imprisoned once again in January 1932
during a crackdown by Indias new viceroy, Lord Willingdon. Later that year, an
incarcerated Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast to protest the British decision to
segregate the untouchables, those on the lowest rung of Indias caste system,
by allotting them separate electorates. The public outcry forced the British to
amend the proposal.

After his eventual release, Gandhi left the Indian National Congress in 1934, and
leadership passed to his protg Jawaharlal Nehru. He again stepped away from
politics to focus on education, poverty and the problems afflicting Indias rural

As Great Britain found itself engulfed in World War II in 1942, though, Gandhi
launched the Quit India movement that called for the immediate British
withdrawal from the country. In August 1942, the British arrested Gandhi, his wife
and other leaders of the Indian National Congress and detained them in the Aga
Khan Palace in present-day Pune. I have not become the Kings First Minister in
order to preside at the liquidation of the British Empire, Prime Minister Winston
Churchill told Parliament in support of the crackdown. With his health failing,
Gandhi was released after a 19-month detainment, but not before his 74-year-old
wife died in his arms in February 1944.

After the Labour Party defeated Churchills Conservatives in the British general
election of 1945, it began negotiations for Indian independence with the Indian
National Congress and Mohammad Ali Jinnahs Muslim League. Gandhi played an
active role in the negotiations, but he could not prevail in his hope for a unified
India. Instead, the final plan called for the partition of the subcontinent along
religious lines into two independent statespredominantly Hindu India and
predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

Violence between Hindus and Muslims flared even before independence took
effect on August 15, 1947. Afterwards, the killings multiplied. Gandhi toured riot-
torn areas in an appeal for peace and fasted in an attempt to end the bloodshed.
Some Hindus, however, increasingly viewed Gandhi as a traitor for expressing
sympathy toward Muslims.


In the late afternoon of January 30, 1948, the 78-year-old Gandhi, still weakened
from repeated hunger strikes, clung to his two grandnieces as they led him from
his living quarters in New Delhis Birla House to a prayer meeting. Hindu
extremist Nathuram Godse, upset at Gandhis tolerance of Muslims, knelt before
the Mahatma before pulling out a semiautomatic pistol and shooting him three
times at point-blank range. The violent act took the life of a pacifist who spent
his life preaching non-violence. Godse and a co-conspirator were executed by
hanging in November 1949, while additional conspirators were sentenced to life
in prison.

Death and Legacy

Even after his death, Gandhis commitment to non-violence and his belief in
simple livingmaking his own clothes, eating a vegetarian diet and using fasts
for self-purification as well as a means of protesthave been a beacon of hope
for oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world. Satyagraha
remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the
world today, and Gandhis actions inspired future human rights movements
around the globe, including those of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in
the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.


1. Introduction
2. Gandhis Philosophy

3. Criticism

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

In performing this assignment, I had to take the help and guidelines of some respected
persons, who deserved my greatest gratitude. The completion of this assignment gives me
much pleasure. I would like to show my gratitude towards Prof. Kamlesh Jain for giving me
good guidelines for assignment throughout numerous consultations. I would also like to
expand my deepest gratitude to all those who have directly and indirectly guided he in
making this assignment.

I would also like to express my gratitude towards the librarian of my institution for providing
he with the necessary books and materials for the project.

Many people, specially my classmates, have made valuable comment, suggestions on this
proposal which gave me an inspiration to improve my assignment. I thank all the people for
their help directly and indirectly to complete my assignment.