Demystifying Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi


Gandhiji or Mahatma (“Great-Souled”), as he was popularly known, pioneered satyagraha. This is defined as resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total non-violence. This concept helped India to gain independence, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. In his autobiography, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that “Gandhi was the guiding light of our technique of non-violent social change”.

Such high level talk and India Government red tape has always mystified Gandhi. So on his 142nd Birth Anniversary thought I will do my bit to demystify this bespectacled old man. He was born in Porbandar, a coastal town of Gujarat, India on October 2, 1869. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, who belonged to the Hindu Modh community, was the ‘Diwan’ of Porbander state, in the Kathiawar peninsula of Western India. The Gandhi family as well-to-do by Indian standards and at one stage Karamchand Gandhi owned three houses.

Karamchand Gandhi and his fourth wife Putlibai (other three wives having died at child birth) had three sons and Mohandas was the youngest. His elder brother Laxmidas practiced law and became a government treasury official. His other brother, Karsandas, was a sub-inspector of police.

When he was very young Mohandas and a friend stole money from a servant to buy cigarettes. He felt so guilty about the incident that he admitted to his father and never smoked again. With his mother being very spiritual and with the Jain traditions being prevalent in his region, young Mohandas absorbed early influences that would play an important role in his adult life. These included the compassion to sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance between individuals of different creeds.

As child, Mohandas was inspired by the story of ‘Harishchandra’. He in his autobiography admits that it left an indelible impression on his mind and wrote, “It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number”. Mohandas Gandhi’s early self -identification with truth and love as the supreme value is traced back to his identification with these epic characters.


In May 1883, Mohandas, who was 13-years old then, got married to Kasturba Makhanji, who was 14-years old. It was an arranged child marriage, as was the custom in that region during those days. In 1885, when Gandhi was 15, the couple’s first child was born, but survived only a few days. The couple went on to be proud parents of four children: Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas.

Early LifeMohandas Gandhi left for London on September 4, 1888, to study law at the University College, and also to get trained as a barrister at the Inner Temple in London. {The Inner Temple was considered by Indians the most aristocratic of the four Inns of Court in London}. He returned to India after completing Law on June 12, 1891. On his return, he was informed that his mother had passed away. Mohandas’s attempts to establish himself as a lawyer in Mumbai, failed. After applying and being turned down for a part-time job as a high school teacher, he ended up returning to Rajkot to make a modest living by drafting petitions for litigants.

Mohandas Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893 to handle a legal case in Pretoria. During this time he got fully immersed in agitation on behalf of South African Indians. In 1894 he enrolled as Advocate of Supreme Court of Natal, being first Indian to be so enrolled. The same year he founded the Natal Indian Congress and got more committed to South African Indian cause. He stayed on in South Africa for 21 years before returning back to India.


In South Africa, Mohandas faced many discrimination directed at Indians. He was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move from the first class to a third class coach while holding a valid first class ticket. Traveling farther on by stagecoach he was beaten by a driver for refusing to travel on the foot board to make room for an European passenger. These events were a turning point in his life and insisted him to launch the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ in South Africa from 1893-1914.

In between in 1896 when Mohandas Gandhi returned to India and continued his agitation on behalf of South African Indians. He toured Mumbai, Chennai, Poona and Kolkata educating Indians in regard to grievances of South African Indians. In 1900 he sends Dadabhai Naroroji draft resolution on South African Indian problem for Indian National Congress (INC) Lahore Session. By 1901 he sails back to India and by 1902 he had almost set up his practice in Mumbai but was called to South Africa to champion Indians’ cause against anti-Asiatic legislation in Transvaal.

{Started in 1885 at the initiative of retired Civil service officer, Allan Octavian Hume, the Indian National Congress (INC) was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia. Its aim was to obtain a greater share in government for educated Indians, and to create a platform for civic and political dialogue between them and the British Raj. Within the next few years, the demands of the INC became more radical in the face of constant opposition from the British government, and the party decided to advocate in favor of Indian independence.

Dadabhai Naoroji was elected INC President in 1886 and he was the first Indian Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons (1892–95). The other tall INC leaders of the time included W C Banerjee, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Badruddin Tyabji, Justice Ranade, G Subramanya Aiyar, Feroze Shah Mehta, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.}.


In 1906, after the British introduced a new poll-tax, Zulus in South Africa killed two British officers. In response, the British declared a war against the Zulus. Mohandas Gandhi actively encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship. The British, however, refused to commission Indians as army officers. Nonetheless, they accepted his offer to let a detachment of Indian volunteers as a stretcher bearer corps to treat wounded British soldiers.

In 1907 Mohandas Gandhi urged all Indians in South Africa to defy a law requiring registration and fingerprinting of all Indians. For this activity he was imprisoned for 2 months, in 1908 but released when he agreed to the ‘compromise’ – voluntary registration after meeting with General Smuts at Pretoria. He was nearly killed by Pathans who regard the compromise, under which Indians are expected to give their finger-prints voluntarily, as a betrayal of Indian interest.

Mohandas Gandhi was jailed 5 times in South Africa between 1908 and 1914. During his second stay in jail he read Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” and John Ruskin’s Unto This Last, which left a deep impression on him. He was influenced also by his correspondence with Leo Tolstoy in 1909-1910. He even sent Tolstoy a copy of Indian Home Rule seeking his comments. The years in South Africa was also momentous to Mohandas’s personal life. He declared disinterest in worldly possessions, takes vow of brahmacharya for life, launched a newspaper ‘Indian Opinion’ and gives up European dress and milk and restricted himself to diet of fresh and dried fruit.

In 1912 Mohandas Gandhi invited Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a respected leader of the INC during that time, to South Africa. Gokhale was impressed with the young barristers work and he introduced Gandhi to Indian issues, politics and the Indian people. He provided personal guidance and mentor-ship to Gandhi. He advised Gandhi to travel across India in third class compartment to ‘feel India’. By 1914 Gandhi felt his job in South Africa was complete, and he made plans to leave the country.

{Gandhi returned to India to further develop his ideology in early 1915. He would take up Gokhale’s advice and used trains to travel the length and breadth of India. Few Indians of his time, or indeed since, acquired the knowledge of India that Gandhi was to gain by his travels, and there can scarcely be any Indian who had criss-crossed the country by train as much as Gandhi had done.

After Gandhi left South Africa, his passive resistance philosophy was adopted by the African National Congress, and remained their policy of protest up until the 1960s, when the ANC finally decided to resort to violent means of protest against apartheid.}

By 1905, a division opened between two of the tallest leaders of INC – Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bala Gangadhar Tilak, a lifelong political opponent of Gokhale. The “moderates” led by Gokhale, downplayed public agitation and favored Hindu–Muslim unity in achieving self-government, and had such leaders as Dadabhai Naoroji, Feroze Shah Mehta and Mohammed Ali Jinnha. The “extremists” led by Tilak advocated agitation, and regarded the pursuit of social reform as a distraction from nationalism and the leaders group were famously called “Lal Bal Pal” (Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal).

{In 1909, Lala Lajpat Rai, Lal Chand and Shadi Lal who were active Arya Samaj leaders established the Punjab Hindu Sabha (“Assembly”). Madan Mohan Malaviya presided over the Sabha’s first session at Lahore in October 1909. The Sabha stated that it was not a sectarian organisation, but an “all-embracing movement” that aimed to safeguard the interests of “the entire Hindu community”.

During 21–22 October 1909, it organised the Punjab Provincial Hindu Conference, which criticised the INC for failing to defend Hindu interests, and called for promotion of Hindu-centered politics. Amongst the Mahasabha’s early leaders was Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Lala Lajpat Rai. Under Malaviya, the Mahasabha campaigned for Hindu political unity, for the education and economic development of Hindus as well as for the conversion of Muslims to Hinduism.

After two unsuccesful attempts, in April 1915, Sarvadeshak (All India) Hindu Sabha was formed as an umbrella organisation of regional Hindu Sabhas, at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Gandhi and Swami Shraddhanand were also present at the Haridwar Conference, and were supportive of the formation of All India Hindu Sabha. The Sabha laid emphasis on Hindu solidarity and the need for social reform. Manindra Chandra Nandy, the President of the Conference, declared that the Sabha would be loyal to the British Government. This pro-British stance was criticised by Gandhi and Swami Shraddhanand.

It was at its sixth Session in April 1921 that the Sabha formally changed its name to Akhil Bharatiya (All India) Hindu Mahasabha. Presided over by Manindra Chandra Nandy, it amended its constitution to remove the clause about loyalty to the British, and added a clause committing the organisation to a “united and self-governing” Indian nation.

In the late 1920s, the All India Hindu Mahasabha came under the influence of leaders like Balakrishna Shivram Moonje and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Under Savarkar, the Mahasabha became a more intense critic of the INC and its policy of wooing Muslim support.

The Mahasabha suffered a setback when in 1925, its former member Keshav Baliram Hedgewar left to form the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu volunteer organisation that abstained from active politics. Although ideologically similar to the Mahasabha, the RSS grew faster across the nation and became a competitor for the core constituency of the Mahasabha.}

With Thilak

It was in year 1915, Gandhi first spoke at the conventions of the INC, and by 1920 Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement. Jinnah’s moderate faction in the INC was undermined by the deaths of Mehta and Gokhale in 1915; he was further isolated by the fact that Naoroji was in London, where he remained until his death in 1917. Nevertheless, Jinnah worked to bring the INC and AIML together. In 1916, with Jinnah, now President of the AIML, the two organisations signed the Lucknow Pact, setting quotas for Muslim and Hindu representation in the various provinces.

{The All India Muslim League (AIML) had arisen out of a literary movement begun at the Aligarh Muslim University in which Syed Ahmad Khan was a central figure in 1886. In 1906, a delegation of Muslim leaders headed by the Aga Khan III called on the new Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, to assure him of their loyalty and to ask for assurances that in any political reforms they would be protected from the “unsympathetic [Hindu] majority”. Dissatisfied with this, INC’s Muslim face Jinnah wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper Gujarati, asking what right the members of the delegation had to speak for Indian Muslims, as they were un-elected and self-appointed.

At AIML December 1906 Educational Conference in Dhaka, a self imposed ban on discussing politics was removed and a resolution was adopted to form an AIML political party. Although Jinnah initially opposed separate electorates for Muslims a demand of AIML, he used this means to gain his first elective office in 1909, as Bombay’s Muslim representative on the Imperial Legislative Council.

In December 1912, Jinnah addressed the annual meeting of the AIML although he was not yet a member. Jinnah joined AIML the following year but continued to be a member of the INC as well. He always stressed that AIML membership took second priority to the “greater national cause” of an independent India.}

Jallianwala Bagh

The ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ massacre in Punjab, on April 13, 1919 when the British troops killed about 400 innocent unarmed Indians turned the tide. It caused deep trauma to the nation, leading to an increased public anger and acts of violence. Gandhiji criticized both the actions of the British Raj and the retaliatory violence of Indians. The same year Gandhiji persuaded the INC to launch a Non-Cooperation Movement (1919 – 22).

Gandhiji expanded his non-violent, non-cooperation platform to include the swadeshi policy – the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods. Linked to this was his advocacy that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles. Gandhi exhorted Indian men and women, rich or poor, to spend time each day spinning khadi in support of the independence movement. In addition to boycotting British products, Gandhiji urged the people to boycott British institutions and law courts, to resign from government employment, and to forsake British titles and honours. Gandhi thus began his journey aimed at crippling the British India government economically, politically and administratively. The appeal of “Non-Cooperation” grew, its social popularity drew participation from all strata of Indian society.

By this time Gandhiji commanded influence hitherto unattained by any political leader in India. He refashioned the INC into an effective political instrument of Indian nationalism and undertook major campaigns of non-violent resistance. Gandhiji employed non-cooperation, non-violence and peaceful resistance as his weapons in the struggle against Britishers who occupied India for 200 years. Gandhiji had mobilised both Hindus and Muslims to fight the British rule by appealing to their religious traditions. Gandhiji had made an alliance with the Khilafat Movement in 1920, in order to increase the participation of Muslims, who constituted a quarter to a third of the Indian population, in the non-cooperation movement.

{When the Ottoman Empire under Emperor Abdul Hamid II entered World War I against the British Empire, the Muslims across the world were concerned of the future of the Sultan of Ottoman Empire, who was considered the Caliph or Khalifa of Islam and spiritual leader of the global Muslim community. But even though the Khilafat agitation (1919–22) was to protect the position of the Sultan, to its founders and followers, the Khilafat was not a religious movement but rather a show of solidarity with their fellow Muslims in Turkey.}

The Khilafat founder leaders Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, popularly known as Ali brothers, organised protests across British India. The support of the Khilafatists helped Gandhiji and the INC ensure Hindu-Muslim unity. Eminent Hindu leaders and personalities also supported the Khilafat Movement. With Hindu-Muslim unity achieved the non-cooperation campaign snowballed into a country-wide agitation. Massive protests, strikes and acts of civil disobedience spread across India. Khilafat leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan also grew personally close to Gandhiji.

Jinnah criticized Gandhiji’s Khilafat advocacy, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry. Jinnah regarded Gandhiji’s proposed satyagraha campaign as political anarchy, and believed that self-government should be secured through constitutional means. He opposed Gandhi, but the tide of Indian opinion was against him. At the 1920 Nagpur Session of INC, Jinnah was shouted down by the delegates, who passed Gandhiji’s proposal, pledging satyagraha until India was independent. Jinnah did not attend the subsequent AIML meeting, held in the same city, which passed a similar resolution. Because of the action of the INC in endorsing Gandhi’s campaign, Jinnah resigned from it, leaving all positions except in the AIML.

At the 1921 Ahmedabad Sesssion of the INC, Maulana Hazrat Mohani and Swami Kumaranand of the Communist Party of India (CPI) moved the resolution for complete independence for the first time. The resolution signed by M N Roy and Abani Mukherjee, called upon the INC to adopt “Complete Independence” as its mission and render full support to the struggles of the working class and peasantry.

The Non-Cooperation Movement took a violent turn with the Chauri Chaura incident (1922). Following this incident, Gandhiji suspended the movement. The Ali brothers criticized Gandhi’s extreme commitment to non-violence and severed their ties. However, it is also true that the immediate reason for the disposal of the committee was the much criticized embezzlement of 16 lakhs rupee. The Ali brothers were severely criticized by Muslim politicians and the public. Although holding talks with the British and continuing their activities, the Khilafat struggle weakened as Muslims were divided between working for the INC and the Khilafat cause.

{The cooperation among Hindus and Muslims ended as Khilafat movement collapsed with the rise of Ataturk in Turkey after the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1924). Many Muslim leaders left the INC and the Khilafat leadership fragmented on different political lines. Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari created Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam with the support of Chaudhry Afzal Haq. The Ali brothers joined AIML led by Aga Khan III and they would go on to play a major role in the growth of the League’s popular appeal and the subsequent Pakistan movement. Leaders close to Gandhiji like Dr. Ansari, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan continued in INC}.

Gandhiji was arrested on March 10, 1922, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He began his sentence on March 18, 1922, however he was released in February 1924 for an emergency appendectomy.

Gandhi, Mahatma - Politker, Indien/ mit Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (l.)

With Gandhiji isolated in prison, the INC split into two factions, one led by Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru favouring party participation in the legislatures – Council Entry, and the other led by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, opposing this move. In 1923 Chittaranjan Das, popularly known as Deshbandhu, resigned his Presidency of the INC at the Gaya Session after losing a motion on “No Council Entry”. Deshbandhu, then along with Motilal Nehru and young Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (Prime Minister of Bengal during the British Raj and Prime Minister of Pakistan), founded the Swaraj Party.

By 1925 Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, who was part of INC till 1923 as well as member of the Hindu Mahasabha started Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with the initial impetus to provide character training through Hindu discipline and to unite the Hindu community to form a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation). He was deeply influenced by the writings of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The RSS positioned itself as a cultural organization and carefully avoided any political activity that could be construed as being anti-British. Thus the nationalistic political base behind Gandhiji had broken into factions.

{The formation of RSS, a Hindu cultural organization, further increased the Hindu Muslim divide. RSS rejected Gandhi’s willingness to cooperate with the Muslims. Dr Hedgewar had instructed RSS members to participate in political movements only in individual capacity. Golwalkar, who became the leader of the RSS in 1940, continued and further strengthened the isolation from the independence movement. In his view, the RSS had pledged to achieve freedom through “defending religion and culture” and not by fighting the British.

The RSS leaders convinced Hindus that Muslims were despots and religious invaders. This narrative worked perfectly for the British who wanted to be seen as a rectifier of the historical harm inflicted by the Muslims, the invaders. The British had already completed the deeply resented partition of Bengal, in 1905, along religious lines – a Muslim majority state of East Bengal and a Hindu majority state of West Bengal. The successful division of Bengal kind of strengthened the British hands, to do the same with British India.}

Gandhiji released from jail in February 1924, stayed out of active politics for most of the second half of the 1920s, preferring to resolve the gap between the Swaraj Party and the INC and expanding initiatives against the evil practices of society like, untouchability, alcoholism, ignorance and poverty. Gandhiji returned to the fore only in 1928 after successfully bringing the INC and Swaraj Party together. By 1926, Motilal Nehru who had joined Swaraj Party, had returned to the INC.

In 1928 Motilal Nehru chaired the famous Nehru Commission, a counter to the all-British Simon Commission. The Nehru Report, the first constitution written by Indians only, envisioned a dominion status for India within the Empire, akin to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In December 1928 at the Calcutta Session over which Motilal Nehru presided was the scene of a head-on clash between those who were prepared to accept Dominion Status and those who would have nothing short of complete independence. A split was averted by a proposal by Gandhiji, according to which if Britain did not concede Dominion Status within a year, the Congress was to demand complete independence and to fight for it, if necessary, by launching civil disobedience.

With Nehru

The Nehru Report was also rejected by the Muslim leadership of India, specially Jinnah, who warned the majority Hindu leadership of “shortsightedness and oppressiveness of commission”. In 1929, Motilal Nehru, with his advancing age and declining health, handed over the INC Presidency to Jawaharlal Nehru.

{Jawaharlal, who had entered the Indian independence movement in 1916, had opposed his father’s preference for dominion status. He had preferred to stay back with the INC when his father joined Swaraj Party.}

With Khan

Influenced by Gandhiji’s teachings, in 1929, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan or Bacha Khan founded the Khudai Khidmatgar (“Servants of God”) movement in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in present day Pakistan. The success of their non-violent struggle triggered a harsh crackdown by the British Raj against “Frontier Gandhi” and his supporters, and they suffered some of the most severe repression of the Indian independence movement. This invigorated the INC and at their Lahore Session in December 1929, INC adopted “Purna Swarajya” as its objective. The INC called upon all Indians to celebrate January 26, 1930 as Independence Day, and Gandhiji hoisted the Tricolour (which was, by consensus, considered the flag of the Indian national movement at that time), on that day.

{The INC was initially opposed the ”Complete Independence” resolution proposed by the CPI in 1921 INC Ahmedabad Sesssion but adopted the resolution at 1929 INC Lahore Session. When INC called upon all Indians to celebrate January 26, 1930 as Independence Day, the RSS and its leader Dr Hedgewar issued a circular asking all the RSS shakhas (branches) to observe the occasion through hoisting and worship of its own Bhagva Janda (saffron flag), rather than the Tricolor. The RSS continued the practice till 2002, except for a once in 1950 when the RSS hoisted the Tricolour in their HQ at Reshambaugh, Nagpur.

The second head of the RSS and the most reviered till date, M S Golwalkar, published in his book ”Bunch of Thoughts”. He lamented that “our leaders have set up a new flag for the country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating… Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?”

In 2001 the RSS filed a case (No. 176 at Kotwali Police Station, Nagpur) against three Rashtrapremi Yuwa Dal activists Baba Mendhe, Ramesh Kalambe and Dilip Chatwani, who allegedly entered the RSS premises in Reshimbagh on January 26, 2001 and hoisted the national flag there amid patriotic slogans. The case file reads that Sunil Kathle the incharge of the premises first tried to stop them from entering the premises and later tried to prevent them from hoisting the tricolour. The 3 activists were later were acquitted and were released.

The last time RSS Sarsanchalak M S Golwalkar had hoisted the Tricolur in RSS HQ was in January 26, 1950. In the wake of Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948, the new Government banned the RSS and the then Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel, wrote to Nehru on February 27, 1948 ”It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that [hatched] the conspiracy and saw it through”. However personal conviction would not compromise Patel’s commitment to due legal process and after investigations were completed, Patel declared quite unequivocally that though “the RSS was not involved… his [Gandhiji] assassination was welcomed by those of the RSS and the [Hindu] Mahasabha who were strongly opposed to his way of thinking and to his policy”.

Golwalkar repeatedly pleaded with Patel, but he remained firm. He lifted the ban on July 11, 1949, only after the RSS ”pledged to stay away from politics, not be secretive and abjure violence”. More important, it had to profess “loyalty to the Constitution of India and the National Flag”. But post the death of Sardar Patel in December 15, 1950 the RSS went back to their old ways’.

On March 12, 1930, Gandhiji led the ‘Dandi’ march from his Sabarmati Ashram with growing numbers of Indians joining him along the way. Several thousand marchers walked 241 miles to the coast, where Gandhiji picked up a handful of salt in defiance of the British Raj. When Gandhiji broke the salt laws at the conclusion of the march on April 6, 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the British government salt laws by millions of Indians. This signaled a nationwide movement in which peasants produced salt illegally and INC volunteers sold contraband salt in the cities. Nationalists gained faith that they could shrug off foreign rule. The march also made the British more aware that they were subjugating India. The movement is known as the ‘Salt Satyagraha’ or ‘Civil Disobedience Campaign’.

Dandi March

Gandhiji was not opposed to compromise. In 1931 he negotiated with the Viceroy Lord Irwin, a pact whereby civil disobedience was to be called off, prisoners released, salt manufacture permitted on the coast, and INC would attend the Second Round Table Conference in London. Gandhiji attended as the only INC representative, but Churchill refused to see him, referring to Gandhi as a “half-naked fakir.”

In 1932, Gandhiji began a fast to the death for the Harijans, opposing a British plan for a separate electorate for them. In this action Gandhiji confronted Harijan leader Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who favored separate electorates as a political guarantee of improved status. As a result of Gandhiji’s fast, some temples were opened to exterior castes for the first time in history. Following the marriage of one of Gandhiji’s sons to a woman of another caste, Gandhiji came to approve only intercaste marriages.

By October 1934 Gandhiji had made up his mind to resign from INC saying “only to serve it better in thought, word and deed”. He devoted the years 1934 through 1939 towards improvement of the village economy – to promotion of spinning, basic education, and Hindi as the national language. During these years though, Gandhiji worked closely with Jawaharlal Nehru, who was INC President (1936 and 1937), even though there were differences between the two. Nehru and others came to view the Gandhiji’s ideas on economics as anachronistic. Nevertheless, Gandhiji designated Nehru his successor, saying, “I know this, that when I am gone he will speak my language.”

It was on August 2, 1935 Government of India Act was passed. It was one of most comprehensive and complex legislation with 321 sections and 10 schedules. It was the longest Act passed by British Parliament, till then. It was later split into two parts viz. Government of India Act 1935 and Government of Burma Act 1935, when British Viceroy was Lord Linlithgow. This lengthy Act of India was piloted in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for India, Sir Samuel Hoare in February 1935. It drew heavily from White Paper of 1933, Report of the Simon Commission, discussions at the Third Round Table Conference and reports of the Joint select committees. This Act forms basis of the present Constitution of India.

The Government of India Act, 1935 was supposed to end the system of diarchy introduced by the Government of India Act, 1919. It granted of a large measure of autonomy to the provinces of British India and also direct elections, thus increasing the franchise from seven million to thirty-five million people. It was this Act which established a “Federation of India”, made up of both British India and some or all of the “princely states”, but it created general disappointment among all political parties. With innumerable checks restrictions, reservations and safeguards the new Act was still far away from even a reasonable measure of Self Government. The status of India that of dependency, “gradually gravitating towards that of a dominion”. The general impression was that the Act was introduced as a political solution of the problems in order to safeguard the British financial interests in India.

The INC President Dr. Rajendra Prasad criticized “the absence of any provision for automatic growth of development of Self Government”. He further said that “it will be a kind of federation in which unabashed autocracy will seat entrenched in one-third of India and peep in every now and then to strangle popular will in the remaining two- thirds”. The AIML led by Jinnah also rejected the Federal Scheme describing it as “a device to withhold responsibility at the Center”.

Nehru, who by then became the INC President, was in favor of “contesting the elections, but not of taking part in any Provincial Government”. A Parliamentary Board was set up by INC to deal with the matters concerning the elections. Nehru made it clear that he was not keen on INC forming ministries but “to carry the message of the INC to the millions of voters and to the scores of millions of the disfranchised, to acquaint them with our future program and policy”.

With the end of the Civil Disobedience Movement many INC members began to reconsider the practicability of the satyagraha movement, decided to contest the elections to be held under the new Act.

In the provincial election held in 1937 the INC swept the polls so far as general or predominantly Hindu seats were concerned. INC ministries were formed in 5 out of 11 provinces. INC emerged as the single largest party in 4 more provinces and ultimately formed governments in 8 provinces. On the other hand, the AIML was decimated, including in Muslim-majority provinces. In Sind and the NWFP, the AIML could not win a single seat. In Punjab, it won only one seat. Its performance in Bengal was also below expectation, as it could not capture even one-third of the Muslim-reserved seats. Less than 5% of the Muslim population supported the AIML in those elections.

It became crystal clear that the AIML had no mass Muslim support. In fact, no party could properly represent the Muslims as many Muslim-reserved seats went to independent candidates. The AIML’s offer to form coalition ministries in the provinces was turned down by the INC which resulted in making the gap wider between the two political parties. Following this Jinnah publicly proclaimed that INC had done nothing for the Muslims in India.

{Addressing the Lucknow Session of the AIML in October, 1937 Jinnah said “The present leadership of INC especially during the last ten years has been responsible for alienating the Muslims of India more and more by pursuing a policy which is exclusively Hindu and since they have formed the Governments in seven provinces where they are in a majority”.

These type of statement from Jinnah forced the Indian politics to be bi polarized. Jinnah said “They have by their words, deeds and program shown more and more that the Muslims, cannot expect any justice or fair-play at their hands”. He accused the INC of killing “every hope of Hindu-Muslim settlement in the right royal fashion of Fascism” and blamed Gandhiji for destroying the ideal with which INC was started. Jinnah said “He [Gandhiji] is the one man responsible for turning the INC into an instrument for the revival of Hinduism. His idea is to revive Hindu religion and establish Hindu Raj in the Country”.

Jinnah exploited the emotional campaign of ‘Islam in Danger’ to gain mass Muslim support after the 1937 provincial elections – a divisive cause in which the Hindu Mahasabha came to its help through coalition ministries. The Hindu Mahasabha, like the AIML, believed that Hindus and Muslims are two separate and antagonistic nations.}

But in spite of the hostile attitude of the British Governors of the Provinces, the British bureaucracy and AIML, the INC Ministries in 8 provinces out of 11 took up radical measures for the welfare of the people. As was Gandhiji’s want, greater attention was paid to villages, to agriculture, to college education and industries. Reform of educational system, introduction of basic education, of jails and enforcement of prohibition were taken up. Abolition of salt tax and of repressive laws came under active consideration.

No distinction was made between community and community, high caste and low caste in the INC administration. Gandhiji encouraged the Ministers by saying “that a vast opportunity is at the disposal of the ministers in terms of the INC objectives of Complete Independence, if only they are honest, selfless, industrious, vigilant, and solicitous for the true welfare of the starving millions”. But the INC Ministers were destined to be short-lived and their works were also criticized by the British Governors and AIML.

With BoseIn year 1938 the radical wing of INC took over under the leadership of young Subhas Chandra Bose. Many of the INC leaders and freedom fighters were hurled up in jail by the British Governors. INC President Bose and the INC top brass were locked horns with the British Indian Government over release of all freedom fighters from jail.

{Hectic parleys go on for a week between INC and the British Indian Government for release of the freedom fighters and neither side blinked. The strain exhausted the 70 year-old Gandhiji. His blood pressure shot up and he is bedridden at Subhas Bose’s home on Elgin Road in South Calcutta. Doctors Nilratan Sirkar and Bidhan Roy lead the medical team that was treating Gandhiji.

A worried Ravindranath Tagore arrived to see the man he had named the ‘Mahatma’. But Mahatma Gandhi’s bedroom is on the 3rd floor, and the 78-yr old poet cannot climb the stairs. So a chair is brought and Tagore was made to sit upon it and four men carried him upstairs. The four men who carried the chair up the three floors were Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarat Chandra Bose and Mahadev Desai.}

By 1939 the bickering and frosty relationship between, once follower, Subhas Bose and Mahatma Gandhi reached a climax, when Bose, was elected INC President for a second term defeating Gandhi-nominated candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Unable to hide his displeasure, Mahatma commented “Subhas’ victory is my defeat.”

The declaration of the Second World War in September 1, 1939, however, altered the situation in an dramatic manner and forced the INC to a revolutionary path. Subhas, who was now asserting his radical views, was for opposition to the British Government war efforts. He believed that “only after the defeat and breaking up of the British Empire could India hope to be free”.  Gandhiji and Nehru, however were in favor of supporting the British for the only reason that it was a “struggle between Fascism and Democracy”.

An unhealthy environment within the INC Working Committee made Bose’s task all the more difficult and he resigned from his post. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took over the reins from Subhas Bose after the Congress Session at Tripuri near Jabalpur. Due to the vital issues involved, the INC appointed a War-Sub-Committee with Nehru as the head to give a lead to the INC in this regard. The INC policy post that became that “no co-operation was possible with British Empire unless the INC demand that India must be declared an Independent nation and the application of the Government of India Act 1935 must be given to this status to the largest possible extent”.

In October, 1939 the INC refusing to be hood winked demanded “that India must be declared an independent nation and present application must be given to this status to the largest possible extent”. To this demands the Viceroy Linhithgow replied on October 17, 1939 in a lengthy statement the essence of which was that the entire constitutional scheme would be re-opened and re-examined after the war and during the continuance of the hostilities a consultative group on which all the diverse interests and communities of India would be represented, would be constituted to aid the Viceroy in the Conduct of the War.”

The INC immediately declared the statement as evasive and unsatisfactory. Gandhiji declared “The INC had asked for bread and it had got stone, the INC will have to go to wilderness”. On October 22, 1939 the Working Committee after declaring the Viceroy’s statement unsatisfactory declared that “in the circumstances the Committee cannot possibly give any support to Great Britain for it would amount to an endorsement of the imperialist policy, which the INC has always sought to end”.

The resolution further asked the INC ministries to resign, which they did forthwith. The Governors immediately proclaimed emergency in which the constitution could not work and assumed all the powers of administration in their respective provinces. However the non-Congress Ministries continued. The British bureaucracy was happy to see the INC out of power and Jinnah asked the AIML to celebrate a “Day of Deliverance” and “thanks giving at the fall of the INC Government”.

{The resignation of INC Ministries impaired the War effort of the Government of India and in return the Government demonstrated to the World that the INC, the largest representative political organization of India, was not co-operating the British Government.

Viceroy Linlithgrow tried his best to belittle the character and objectives of the INC and to encourage the AIML.  This naturally drove him to pamper the AIML leader Jinnah and the proximity prompted the AIML to pitch the demand high “that Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state”.

INC tired of the verbosity of the Viceroy put forward its demand for a Constituent Assembly as the only solution of India’s problem both Constitutional and Communal. Jinnah immediately felt foul of the suggestion and assured of the backing of the British Government began a series of attacks describing it as “chimerical”.}

With JinnahIn a letter Jinnah said to the Viceroy on February 23, 1940 that “the Government should not make any commitment with regard to the future constitution of India or any interim settlement with any other party without the approval of the AIML”. The Viceroy’s relation with the AIML annoyed the INC as an index of the old policy of “Divide and Rule”. The Viceroy later promised to determine the future constitution of India on the lines most satisfactory to all parties concerned.

AIML, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. The NWFP Leaders like Pasha Khan and other Khudai Khidmatgar leaders strongly opposed the AIML’s demand for the partition of India. The same year, the defiant patriot, Subhas Bose, escaped house arrest and arrived in Germany in March 1941 in his bid to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

{Savarkar in his presidential address during the 1937 Session of the Hindu Mahasabha held at Ahmedabad put forth this idea of separate nationhood. This was three years before the AIML passed the Pakistan Resolution in Lahore in 1941. He said “India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary, there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Muslims, in India.”}

In Germany Subhas Bose raised a 3,000-strong Free India Legion, to aid in a possible future German land invasion of India. The military unit was comprising Indians captured by Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

On August 8, 1942 at Bombay Session, under the INC President Abul Kalam Azad, launched the ‘Quit India Movement’, a Civil Disobedience Movement in response to Mahatma’s call for immediate independence. Mahatma Gandhi saw it as an opportune moment to weaken the existence of the British Empire and hoped to bring the British government to the negotiating table. Almost the entire leadership of the INC including Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Patel was imprisoned without trial within hours of Mahatma Gandhi’s speech. This touched off violence throughout India. Most of the leaders arrested spent the rest of the war in prison and out of contact with the masses.

Around the same time, in light of Japanese victories in southeast Asia and changing German priorities, a German invasion of India became untenable, and Subhas Bose became keen to move to southeast Asia. With German and Japanese co-ordination Bose traveled in submarines and disembarked in Japanese-held Sumatra in May 1943. With Japanese support, Bose revamped the Indian National Army (INA), then composed of Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army who had been captured by Japanese in the Battle of Singapore. Before long the Provisional Government of Free India, presided by Bose, was formed in the then Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Even though the INC always praised Bose’s patriotism, it distanced itself from his tactics and ideology, especially his collaboration with fascism. And in spite of all the differences in ideologies, both these great men admired and respected each other. In 1942 Mahatma Gandhi called Bose the “Prince among the Patriots” for his great love for the country. Bose too admired Mahatma Gandhi and in a radio broadcast from Rangoon in 1944, he called Mahatma Gandhi “The Father of Our Nation”.

When the British attempted to place the blame on Mahatma for the Quit India Movement violence, he fasted 3 weeks in jail. He contracted malaria in prison and was released on May 6, 1944. Mahatma had spent a total of nearly 6 years in jail.

Subhas Bose’s military effort with the INA was short-lived. In late 1944 and early 1945 the British Indian Army first halted and then devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India. Almost half the Japanese forces and half the participating INA contingent were killed. The INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula, and surrendered with the recapture of Singapore by the British. The AIML, RSS, Hindu Mahasabha, CPI (at that time banned by British) and Princely States openly opposed the call for the Quit India Movement and boycotted it officially.

The Quit India campaign was effectively crushed. The British refused to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war had ended. By early 1944, India was mostly peaceful again, while the INC leadership was still incarcerated. A sense that the movement had failed depressed many nationalists, while Jinnah and AIML, as well as INC opponents like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha sought to gain political mileage, criticizing Gandhi and the INC. However, the British government realized that India was ungovernable in the long run due to the cost of World War II (1939 to 1945), and the question for postwar became how to exit gracefully and peacefully.

{For 10 ten years between 1937 and 1947, Abul Kasem Fazlul Haq, a prominent lawyer and legislator was an elected member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly, where he was Prime Minister and Leader of the House for 6 years. In the year 1940,  before his fallout with the AIML, Haq had moved the (in)famous resolution, dubbed as the ‘Pakistan Resolution’, which committed the AIML to a separate Muslim nation. For this, Haq had been denounced by the INC as a communalist.

But Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, joined the Fazlul Haq ministry in Bengal, in 1941, as its Finance Minister. In Sind and the NWFP, the Hindu Mahasabha ran coalition governments with the AIML. On March 3, 1943, when the Sind legislative assembly discussed and passed a resolution moved by G.M. Syed recommending to the Viceroy that “Muslims of India are a separate nation”, the Hindu Mahasabha leaders were in the government. Although the Mahasabha ministers opposed the resolution and voted against it, they continued to be a part of the government.

On June 10, 1943, a few months after the Sind legislative assembly favoured the creation of Pakistan, Savarkar reiterated the Hindu Mahasabha’s commitment to forming provincial governments including with the Muslim League to further the Hindu cause. For Savarkar, this “practical politics” led to “reasonable compromises” meant to “capture the centers of political power only in the public interest.”

On June 17,1943, Dr Hemandas Wadhwani (a Hindu Mahasabha member), Health Minister in the Sind Government, met Jinnah, AIML Chief, to talk about the situation of communal harmony and to forge an anti-INC alliance. Wadhwani also apprised Savarkar of his talks with Jinnah and tried to arrange a meeting between the two.}

By the time of the 1945-46 provincial elections, the AIML had gained strength while leaders of the INC were imprisoned. In the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. The AIML had gained substantial Muslim support in Bengal, Sind, Bengal and the NWFP, making the Partition of the Indian subcontinent inevitable. It won 430 seats up from 108 in 1936-37, with roughly 21% of the total vote share.

Like its performance in the 1937 provincial election, the Hindu Mahasabha was a total disaster in the 1946 ones, winning only 3 seats across all Indian provinces. The INC and the AIML could not reach a power-sharing formula for the subcontinent to be united as a single state, leading all parties to agree to the independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state of Pakistan.

By helping the AIML while the INC leaders were in jail, the Hindu Mahasabha furthered the argument for Partition. When the INC declared its acceptance of the partition plan without consulting Pasha Khan, leader of NWFP, he felt very sad and told the INC “you have thrown us to the wolves”.


When Mahatma Gandhi emerged from prison on May 6, 1944, he sought to avert creation of a separate Muslim majority state of Pakistan which Jinnah was demanding. A British Cabinet mission to India in March 1946 advised against partition and proposed instead a united India with a federal parliament. In August 1946, Viceroy Wavell authorized Nehru to form a Cabinet for Interim government of India (1946–1947). Mahatma Gandhi suggested that Jinnah be offered the post of Prime Minister or Defense Minister. Jinnah refused and instead declared August 16, 1946 as “Direct Action Day.” On that day and several days following, communal killings left 5,000 dead and 15,000 wounded in Calcutta alone. Violence spread through the country.


Aggrieved, Mahatma Gandhi went to Bengal, saying, “I am not going to leave Bengal until the last embers of trouble are stamped out,” but while he was in Calcutta 4,500 more were killed in Bihar. Gandhi, now 77, warned that he would fast to death unless Biharis reformed. He went to Noakhali, a heavily Muslim city in Bengal, where he said “Do or Die” would be put to the test. Either Hindus and Muslims would learn to live together or he would die in the attempt. The situation there calmed, but rioting continued elsewhere.

In March 1947 the last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, arrived in India charged with taking Britain out of India by June 1948. In spite of being ideologically at odds with both Nehru and Patel, J B Kripalani, one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most ardent disciples was elected INC President and by this time INC had agreed to partition, since the only alternative appeared to be continuation of British rule. Mahatma Gandhi, despairing because his nation was not responding to his plea for peace and brotherhood, refused to participate in the independence celebrations on August 15, 1947.

On September 1, 1947, after an angry Hindu mob broke into the home where he was staying in Calcutta, Mahatma Gandhi began to fast, “to end only if and when sanity returns to Calcutta.” Both Hindu and Muslim leaders promised that there would be no more killings, and Mahatma Gandhi ended his fast.


On January 13, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi began his last fast in Delhi, praying for Indian unity. On January 30, 1948 as he was attending prayers on the grounds of Birla Bhavan in New Delhi, he was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse, a 35-year old Hindu Nationalist and editor of a Hindu Mahasabha extremist weekly in Poona. He held that Mahatma Gandhi responsible for the weakening of India.Last

There are still political parties and people who are not willing to wholeheartedly embrace the Gandhian principles. The Government redtape has either mystified Mahatma Gandhi; downplaying the differences he had with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as well as Netaji Subash Candra Bose; celebrating he being nicknamed as ‘Bapu’ and honoring him as India’s ‘Father of the Nation’. We forget that he was the Father who didn’t participate in the independence day celebration on August 15, 1947 and cheer the “when the whole world sleeps, India awakens” speech.

A Special Court headed by Justice Atma Charan was constituted in May 4, 1948. During the Mahatma Gandhi Murder trial Nathuram Godse and RSS claimed that Nathuram had left RSS. This was one of the reasons Golwalker was let off in the murder case. Justice Charan had found Digambar R. Badge (the arms dealer who supplied fire arms and who had turned approver), to be a truthful witness.

The Judge also found circumstantial evidence against Savarkar to be “impressive” but in the absence of independent corroboration of some of the crucial parts of Badge’s testimony, the Judge found it ”unsafe” to convict Savarkar. Godse and Apte were awarded death penalty. This is based on the school of legal thought which found it worthy to take ”the risk of letting a thousand criminals go unpunished in the process of ensuring that not a single innocent man is penalised”.

However three years after Savarkar death in February 26, 1966 a commission of inquiry ‘Jeevan Lal Kapur Commission, 1969, established Savarkar’s guilt in Gandhi’s murder. It took into account statements made by Appa Ramchandra Kasar, bodyguard of Savarkar, and Gajanan Vishnu Damle, Savarkar’s secretary, to the Bombay Police on March 4, 1948. In the unpardonably rushed Red Fort trial, neither Kasar nor Damle was tried. In the report of the commission, which came out in 1969, both Damle and Kasar said there were extensive interactions between Savarkar and Godse before the assassination. Damle said that “Apte and Godse came to see Savarkar about the middle of January, late at night.” Kasar said that, “On or about 15th or 16th (January), Godse and Apte had an interview with Savarkar at 9.30 pm. After about a week or so, maybe 23rd or 24th of January, Apte and Godse again came to Savarkar and had a talk with him at about 10 or 10.30 am for about half an hour.”

The Commission report said, “All this shows that people who were subsequently involved in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi were all congregating sometime or the other at Savarkar Sadan and sometimes had long interviews with Savarkar. It is significant that… Apte and Godse visited him both before the bomb was thrown and also before the murder was committed and on each occasion they had long interviews.”

After re-examining all the relevant information – old and new- unearthed by Bombay’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Jamshed Nagarvala, the Kapur Commission concluded “All the facts taken together were destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder [Gandhi] by Savarkar and his group”.

In December 1993 Gopal Godse, co-conspiator and brother of Gandhi’s assasin published a book, “Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi”. Soon after in a interview to Frontline on January 28, 1994, Gopal Godse provided details and angrily scotched BJP President Lal Kishan Advani’s attempts to disown them. Gopal said ”All the brothers were in the RSS. Nathuram, Dattatreya, myself and Govind. You can say we grew up in the RSS rather than in our home. It was like a family to us. Nathuram had become a ‘baudhik karyavah‘ (intellectual worker) in the RSS. Nathuram had said in his statement (in Court) that he left the RSS, because Golwalkar and the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. But he did not leave the RSS”.

In 1944 Nathuram, as the RSS baudhik karyavah, had started doing Hindu Mahasabha work. Even during the Murder trail the Hindu Mahasabha did not disown Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, while the Savarkar disowned his ‘lieutenant’ (as Gopal wrote Nathuram was regarded) to wriggle out of the case.

P L Inamdar in his memoirs, The Story of the Red Fort Trial, 1948-49 wrote, Naturam was deeply hurt by Tatyarao’s [Savarkar’s] calculated, demonstrative non-association with him either in Court or in the Red Fort Jail. He also quoted the lawyer who defended both Naturam and Gopal in the Court, “How Naturam yearned for a touch of Tatyarao’s hand, a word of sympathy, or atleast a look of compassion in the secluded confines of the cells. Naturam referred to his hurt feelings in this regard even during my last meeting with him at Simla High Court.”}

You may hate him or revere him, despise him or adore him but the best comment on Mahatma Gandhi came from Albert Einstein “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth”.

The truth for Mahatma Gandhi was not an abstract absolute but a principle which had to be discovered experimentally in each situation.

  1. Nice facts about Bapu. This human race may not have passion to understand Gandhi. May evolution help us to to overcome inconspicuous about our father. Soon they will know how essential his principles are.


    • Ashwin
    • October 12th, 2010


    Read your article liked the way you think. I thought of writing about Gandhi.

    One of my co workers who happens to be the by product of the mall generation called this great soul Ba***** and that too on the day when not only Indians but many parts in the world were celebrating his birth. This was just the begining what surprised me was that many young guys who today enjoy the freedom that is given by him joined him in abusing this great soul.

    So I taken it as a personal vendetta against these youngsters and want to teach them that you cannot abuse a great soul like him.

    I regularly write these article and mail them.

    If you wana join me in doing so you are welcome.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed your review of Gandhiji’s life. I read his autobiography, “The story of my experiments with truth” and found it very honest and moving. Because of him, India is the only country I know of that has the history of achieving freedom through civil disobedience, through “non violence” and “satyagraha”. An amazing achievement that brings hope to all humanity. Gandhiji taught his followers who practiced “non violence” that it wasn’t merely the absense of violent retaliation against the British, but rather, it was the presence of retaliating with active love and forgiveness towards the British. That was true satyagraha, where there was no anger, but only love and forgiveness toward the wrong-doer. This resulted in the British sepoys throwing their lathis away as they could not hit the satyagrahis whose eyes retaliated with love and forgiveness. May we live our daily lives in such a manner as well. Please excuse my very long comment.


    • BeachBumOfBrazil
    • October 9th, 2012

    You seem to have spent a substantial amount of time researching this issue, thanks. A few more images would be nice, but besides that, it’s a great blog. An superb read. I will definitely be back. Ok, back to my vacation!


  3. Amazing blog mate


    • Dann Fonteno
    • October 17th, 2012

    Outstanding post, you have pointed out some good details , I likewise conceive this s a very wonderful website.


  4. Your mode of telling everything in this post is really nice, every one be able to simply understand it, Thanks a lot.


    • Dr. Smita Mishra
    • November 1st, 2012

    A leader who is called the Mahatma throughout the world must have had an aura of greatness attached to his towering personality. You have made that leader, the Mahatma, human. Plenty of useful info here and loved your naration. I am sending it to a few pals and additionally sharing in delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr Subarna Shyamroy
    • November 2nd, 2012

    Many of us who argue about Gandhi, do not know him at all. We have not read about him further than half cooked and simplified biographies in school text books or small, out of context anecdotes from his life. You have made a nice chronology of events without Mystifying the Man. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vivek Agarwal
    • November 5th, 2012

    Can I simply say what a relief to seek out someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the internet. You positively know the best way to bring an issue to mild and make it important. More folks must learn this and perceive this facet of the story. I cant believe you are not more well-liked because you positively have the gift. very nice put up, i actually love this website, carry on it


  5. We heard about Gandhi’s death on that fateful day even though we were thousand miles away over the radio. Even though, we were British, we all, young and old, became sad – very sad indeed.

    Yes, he was indeed a human, yet extraordinary man whose life and thoughts must be studied by every man for guide oneself as a moral compass..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Justice done. Nice reading your article.

    Transformation of a human being to become a Mahatma is no small event. Preachers and philosophers are many but it is a real value practitioner of life who makes the lasting impact. Gandhi never wanted to impress anybody and never cared for recognition.
    Sad and shameful , we are a father abusing lot. Patriotism has given way to terrorism . Parliamentary debates have become …. ????
    Why punish them , they will learn truth. Gandhiji needs no defence; hail his steadfastness and human virtues.

    He was a practitioner first , then only preaching. Trying very hard to internalise it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gaurang Bhatt
    • March 25th, 2020

    Gandhi was a remarkable man with many admirable traits. There were some strange faults too but they were restricted to personal quirks which can be easily disregarded. But to make a statement about his attitude towards untouchables as nothing but praiseworthy, would require totally disregarding the opinions, statements and arguments of Ambedkar, the Madison of the Indian Constitution
    Below is a copy and paste from Ambedkar’s own writings.

    “I must expose the efforts of the Congress and Mr. Gandhi to improve the lot of the Untouchables for the information of the Untouchables and also of the foreigners whom the Congress had deluded into accepting its side by misrepresentation of facts. Besides the difficulties arising out of the fact that the book was already in proof form, this wan a tall order and appeared to be beyond me having regard to other claims on my time. He would not, however, give way and I had therefore to accept his plan. The original work which would have been about 75 pages in print had to be completely recast and enlarged. The book in the present form is a complete transformation. It records the deeds. of the Congress and Mr. Gandhi from 1917 to date in so far as they touch the problem of the Untouchables. Much is written about the Congress, far more about Mr. Gandhi. But no one has so far told the story of what they have done about the Untouchables. Everyone knows that Mr. Gandhi values more his reputation as the saviour of the Untouchables than his reputation as the champion of Swaraj or as the protagonist of Akimsa At the Round Table Conference he claimed to be the sole champion of the Untouchables and was not even prepared to share the honour with anyone else, I remember what a scene he created when his claim was contested. Mr. Gandhi does not merely claim for himself the championship of the Untouchables. He claims similar championship for the Congress. The Congress, he says, is fully pledged to redress the wrongs done to the Untouchables and argues that any attempt to give political safeguards to the Untouchables is unnecessary and harmful. It is therefore a great pity that no detailed study of these claims by Mr. Gandhi and the Congress has been undertaken so far.

    With the Hindus who have been blind devotees of Mr. Gandhi this study, although it is the first of its kind, will not find favour: indeed it is sure to provoke their wrath. How can it be otherwise when the conclusion arrived at is ” Beware of Mr. Gandhi” ? Looking at it from a wider point of view, there is no reason for the Hindus to be enraged about it. The Untouchables are not the only community in India which thinks of Mr. Gandhi in these terms. The same view of Mr. Gandhi is entertained by the Muslims, the Sikhs and the Indian Christians. As a matter of fact, the Hindus should cogitate over the question and ask: why no community trusts Mr. Gandhi although he has been saying that he is the friend of the Muslims, Sikhs and the Scheduled Castes and what is the reason for this distrust ? In my judgment, there cannot be a greater tragedy for a leader to be distrusted by everybody as Mr. Gandhi is today. I am however certain that this is not how the Hindus will react. As usual, they will denounce the book and call me names. But as the proverb says: “The caravan must pass on, though the dogs bark.” In the same way, I must do my duty, no matter what my adversaries may have to say. For as Voltaire observed: Who writes the history of his own time must expect to be attacked for everything he has said, and for everything he has not said : but these little drawbacks should not discourage a man who loves truth and liberty, expects nothing, fears nothing, asks nothing and limits his ambition to the cultivation of letters.”

    The book has become bulky. It may be said that it suffers by reason of over-elaboration and even by repetition. I am aware of this. But I have written the book especially for the Untouchables and for the foreigners. On behalf of neither could I presume knowledge of the relevant facts. For the particular audience I have in view, it is necessary for me to state both facts as well as arguments and pay no regard to the artistic sense or the fastidious taste of a cultivated and informed class of readers.

    As it is my intention to make the book a complete compendium of information regarding the movement of the Untouchables for political safeguards, I have added several appendices other than those of statistical character. They contain relevant documents both official and non-official which have a bearing upon the movement. Those who are interested in the problem of the Untouchables will, I believe, be glad to have this information ready at hand. The general reader may complain that the material in the Appendices is much too much. Here again, I must state that the Untouchables are not likely to get the information which to the general reader may be easily accessible. The test adopted is the need of the Untouchables and not of the general reader.

    One last word. The reader will find that I have used quite promiscuously in the course of this book a variety of nomenclature such as Depressed Classes, Scheduled Castes, Harijans and Servile Classes to designate the Untouchables. I am aware that this is likely to cause confusion especially for those who are not familiar with conditions in India. Nothing could have pleased me better than to have used one uniform nomenclature. The fault is not altogether mine. All these names have been used officially and unofficially at one time or other for the Untouchables. The term under the Government of India Act is ‘Scheduled Castes.’ But that came into use after 1985. Before that they were called ‘Harijans” by Mr. Gandhi and ‘Depressed Classes’ by Government. In a flowing situation like that it is not possible to fix upon one name, which may be correct designation at one stage and incorrect at another. The reader will overcome all difficulties if he will remember that these terms are synonyms and represent the same class.


    • Rena Beuther
    • March 31st, 2020

    Gandhi was only human. The beauty of his life lies in the fact that a mere human could achieve so much. His life speaks for itself. Gandhi’s critics are his life-lines. So is true of all critics.

    Ambedkar had suffered a lot. That suffering was a part of his being. But if we go by his logic, no one can sympathize with the downtrodden simply because in the end it would be proclaimed, ‘You’re not one of us.’ To doubt Gandhi’s sincerity regarding social eqality is futile. The only time Gandhiji raised his voice before Ba was when she had refused to clean her own toilet. Gandhi’s life is his only message.

    The phenomenon of reverse-racism has been deeply studied in the American context; in the Indian context it needs further investigation, analysis and commentary.


  1. September 25th, 2017

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