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EPIGRAMS FROM GANDHIJI
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The ideal will cease to be one if it becomes possible to realize it.
The ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses or imperfections.
An ideal sanctified by the sacrifices of such master spirits as Lenin cannot go in vain; the noble example of their renunciation will be emblazoned for ever and quicken and purity the ideal as time passes.
The virtue of an ideal consists in its boundlessness.
Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment we want to multiply his daily wants.
Idleness is the great plague of India.
The idol in the temple is not God. But since God resides in every atom, He resides in an idol.
Idols became what the devotees made of or imputed to them.
I am both an idolator and an iconoclast in what I conceive to be the true senses of the terms.
When image worship degenerates into idolatry and becomes encrusted with false beliefs and doctrines, it becomes a necessity to combat it as a gross social evil.
Idolatry is permissible in Hinduism when it subserves and ideal.
Agehardened ignorance cannot yield to a few months objectlessons.
My greatest worry is the ignorance and poverty of the masses of India and the way in which they have been neglected by the classes, especially the neglect of the Harijans by the Hindus.
Mass illiteracy is Indias sin and shame and must be liquidated.
No country can become a nation by producing a race of imitators.
It is wrong and immoral for a nation to supply intoxicating liquor to those who are addicted to drink.
Not even selfimmolation can be allowed to support a bad or an immoral cause.
I call the Lancashire trade immoral because it was raised and is sustained on the ruin of millions of Indias peasants.
Science has not so far discovered any recipe for making the body immortal.
Impatience will blur the revolutionarys vision and lead him astray.
If we must be impatient, we must be impatient with ourselves, not with the wrongdoer.
The greatest menace to the world today is the growing, exploiting irresponsible imperialism.
Violent nationalism, otherwise known as imperialism, is a curse.
Between the two, the nationalist and the imperialist, there is no meeting ground.
Imperialism is a negation of God. It does ungodly acts in the name of God.
No empire intoxicated with the red wine of power and plunder of weaker races has yet lived long in this world.
The untouchability of Hinduism is probably worse than that of the modern imperialists.
Legal imposition avoids the necessity of honour or good faith.
We are daily witnessing the phenomenon of the impossible of yesterday becoming the possible of today.
What passes for facts is only the impressions or estimates of things, and estimates vary.
I want for India complete independence in the full English sense of that English term.
Independence means voluntary
restraints and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law.
Independence of my conception means nothing less than the realisation of the "Kingdom of God" within you and on this earth.
Complete independence does not mean arrogant isolation or a superior disdain for all help.
When the real independence comes to India, the Congress and the League will be nowhere unless they represent the real opinion of the country.
The fire of independence is burning just as bright in my breast in the most fiery breast in this country, but ways and methods differ.
Personally I crave not for independence, which I do not understand, but I long for freedom from the English yoke.
We cannot have real independence unless the people banish the touch-me-not spirit from their hearts.
We must learn to be selfreliant and independent of schools, courts, protection and patronage of a Government we seek to end, if it will not mend.
If it is mans privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be interdependent.
Only an arrogant man will claim to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent.
Civil disobedience can never be in general terms, such as for independence.
Swaraj means, even under dominion status, a capacity to declare independence at will.
Mass civil disobedience was for the attainment of independence.
India must learn to live before she can aspire to die for humanity.
India is essentially a karmabhumi (land of duty) in contradistinction to bhogabhumi (land of enjoyment).
India has the right, if she only knew, of becoming the predominant partner by reason of her numbers, geographical position and culture inherited for ages.
India has an unbroken tradition of nonviolence from time immemorial.
India must protect her primary industries even as a mother protects her children against the whole world without being hostile to it.
India as a nation can live and die only for the spinning wheel.
India will not be a helpless partner in her own exploitation and foreign domination.
India unarmed would not require to be destroyed through poison gas or bombardment.
India is one vast prison with high walls of suppression clothing her mind and her body.
India is less manly under the British rule than she ever was before.
If there ever is to be a republic of every village in India, then I claim verity for my picture in which the last is equal to the first or, in other words, no one is to be the first and none the last.
An India awakened and free has a message of peace and goodwill to a groaning world.
An India prostrate at the feet of Europe can give no hope to humanity.
An India free from exploitation from within and without must prosper with astonishing rapidity.
For India free from exploitation from within and without must prosper with astonishing rapidity.
For India to enter into the race for armaments is to court suicide.
If India is not to declare spiritual bankruptcy, religious instruction of its youth must be held to be at least as necessary as secular instruction.
If India takes up the doctrine of sword, she may gain momentary victory. Then India will cease to be the pride of my heart.
On India rests the burden of pointing the way to all the exploited races of the earth.
Indias freedom must revolutionize the worlds outlook upon Peace and War.
Indias freedom will not be won by violence but only by the purest suffering without retaliation.
In India there is a common saying that the way to Swaraj is through Mandalay.*
* Mandalay in Burma where Indian leaders goaled by British authorities were kept in the old palace serving as goal. Lokmanya B. G. Tilak was imprisoned at Mandalay during 1908 14.
Indias acceptance of the doctrine of the sword will be the hour of my trial.
Indias coming to her own will mean every nation doing likewise.
Indias way is not Europes. India is not Calcutta and Bombay. India lives in her seven hundred thousand villages.
Whatever else India may not be, she is at least one thing, She is the greatest storehouse of spiritual knowledge.
For a fallen India to aspire to move the world and protect the weaker races is seemingly an impertinence.
Let India become alive by self-purification, that is self-restraint and self-denial, and she will be a boon to herself and mankind.
In a self-respecting India, is not every womans virtue as much every mans concern as his own sisters?
In the true democracy of India, the unit is the village.
I do not want India to rise on the ruin of other nations.
I must not refrain from saying that India can gain more by waiving the right of punishment.
I would rather have India without education, if that is the price to be paid for making it dry.
I would far rather that India perished than that she won freedom at the sacrifice of truth.
I would like to bury myself in an Indian village, preferably in a Frontier village.
I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.
I would not flinch from sacrificing even a million lives for Indias liberty.
Through realization of freedom of India, I hope to realize and carry on the mission of brotherhood of man.
I want India to come to her own and that state cannot be better defined by any single word than Swaraj.
Freedom of India will demonstrate to all the exploited races of he earth that their freedom is very near.
To gain Indias freedom, the capacity for suffering must go hand in hand with the capacity for ceaseless labour.
I want for India complete independence in the full English sense of that English term.
I would not sell the vital interests of the untouchables for the sake of winning the freedom of India.
I can neither serve God nor humanity if asan Indian I do not serve India, and as a Hindu I do not serve the Indian Mussalmans.
I would bend the knee before the poorest scavenger, the poorest untouchable in India for having participated in crushing him for centuries; I would even take the dust off his feet.
My varnashram dharma teaches me that there must be some significance in the fact of my being born in India instead of in Europe.
I am not just now thinking of Indias deliverance. It will come, but what will it be worth if England and France fall, or if they come out victorious over Germany, ruined and humbled?
I am wedded to India because I owe my all to her.
Even if the whole of India, ranged on one side, were to declare that Hindu-Muslim unity is impossible, I will declare that it is perfectly possible.
I hold too that whatever may be true of other countries, a bloody revolution will not succeed in India.
I believe in the capacity of India to offer nonviolent battle to the English rulers.
I call the Lancashire trade immoral, because it was raised and is sustained on the run of millions of Indias peasants.
I must fight unto death the unholy attempt to impose British methods and British institutions on India.
There is nothing on earth that I would not give up for the sake of the country, excepting, of course, two things and two only, namely, truth and nonviolence.
If as a member of a slave nation I could deliver the suppressed classes from their slavery without freeing myself from my own, I would do so today. But it is an impossible task.
My nationalism is as broad as my swadeshi, I want Indias rise so that the whole world may benefit.
It is my unshakable belief that Indias destiny is to deliver the message of nonviolence to mankind.
My swadeshi chiefly centers round the handspun khaddar and extends to everything that can be and is produced in India.
My mission is to convert every Indian, even Englishmen and finally the world, to nonviolence for regulating mutual relations, whether political, economic, social or religious.
In my dream, in my sleep, while eating, I think of the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is my sword. To me it is the symbol of Indias liberty.
I have called spinning the yajna of this age of India.
Disorder and violence were in fact the one thing that might check the pace of Indias progress.
All I want to say, with the utmost emphasis at my command, is that the description of India as a military country is wrong.
Through the deliverance of India I seek to deliver the so called, weaker races of the earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation.
I must declare my faith that it is better for India do discard violence altogether even for defending her borders.
Indian nationalism is not exclusive, nor aggressive, nor destructive.
Urbanization in India is slow but sure death for her villages and villagers.
The Indian struggle is not anti-British, it is anti-exploitation, anti-foreign rule, not anti-foreigners.
A free India will throw all her weight in favour of world disarmament and should herself be prepared to give a lead in this.
The freedom of India is a bigger thing than the disease, which for the time being is corroding some portions of Indian community.
With the loss of India to nonviolence, the last hope of the world will be gone.
God forbid that India should ever become a military nation, which would be a menace to the peace of the world, and yet if things went on as they were doing, what hope was there for India and, therefore, for the world?
In the case of the Indian villager, an age-old culture is hidden under entrustment of crudeness.
Before we can aspire to guide the destinies of India, we shall have to adopt the habit of fearlessness.
The cottage industry of India had to perish in order that Lancashire might flourish.
It would be a sad day for India if it has to inherit the English scale and the English tastes so utterly unsuitable to the Indian environment.
Drink is not a fashion in India, as it is in the West.
The British Government in India constitutes a struggle between the modern civilization, which is the Kingdom of Satan, and the ancient civilization, which the Kingdom of God.
The unparalleled extravagance of English rule has demented the rajas and the maharajas who, unmindful of consequences, ape it and grind their subjects to dust.
It would be a blunder of first magnitude for the British to be a party in any way whatsoever to the division of India.
It was not through the democratic methods that Britain bagged India.
The Britisher is the top-dog and the Indian, the underdog in his own country.
The British power is the overlord without whom Indian princes cannot breathe.
The builders of the British Indian Empire have patiently built its four pillars-the European interests, the army, the Indian princes and the communal division.
It is derogatory to the dignity of mankind, it is derogatory to the dignity of India, to entertain for one single moment hatred towards Englishmen.
The collector of revenue and the policemen are the only symbols by which millions in Indias villages know British rule.
Christianity in India is inextricably mixed up for the last hundred and fifty years with the British rule.
Half-a-dozen or twenty cities of India alone working together cannot bring Swaraj.
Nonviolent non-co-operators can only succeed when they have succeeded in attaining control over the hooligans of India.
The charkha in the hands of a poor window brings paltry price to her; in the hands of Jawaharlal, it is an instrument of Indias freedom.
The charkha is intended to realize the essential and living oneness of interest among Indias myriads.
The socialism that India can assimilate is the socialism of the spinning wheel.
The Khaddar of my conception is that handspun cloth which entirely takes the place of mill cloth in India.
Khaddar has the greatest organizing power in it because it has itself to be organized and because it affects all India.
The spinning wheel is as much a necessity of Indian life as air and water.
Khadi to me is the symbol of unity of Indian humanity, of its economic freedom and equality and, therefore, ultimately, in the poetic expression of Jawaharlal Nehru, the livery of Indias freedom.
Hunger is the argument that is driving India to the spinning wheel.
The restoration of spinning to its central place in Indias peaceful campaign for deliverance from the imperial yoke gives her women a special status.
The spinning wheel and the spinning wheel alone will solve, if anything will solve, the problem of the deepening poverty of India.
There is no better way of industrializing the villages of India than the spinning wheel.
The most distinctive and the largest contribution of Hinduism to Indias culture is the doctrine of ahimsa.
The fragrance of nonviolence was never sweeter than it was today amidst the stink of violence of the most cowardly type that was being displayed in the cities of India.
Jail-going is only the beginning, not the end of satyagraha. The acme of satyagraha for us would be to lay down our lives for the defence of Indias just cause.
The mentality which made one section of the Indians look upon another as enemies was suicidal; it could only serve to perpetuate their slavery.
Our non-co-operation is with the system the English have established in India, with the material civilization and its attendant greed and exploitation of the weak.
Nothing depends upon the death of an individual, be he ever so great, but much depends upon the freedom of India.
The whole of India was the home of every Indian who considered himself and behaved as such, no matter to what faith he belonged.
Many persons claiming different faiths make us one and an indivisible nation. All these have an equal claim to be the nationals of India.
The states can make the finest contribution to the building of Indias future independence if they set the right example in their own territories.
It is the absolute right of India to misgovern herself.
The ideal is a synthesis of the different cultures that have come to stay in India, that have influenced Indian life, and that, in their turn, have themselves been influenced by the spirit of the soil.
Unity among the different races and the different religions of India is indispensable to the birth of national life.
Swaraj means ability to regard every inhabitant of India as our own brother or sister.
Let us remember that we are all Indians eating Indian grain and salt, and living on then dumb Indian masses.
The West has yet to discover anything so hygienic as the Indian toothstick.
Idleness is the great plague of India.
Mass illiteracy is Indias sin and shame and must be liquidated.
There is every reason for being cautious about founding new universities till India has digested the newly acquired freedom.
Basic education links the children, whether of the cities or villages, to all that is best and lasting in India.
Of all the superstitions that affect India, none is so great as that a knowledge of the English language is necessary for imbibing ideas of liberty and developing accuracy of thought.
If there was any teacher in the world who insisted upon the inexorable law of cause and effect, it was Gautam, and yet my friends, the Buddhists outside India, would, if they could, avoid the effects of their own acts.
In this, of all the countries in the world, possession of inordinate wealth by individuals should be held as a crime against Indian humanity.
We must break through the provincial crust if we are to reach the core of all-India nationalism.
The commerce between India and Africa will be of ideas and services, not of the manufactured goods against raw materials after the fashion of the Western exploiters.
If untouchability lives, Hinduism perishes and even India perishes, but if untouchability is eradicated from the Hindu heart root and branch, then Hinduism has a definite message for the world.
We Indians are one as no two Englishmen are.
The way to Indian independence lay not through the sword but through mutual friendship and adjustment.
Indiscipline will surely mean disaster, and make one like me, who is pining to see Swaraj in his lifetime, perish in sorrow and grief.
Unrestricted individualism is the law of the beast of the jungle.
The world inequality has a bad odour about it, and it has led to arrogance and inhumanities both in the East and West.
Diversity there certainly is in the world, but it means neither inequality nor untouchability.
Those sons of millionaires, who are of age and yet inherit their parents wealth, are losers for the very inheritance.
To call women the weaker sex is a libel; it is mans injustice to women.
Agitation against every form of injustice is the breath of political life.
Penances with me are no mechanical acts. They are done in obedience to the inner voice.
The willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful retort to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God or man.
For infallible guidance man has to have a perfectly innocent heart incapable of evil.
Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society. Only a Robinson Crusoe can afford to be all self-sufficient.
Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact.
All criticism is not intolerance. I have criticized the revolutionary because I have felt for him. He has the same right to hold me to be in error as I believe him to be in error.
Intolerance of criticism even of what one may prize as dear as life itself is not conducive to the growth of public corporate life.
If gold were as easily available as iron, it would not for all its glitter have the same value that it has today.
Islam stands for the unity and brotherhood of mankind, and not for disrupting the oneness of the human family.
Islam was born in an environment where the sword as and still remains the supreme law.
Islam was nothing if it did not spell complete democracy.
Its unadulterated belief in the oneness of God and a practical application of the truth of the brotherhood of man for those who are nominally within its fold are two distinctive contributions of Islam.
The history of Islam, if it betrays aberrations from the moral height, has many a brilliant page.
The very word Islam means peace, which is nonviolence.
Surely Islam has nothing to fear from criticism even if it be unreasonable.
Though philosophical Hinduism has no other god but God, it cannot be denied that practical Hinduism is not so emphatically uncompromising as Islam.
A perfect Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands mankind is safe.
God is not Kaaba or in Kashi. He is within every one of us.
I do regard Islam to be a religion of peace in the same sense as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are.
I must rebel against the idea that millions of Indians who were Hindus the other day changed their nationality on adopting Islam as their religion.
I would like to say that that even the teachings themselves of the Koran cannot be exempted from criticism.
My mother would tell me that the shortest cut to purification after the unholy touch (of an untouchable) was to cancel the touch by touching any Mussalman passing by.
My whole soul revels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines.
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