Thus Spake Gandhi

Select quotations by Mahatma Gandhi

Linguistic Provinces

I was principally instrumental in securing from the Congress the recognition of the redistribution of the provinces for Congress purposes, on a linguistic basis. I have always agitated for the acceptance by the government of such redistribution. (H, 29-3-1942, p. 97)


I believe that the linguistic basis is the correct basis for demarcating provinces. I should not mind two provinces speaking the same language, if they are not contiguous. If Kerala and Karnataka were speaking the same language, I would treat them as two distinct provinces. (H, 19-4-1942, p.118)


Provincial Universities

I do believe that there should be such universities if…. Rich provincial languages and the people who speak them are to attain their full height. At the same time I fear that we betray ourselves into undue haste in accomplishing the object. The first step should be linguistic political redistribution of provinces. 

(H, 2-11-1947, p. 392)


The exclusive spirit is eve uppermost. Everyone thinks of himself and his family. No one thinks of the whole of India. The centripetal force is undoubtedly there, but it is not vocal, never boisterous; whereas the centrifugal is on the surface, and in its very nature makes the loudest noise, demanding the attention of all. It manifests itself in matters communal. This has given rise to fear in other fields…


Even zealous reformers would postpone controversial issues to a more hopeful time when, in the interest of the country, the virtue of 'give and take' would be freely recognized and all sectional interests would be subordinate to the one interest of the good of India, which will include the good of all.


Therefore, those who, like me, want constructive suggestions to come into play at this very moment, have to work to bring about a healthy atmosphere, promoting concord in the place of discord, peace in the place of strife, progress in the place of retrogression and life in the place of death. (H, 30-11-1947, p. 436)


No Exclusive Provincialism

I hold that the people of all the provinces belong to India and India belong to all. The only condition is that no one can go and settle in another province to exploit it or rule it or to injure its interest in any way. All are servants of India and they live only in the spirit of service. (H, 7-9-1947, p. 311)


The bane of our life is our exclusive provincialism, whereas my province must be co-extensive with the Indian boundary so that ultimately it extends to the boundary of the earth. Else it perishes. 

(H, 21-9-1947, p.333)


Unity Of India

The congress has already adopted that principle [of reconstitution of provinces on a linguistic basis] and has declared its intention to give effect to it constitutionally as soon as they came to power; as such, redistribution will be conducive to the cultural advancement of the country. But such redistribution should not militate against the organic unity of India. Autonomy does not and should not mean disruption, or that hereafter provinces could go the way they chose, independent of one another and of the Centre. If each province begins to look upon it-self as a separate, sovereign unit, India's independence will lose its meaning and with it will vanish the freedom of the various units as well..... The world outside does not know us as Gujaratis, Maharashtri[an]s. Tamilians etc., but only as Indians. We must, therefore, resolutely discourage all fissiparous tendencies and feel and behave as Indians. Subject to this paramount consideration, a linguistic redistribution of provinces should give an impetus to education and trade. (H, 1-2-1948,p.14)