Thus Spake Gandhi

Select quotations by Mahatma Gandhi


One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole. (YI, 27-1-1927, p. 31)


My scheme of life, if it draws no distinction between different religionists in India, also draws none between different races. For me, "man is a man for a’ that". (YI, 20-2-1920, p. 61)


White Policy

Unseen it [‘South Africa’s white man’s policy’] hold the seeds of a world war. (H, 24-3-1946, p. 52)


Does real superiority [of the whites] require outside props in the shape of legislation and lynch law? (ibid)


Is a civilization worth the name which requires for its existence the very doubtful prop of racial legislation and lynch law? (H, 30-6-1946, p. 204)



One day the black races will rise like the avenging Attila against their white oppressors, unless some one presents to them the weapon of Satyagraha. (H, 19-5-1946, p. 134)


… It will be a dark blot on the history of the white civilization if lynch law is allowed to have its course in South Africa. I hope that the South African Government and the civilized conscience of mankind will not allow that. (ibid, p. 206)


This new caste [system] is worse than the ancient but dying institution of India which has some redeeming features, even while it is dying. But the new civilized edition has none. It shamelessly proclaims that white civilization requires the erection of legal barriers in order to protect itself against Asiatics and Africans. H, 2-6-1946, p. 157)


‘White Man’s Burden’

The real ‘white man’s burden’ is not insolently to dominate coloured or black people under the guise of protection, it is to desist from the hypocrisy which is eating into them. It is time white men learnt to treat every human being as their equal. There is no mystery about whiteness of the skin. It has repeatedly been proved that, given equal opportunity, a man, be he of any colour or country, is fully equal to any other.


…"Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you". Or, do they [the whites] take in vain the name of Him who said this? Have they banished from their hearts the great coloured Asiatic who gave to the world the above message?

Do they forget that the greatest of the teachers of mankind were all Asiatics and did not possess a white face? These, if they descended on earth and went to South Africa, will all have to live in the segregated areas and be classed as Asiatics and coloured people unfit by law to be the equals of whites. (H, 30-6-1946, p. 204)


Removal Of Racialism

Those who agree that racial inequality must be removed and yet do nothing to fight the evil are impotent. I cannot have anything to say to such people. After all, the underdogs will have to earn their own salvation…. The solution is largely in India’s hands. If everything is all right in India internally, she is likely to play an effective part in straightening up affairs…….


If the UNO fails to deal justly with the South African Indian dispute, the UNO will lose its prestige. I have no doubt that the UNO can prosper only if it is just. (H, 26-10-1947, p. 385)