Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Employing non violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: “high-souled”, “venerable”) was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa and is now used worldwide.

Born and raised in a Hindu family in western India, Gandhi was later trained in law in London. He first employed nonviolent civil disobedience while living as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, during the struggle for civil rights of the resident Indian community. After his return to India in 1915, he started organizing peasants, farmers, and urban laborers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. After becaming the leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi directed nationwide campaigns for several social causes and to obtain Swaraj or self-rule.

After leading Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax and later in calling for the British to quit India, Gandhi was imprisoned for many years, several times, in both South Africa and India. He lived modestly and ate simple vegetarian food, and he also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political protest.

Gandhi’s vision of an independent India was based on the principle of religious pluralism, but that vision was opposed and challenged by Muslim nationalism which wanted a separate Muslim homeland separated from India. 

Gandhi and his wife
Gandhi and his wife

When Britain granted independence, the British Indian Empire was divided between a Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. When displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were making their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out. In the following months, Gandhi started several hunger strikes to stop religious violence. However, some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating and one of them, a Hindu nationalist, killed Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest.

Top 51 Quotes

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“Where there is love there is life.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi spinning
Gandhi spinning

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi photographed in South Africa (1909)
Gandhi photographed in South Africa (1909)

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:

– I shall not fear anyone on Earth. 
– I shall fear only God. 
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. 
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. 
– I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi and his brother
Gandhi and his brother

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Truth never damages a cause that is just.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi with Britain's last Viceroy of India, and his wife
Gandhi with Britain’s last Viceroy of India, and his wife

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Action expresses priorities.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“My Life is My Message” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” ― Mahatma Gandhi The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi's funeral
Gandhi’s funeral

“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi: An autobiography

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever. ” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


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