This Day in History: 09/16/1932 - Gandhi Begins Fast

This Day in History: 09/16/1932 - Gandhi Begins Fast

In this This Day in History video, Mohatma Ghandi commonly called Ghandi's fight against the Indian caste system is covered. The lower caste was called the Untouchables. His hunger strike threatened the British. The date is 9/16.

12 January in Indian history – What is today in history India 12 January

January 12 famous birthdays in India – Famous people that have birthdays on this day in history 12 January

1941-Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, Indian politician and former Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.

1958-Arun Govil, Indian actor and producer.

1972-Priyanka Gandhi, Indian politician and the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee.

1973-Sakshi Tanwar is an Indian actress and television presenter.

1991-Harika Dronavalli is an Indian chess grandmaster.

1598-Jijau was the mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, founder of the Maratha Empire.

1863-Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk.

1895-Yellapragada Subbarow was a pioneering Indian biochemist.

1918-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was an Indian guru, known for developing the Transcendental Meditation technique.

1936-Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was a politician from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

1993-Mithila Palkar is an Indian actress known for her characters in the TV series Girl in the City and Netflix’s Little Things.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ( / ˈ ɡ ɑː n d i , ˈ ɡ æ n d i / [2] 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, [3] anti-colonial nationalist, [4] and political ethicist [5] who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British rule [6] and in turn inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: "great-souled", "venerable"), first applied to him in 1914 in South Africa, is now used throughout the world. [7] [8]

Born and raised in a Hindu family in coastal Gujarat, western India, Gandhi trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, and was called to the bar at age 22 in June 1891. After two uncertain years in India, where he was unable to start a successful law practice, he moved to South Africa in 1893 to represent an Indian merchant in a lawsuit. He went on to live in South Africa for 21 years. It was in South Africa that Gandhi raised a family and first employed nonviolent resistance in a campaign for civil rights. In 1915, aged 45, he returned to India. He set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and above all for achieving swaraj or self-rule. [9]

Also in 1921, Gandhi adopted the use of an Indian loincloth (short dhoti) and a shawl (in the winter) woven with yarn hand-spun on a traditional Indian spinning wheel (charkha) as a sign of identification with India's rural poor. He also began to live modestly in a self-sufficient residential community, ate simple vegetarian food, and undertook long fasts as a means of self-purification and political protest. Bringing anti-colonial nationalism to the common Indians, Gandhi led them in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930 and in calling for the British to quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned many times and for many years in both South Africa and India.

Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which demanded a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. [10] In August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire [10] was partitioned into two dominions, the Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan. [11] As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several hunger strikes to stop religious violence. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78, [12] also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan. [12] Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. [12] [13] Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest. [13]

Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence. Gandhi is commonly, though not formally, considered the Father of the Nation in India [14] [15] and was commonly called Bapu [16] (Gujarati: endearment for father, [17] papa [17] [18] ).

See Also

Brandon, S. G. F., ed. A Dictionary of Comparative Religion. London, 1970.

MacCulloch, J. A., and A. J. Maclean. "Fasting." In Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, vol. 5. Edinburgh, 1912.

MacDermot, Violet. The Cult of the Seer in the Ancient Middle East. London, 1971.

Rogers, Eric N. Fasting: The Phenomenon of Self-Denial. Nashville, 1976.

Ryan, Thomas. Fasting Rediscovered: A Guide to Health and Wholeness for Your Body-Spirit. New York, 1981.

Underhill, Ruth M. Red Man's America: A History of Indians in the United States. Rev. ed. Chicago, 1971.

Wakefield, Gordon S., ed. The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. London, 1983.

New Sources

Berghuis, Kent D. "A Biblical Perspective on Fasting." Bibliotheca Sacra 629 (2001): 86 – 103.

Diamond, Eliezer. Holy Men and Hunger Artists: Fasting and Asceticism in Rabbinic Culture. Oxford and New York, 2004.

Kaushik, Jai Narain. Fasts of the Hindus around the Week: Background Stories, Ways of Performance and Their Importance. Delhi, 1992.

Lambert, David. "Fasting as a Penitential Rite: A Biblical Phenomenon?" Harvard Theological Review 96 (2003): 477 – 512.

Shaw, Teresa Marie. The Burden of the Flesh: Fasting and Sexuality in Early Christianity. Minneapolis, 1998.

Siebenbrunner, Barbara. Die Problematik der kirchlichen Fasten- und Abstinenzgesetzgebung: eine Untersuchung zu dem im Zuge des zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils erfolgten Wandel. Frankfurt am Main and New York, 2001.

St ö kl, Daniel Johannes. "Whose Fast Is It? The Ember Day of September and Yom Kippur." In The Ways That Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, edited by Adam H. Becker and Annette Yoshiko Reed, pp. 259 – 282. T ü bingen, 2003.


The terms originated in a competition in the news-sheet Indian Opinion in South Africa in 1906. [2] Mr. Maganlal Gandhi, grandson of an uncle of Mahatma Gandhi, came up with the word "Sadagraha" and won the prize. Subsequently, to make it clearer, Gandhi changed it to Satyagraha. "Satyagraha" is a tatpuruṣa compound of the Sanskrit words satya (meaning "truth") and āgraha ("polite insistence", or "holding firmly to"). Satya is derived from the word "sat", which means "being". Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. In the context of satyagraha, Truth therefore includes a) Truth in speech, as opposed to falsehood, b) what is real, as opposed to nonexistent (asat) and c) good as opposed to evil, or bad. This was critical to Gandhi's understanding of and faith in nonviolence: "The world rests upon the bedrock of satya or truth. Asatya, meaning untruth, also means nonexistent, and satya or truth also means that which is. If untruth does not so much as exist, its victory is out of the question. And truth being that which is, can never be destroyed. This is the doctrine of satyagraha in a nutshell." [5] For Gandhi, satyagraha went far beyond mere "passive resistance" and became strength in practising non-violent methods. [6] In his words:

Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself or some other equivalent English phrase. [7]

In September 1935, a letter to P. K. Rao, Servants of India Society, Gandhi disputed the proposition that his idea of civil disobedience was adapted from the writings of Henry David Thoreau, especially the essay Civil Disobedience published in 1849.

The statement that I had derived my idea of civil disobedience from the writings of Thoreau is wrong. The resistance to authority in South Africa was well advanced before I got the essay of Thoreau on civil disobedience. But the movement was then known as passive resistance. As it was incomplete, I had coined the word satyagraha for the Gujarati readers. When I saw the title of Thoreau’s great essay, I began the use of his phrase to explain our struggle to the English readers. But I found that even civil disobedience failed to convey the full meaning of the struggle. I therefore adopted the phrase civil resistance. Non-violence was always an integral part of our struggle." [8]

Gandhi described it as follows:

Its root meaning is holding on to truth, hence truth-force. I have also called it love-force or soul-force. In the application of satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and compassion. For what appears to be truth to the one may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself. [9]

Gandhi distinguished between satyagraha and passive resistance in the following letter:

I have drawn the distinction between passive resistance as understood and practised in the West and satyagraha before I had evolved the doctrine of the latter to its full logical and spiritual extent. I often used “passive resistance” and “satyagraha” as synonymous terms: but as the doctrine of satyagraha developed, the expression “passive resistance” ceases even to be synonymous, as passive resistance has admitted of violence as in the case of the suffragettes and has been universally acknowledged to be a weapon of the weak. Moreover, passive resistance does not necessarily involve complete adherence to truth under every circumstance. Therefore it is different from satyagraha in three essentials: Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever and it ever insists upon truth. [10]

There is a connection between ahimsa and satyagraha. Satyagraha is sometimes used to refer to the whole principle of nonviolence, where it is essentially the same as ahimsa, and sometimes used in a "marked" meaning to refer specifically to direct action that is largely obstructive, for example in the form of civil disobedience.

It is perhaps clear from the foregoing, that without ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find Truth. Ahimsa and Truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them. They are like the two sides of a coin, or rather of a smooth unstamped metallic disk. Nevertheless, ahimsa is the means Truth is the end. Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so ahimsa is our supreme duty. [11]

Defining success Edit

Assessing the extent to which Gandhi's ideas of satyagraha were or were not successful in the Indian independence struggle is a complex task. Judith Brown has suggested that "this is a political strategy and technique which, for its outcomes, depends of historical specificities." [12] The view taken by Gandhi differs from the idea that the goal in any conflict is necessarily to defeat the opponent or frustrate the opponent's objectives, or to meet one's own objectives despite the efforts of the opponent to obstruct these. In satyagraha, by contrast, "The Satyagrahi's object is to convert, not to coerce, the wrong-doer." [13] The opponent must be converted, at least as far as to stop obstructing the just end, for this cooperation to take place. There are cases, to be sure, when an opponent, e.g. a dictator, has to be unseated and one cannot wait to convert him. The satyagrahi would count this a partial success.

Means and ends Edit

The theory of satyagraha sees means and ends as inseparable. The means used to obtain an end are wrapped up in and attached to that end. Therefore, it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. As Gandhi wrote: "They say, 'means are, after all, means'. I would say, 'means are, after all, everything'. As the means so the end. [14] Separating means and ends would ultimately amount to introducing a form of duality and an inconsistency at the core of Gandhi's non-dual (Advaitic) conception. [15]

Gandhi used an example to explain this: "If I want to deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to fight for it if I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay for it and if I want a gift, I shall have to plead for it and, according to the means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation." [16] Gandhi rejected the idea that injustice should, or even could, be fought against "by any means necessary"—if you use violent, coercive, unjust means, whatever ends you produce will necessarily embed that injustice. [17] However, in the same book Gandhi admits that even though his book argues that machinery is bad, it was produced by machinery, which he says can do nothing good. Thus, he says, "sometimes poison is used to kill poison" and for that reason as long as machinery is viewed as bad it can be used to undo itself.

Satyagraha versus duragraha Edit

The essence of satyagraha is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves, as opposed to violent resistance, which is meant to cause harm to the antagonist. A satyagrahi therefore does not seek to end or destroy the relationship with the antagonist, but instead seeks to transform or "purify" it to a higher level. A euphemism sometimes used for satyagraha is that it is a "silent force" or a "soul force" (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous "I Have a Dream" speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power. Satyagraha is also termed a "universal force," as it essentially "makes no distinction between kinsmen and strangers, young and old, man and woman, friend and foe." [18]

Gandhi contrasted satyagraha (holding on to truth) with "duragraha" (holding on by force), as in protest meant more to harass than enlighten opponents. He wrote: "There must be no impatience, no barbarity, no insolence, no undue pressure. If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause." [19]

Civil disobedience and non-cooperation as practised under satyagraha are based on the "law of suffering", [20] a doctrine that the endurance of suffering is a means to an end. This end usually implies a moral uplift or progress of an individual or society. Therefore, the non-cooperation of satyagraha is in fact a means to secure the cooperation of the opponent that is consistent with truth and justice.

When using satyagraha in a large-scale political conflict involving civil disobedience, Gandhi believed that the satyagrahis must undergo training to ensure discipline. He wrote that it is "only when people have proved their active loyalty by obeying the many laws of the State that they acquire the right of Civil Disobedience." [21]

He therefore made part of the discipline that satyagrahis:

  1. Appreciate the other laws of the State and obey them voluntarily
  2. Tolerate these laws, even when they are inconvenient
  3. Be willing to undergo suffering, loss of property, and to endure the suffering that might be inflicted on family and friends [21]

This obedience has to be not merely grudging, but extraordinary:

. an honest, respectable man will not suddenly take to stealing whether there is a law against stealing or not, but this very man will not feel any remorse for failure to observe the rule about carrying headlights on bicycles after dark. But he would observe any obligatory rule of this kind, if only to escape the inconvenience of facing a prosecution for a breach of the rule. Such compliance is not, however, the willing and spontaneous obedience that is required of a Satyagrahi. [22]

Gandhi envisioned satyagraha as not only a tactic to be used in acute political struggle, but as a universal solvent for injustice and harm.

He founded the Sabarmati Ashram to teach satyagraha. He asked satyagrahis to follow the following principles (Yamas described in Yoga Sutra): [23]

  1. Nonviolence (ahimsa)
  2. Truth – this includes honesty, but goes beyond it to mean living fully in accord with and in devotion to that which is true
  3. Not stealing (not the same as poverty)
  4. Body-labour or bread-labour
  5. Control of desires (gluttony)
  6. Fearlessness
  7. Equal respect for all religions
  8. Economic strategy such as boycott of imported goods (swadeshi)

On another occasion, he listed these rules as "essential for every Satyagrahi in India":

  1. Must have a living faith in God
  2. Must be leading a chaste life, and be willing to die or lose all his possessions
  3. Must be a habitual khadi weaver and spinner
  4. Must abstain from alcohol and other intoxicants

Gandhi proposed a series of rules for satyagrahis to follow in a resistance campaign: [18]

  1. Harbour no anger.
  2. Suffer the anger of the opponent.
  3. Never retaliate to assaults or punishment but do not submit, out of fear of punishment or assault, to an order given in anger.
  4. Voluntarily submit to arrest or confiscation of your own property.
  5. If you are a trustee of property, defend that property (non-violently) from confiscation with your life.
  6. Do not curse or swear.
  7. Do not insult the opponent.
  8. Neither salute nor insult the flag of your opponent or your opponent's leaders.
  9. If anyone attempts to insult or assault your opponent, defend your opponent (non-violently) with your life.
  10. As a prisoner, behave courteously and obey prison regulations (except any that are contrary to self-respect).
  11. As a prisoner, do not ask for special favourable treatment.
  12. As a prisoner, do not fast in an attempt to gain conveniences whose deprivation does not involve any injury to your self-respect.
  13. Joyfully obey the orders of the leaders of the civil disobedience action.

Satyagraha theory also influenced many other movements of nonviolence and civil resistance. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his autobiography about Gandhi's influence on his developing ideas regarding the Civil Rights Movement in the United States:

Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by his Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of Satyagraha (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force Satyagraha, therefore, means truth force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi, my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. . It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking. [24]

In view of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany, Gandhi offered satyagraha as a method of combating oppression and genocide, stating:

If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest Gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy [. ] the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror. [25]

When Gandhi was criticized for these statements, he responded in another article entitled "Some Questions Answered":

Friends have sent me two newspaper cuttings criticizing my appeal to the Jews. The two critics suggest that in presenting non-violence to the Jews as a remedy against the wrong done to them, I have suggested nothing new. What I have pleaded for is renunciation of violence of the heart and consequent active exercise of the force generated by the great renunciation.” [26]

In a similar vein, anticipating a possible attack on India by Japan during World War II, Gandhi recommended satyagraha as a means of national defense (what is now sometimes called "Civilian Based Defense" (CBD) or "social defence"):

. there should be unadulterated non-violent non-cooperation, and if the whole of India responded and unanimously offered it, I should show that, without shedding a single drop of blood, Japanese arms—or any combination of arms—can be sterilized. That involves the determination of India not to give quarter on any point whatsoever and to be ready to risk loss of several million lives. But I would consider that cost very cheap and victory won at that cost glorious. That India may not be ready to pay that price may be true. I hope it is not true, but some such price must be paid by any country that wants to retain its independence. After all, the sacrifice made by the Russians and the Chinese is enormous, and they are ready to risk all. The same could be said of the other countries also, whether aggressors or defenders. The cost is enormous. Therefore, in the non-violent technique I am asking India to risk no more than other countries are risking and which India would have to risk even if she offered armed resistance. [27]


At midnight on 31 December 1929, the Indian National Congress raised the tricolour flag of India on the banks of the Ravi at Lahore. The Indian National Congress, led by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, publicly issued the Declaration of sovereignty and self-rule, or Purna Swaraj, on 26 January 1930. [11] (Literally in Sanskrit, purna, "complete," swa, "self," raj, "rule," so therefore "complete self-rule".) The declaration included the readiness to withhold taxes, and the statement:

We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraji or complete sovereignty and self-rule. [12]

The Congress Working Committee gave Gandhi the responsibility for organising the first act of civil disobedience, with Congress itself ready to take charge after Gandhi's expected arrest. [13] Gandhi's plan was to begin civil disobedience with a satyagraha aimed at the British salt tax. The 1882 Salt Act gave the British a monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt, limiting its handling to government salt depots and levying a salt tax. [14] Violation of the Salt Act was a criminal offence. Even though salt was freely available to those living on the coast (by evaporation of sea water), Indians were forced to buy it from the colonial government.

Initially, Gandhi's choice of the salt tax was met with incredulity by the Working Committee of the Congress, [15] Jawaharlal Nehru and Dibyalochan Sahoo were ambivalent Sardar Patel suggested a land revenue boycott instead. [16] [17] The Statesman, a prominent newspaper, wrote about the choice: "It is difficult not to laugh, and we imagine that will be the mood of most thinking Indians." [17]

The British establishment too was not disturbed by these plans of resistance against the salt tax. The Viceroy himself, Lord Irwin, did not take the threat of a salt protest seriously, writing to London, "At present the prospect of a salt campaign does not keep me awake at night." [18]

However, Gandhi had sound reasons for his decision. An item of daily use could resonate more with all classes of citizens than an abstract demand for greater political rights. [19] The salt tax represented 8.2% of the British Raj tax revenue, and hurt the poorest Indians the most significantly. [20] Explaining his choice, Gandhi said, "Next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life." In contrast to the other leaders, the prominent Congress statesman and future Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari, understood Gandhi's viewpoint. In a public meeting at Tuticorin, he said:

Suppose, a people rise in revolt. They cannot attack the abstract constitution or lead an army against proclamations and statutes . Civil disobedience has to be directed against the salt tax or the land tax or some other particular point – not that that is our final end, but for the time being it is our aim, and we must shoot straight. [17]

Gandhi felt that this protest would dramatise Purna Swaraj in a way that was meaningful to every Indian. He also reasoned that it would build unity between Hindus and Muslims by fighting a wrong that touched them equally. [13]

After the protest gathered steam, the leaders realised the power of salt as a symbol. Nehru remarked about the unprecedented popular response, "it seemed as though a spring had been suddenly released." [17]

Gandhi had a long-standing commitment to nonviolent civil disobedience, which he termed satyagraha, as the basis for achieving Indian sovereignty and self-rule. [21] [22] Referring to the relationship between satyagraha and Purna Swaraj, Gandhi saw "an inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree". [23] He wrote, "If the means employed are impure, the change will not be in the direction of progress but very likely in the opposite. Only a change brought about in our political condition by pure means can lead to real progress." [24]

Satyagraha is a synthesis of the Sanskrit words Satya (truth) and Agraha (insistence on). For Gandhi, satyagraha went far beyond mere "passive resistance" and became strength in practising nonviolent methods. In his words:

Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or nonviolence, and gave up the use of the phrase "passive resistance", in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word "satyagraha" . [25]

His first significant attempt in India at leading mass satyagraha was the non-cooperation movement from 1920 to 1922. Even though it succeeded in raising millions of Indians in protest against the British-created Rowlatt Act, violence broke out at Chauri Chaura, where a mob killed 22 unarmed policemen. Gandhi suspended the protest, against the opposition of other Congress members. He decided that Indians were not yet ready for successful nonviolent resistance. [26] The Bardoli Satyagraha in 1928 was much more successful. It succeeded in paralysing the British government and winning significant concessions. More importantly, due to extensive press coverage, it scored a propaganda victory out of all proportion to its size. [27] Gandhi later claimed that success at Bardoli confirmed his belief in satyagraha and Swaraj: "It is only gradually that we shall come to know the importance of the victory gained at Bardoli . Bardoli has shown the way and cleared it. Swaraj lies on that route, and that alone is the cure . " [28] [29] Gandhi recruited heavily from the Bardoli Satyagraha participants for the Dandi march, which passed through many of the same villages that took part in the Bardoli protests. [30] This revolt gained momentum and had support from all parts of India.

On 5 February, newspapers reported that Gandhi would begin civil disobedience by defying the salt laws. The salt satyagraha would begin on 12 March and end in Dandi with Gandhi breaking the Salt Act on 6 April. [31] Gandhi chose 6 April to launch the mass breaking of the salt laws for a symbolic reason—it was the first day of "National Week", begun in 1919 when Gandhi conceived of the national hartal (strike) against the Rowlatt Act. [32]

Gandhi prepared the worldwide media for the march by issuing regular statements from Sabarmati, at his regular prayer meetings and through direct contact with the press. Expectations were heightened by his repeated statements anticipating arrest, and his increasingly dramatic language as the hour approached: "We are entering upon a life and death struggle, a holy war we are performing an all-embracing sacrifice in which we wish to offer ourselves as oblation." [33] Correspondents from dozens of Indian, European, and American newspapers, along with film companies, responded to the drama and began covering the event. [34]

For the march itself, Gandhi wanted the strictest discipline and adherence to satyagraha and ahimsa. For that reason, he recruited the marchers not from Congress Party members, but from the residents of his own ashram, who were trained in Gandhi's strict standards of discipline. [35] The 24-day march would pass through 4 districts and 48 villages. The route of the march, along with each evening's stopping place, was planned based on recruitment potential, past contacts, and timing. Gandhi sent scouts to each village ahead of the march so he could plan his talks at each resting place, based on the needs of the local residents. [36] Events at each village were scheduled and publicised in Indian and foreign press. [37]

On 2 March 1930 Gandhi wrote to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, offering to stop the march if Irwin met eleven demands, including reduction of land revenue assessments, cutting military spending, imposing a tariff on foreign cloth, and abolishing the salt tax. [13] [38] His strongest appeal to Irwin regarded the salt tax:

If my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the eleventh day of this month I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the Salt Laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man's standpoint. As the sovereignty and self-rule movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil. [39]

As mentioned earlier, the Viceroy held any prospect of a "salt protest" in disdain. After he ignored the letter and refused to meet with Gandhi, the march was set in motion. [40] Gandhi remarked, "On bended knees I asked for bread and I have received stone instead." [41] The eve of the march brought thousands of Indians to Sabarmati to hear Gandhi speak at the regular evening prayer. An American academic writing for The Nation reported that "60,000 persons gathered on the bank of the river to hear Gandhi's call to arms. This call to arms was perhaps the most remarkable call to war that has ever been made." [42] [43]

On 12 March 1930, Gandhi and 78 satyagrahis, among whom were men belonging to almost every region, caste, creed, and religion of India, [44] set out on foot for the coastal village of Dandi, Gujarat, 385 km from their starting point at Sabarmati Ashram. [31] The Salt March was also called the White Flowing River because all the people were joining the procession wearing white khadi.

According to The Statesman, the official government newspaper which usually played down the size of crowds at Gandhi's functions, 100,000 people crowded the road that separated Sabarmati from Ahmadabad. [45] [46] The first day's march of 21 km ended in the village of Aslali, where Gandhi spoke to a crowd of about 4,000. [47] At Aslali, and the other villages that the march passed through, volunteers collected donations, registered new satyagrahis, and received resignations from village officials who chose to end co-operation with British rule. [48]

As they entered each village, crowds greeted the marchers, beating drums and cymbals. Gandhi gave speeches attacking the salt tax as inhuman, and the salt satyagraha as a "poor man's struggle". Each night they slept in the open. The only thing that was asked of the villagers was food and water to wash with. Gandhi felt that this would bring the poor into the struggle for sovereignty and self-rule, necessary for eventual victory. [49]

Thousands of satyagrahis and leaders like Sarojini Naidu joined him. Every day, more and more people joined the march, until the procession of marchers became at least 3 km long. [50] To keep up their spirits, the marchers used to sing the Hindu bhajan Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram while walking. [51] At Surat, they were greeted by 30,000 people. When they reached the railhead at Dandi, more than 50,000 were gathered. Gandhi gave interviews and wrote articles along the way. Foreign journalists and three Bombay cinema companies shooting newsreel footage turned Gandhi into a household name in Europe and America (at the end of 1930, Time magazine made him "Man of the Year"). [49] The New York Times wrote almost daily about the Salt March, including two front-page articles on 6 and 7 April. [52] Near the end of the march, Gandhi declared, "I want world sympathy in this battle of right against might." [53]

Upon arriving at the seashore on 5 April, Gandhi was interviewed by an Associated Press reporter. He stated:

I cannot withhold my compliments from the government for the policy of complete non interference adopted by them throughout the march . I wish I could believe this non-interference was due to any real change of heart or policy. The wanton disregard shown by them to popular feeling in the Legislative Assembly and their high-handed action leave no room for doubt that the policy of heartless exploitation of India is to be persisted in at any cost, and so the only interpretation I can put upon this non-interference is that the British Government, powerful though it is, is sensitive to world opinion which will not tolerate repression of extreme political agitation which civil disobedience undoubtedly is, so long as disobedience remains civil and therefore necessarily non-violent . It remains to be seen whether the Government will tolerate as they have tolerated the march, the actual breach of the salt laws by countless people from tomorrow. [54] [55]

The following morning, after a prayer, Gandhi raised a lump of salty mud and declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." [20] He then boiled it in seawater, producing illegal salt. He implored his thousands of followers to likewise begin making salt along the seashore, "wherever it is convenient" and to instruct villagers in making illegal, but necessary, salt. [56]

78 marchers accompanied Gandhi on his march. Most of them were between the ages of 20 and 30. These men hailed from almost all parts of the country. The march gathered more people as it gained momentum, but the following list of names consists of Gandhi himself and the first 78 marchers who were with Gandhi from the beginning of the Dandi March until the end. Most of them simply dispersed after the march was over. [57] [58]

Number Name Age Province (British India) State (Republic of India)
1 Mahatma Gandhi 61 Princely State of Porbandar Gujarat
2 Pyarelal Nayyar 30 Punjab Punjab
3 Chhaganlal Naththubhai Joshi 35 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
4 Pandit Narayan Moreshwar Khare 42 Bombay Maharashtra
5 Ganpatrav Godshe 25 Bombay Maharashtra
6 Prathviraj Lakshmidas Ashar 19 Kutch Gujarat
7 Mahavir Giri 20 Darjeeling West Bengal
8 Bal Dattatreya Kalelkar 18 Bombay Maharashtra
9 Jayanti Nathubhai Parekh 19 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
10 Rasik Desai 19 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
11 Vitthal Liladhar Thakkar 16 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
12 Harakhji Ramjibhai 18 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
13 Tansukh Pranshankar Bhatt 20 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
14 Kantilal Harilal Gandhi 20 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
15 Chhotubhai Khushalbhai Patel 22 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
16 Valjibhai Govindji Desai 35 Unknown Princely State Gujarat
17 Pannalal Balabhai Jhaveri 20 Gujarat
18 Abbas Varteji 20 Gujarat
19 Punjabhai Shah 25 Gujarat
20 Madhavjibhai Thakkar 40 Kutch Gujarat
21 Naranjibhai 22 Kutch Gujarat
22 Maganbhai Vora 25 Kutch Gujarat
23 Dungarsibhai 27 Kutch Gujarat
24 Somalal Pragjibhai Patel 25 Gujarat
25 Hasmukhram Jakabar 25 Gujarat
26 Daudbhai 25 Gujarat
27 Ramjibhai Vankar 45 Gujarat
28 Dinkarrai Pandya 30 Gujarat
29 Dwarkanath 30 Maharashtra
30 Gajanan Khare 25 Maharashtra
31 Jethalal Ruparel 25 Kutch Gujarat
32 Govind Harkare 25 Maharashtra
33 Pandurang 22 Maharashtra
34 Vinayakrao Aapte 33 Maharashtra
35 Ramdhirrai 30 United Provinces
36 Bhanushankar Dave 22 Gujarat
37 Munshilal 25 United Provinces
38 Raghavan 25 Madras Presidency Kerala
39 Shivabhai Gokhalbhai Patel 27 Gujarat
40 Shankarbhai Bhikabhai Patel 20 Gujarat
41 Jashbhai Ishwarbhai Patel 20 Gujarat
42 Sumangal Prakash 25 United Provinces
43 Thevarthundiyil Titus 25 Madras Presidency Kerala
44 Krishna Nair 25 Madras Presidency Kerala
45 Tapan Nair 25 Madras Presidency Kerala
46 Haridas Varjivandas Gandhi 25 Gujarat
47 Chimanlal Narsilal Shah 25 Gujarat
48 Shankaran 25 Madras Presidency Kerala
49 Subhramanyam 25 Andhra Pradesh
50 Ramaniklal Maganlal Modi 38 Gujarat
51 Madanmohan Chaturvedi 27 Rajputana Rajasthan
52 Harilal Mahimtura 27 Maharashtra
53 Motibas Das 20 Odisha
54 Haridas Muzumdar 25 Gujarat
55 Anand Hingorini 24 Sindh Sindh (Pakistan)
56 Mahadev Martand 18 Karnataka
57 Jayantiprasad 30 United Provinces
58 Hariprasad 20 United Provinces
59 Girivardhari Chaudhari 20 Bihar
60 Keshav Chitre 25 Maharashtra
61 Ambalal Shankarbhai Patel 30 Gujarat
62 Vishnu Pant 25 Maharashtra
63 Premraj 35 Punjab
64 Durgesh Chandra Das 44 Bengal Bengal
65 Madhavlal Shah 27 Gujarat
66 Jyotiram 30 United Provinces
67 Surajbhan 34 Punjab
68 Bhairav Dutt 25 United Provinces
69 Lalji Parmar 25 Gujarat
70 Ratnaji Boria 18 Gujarat
71 Vishnu Sharma 30 Maharashtra
72 Chintamani Shastri 40 Maharashtra
73 Narayan Dutt 24 Rajputana Rajasthan
74 Manilal Mohandas Gandhi 38 Gujarat
75 Surendra 30 United Provinces
76 Hari Krishna Mohoni 42 Maharashtra
77 Puratan Buch 25 Gujarat
78 Kharag Bahadur Singh Giri 25 Dehradun Uttarakhand
79 Shri Jagat Narayan 50 Uttar Pradesh

A memorial has been created inside the campus of IIT Bombay honouring these Satyagrahis who participated in the famous Dandi March. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). British cloth and goods were boycotted. Unpopular forest laws were defied in the Maharashtra, Karnataka and Central Provinces. Gujarati peasants refused to pay tax, under threat of losing their crops and land. In Midnapore, Bengalis took part by refusing to pay the chowkidar tax. [59] The British responded with more laws, including censorship of correspondence and declaring the Congress and its associate organisations illegal. None of those measures slowed the civil disobedience movement. [60]

There were outbreaks of violence in Calcutta (now spelled Kolkata), Karachi, and Gujarat. Unlike his suspension of satyagraha after violence broke out during the Non-co-operation movement, this time Gandhi was "unmoved". Appealing for violence to end, at the same time Gandhi honoured those killed in Chittagong and congratulated their parents "for the finished sacrifices of their sons . A warrior's death is never a matter for sorrow." [61]

During the first phase of the civil disobedience movement from 1929 to 1931 there was a Labour government in power in Britain. The beatings at Dharasana, the shootings at Peshawar, the floggings and hangings at Solapur, the mass arrests, and much else were all presided over by a Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald and his secretary of state, William Wedgwood Benn. The government was also complicit in a sustained attack on trade unionism in India, [62] an attack that Sumit Sarkar has described as "a massive capitalist and government counter-offensive" against workers' rights. [63]

Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre Edit

In Peshawar, satyagraha was led by a Muslim Pashtun disciple of Gandhi, Ghaffar Khan, who had trained 50,000 nonviolent activists called Khudai Khidmatgar. [64] On 23 April 1930, Ghaffar Khan was arrested. A crowd of Khudai Khidmatgar gathered in Peshawar's Qissa Kahani (Storytellers) Bazaar. The British ordered troops of 2/18 battalion of Royal Garhwal Rifles to open fire with machine guns on the unarmed crowd, killing an estimated 200–250. [65] The Pashtun satyagrahis acted in accord with their training in nonviolence, willingly facing bullets as the troops fired on them. [66] One British Indian Army Soldier Chandra Singh Garhwali and troops of the renowned Royal Garhwal Rifles, refused to fire at the crowds. The entire platoon was arrested and many received heavy penalties, including life imprisonment. [65]

Vedaranyam salt march Edit

While Gandhi marched along India's west coast, his close associate C. Rajagopalachari, who would later become sovereign India's first Governor-General, organized the Vedaranyam salt march in parallel on the east coast. His group started from Tiruchirappalli, in Madras Presidency (now part of Tamil Nadu), to the coastal village of Vedaranyam. After making illegal salt there, he too was arrested by the British. [17]

Women in civil disobedience Edit

The civil disobedience in 1930 marked the first time women became mass participants in the struggle for freedom. Thousands of women, from large cities to small villages, became active participants in satyagraha. [67] Gandhi had asked that only men take part in the salt march, but eventually women began manufacturing and selling salt throughout India. It was clear that though only men were allowed within the march, that both men and women were expected to forward work that would help dissolve the salt laws. [68] Usha Mehta, an early Gandhian activist, remarked that "Even our old aunts and great-aunts and grandmothers used to bring pitchers of salt water to their houses and manufacture illegal salt. And then they would shout at the top of their voices: 'We have broken the salt law!'" [69] The growing number of women in the fight for sovereignty and self-rule was a "new and serious feature" according to Lord Irwin. A government report on the involvement of women stated "thousands of them emerged . from the seclusion of their homes . in order to join Congress demonstrations and assist in picketing: and their presence on these occasions made the work the police was required to perform particularly unpleasant." [70] Though women did become involved in the march, it was clear that Gandhi saw women as still playing a secondary role within the movement, but created the beginning of a push for women to be more involved in the future. [68]

"Sarojini Naidu was among the most visible leaders (male or female) of pre-independent India. As president of the Indian National Congress and the first woman governor of free India, she was a fervent advocate for India, avidly mobilizing support for the Indian independence movement. She was also the first woman to be arrested in the salt march." [ attribution needed ] [71]

Impact Edit

British documents show that the British government was shaken by Satyagraha. Nonviolent protest left the British confused about whether or not to jail Gandhi. John Court Curry, a British police officer stationed in India, wrote in his memoirs that he felt nausea every time he dealt with Congress demonstrations in 1930. Curry and others in British government, including Wedgwood Benn, Secretary of State for India, preferred fighting violent rather than nonviolent opponents. [70]

Gandhi himself avoided further active involvement after the march, though he stayed in close contact with the developments throughout India. He created a temporary ashram near Dandi. From there, he urged women followers in Bombay (now Mumbai) to picket liquor shops and foreign cloth. He said that "a bonfire should be made of foreign cloth. Schools and colleges should become empty." [61]

For his next major action, Gandhi decided on a raid of the Dharasana Salt Works in Gujarat, 40 km south of Dandi. He wrote to Lord Irwin, again telling him of his plans. Around midnight of 4 May, as Gandhi was sleeping on a cot in a mango grove, the District Magistrate of Surat drove up with two Indian officers and thirty heavily armed constables. [72] He was arrested under an 1827 regulation calling for the jailing of people engaged in unlawful activities, and held without trial near Poona (now Pune). [73]

The Dharasana Satyagraha went ahead as planned, with Abbas Tyabji, a seventy-six-year-old retired judge, leading the march with Gandhi's wife Kasturba at his side. Both were arrested before reaching Dharasana and sentenced to three months in prison. After their arrests, the march continued under the leadership of Sarojini Naidu, a woman poet and freedom fighter, who warned the satyagrahis, "You must not use any violence under any circumstances. You will be beaten, but you must not resist: you must not even raise a hand to ward off blows." Soldiers began clubbing the satyagrahis with steel tipped lathis in an incident that attracted international attention. [74] United Press correspondent Webb Miller reported that:

Not one of the marchers even raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins. From where I stood I heard the sickening whacks of the clubs on unprotected skulls. The waiting crowd of watchers groaned and sucked in their breaths in sympathetic pain at every blow. Those struck down fell sprawling, unconscious or writhing in pain with fractured skulls or broken shoulders. In two or three minutes the ground was quilted with bodies. Great patches of blood widened on their white clothes. The survivors without breaking ranks silently and doggedly marched on until struck down . Finally the police became enraged by the non-resistance . They commenced savagely kicking the seated men in the abdomen and testicles. The injured men writhed and squealed in agony, which seemed to inflame the fury of the police . The police then began dragging the sitting men by the arms or feet, sometimes for a hundred yards, and throwing them into ditches. [75]

Vithalbhai Patel, former Speaker of the Assembly, watched the beatings and remarked, "All hope of reconciling India with the British Empire is lost forever." [76] Miller's first attempts at telegraphing the story to his publisher in England were censored by the British telegraph operators in India. Only after threatening to expose British censorship was his story allowed to pass. The story appeared in 1,350 newspapers throughout the world and was read into the official record of the United States Senate by Senator John J. Blaine. [77]

Salt Satyagraha succeeded in drawing the attention of the world. Millions saw the newsreels showing the march. Time declared Gandhi its 1930 Man of the Year, comparing Gandhi's march to the sea "to defy Britain's salt tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax". [78] Civil disobedience continued until early 1931, when Gandhi was finally released from prison to hold talks with Irwin. It was the first time the two held talks on equal terms, [79] and resulted in the Gandhi–Irwin Pact. The talks would lead to the Second Round Table Conference at the end of 1931.

The Salt Satyagraha did not produce immediate progress toward dominion status or self-rule for India, did not elicit major policy concessions from the British, [80] or attract much Muslim support. [81] Congress leaders decided to end satyagraha as official policy in 1934, and Nehru and other Congress members drifted further apart from Gandhi, who withdrew from Congress to concentrate on his Constructive Programme, which included his efforts to end untouchability in the Harijan movement. [82] However, even though British authorities were again in control by the mid-1930s, Indian, British, and world opinion increasingly began to recognise the legitimacy of claims by Gandhi and the Congress Party for sovereignty and self-rule. [83] The Satyagraha campaign of the 1930s also forced the British to recognise that their control of India depended entirely on the consent of the Indians – Salt Satyagraha was a significant step in the British losing that consent. [84]

Nehru considered the Salt Satyagraha the high-water mark of his association with Gandhi, [85] and felt that its lasting importance was in changing the attitudes of Indians:

Of course these movements exercised tremendous pressure on the British Government and shook the government machinery. But the real importance, to my mind, lay in the effect they had on our own people, and especially the village masses . Non-cooperation dragged them out of the mire and gave them self-respect and self-reliance . They acted courageously and did not submit so easily to unjust oppression their outlook widened and they began to think a little in terms of India as a whole . It was a remarkable transformation and the Congress, under Gandhi's leadership, must have the credit for it. [86]

More than thirty years later, Satyagraha and the March to Dandi exercised a strong influence on American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., and his fight for civil rights for blacks in the 1960s:

Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by his Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of Satyagraha (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force Satyagraha, therefore, means truth force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi, my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. [9]

To commemorate the Great Salt March, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation re-enacted the Salt March on its 75th anniversary, in its exact historical schedule and route followed by the Mahatma and his band of 78 marchers. The event was known as the "International Walk for Justice and Freedom". What started as a personal pilgrimage for Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi turned into an international event with 900 registered participants from nine nations and on a daily basis the numbers swelled to a couple of thousands. There was extensive reportage in the international media.

The participants halted at Dandi on the night of 5 April, with the commemoration ending on 7 April. At the finale in Dandi, the prime minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, greeted the marchers and promised to build an appropriate monument at Dandi to commemorate the marchers and the historical event. The route from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi has now been christened as the Dandi Path and has been declared a historical heritage route. [87] [88]

Series of commemorative stamps were issued in 1980 and 2005, on the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the Dandi March. [89]

The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, a memorial museum, dedicated to the event was opened in Dandi on 30 January 2019.


On 30 January 1948, [6] on his way to an evening prayer service, an elderly Gandhi is helped out for his evening walk to meet a large number of greeters and admirers. One visitor, Nathuram Godse, shoots him point blank in the chest. Gandhi exclaims, "Oh, God!", and then falls dead. His state funeral is shown, the procession attended by millions of people from all walks of life, with a radio reporter speaking eloquently about Gandhi's world-changing life and works.

In June 1893, the 23-year-old Gandhi is thrown off from a South African train for being an Indian sitting in a first-class compartment despite having a first-class ticket. [7] Realising the laws are biased against Indians, he then decides to start a non-violent protest campaign for the rights of all Indians in South Africa, arguing that they are British subjects and entitled to the same rights and privileges. After numerous arrests and unwelcome international attention, the government finally relents by recognising some rights for Indians. [8]

In 1915, as a result of his victory in South Africa, Gandhi is invited back to India, where he is now considered something of a national hero. He is urged to take up the fight for India's independence (Swaraj, Quit India) from the British Empire. Gandhi agrees, and mounts a non-violent non-cooperation campaign of unprecedented scale, coordinating millions of Indians nationwide. There are some setbacks, such as violence against the protesters, Gandhi's occasional imprisonment, and the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Nevertheless, the campaign generates great attention, and Britain faces intense public pressure. In 1930, Gandhi protests against the British-imposed salt tax via the highly symbolic Salt March. He also travels to London for a conference concerning Britain's possible departure from India this, however, proves fruitless. After the Second World War, [9] India finally wins its independence. [10] Indians celebrate this victory, but their troubles are far from over. The country is subsequently divided by religion. It is decided that the northwest area and the eastern part of India (current-day Bangladesh), both places where Muslims are in the majority, will become a new country called Pakistan. It is hoped that by encouraging the Muslims to live in a separate country, violence will abate. Gandhi is opposed to the idea, and is even willing to allow Muhammad Ali Jinnah to become the first Prime Minister of India, [11] but the Partition of India is carried out nevertheless. Religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupt into nationwide violence. Horrified, Gandhi declares a hunger strike, saying he will not eat until the fighting stops. [12] The fighting does stop eventually.

Gandhi spends his last days trying to bring about peace between both nations. He, thereby, angers many dissidents on both sides, one of whom (Godse) is involved in a conspiracy to assassinate him. [13] Gandhi is cremated and his ashes are scattered on the holy Ganga. [14] As this happens, viewers hear Gandhi in another voiceover from earlier in the film.

    as Mahatma Gandhi as Kasturba Gandhi as Jawaharlal Nehru as V. K. Krishna Menon as Vallabhbhai Patel as Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad as Margaret Bourke-White as Brigadier GeneralReginald Dyer as Sir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, the Indian barrister who questioned Dyer during HCH (Hunter Commission hearings) as the Viceroy Lord Irwin as Justice Robert Stonehouse Broomfield, the presiding judge in Gandhi's sedition trial as the Viceroy Lord Chelmsford as commentator on Gandhi's death as Vince Walker, a fictional journalist based partially on Webb Miller. as ReverendCharles Freer Andrews as General Jan Smuts as Mirabehn (Madeleine Slade) as Muhammad Ali Jinnah as Dada Abdulla Hajee Adab, a businessman of South Africa and President of Natal Indian Congress as Senior officer Fields as Collins as Mr. Kinnoch as Sir Edward Albert Gait, Lieutenant-Governor of Bihar and Orissa as Sir George Hodge as Gopal Krishna Gokhale as Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as Nahari, a Hindurioter of 1947 as Zia, a Satyagrahi as Sergeant Putnam as Colin, a young man who insults Gandhi and Andrews as American Lt. driver for Bourke-White
  • Pankaj Mohan as Gandhi's first secretary, Mahadev Desai as Gandhi's second secretary, Pyarelal Nayyar as Acharya Kripalani
  • Dilsher Singh as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Frontier Gandhi)
  • Gunther Maria Halmer as Hermann Kallenbach
  • Peter Harlowe as Viceroy Lord Mountbatten
  • Harsh Nayyar as Nathuram Godse, the assassinator of Gandhi as Narayan Apte, partner of Godse as Manu, cousin grandniece of Gandhi as Abha, cousin grandniece-in-law of Gandhi as doctor at Aga Khan Palace as Tyeb Mohammad, member of Natal Indian Congress as Tyeb Mohammad's associate as Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy

This film had been Richard Attenborough's dream project, although two previous attempts at filming had failed. In 1952, Gabriel Pascal secured an agreement with the Prime Minister of India (Jawaharlal Nehru) to produce a film of Gandhi's life. However, Pascal died in 1954 before preparations were completed. [15]

In 1962 Attenborough was contacted by Motilal Kothari, an Indian-born civil servant working with the Indian High Commission in London and a devout follower of Gandhi. Kothari insisted that Attenborough meet him to discuss a film about Gandhi. [16] [17] Attenborough agreed, after reading Louis Fischer's biography of Gandhi and spent the next 18 years attempting to get the film made. He was able to meet prime minister Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi through a connection with Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. Nehru approved of the film and promised to help support its production, but his death in 1964 was one of the film's many setbacks. Attenborough would dedicate the film to the memory of Kothari, Mountbatten, and Nehru.

David Lean and Sam Spiegel had planned to make a film about Gandhi after completing The Bridge on the River Kwai, reportedly with Alec Guinness as Gandhi. Ultimately, the project was abandoned in favour of Lawrence of Arabia (1962). [18] Attenborough reluctantly approached Lean with his own Gandhi project in the late 1960s, and Lean agreed to direct the film and offered Attenborough the lead role. Instead Lean began filming Ryan's Daughter, during which time Motilai Kothari had died and the project fell apart. [19]

Attenborough again attempted to resurrect the project in 1976 with backing from Warner Brothers. Then prime minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India and shooting would be impossible. Co-producer Rani Dube persuaded prime minister Indira Gandhi to provide the first $10 million from the National Film Development Corporation of India, chaired by D. V. S. Raju at that time, on the back of which the remainder of the funding was finally raised. [20] [21] Finally in 1980 Attenborough was able to secure the remainder of the funding needed to make the film. Screenwriter John Briley had introduced him to Jake Eberts, the chief executive at the new Goldcrest production company that raised approximately two-thirds of the film's budget.

Shooting began on 26 November 1980 and ended on 10 May 1981. Some scenes were shot near Koilwar Bridge, in Bihar. [22] Over 300,000 extras were used in the funeral scene, the most for any film, according to Guinness World Records. [23]

Casting Edit

During pre-production, there was much speculation as to who would play the role of Gandhi. [24] [25] The choice was Ben Kingsley, who is partly of Indian heritage (his father was Gujarati and his birth name is Krishna Bhanji). [26]

Gandhi premiered in New Delhi, India on 30 November 1982. Two days later, on 2 December, it had a Royal Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London [27] in the presence of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. [28] [29] The film had a limited release in the US on Wednesday, 8 December 1982, followed by a wider release in January 1983. [2]

Box office Edit

The film grossed $183,583 in its first 5 days from 4 theatres (Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City Uptown Theater in Washington D.C. Century Plaza in Los Angeles and the York in Toronto) [30] in North America. Due to the running time, it could be shown only three times a day. [31] It went on to gross US$52,767,889 in the United States and Canada, [2] the 12th highest-grossing film of 1982. [32]

Outside of North America, the film grossed US$75 million in the rest of the world. It was the year's third highest-grossing film outside of North America. [2]

In the United Kingdom, the film grossed £22.3 million adjusted for inflation, equivalent to £7.7 million at the time. [33] [34] It is one of the top ten highest-grossing British independent films of all time adjusted for inflation. [33]

In India, it was one of the highest-grossing films of all-time (and the highest for a foreign film) during the time of its release by earning over ₹100 crore or 1 billion rupees. At today's exchange rate, that amounts to US$14.9 million , still making it one of the highest-grossing imported films in the country. It was shown tax free in Bombay (known as Mumbai since 1995) and Delhi. [35]

Goldcrest Films invested £5,076,000 in the film and received £11,461,000 in return, earning them a profit of £6,385,000. [36]

Critical response Edit

Reviews were broadly positive not only in India but also internationally. [35] The film was discussed or reviewed in Newsweek, [24] Time, [37] the Washington Post, [38] [39] The Public Historian, [40] Cross Currents, [41] The Journal of Asian Studies, [42] Film Quarterly, [43] The Progressive, [44] The Christian Century [44] and elsewhere. [45] Ben Kingsley's performance was especially praised. Among the few who took a more negative view of the film, historian Lawrence James called it "pure hagiography" [46] while anthropologist Akhil Gupta said it "suffers from tepid direction and a superficial and misleading interpretation of history." [47] Also Indian novelist Makarand R. Paranjape has written that "Gandhi, though hagiographical, follow a mimetic style of film-making in which cinema, the visual image itself, is supposed to portray or reflect 'reality'". [48] The film was also criticised by some right-wing commentators who objected to the film's advocacy of nonviolence, including Pat Buchanan, Emmett Tyrrell, and especially Richard Grenier. [44] [49] In Time, Richard Schickel wrote that in portraying Gandhi's "spiritual presence. Kingsley is nothing short of astonishing." [37] : 97 A "singular virtue" of the film is that "its title figure is also a character in the usual dramatic sense of the term." Schickel viewed Attenborough's directorial style as having "a conventional handsomeness that is more predictable than enlivening," but this "stylistic self-denial serves to keep one's attention fastened where it belongs: on a persuasive, if perhaps debatable vision of Gandhi's spirit, and on the remarkable actor who has caught its light in all its seasons." [37] : 97 Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and called it a "remarkable experience", [50] and placed it 5th on his 10 best films of 1983. [51]

In Newsweek, Jack Kroll stated that "There are very few movies that absolutely must be seen. Sir Richard Attenborough's Gandhi is one of them." [24] The movie "deals with a subject of great importance. with a mixture of high intelligence and immediate emotional impact. [and] Ben Kingsley. gives what is possibly the most astonishing biographical performance in screen history." Kroll stated that the screenplay's "least persuasive characters are Gandhi's Western allies and acolytes" such as an English cleric and an American journalist, but that "Attenborough's 'old-fashioned' style is exactly right for the no-tricks, no-phony-psychologizing quality he wants." [24] Furthermore, Attenborough

mounts a powerful challenge to his audience by presenting Gandhi as the most profound and effective of revolutionaries, creating out of a fierce personal discipline a chain reaction that led to tremendous historical consequences. At a time of deep political unrest, economic dislocation and nuclear anxiety, seeing "Gandhi" is an experience that will change many minds and hearts. [24]

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications there was "a cycle of film and television productions which emerged during the first half of the 1980s, which seemed to indicate Britain's growing preoccupation with India, Empire and a particular aspect of British cultural history". [52] In addition to Gandhi, this cycle also included Heat and Dust (1983), Octopussy (1983), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), The Far Pavilions (1984) and A Passage to India (1984).

Patrick French negatively reviewed the film, writing in The Telegraph:

An important origin of one myth about Gandhi was Richard Attenborough's 1982 film. Take the episode when the newly arrived Gandhi is ejected from a first-class railway carriage at Pietermaritzburg after a white passenger objects to sharing space with a "coolie" (an Indian indentured labourer). In fact, Gandhi's demand to be allowed to travel first-class was accepted by the railway company. Rather than marking the start of a campaign against racial oppression, as legend has it, this episode was the start of a campaign to extend racial segregation in South Africa. Gandhi was adamant that "respectable Indians" should not be obliged to use the same facilities as "raw Kaffirs". He petitioned the authorities in the port city of Durban, where he practised law, to end the indignity of making Indians use the same entrance to the post office as blacks, and counted it a victory when three doors were introduced: one for Europeans, one for Asiatics and one for Natives. [53]

Richard Grenier in his 1983 article, The Gandhi Nobody Knows, which was also the title of the book of the same name and topic, also criticised the film, arguing it misportrayed him as a "saint". He also alleged the Indian government admitted to financing about a third of the film's budget. [54] Grenier's book later became an inspiration for G. B. Singh's book Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity. Parts of the book also discuss the film negatively. Singh, a long term critic of Gandhi, also went on to co-author Gandhi Under Cross Examination with Timothy Watson.

In the DVD edition of the 1998 film Jinnah, the director's commentary of the film makes mention of the 1982 film. In the commentary, both Sir Christopher Lee, who portrayed the older Muhammed Ali Jinnah, and director Jamil Dehlavi criticised the film Gandhi for its portrayal of Jinnah, arguing it to be demonising and historically inaccurate.

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected 59 reviews and judged 85% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 8.15/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Director Richard Attenborough is typically sympathetic and sure-handed, but it's Ben Kingsley's magnetic performance that acts as the linchpin for this sprawling, lengthy biopic." [55] Metacritic gave the film a score of 79 out of 100 based on 16 critical reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [56] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade. [57] In 2010, the Independent Film & Television Alliance selected the film as one of the 30 Most Significant Independent Films of the last 30 years. [58]

Mahatma Gandhi starts his 21-day fast.

This 38 page newspaper has one column headlines on page 10:

* Abandons Civil Disobedience to Devote Himself Wholly to Aiding Untouchables
* Disciple Refuses Food

and more. Other news of the day throughout.

Rag edition in great condition.

wikipedia notes: On 8 May 1933 Gandhi began a 21-day fast of self-purification to help the Harijan movement.[14] This new campaign was not universally embraced within the Dalit community, however, as prominent leader B. R. Ambedkar condemned Gandhi's use of the term Harijans as saying that Dalits were socially immature, and that privileged caste Indians played a paternalistic role. Ambedkar and his allies also felt Gandhi was undermining Dalit political rights. Gandhi, although born into the Vaishya caste, insisted that he was able to speak on behalf of Dalits, despite the availability of Dalit activists such as Ambedkar.

Demonstrating Gandhian self-control, thirty days at a time.

Today begins a new 30-day Gandhi challenge. I’ve spent some time this year looking for stories to tell about different chapters in Gandhi’s life, and the lessons he learned and the lessons he taught in each. Finding a narrative for July proved a challenge at first glance. But then I realized there were several significant events in Gandhi’s life during his time in South Africa.

July starts the second half of the year the end is now closer than the beginning. Gandhi’s two decades in South Africa ended in July 1914, and when he returned home he moved into the signature phase of his life, nonviolently fighting for Indian independence. The weapon he carried, satyagraha, had been developed in 1906.

It was in July of that year that Sgt-Major Mohandas Gandhi found himself on the battlefield during the Zulu Rebellion, managing a company of Indian stretcher bearers. The long marches across the frontier of Natal gave him time to think about his place in the order of things. It was the last time he would take the field as a soldier of the British army.

In July of 1913, Gandhi undertook his first week-long fast, developing another arrow in the quiver of tools he would bring home to India. In the decades to come, his fasts would enable him to motivate millions of his countrymen for social change.

This month, I’ll be writing about these lessons of Gandhi’s, as well as others. Besides abstaining from alcohol, I also plan to walk 50 miles, most of them on July 4th. Last year on that date, I set off on a fifty mile walk, reading Gandhi’s autobiography for the first time, but failed to go the distance. This year, it’ll be a shorter distance, although a tougher route and a hotter day.

What personal challenges are you taking on this month?

May 16, 2018 - Ramadan

Today is the first beginning of the 30-day Gandhi challenge, and it's also the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan. During the month, the devout abstain from eating or drinking during the day. As one of the optional challenges this month, I'm trying this, but not for any religious reasons.

In his autobiography, Mohandas Gandhi writes about an Ramadan experience he had while living in South Africa. It was during his time at Tolstoy Farm, an intentional community on 1,100 acres about 21 miles outside of Johannesburg, which Gandhi had founded in 1910. Of the dozens of people living there, there were 4-5 Muslim youths, and Gandhi persuaded them to observe Ramadan that year.

At the same time, he was planning to observe a month-long fast during the daytime hours, and invited all the other students to participate as well, explaining that “it was always a good thing to join with others in any matter of self-denial.” The energy of the group fast was contagious, and all the members of the farm participated to varying degrees.

Although his first call for a national day of fasting in India was still years away, the roots of that effort can be seen in his experience here. Individuals participated in the fast differently – only the Muslims abstained from water – but a spirit of camaraderie sprang up, and Gandhi was convinced that he “greatly benefited. both physically and morally” from the fast.

Yesterday was May's fast for peace, and people in a dozen states and on several continents participated for whatever 24 hours worked for them. This 30-day Gandhi challenge ends with the next fast for peace on June 15., our sponsor, hopes that a spirit of camaraderie will spring up from this shared experience. Peace is worth working for.

The next 30-day Gandhi challenge starts May 16!

Ready to take a walk on the path of self improvement for 30 days? The optional registration survey is here.

The core of the challenge is voluntary temperance - abstaining from alcohol for 30 days. Whether you drink a little, a lot, or not at all, alcohol in America plays a harmful role in our society. According to the CDC, alcohol is responsible for 88,000 American deaths each year. It is involved in about 40% of violent crimes, leads to billions and billions of dollars in lost productivity, and, like cigarettes, is a known carcinogen.

Millions of Americans don't abuse alcohol, and millions of Americans do. However, we all pay for the negative effects. The alcohol industry spends more than $500,000,000 each year promoting its product. It's time to say thanks, but no thanks to a substance that kills more Americans each year than all drug overdoses combined.

I used to be a heavy drinker. After all, those people in the commercials were having fun, and alcohol was how you knew it was a good party, right? Somehow, the more I drank, the less fun it was. Finally, in the summer of 2016, I decided enough was enough. This Naked Mind woke me up to the fact that alcohol was poison. (It was right there in the root word of inTOXICated all the time.) Abstaining from alcohol for 30 days demonstrates self-control and has benefits for your health, just like the 24-hour fast that concludes the challenge.

There are also five optional self-improvement challenges inspired by Gandhi, which are listed in the wiki. Three stay the same walking, an ethical diet, and extra fasting. The other two others rotate for May/June, they are a minimalism challenge and a religious appreciation challenge. You can earn up to two points in each of the five categories after successfully completing the challenge, you'll be given flair with your high score.

Every day of the challenge, a new, short, daily post will appear on r/30dayGandhichallenge. Some will look back at that day in history, others highlight aspects of the challenge. These posts generally end with a question to designed to spark discussion. (Note: writing 30 of these is my own personal challenge, and I haven't had much time recently. But I'm trying.)

Participation in the 30-day Gandhi challenge is free, thanks to our sponsor,, which promotes a national day of fasting on the 15th of each month.

I hope you'll join me for this challenge. America has a number of important choices to make in 2018, and if there's one thing I've learned from not drinking, it's that sobriety leads to better decisions.

8 May in Indian history – What is today in history India 8 May

May 8 famous birthdays in India – Famous people that have birthdays on this day in history 8 May

1944- Chalapathi Rao, Tollywood character actor known for comedy and villainous roles.

1947- Dhruv Bhatt, Gujarati language novelist and poet from Gujarat, India.

1953- Remo Fernandes, Indian singer, with naturalized Portuguese citizenship.

1956- Shivajirao Adhalarao Patil, Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha from Shirur.

1960- Kanwar Pal Gujjar, speaker of the Haryana Legislative Assembly.

1977- Jayatheertha, Indian theater activist, social worker and filmmaker.

1978- Sai Kiran, Indian film and television actor who works in the Telugu films.

1989- Dinesh Patel, Indian right-handed baseball pitcher.

1990- Sumit Gulati, Indian film actor known for his work in Hindi cinema.

1995- Prakriti Kakar, Indian singer.

1995- Iswarya Menon, Indian film actress who acts in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films.

Today in history India 8 May

Famous people that had birthdays on this day in history 8 may

1909- Jnan Prakash Ghosh was Indian harmonium and tabla player from Farukhabad.

1926- Tapan Raychaudhuri was an Indian historian specializing in British Indian history.

1916- Swami Chinmayananda, the famous spiritual thinker of India.

Watch the video: Mahatma Gandhi - 20th century prophet