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Mahatma Gandhi


Thoughts of Gandhiji

  • “Ahinsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
  • “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
  • “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.”
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
  • “Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.”

Mahatma Gandhi inspired the world with his faith in truth and justice for all Mankind.Mahatma Gandhi  was a great soul who loved even those who fought against his ideals to bring about peace with non-violence.

How could a meek and fragile person of small physical stature inspire millions to bring about a profound change in a way the mightiest had never achieved before? His achievements were nothing less than miracles — his creed was to bring peace to not only those who suffered injustice and sorrow but to espouse a new way of life for Mankind, with peace and harmony. His life was a message — a message of peace over power, of finding ways to reconcile our differences, and of living in harmony with respect and love even for our enemy.

5 most important teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are described as below:

Teaching # 1: Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment. — Mahatma Gandhi

The force of power never wins against the power of love. At this hour of greatest unrest and turmoil in our world, the greatest force to be reckoned with lies within our hearts — a force of love and tolerance for all. Throughout his life, Mahatma Gandhi fought against the power of force during the heyday of British reign over the world. He transformed the minds of millions, including my father, to fight against injustice with peaceful means and non-violence. His message was as transparent to his enemy as it was to his followers. He believed that, if we fight for the cause of humanity and greater justice, it should include even those who do not conform to our cause. History attests to his power as he proved that we can bring about world peace by seeking and pursuing truth for the benefit of Mankind. We can resolve the greatest of our differences if we dare to have a constructive conversation with our enemy.

Teaching # 2: 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 the holy name of liberty and democracy?

War always inflicts pain and sorrow on everyone. History has witnessed countless examples of dictators, including Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin to name but a few, who inflicted sorrow and destruction on our world. A world of peace can be achieved if we learn the power of non-violence, as shown by the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi has proven that we can achieve the noble causes of liberty, justice, and democracy for Mankind without killing anyone, without making a child an orphan, and without making anyone homeless with the damage caused by war.

Teaching # 3: There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for. — Mahatma Gandhi

We live for our values and passion but at the core of our existence lies our innate desire to live a peaceful life. The greatest noble cause is to display our desire to bring about peace in this world by our own sacrifice and not that of those who oppose our views. The strength of cowardice is in using power to cause death and destruction for others. The strength of courage is in self-sacrifice for the benefit of all.

Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his own lucrative law practice in Durban, South Africa to lead a simple life and to share the pain of the powerless and destitute. He won over the hearts of millions without ever reigning power over anyone — simply with the power of altruism. We too can bring peace to our world by showing our willingness to sacrifice our self-centered desires. Our utmost cause in life should be to win the hearts of others by showing our willingness to serve causes greater than ourselves.

Teaching # 4: An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind — Mahatma Gandhi

History can attest to the fact that most human conflicts have been as a result of a stubborn approach by our leaders. Our history would turn out for the better if our leaders could just learn that most disputes can be resolved by showing a willingness to understand the issues of our opponents and by using diplomacy and compassion.

No matter where we live, what religion we practice or what culture we cultivate, at the heart of everything, we are all humans. We all have the same ambitions and aspirations to raise our family and to live life to its fullest. Our cultural, religious and political differences should not provide the backbone to invoke conflicts that can only bring sorrow and destruction to our world.

Teaching #5: We must become the change we want to see in the world. — Mahatma Gandhi

A great leader always leads with an exemplary life that echoes his ideals. Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his thriving law practice and adopted a simple life to live among the millions who lived in poverty during his freedom struggle. Today, we see modern leaders cajoling the masses with promises that they never intend to keep – let alone practicing what they preach in their own lives. One cannot bring world peace to all unless a leader demonstrates peaceful acts of kindness daily. Mahatma Gandhi believed that we are all children of God. We should not discriminate amongst ourselves based on faith, caste, creed or any other differences.

An outstanding example of Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership was his famous Salt March, which brought about a profound change. On March 2nd, 1930, as a protest at tax on salt, Gandhi wrote a remarkable letter to Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India. He wrote, “Dear Friend, I cannot intentionally hurt anything that lives, much less fellow human beings, even though they may do the greatest wrong to me and mine. While, therefore, I hold the British rule to be a curse, I do not intend to harm to a single Englishman or to any legitimate interest he may have in India…” With these words, he inspired millions to fight for this righteous cause and eventually forced the British to leave India without inflicting harm to any Englishman. Such were the quintessential qualities of justice and peace that made Mahatma Gandhi the man who changed our world for the better with his ideals of faith, love and tolerance.

“Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” – Albert Einstein on Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi taught us that we can bring harmony to our world by becoming champions of love and peace for all. The task is daunting, but he has shown that a fragile, meekly man of small physical stature can achieve feats of incredible magnitude with a staunch belief to practice peace through non-violence.

Seven Sins explained by Gandhiji:

Mahatma Gandhi said that seven things will destroy us. Notice that all of them have to do with social and political conditions. Note also that the antidote of each of these “deadly sins” is an explicit external standard or something that is based on natural principles and laws, not on social values.

  • Wealth Without Work
  • Pleasure Without Conscience
  • Knowledge Without Character
  • Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
  • Science Without Humanity
  • Religion Without Sacrifice
  • Politics Without Principle

Some of the important milestones in Gandhi’s life are as follows:

Early Life: Ordinary and Shy Boy

Bapu was straight and true as steel, known for his steadfastness and loyalty. A little house where Bapu was born is now a memorial temple, known as Kirti Mandir.

Gandhiji’s mother Putlibai was the traditional Hindu woman, devoted to her home and family, deeply religious and austere. These qualities left a deep impress on young Gandhiji.
Another powerful influence of Bapu’s early life was seeing King Harishchandra in the play, who suffers but finally triumphs, and his adherence to truth. The boy Mohan aspired to do no less.
Gandhiji showed no particular brilliance, played no games, and avoided going out with friends. He read little beyond his textbooks, but respected his teachers, though, even at his bidding, he would not copy from his neighbour’s answers.

The other person he was much attached to was his eldest brother, Lakshmidas. When Bapu lost his father, it was Lakshmidas who helped to educate him and sent him to England for legal studies.

South Africa Train Journey: Beginning of Fight against Racism

South Africa was a turning point in Gandhiji’s life. It confronted him with many unusual experiences and challenges, and profoundly transformed Bapu’s life.

Gandhiji had arrived in Durban in 1893 to serve as legal counsel to the merchant Dada Abdulla. Bapu’s work in South Africa dramatically changed him entirely, as he faced the discrimination commonly directed at black South Africans and Indians. One day in the court in Durban, the Magistrate asked him to remove his Turban, Gandhiji refused and left the court.

On 31st May 1893, Gandhiji was on his way to Pretoria, a white man objected to his presence in a first-class carriage, and he was ordered to move to the van compartment at the end of the train. Gandhiji, who had a first-class ticket, refused, and was therefore thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg.

Shivering through the winter night in the waiting room of the station, Bapu made the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination against Indians and others. Out of that struggle emerged his unique version of non-violent resistance, “Satyagraha”.
Today, a bronze statue of Gandhiji stands on Church Street, in the city centre.

Hero’s welcome in India – Beginning of Satyagraha

Gandhiji suspended his South African struggle after paving a way for the Indian Relief Act. He received hero’s welcome upon returning to India from South Africa in January, 1915.

The first year in India, Gandhiji decided to tour the country and studying situations here with “his ears open but mouth shut”. At the end of his year’s wanderings, Bapu settled down on the bank of the river Sabarmati, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where he founded an Ashram in May 1915. He called it the Satyagraha Ashram.

This was one of the residences of Gandhiji. The Sabarmati Ashram was subsequently converted into the National Monument by the Government of India because of its significance in the Independence Movement in the form of Dandi March in 1930.

The Reformer- First Satyagraha

Gandhi, the exponent of the Satyagraha movement, staged his first Satyagraha in Champaran, Bihar. It was in 1917. The poor peasants, the indigo growers, of the district invited Gandhi to see the grievances of the exploited peasants there.

Gandhiji was ordered to leave the district by the administration. He refused to give up Satyagraha, therefore the embarrass magistrate postponed the trial and released him without bail.
The success of his first experiment in Satyagraha in India greatly enhanced Bapu’s reputation in the country.

Non-Cooperation Movement – Gandhi Era Begins

The Gandhi Era of the Indian Independence Movement begins with the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920. The main idea of the Non-Cooperation Movement in India was based on the nonviolent resistance to the British Government and Civil Disobedience.

Gandhiji and the entire Indian National Congress headed the movement. Many Indians renounced their titles and honours, lawyers gave up their practice, students left colleges and schools and thousands of the city-bred went into the villages to spread the message of non-violence, non-cooperation and to prepare the masses to defy the law. Gandhiji also reached out to the masses in his two weeklies, Young India and Navjivan. Bonfires of foreign clothes lit the sky everywhere and the hum of the spinning wheel rose in thousands of homes. Women, secluded for centuries, marched in the streets with men. Gandhiji’s autobiography ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ was published in 1927.

Salt Satyagraha- the Famous Dandi March

The Salt Satyagraha was a campaign of nonviolent protest against the British Salt Tax in colonial India which began with the Salt March to Dandi on March 12, 1930. Gandhiji was arrested on 5 May 1930, and the Government struck hard to crush the movement, but failed. So Gandhiji was set free on 26 January 1931; and following a pact between Bapu and the British Viceroy, Lord Irwin (5 March 1931), he was prevailed upon to represent the Congress at the second Round Table Conference in London. Gandhiji was completely disillusioned with the attitude of the British, which had renewed its policy of ruthless repression. As a result the Civil Disobedience Movement was resumed in January 1932.

Also read: Mahatma Gandhi Modern History

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