Quotations from the book : EPIGRAMS FROM GANDHIJI

Epigrams from Gandhiji

Quotations from the book
Epigrams from Gandhiji

Alphabetical Listing





Numerals after each epigram refer to the pages of volumes indicated by the following abbreviations. Where publisher is not mentioned, it is Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad.

  • I to XXVI: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division
  • A : An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth: M. K. Gandhi; Navajivan  Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • AA: Asia and the Americas: Monthly Magazine published from New York
  • ABP: Amrita Bazar Patrika: English Daily
  • AG: Among the Great: Dilip Kumar Roy; Nalanda Publications, Bombay, 1945
  • AOA: Ashram Observations in Action: Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • BC: The Bombay Chronicle: Daily newspaper published from Bombay
  • Bunch: A Bunch of Old Letters, J. Nehru (Asia, 1958)
  • CP: Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place: M. K. Gandhi; Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • EF: The Epic Fast: Pyarelal, Ahmedabad, 1932
  • ER: Ethical Religion: Mahatma Gandhi; S. Ganesan, Madras, 1930
  • EWE : Evil Wrought by the English Medium, R. K. Prabhu(1958)
  • FYM: From Yeravda Mandir: Ashram Observations: M. K. Gandhi; NavajivanPublishing House,
  • GCG: Gandhi's Correspondence with the Government,1924-44: Navajivan Publishing House
  • GIV : Gandhiin Indian Villages: Mahadev Desai; S. Ganesan, Madras1927
  • H: Harijan: (1933-1956) English Weekly Journal founded by Gandhi,
  • HS: Hind SWARAJ OR Indian  Home Rule: ; Navjivan Publishing House,Ahmedabad
  • MM: Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (Ed. Prabhu & Rao), 3rd Edn., 1968
  • MOG: The Message of the Gita, R. K. Prabhu (1959)
  • MGCG: Mahatma Gandhi: Correspondence with the Government (1959)
  • T: (Followed by Vol. No.) Mahatma (D.G. Tendulkar) Vols. 1-8; 2nd Edn.(1960), Publications Division
  • TIG: Truth is God, Ed. R. K. Prabhu(1955)
Earning :
  • May not men earn their bread by intellectual labour? No. The needs of the body must be supplied by the body. TIG-135
Earth :
  • This little globe of ours is not a toy of yesterday. MM-286
Earthquake :
  • A man like me cannot but believe that this earthquake (Earthquake in Bihar, 15th January, 1934) is a divine chastisement sent by God for our sins. T-3-247
Eating :
  • Eating for the sake of pleasure is a sin like animal indulgence for the sake of it. XXVI-453
Economics :
  • Economics that hurt the moral well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. MM-263
  • That economics is untrue which ignores or disregards moral values. XXV-475
  • The study of Indian economics is the study of the spinning wheel. XXV-561
  • We can try to canalize economic trends, we can't run against them in a head-on collision. T-7-185
Education :
  • An education which does not teach us to discriminate between good and bad, to assimilate the one and eschew the other, is a misnomer. T-5-43
  • Education should be so revolutionized as to answer the wants of the poorest villager, instead of answering those of an imperial exploiter. T-4-182
  • Education in the understanding of citizenship is a short-term affair if we are honest and earnest. MM-378
  • Basic education links children, whether of the cities or the villages, to all that is best and lasting in India. T-6-23
  • Is not education the art of drawing out full manhood of the children under training? XXVI-275
  • Literacy in itself is no education. MM-379
  • Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. EWE-22
  • Literary education should follow the education of the hand - the one gift that visibly distinguishes man from beast. EWE-21
  • Real education has to draw out the best from the boys and girls to be educated. EWE-32
  • True education must correspond to the surrounding circumstances or it is not a healthy growth. XXVI-275
  • What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education. T-7-209
  • National education to be truly national must reflect the national condition for the time being. XXVI-275
  • The function of Nayee-Talim is not to teach an occupation, but through it to develop the whole man. T-7-384
  • I believe that religious education must be the sole concern of religious associations. EWE-30
  • By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit. MM-379
  • By spiritual training I mean education of the heart. EWE-21
  • Experience gained in two schools under my control has taught me that punishment does not purify, if anything, it hardens children. T-2-218
  • I consider writing as a fine art. We kill it by imposing the alphabet on little children and making it the beginning of learning. T-4-164
  • I do regard spinning and weaving as a necessary part of any national system of education. XXVI-275
  • The aim of university education should be to turn out true servants of the people who will live and die for the country's freedom. MM-381
  • A balanced intellect presupposes a harmonious growth of body, mind and soul. MM-379
  • Love requires that true education should be easily accessible to all and should be of use to every villager in his daily life. MM-381
  • The notion of education through handicrafts rises from the contemplation of truth and love permeating life's activities. MM-381
  • The fees that you pay do not cover even a fraction of the amount that is spent on your education from the public exchequer. T-2-345
  • Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisites for acquiring learning of any kind. MM-377
  • If we want to impart education best suited to the needs of the villagers, we should take the vidyapith to the villages. T-4-163
  • In a democratic scheme, money invested in the promotion of learning gives a tenfold return to the people even as a seed sown in good soil returns a luxuriant crop. EWE-28
  • All education in a country has got to be demonstrably in promotion of the progress of the country in which it is given. MM-381
  • Schools and colleges are really a factory for turning out clerks for the Government. T-2-13
  • The canker has so eaten into the society that in many cases the only meaning of education is a knowledge of English. EWE-11
  • Emphasis laid on the principle of spending every minute of one's life usefully is the best education for citizenship. EWE-24
Effort :
  • Pleasure lies in making an effort, not in its fulfillment. T-5-174
Ego :
  • We are all like water; we have to strive so to rarefy ourselves that all the ego in us perishes and we merge in the infinite to the eternal good of all. T-2-308
Employment :
  • Khadi will cease to have any value in my eyes if it does not usefully employ the millions. T-7-187
Enemy :
  • I recognise no one as my enemy on the face of the earth. XXVI-268
  • In the dictionary of satyagraha, there is no enemy. T-5-162
  • No man could look upon another as his enemy unless he first became his own enemy. T-7-204
Englishman-English Language :
  • Englishmen must learn to be Brahmins, not banias. MM-325
  • Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it. X-21
  • Non-co-operation is a movement intended to invite Englishmen to co-operate with us on honourable terms or retire from our land. T-2-40
  • Swaraj means, a state such that we can maintain our separate existence without the presence of the English. T-2-19
  • However virile the English language may be, it can never become the language of the masses of India. T-7-51
  • The English language is so elastic that you can find another word to say the same thing. T-5-150
  • If the English educated neglect, as they have done and even now continue, as some do, to be ignorant of their mother tongue, linguistic starvation will abide. T-7-51
  • We, the English educated Indians, often unconsciously make the terrible mistake of thinking that the microscopic minority of the English-speaking Indians is the whole of India. T-2-326
  • I am not anti-English, I am not anti-British, I am not anti-any Government, but I am anti-untruth, anti-humbug and anti-injustice. MM-322
  • I refuse to put the unnecessary strain of learning English upon my sisters for the sake of false pride or questionable social advantage. XX-159
  • My love of the British is equal to that of my own people. MM-323
  • My mission is to convert every Indian, every Englishman and finally the world to nonviolence for regulating mutual relations, whether political, economic, social or religious. T-5-221
  • My personal religion enables me to serve my countrymen without hurting the English or, for that matter anybody else.MM-322
  • My plea is for banishing the English language as a cultural usurper, as we successfully banished the political rule of the English usurper. T-8-128
  • If any Englishman dedicated his life to securing the freedom of India, resisting tyranny and serving the land, I should welcome that Englishman as an Indian. X-41
  • Personally I crave not for 'independence', which I do not understand, but I long for freedom from the English yoke. T-2-326
  • By patriotism I mean the welfare of all people, and if I could secure it at the hands of the English, I should bow down my head to them. X-41
  • Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so-called weaker races of the earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation in which England is the greatest partner. T-2-327
  • To get rid of the infatuation for English is one of the essentials of Swaraj. EWE-46
  • A smattering of English is worse than useless; it is an unnecessary tax on our women. XIV-46
  • Ram Mohan Roy would have been a greater reformer and Lokmanya Tilak a greater scholar if they had not to start with the handicap of having to think in English and transmit their thoughts chiefly in English. EWE-9
  • This belief in the necessity of English training has enslaved us. It has unfitted us for true national service. EWE-8
  • Of all the superstitions that affect India, none is so great as that a knowledge of the English language is necessary for imbibing ideas of liberty and developing accuracy to thought. EWE-10
  • The canker has so eaten into the society that in many cases the only meaning of education is a knowledge of English. EWE-11
  • We Hindus and Mohamedans would have to blame our folly rather than the English, if we allowed them to put us asunder. X-30
  • It would be a sad day for India if it has to inherit the English scale and the English tastes so utterly unsuitable to the Indian environment. T-2-18
  • My heart rebels against any foreigner imposing on my country the peace which is here called Pax-Britannica. T-2-201
  • Christianity in India is inextricably mixed up for the last hundred and fifty years with the British rule. T-2-341
  • No matter what the cause was and wherever it was, Indian governments must never requisition the services of British soldiers to deal with civil disturbances. T-7-359
  • There is as much need for a change of heart among the Hindus and Mussalmans as there is among the British, before a proper settlement is arrived at. XXVI-233
  • Let us learn from the English rulers the simple fact that the oppressors are blind to the enormity of their own misdeeds. XXV-397
  • Man has the supreme knack of deceiving himself; the Englishman was supremest amongst men. T-8-44
  • The Britisher is the top dog and the Indian the underdog in his own country. T-3-71
  • That I want to destroy British imperialism is another matter, but I want to do so by converting those who are associated with it. T-4-93
  • India is less manly under the British rule than she ever was before. T-2-100
  • The British power is the overlord without whom Indian princes cannot breathe. T-5-192
  • My conception of dominion status implies present ability to severe the British connection if I wish to. T-2-382
  • The British are weak in numbers, we are weak in spite of our numbers. T-2-20
  • My motto is "Unite now, today if you can; fight if you must. But in every case avoid British intervention." XXVI-233
  • Will Great Britain have an unwilling India dragged into war or a willing ally co-operating with her in the prosecution of a defence of true democracy? T-5-167
  • Boycott brought about anyhow of British cloth cannot yield the same results as such boycott brought about by hand-spinning and khaddar. XXV-475
  • I must fight unto the death the unholy attempt to impose British methods and British institutions on India. XXV-489
  • The Indian struggle is not anti-British, it is anti-exploitation, anti-foreign rule, not anti-foreigners. T-5-255
  • The way out of the riots, on the one hand, and the British bayonets on the other is frank acceptance of nonviolence. T-5-238
  • What senseless violence does is to prolong the lease of life of the British or foreign rule. T-7-194
  • Our nonviolence vis-a-vis the British Government has been the nonviolence of the weak. MM-349
  • I believe in the capacity of India to offer nonviolent battle to the English rulers. XXV-489
  • The builders of the British Indian Empire have patiently built its four pillars-the European interests, the army, the Indian princes and the communal divisions. T-5-237
  • The collectors of revenue and the policeman are the only symbols by which millions in India's villages know British rule. T-7-215
  • It was not through democratic methods that Britain bagged India. T-5-277
  • For my own part, I do not want the freedom of India if it means extinction of English or the disappearance of Englishmen. T-2-200
  • It is derogatory to the dignity of mankind, it is derogatory to the dignity of India, to entertain for one single moment hatred towards Englishmen. T-2-199
  • If you must kill English officials, why not kill me instead? T-3-102
  • I am just not thinking of India's deliverance. It will come, but will it be worth if England and France fall, or if they come out victorious over Germany ruined and humbled? T-5-161
  • I claim to have been a lifelong and wholly disinterested friend of the British people. T-5-295
  • My attitude towards the British is one of utter friendliness and respect. XXVI-52
  • I may fight the British ruler, but I do not hate the English or their language. In fact, I appreciate their literary treasures. T-4-93
  • By ahimsa we will be able to save the cow and also win the friendship of the English. XXV-520
Equality :
  • Equality of sexes does not mean equality of occupations. MM-296
  • Economic equality of my conception does not mean that every one will literally have the same amount. MM-267
  • The real meaning of economic equality is " To each according to his need." MM-267
  • What is equality of rights between a giant and a dwarf? T-3-71
  • Economic equality is the master-key to nonviolent independence. MM-257
  • The prince and the peasant will not be equalized by cutting off the prince's head. MM-248
  • No two leaves were alike, and yet there is no antagonism between them or between the branches on which they grow. T-7-115
  • Under ideal conditions, the barrister and the bhangi (sweeper) should both get the same payment. T-8-63
  • If a single man demanded as much as a man with a wife and four children, then that would be a violation of the concept of economic equality. T-7-47
  • "All men are born equal and free" is not Nature's law in the literal sense. MM-350
  • My idea of society is that while we are born equal, meaning that we have a right to equal opportunity, all have not the same capacity. MM-266
  • Let no one try to justify the glaring difference between the classes and the masses, the prince and the pauper, by saying that the former need more. T-7-47
  • The real implication of equal distribution is that each man shall have the wherewithal to supply all his natural needs and no more. MM-268
  • The elephant needs a thousand times more food than the ant but that is not an indication of inequality. T-7-47
  • No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself. T-7-309
  • How can I even secretly harbour the thought that my neighbour's faith is inferior to mine? T-3-257
Ethics :
  • Teaching of fundamental ethics is undoubtedly a function of the state. TIG-151
  • By religion I have not in mind fundamental ethics but what goes by the name of denominationalism. EWE-31
  • To me God is Truth and Love; God is ethics and morality; God is fearlessness. TIG-10
Euclid :
  • Euclid's line is one without breadth, but no one has so far been able to draw it and never will. MM-131
  • If Euclid's point, thought incapable of being drawn by human agency, has an imperishable value, my picture has its own for mankind to live. MM-372
  • Absolute trusteeship is an abstraction like Euclid's definition of a point, and its equally unattainable. MM-372
Europe :
  • Europe is today only nominally Christian. It is really worshipping Mammon. TIG-143
  • European civilization is no doubt suited for the Europeans but it will mean ruin for India, if we endeavour to copy it. T-3-94
  • An India prostrate at the feet of Europe can give no hope to humanity. T-2-46
  • A free India will claim to examine every European interest on its merits and that which conflicts with the national interest will go by the board. T-5-192
Evil :
  • Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness can we conquer the evil in us. TIG-56
  • He who has a living faith in God will not do evil deeds with the name of God on his lips. T-4-252
  • Non-co-operation is a protest against an unwitting and unwilling participation in evil. T-2-45
  • Nonviolence does not signify that man must not fight against the enemy, and by enemy is meant the evil which men do, not human beings themselves. T-8-281
  • Real non-co-operation is non-co-operation with evil and not with the evildoer. T-2-200
  • In a strictly scientific sense God is at the bottom of both good and evil. TIG-25
  • Tolerance obviously does not disturb the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil. TIG-66
Evolution :
  • Like man, the meaning of great writings suffers evolution. T-2-311
  • The religion of our conception, thus imperfect, is always subject to a process of evolution and re-interpretation. TIG-65
Experiments :
  • My experiments I hold to be infinitely more important than the best equipped Himalayan expeditions. MM-8
Exploitation :
  • The divorce of intellect from body labour has made us perhaps the shortest-lived, most resourceless and most exploited nation on earth. T-3-2899
  • Exploitation and domination of one nation over another can have no place in a world striving to put an end to all war. T-7-2
  • Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so-called weaker races of the earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation in which England is the greatest partner. T-2-327