Some quotes form Gandhi on Non-violence.

In my response to Queer Quaker’s  recent article “And This Is Our Testimony To The Whole World”, I referenced a 1920 article by Gandhi that I found to be meaningful in my understanding of how to reconcile the call of Jesus for Nonviolence and the almost apparent necessity of Just War in the light of the ruthlessness and Political savvy of certain groups in our day like Boko Haram or the Taliban.

I would like to post a few quotes that passage of Gandhi’s that I referenced, as well as a few others, to demonstrate his position. I hope it will be of use to Friends and others, as it has been for me.


From Mahatma, II, Young India, AUgust 11, 1920:

“I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

“But I believe non-violence to be superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier ”

“Non-violence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering.It does not mean weak submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means putting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honour, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or its regeneration. ”

“If India takes up the doctrine of the sword, she may gain momentary victory. Then India will cease to be the pride of my heart. ”

“India’s acceptance of the doctrine of the sword will be the hour of my trial. I hope I will not be found wanting. My religion has no geographical limits. If I have a living faith in it, it will transcend my love for India herself. My life is dedicated to the service of India through the religion of non-violence which I believe to be the root of Hinduism”


From Mahatma Gandhi, The Last Phase, II, circa 1946

“But no institution can be made non-violent by compulsion. Non-violence and truth cannot be written into as constitution.They have to be adopted of one’s own free will.They must sit naturally upon us like next-to skin garments or else they become a contradiction in terms.”


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