gandhi quotes

Upon his return to India, Gandhi found work hard to come by. In 1893 he accepted work from an Indian firm in South Africa. Although the contract was for a year, he ended up staying for twenty-one years.

On one occasion, while travelling first class on a train, he was thrown off after a white passenger complained. This and other racial biases he witnessed in South Africa solidified ideas he had already been developing around equality of all people.

Indian immigrants in South Africa were subject to taxes, special laws and restrictions on freedoms. Preaching nonviolence, Gandhi led more than 2000 people in a protest march against the tax. He was arrested and sent to prison for nine months. Nevertheless, his actions did bring about the end of the tax.

Despite being short in stature and having a fear of speaking in public, he was able to make such changes and many more. He did not hold a political office, but worked in any way he could to better the lives of his countrymen. What gave him such a passionate belief in what was right and to work for it?

I believe one reason was that Gandhi was a deeply spiritual man. When we have a belief in someone greater than ourselves, we will pay better attention when injustice is occurring.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt 5:6)

Would that we all had that thirst for what’s right, in the way Gandhi showed he did.

Gandhi was a devout Hindu, but to him, all religions had equal status. He often said he was as much a Moslem, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsee as he was a Hindu. But although he wasn’t a Christian, Gandhi had a great respect for Christ. He said of him, “To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had.”

And further, “Jesus lived and died in vain if he did not teach us to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love.” I believe it took such love to motivate Gandhi to work for others. He said, “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with your love.”

Don’t these words from Jesus sound like Gandhi’s? “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

Can we remember this when we fight against the injustices around us? Can we treat those who hurt us and others with an attitude of love? When we see all that Gandhi has done with his calm and humble approach, we should be inspired to treat our own conflicts likewise.

Gandhi, the quiet leader of few words showed how much respect such an attitude could bring. And he showed the tremendous amount that could be accomplished. I see many Christlike qualities portrayed in him. Like Jesus he, in his own way, gave his life for the benefit of others.

During the course of his life, Gandhi suffered six known assassination attempts. Eventually in 1948, he was shot three times and killed by a Hindu extremist.

His dedication to nonviolent, anti-colonial protest inspires us to this day.

There is much more to learn about Mahatma Gandhi, but we’ve run out of space. I hope you’ll do some research of your own. There’s a richness to his life from which we can all learn.


This has been Part 5 of the series A Voice of One Calling. Read Part 6 – Whose Voice is This?