Mahatma Gandhi does not need any sort of introduction. He was one of the great leaders of our country and a man who was majorly responsible for Indian independence. He was the pioneer in using non-violence as a weapon to fight against much bigger and powerful enemies. He was imprisoned many times in his life fighting for Indian freedom and faced tortures of the British government. The courage and strong determination of this man shook the foundation of the British rule.
Mahatma Gandhi Speeches during the Freedom Struggle of India
Find here original speeches given by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle of India:
Speech at Madras Reception – 21st April 1915
“If there is anything that we have deserved, as has been stated in this beautiful address, I can only say I lay it at the feet of my Master under whose inspiration I have been working all this time under exile in South Africa”
“In the great city of Johannesburg, the Madarasis look on a Madrasis as dishonored if he has not passed through the jails once or twice during this terrible crisis that your countrymen in South Africa went through during these eight long years”
Mahatma Gandhi was welcomed in Madras in 1915. The speech he delivered in Madras was mostly a thanksgiving speech and basically a narration of the struggle in South Africa. He also emphasized the participation and sacrifices of the Indians in South Africa at the time of the civil rights crisis. It was the speech given in reply to the welcoming address by Mr. G. A. Natesan on behalf of the South African League.
Mahatma Gandhi Speech at Banaras Hindu University – 4th Feb 1916
“It is a matter of deep humiliation and shame for us that I am compelled this evening under the shadow of this great college, in this sacred city, to address my countrymen in a language that is foreign to me…”
“If even our temples are not models of roominess and cleanliness, what can our self-government be?”
“If we are to receive self-government, we shall have to take it. We shall never be granted self-government”
On the occasion of the opening of the Banaras Hindu University, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya invited Mahatma Gandhi to speak on the occasion. Gandhiji mainly focused on the importance of Indian language for basic communication and speeches and castigated the use of the English language. He also discussed the importance of cleanliness especially in Temples and Trains and said that if we are not able to clean our temples and city then how will we able to manage self-government.
He also challenged the British government demanding India’s independence and said that if India is not given the self-government then we will be forced to take it by own. Gandhiji speech was considered as the act of courage and it was one of the first speeches in which Mahatma Gandhi fiercely demanded independence from the British rule and was considered as the seed of his independence movement.
The Great Trial of 1922 – 18th March 1922
“I do not plead any extenating act. I am here, therefore, to invite and cheerfully submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime, and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen”
“I came reluctantly to the conclusion that the British connection had made India more helpless than she ever was before, politically and economically”
The speech given by Mahatma Gandhi in the Great Trial of 1922 was a legal statement rather being a speech. Mahatma Gandhi was convicted of spreading dissatisfactions against the British Rule. Mahatma Gandhi had given his statement to the Judge and pleaded that he accepts all the charges, and demands for the highest penalty.
He accepted that he was solely responsible for some non-violence incidents that happened during his movement. The Judge in the court was completely shaken by the determination of a man cladded in a white piece of cloth as this was the first time when a convict demanded the penalty for himself. Gandhiji also criticized the British government for their oppressive and cruel policies in India.
Speech on the Eve of Dandi March – 11th March 1930
“Let there be not a semblance of breach of peace even after all of us have been arrested. We have resolved to utilize all our resources in the pursuit of an exclusively nonviolent struggle. Let no one commit a wrong in anger. This is my hope and prayer”
“The history is full of instances of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity. We too, if we sincerely aspire to Swaraj and are impatient to attain it, should have similar self-confidence”
“Let all who are co-operating with the Government in one way or another, be it by paying taxes, keeping titles, or sending children to official schools, etc. withdraw their co-operation in all or as many watts as possible. Then there are women who can stand shoulder to shoulder with men in this struggle”
On the eve of Dandi March, Mahatma Gandhi addressed a mass gathering of around 10000 people. The speech he gave was mostly a roadmap of the civil disobedience movement. He pressurized that whether he lives or not after the Dandi march, the mode of operation must always be peace and non-violence. He invited every section of the society to come forward and take part in the civil disobedience movement and break the laws of the British government.
He also emphasized the women’s participation in the movement and said that they should come forward and stand shoulder to shoulder with men. The effect of his speech had a long term effect when the civil disobedience movement started from a pinch of salt spread on a mass scale across the nation.
Speech at the Round Table Conference – 30th November 1931
“Were Hindus and Mussalmans and Sikhs always at war with one another when there was no British rule, when there was no English face seen there? We have chapter and verse given to us by Hindu historians and by Mussalman historians to say that we were living in comparative peace even then. And Hindus and Mussalmans in the villages are not even today quarrelling”
“Let India get what she is entitled to and what she can really take, but whatever she gets, and whenever she gets it, let the Frontier Province get complete autonomy today”
“It will be one of the richest treasures that I shall carry with me. Here, too, I have found nothing but courtesy and nothing but a genuine affection from all with whom I have come in touch. I have come in touch with so many Englishmen. It has been a priceless privilege to me”
This was the speech given by Mahatma Gandhi at the round table conference in London in the presence of Indian and British political leaders. Gandhiji politely criticized the divide and rule policy of the Britishers and said the people and religions of India were residing in peace and there were no conflicts between them, it was the arrival of the Britishers and their policies which started dividing the people of India.
He also kept the demand to provide the self-government status to India through his speech. He thanked the people of England for extending the arm of friendship and for the utmost courtesy and affection given by the Englishmen.
The Quit India Movement Speech – 8th August 1942
“Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially non-violent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship”
“People may laugh, nevertheless that is my claim. At a time when I may have to launch the biggest struggle of my life, I may not harbour hatred against anybody”
“I have pledged the Congress and the Congress will do or die”
On the eve of the ‘Quit India’ movement, Mahatma Gandhi addressed people at the August Kranti Ground, Bombay. The speech of Gandhiji included many important points but mostly it was more prominent in describing the importance of ‘Ahimsa’ or Non-Violence. He said that the draft resolution of the working committee of Congress is written on the foundation of non-violence and anyone who does not have faith in non-violence can politely separate himself from the resolution.
He also cited many examples of revolutions from the history which were fought with weapons and lost. He also affirmed that our fight is against British rule and not the British people so the people of India should avoid the sour feeling of hatred against the Englishmen. The appeal to the United Nations to discharge their obligations in declaring free India was also an important aspect of the Quit India speech.
He concluded his speech by giving the slogan “Do or Die” pledging to fight for Indian independence or die fighting for it. The speech was an open challenge to the British government from the Mahatma Gandhi towards the road of Independent India.
Speech on Kashmir Issue, At a Prayer Meeting – 4th January 1948
“Today there is talk of war everywhere. Everyone fears a war breaking out between the two countries. If that happens it will be a calamity both for India and for Pakistan”
“I shall therefore humbly say to the responsible leaders of Pakistan that though we are now two countries – which is a thing I never wanted – we should at least try to arrive at an agreement so that we could live as peaceful neighbors”
In a prayer meeting on 04th January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi discussed the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir Issue. As a follower of non-violence and peace, Gandhiji never wanted any conflicts between India and Pakistan. He was always a supporter of a dialogue system and wanted that both the countries should initiate a dialogue system and find a solution to the problem. He also emphasized the importance of the United Nations in initiating a settlement between the two countries.
Speech on the Day before his Last Fast – 12th January 1948
“The fast begins from the first meal tomorrow…It will end when and if I am satisfied that there is a reunion of hearts of all the communities brought about without any outside pressure, but from an awakened sense of duty”
“Death for me would be a glorious deliverance rather than that I should be a helpless witness of the destruction of India, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam”
Mahatma Gandhi was completely devastated by the recent communal riots. He was encircled by the sorrows of the aftermath of the riots. He started the fast to spread the communal harmony, love, and respect towards each other. It was the last recorded speech of Mahatma Gandhi just a few weeks before his assassination.
In the speech, he emphasized the importance of fast as a penalty and protest against the wrongdoing. He requested for the communal harmony between all the communities of the country. He was so much disappointed by the enmity of the religions that he said that it was better to die than to see India killed by its own people.
It had been more than 70 years since our independence but the speeches given by Mahatma Gandhi are even relevant in modern times. It is the call of the time to follow the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and walk on the path shown by him. Now in the world when there is a competition of developing nuclear weapons, the non-violence teachings of Mahatma Gandhi become more important. The path shown by Gandhiji is very essential to create a peaceful and weaponless world.