Statement during MK Gandhi’s trial for “exciting disaffection toward His Majesty’s Government as established by law in India” (18 March 1922.) MK Gandhi.

gandhiandtrialMy ambition is much higher than independence. 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. Young India (12 January 1928). Quoted in The Essential Writings of Gandhi, edited by Judith Brown. Oxford University Press, 2008, (p. 153).  I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.  We in India may in moment realize that one hundred thousand Englishmen need not frighten three hundred million human beings. A definite forgiveness would therefore mean a definite recognition of our strength. … I must not refrain from a saying that India can gain more by waiving the right of punishment. We have better work to do, a better mission to deliver to the world. I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist. The religion of nonviolence is meant for the common people as well.  Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute. The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law — to the strength of the spirit.

Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not means meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means the putting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of being , it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for the empire’s fall or its regeneration. And so I am not pleading for India to practice nonviolence because it is weak. I want her to practice non-violence being conscious of her strength and power. No training in arms is required for realization of her strength. We seem to need it because we seem to think that we are but a lump of flesh. I want India to recognize that she has a soul that cannot perish and that can rise triumphant above every physical weakness and defy the physical combination of a whole world.

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