2 October

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on this day in 1869. The Mahatma, or 'great soul', prompted strong feelings throughout his life, not all of them favourable - not least from that arch-opponent of Indian independence, Winston Churchill.

October 2, 2009 · 1 min read

‘It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the vice-regal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the emperor-king,’ said Churchill on Gandhi’s meeting with the viceroy of India in 1930.

The following year, Gandhi met Churchill in person at the round table conference on India in London. ‘I have an alternative that is unpleasant to you,’ he told the conference. ‘India demands complete liberty and freedom … the same liberty that Englishmen enjoy … I want to partner with the English people … not merely for mutual benefit, but so that the great weight that is crushing the world to atoms may be lifted from its shoulders.’


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