A century ago, in March 1922, Mahatma Gandhi was arrested. He was accused of sedition because of three articles published in his weekly magazine, Young India. In the first he had written: “The British Empire, built on the systematic exploitation of the physically weaker races of the earth and on a deployment of brute force, cannot last, if there is a just God who rules the universe.” In the third article he openly proclaimed, “We want to overthrow the Government. We want to compel its submission to the people’s will.”
March 18, 1922: the great trial
Gandhi was tried on March 18. Before the judge he declared himself a “weaver and farmer,” guilty of having instigated “non-co-operation” with the British government and to have fomented disaffection because “the government established by law in British India is constituted for the exploitation of the masses. […] I have no doubt whatsoever that England will have to answer, if there is a God above, for this crime against humanity, which is perhaps unequalled in history […] I am endeavoring to show to my countrymen that violent non-co-operation only multiplies evil, and that as evil can only be sustained by violence, withdrawal of the support of evil requires complete abstention from violence.” Therefore, he asked the judge for the maximum sentence for the crime, or – if he agreed with him – to resign from office.
It was not difficult for the magistrate to prove that the bloody events of the previous months in Chauri Chaura and Bombay called into question the responsibility of the accused. Therefore, he sentenced him to six years in prison. However, he added that he saw in Gandhi “a man of high ideals and noble life, declaring himself sorry that such a man had made it impossible for the government to let him go free.” This was Gandhi’s last trial. After 1922, he was arrested many more times, but a trial never followed. This was “the great trial.”
Gandhi launched his first campaign for independence in November 1921. He called it by an innovative term, satyagraha, the force of truth, synonymous with nonviolent resistance. The campaign was launched on the basis of three social aims: the unity between Hindus and Muslims, the abolition of the caste of the “untouchables,” and the use of local raw materials, with the promotion of khadi, that is the wide-ranging invitation to wear clothes made of cotton cloth personally hand-woven by each individual, to boycott clothes manufactured in Britain.
He wrote in January 1922: “I hope to be able to persuade everyone that civil disobedience is an inalienable right of every citizen. To renounce it is to cease to be men. Civil disobedience never leads to anarchy. […] All possible measures must be taken to avoid any manifestation of violence.” On February 1, Gandhi called for civil disobedience, but only in the Bardoli district of his province. A successful outcome would give him the opportunity to extend it to all of India.
The viceroy was called on to restore “the freedoms of speech, association and the press […] and release the innocent people who had been imprisoned,” otherwise civil disobedience would begin. For the viceroy, accepting the demand was impossible, as it seemed like a surrender of the government. The refusal started protests.
One was particularly dramatic, with 22 deaths. On February 5, in Chauri Chaura, a demonstration took place in an orderly manner, passing in front of the police station. A group of latecomers, who were catching up with the procession, were insulted by the police; a brawl ensued. The police fired a few shots and then took refuge in the barracks. In anger, the demonstrators set fire to the barracks. The few policemen who came out were either killed outright or pushed back into the fire, where they died. As soon as he was informed of the incident, Gandhi convened a meeting of the Congress Party, i.e. the Indian Nationalist Party, and canceled the campaign of civil disobedience; he imposed on himself five days of fasting to atone for the violence of the massacre. When he was harshly criticized throughout India for canceling the campaign, he replied, “God spoke clearly through Chauri Chaura.” “We dare not enter the Kingdom of Liberty with mere lip-homage to Truth and Nonviolence.”
A strengthening sentence
The sentence of six years’ imprisonment could have marked the end of the struggle that Gandhi had supported up to that moment for the liberation of India. Instead, it had another consequence; it strengthened his resolve and his reputation in the eyes of the Indians.
There were other consequences. The arrest signified his recognition by the British government as the principal leader of the national independence movement, and the Congress became an organization with broad geographic and social boundaries. Increased party membership and funds to support the cause followed the surprise of the arrest and the public news of the conviction. A sign of growth was, from that point on, the promotion of khadi. The simplicity of Gandhi’s dress testified to a clear commitment to social equality. Gandhi himself devoted half an hour each day to weaving the fabric for his own attire. By 1922 he had adopted the lifestyle that would characterize him in the years to follow, until his assassination in 1948.
Twenty years later he gave an assessment of this first attempt at national struggle under his own direction: “We had countless people scattered over an enormous area, so it was not easy to control and train them. Yet it is miraculous how they reacted… I do not feel at all disappointed by the results achieved… Imperfect as I am, I began with imperfect men and women, and set sail on an unknown ocean. Thanks to God, the ship, even though it did not reach port, proved to be able to withstand the storms.”
The first storm
The first storm was in 1893. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 24 years old, a young lawyer who had graduated in London, was not successful in India. He was given a legal assignment to carry out in in Pretoria, South Africa on behalf of a Muslim company. On the train trip, Gandhi was traveling first class. Someone noticed that he was Indian. Apartheid was in force in South Africa. Soon an official ordered him to travel third class: “But I have a first class ticket,” Gandhi replied. “This does not count. […] You must leave your seat, otherwise I will be forced to call a policeman.” “Do what you think right,” he replied, “but I will not leave my seat of my own free will.” Immediately an officer came, grabbed him by the arm and made him get off the train. Gandhi had refused to continue the journey in third class, and the train left without him.
The humiliation he suffered made him aware of racism in a dramatic way: experiencing it in person was traumatic. Gandhi quickly realized that he was at a crossroads: should he react to discrimination or return to India? In deciding to fight against the injustice he suffered, he discovered a truth: the dignity of the person, and at the same time the violence and injustice that must be suffered to defend it. The world is made of violence (in Hindu, himsa, that is “harm done to others”), the Truth is the opposite (ahimsa, “do no harm to others”). “Nonviolence” is not one truth among others, but the Truth that, pursued to its inexhaustible depths, is identified with God.” Gandhi titled his Autobiography “The Story of My Experiments with Truth”: “It is the most communicative of his writings and frankly reveals details about his growth, adolescence, early marriage, strong sexual drive and the effort to sublimate it, and the spiritual influence that allowed the evolution of his personality.” The conclusion marks a very high stage on the path to Truth. For him, Truth and nonviolence are “as old as the mountains.”
Self-government of India
Gandhi’s name is synonymous with the quest for India’s independence and a symbol of nonviolent resistance. In South Africa he learned to deal with the political problems of his countrymen. Being persecuted and imprisoned for reasons of conscience taught Gandhi to face his punishment with dignity, pride and tenacity. Punishment is not a disgrace, because going to prison because of an abuse of power increases the prestige of the cause. Little by little, he widened the scope of his actions, challenging the sacred postulates of Hinduism. In his eyes, there was no difference between a Brahmin and the untouchables, between upper and lower castes. Identifying with the abused and the poor, he dedicated himself to their service and, through them, lived the spiritual experience of encountering God. He looked with confidence at the actual situation in his own India.
One of Gandhi’s most striking aspects was his loyalty to the British Empire. He recognized the core values of the British Constitution: justice, freedom and equality. However, the government represented in India “the struggle between modern civilization, which is the kingdom of Satan, and ancient civilization, which is the kingdom of God. The former is the God of war; the latter is the God of love. My compatriots impute the evils of modern civilization to the English people and consequently believe that the English people are evil, not the civilization they represent. […] Therefore they believe it is their duty to adopt […] violence to drive out the English.”
This is the central point of Gandhi’s youthful masterpiece, written in South Africa in 1909: The Self-Government of India. The independence of the nation was not to be based on the principles of the British: profit, exploitation and wealth, but on the traditional values of India: the power of love and spirit. In short, he asserted “before making India we must make Indians.” It has been written of the work that it can be compared “to other works such as Rousseau’s The Social Contract and Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises.” The British politician Stafford Cripps wrote: “I know of no one who in any age, and particularly in recent history, has demonstrated with such force and conviction the power of the spirit over material things.”
Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 21 years, and the dramatic experience he had there constituted a spiritual school. He learned that the nonviolent struggle against apartheid was real politics: it eventually saw the recognition of equal rights, the elimination of discriminatory laws, the validity of religious marriages (only Christian ones were recognized as valid).
When he returned to India in 1915, he found general discontent with the British government. In 1919, the first application of satyagraha was the turning point in Gandhi’s life. The occasion was the implementation of the Rowlatt Act: special regulations enacted during the war to prevent unrest were being extended in India into the post-war period. “I regard such a bill as an open challenge to our people,” Gandhi wrote. Upon its announcement, he organized a vigorous campaign of civil disobedience, involving factory closures, store lockouts and strikes. Mass participation was enormous.
In April, during the demonstrations, there was no lack of tension and violence, culminating in a tragic clash in the Punjab. This was the Amritsar massacre. The officer who had the task of maintaining public order ordered his troops to open fire on a peaceful and unarmed demonstration, attended by about 20,000 people. There were 400 dead and a thousand wounded. The reaction throughout India was intense. Gandhi immediately interrupted his campaign, against the opinion of many, recognizing that he had made a “Himalayan miscalculation,” since he believed that the population was ready for nonviolent struggle. The civil disobedience campaign was then launched in Bardoli, as the aftermath of Chauri Chaura.
Gandhi is known as the Mahatma, the “great soul,” as he was described by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, who had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. In reality, his commitment was mainly religious, involving personal liberation, in the belief that liberation had a strong political impact. He affirmed this several times and reiterates it in his Autobiography: “My devotion to Truth has brought me into the field of politics.”
The nonviolence that characterizes his thought should be read in this perspective. It is not a political strategy, but the purpose of life, which becomes one with the Truth: “Experience has taught me that there is no God but the Truth.” “I do not esteem myself worthy to be considered a prophet; I am but a humble seeker after Truth, impatient to arrive at a spiritual liberation of my present existence.” Gandhi did not desire political power for himself and never held an official position within Congress, yet he constantly exercised the role of arbiter in matters of policy or party crises.
In 1928, the Simon Commission, composed of British parliamentarians, had the task of reporting to London on a possible Constitution for India. Since Indians were only allowed to make proposals to the Commission as it traveled the country, it was greeted with hostility. Gandhi said that the government’s proposal following the report of the commission was “an organized insult against an entire population.” The clashes between police and demonstrators made him realize that nonviolence was a national necessity as long as it did not degenerate into violence. His goal was to bring about the unity of India through the Congress, and at the same time raise awareness among the peasant population. He began to systematically visit some of the 700,000 villages, supporting the kadhi campaign. This was the discipline needed to prepare for the common cause.
His knowledge of rural realities led him to propose 11 points to the Congress which, if accepted by the government, would make civil disobedience unnecessary: the total prohibition of alcohol, the reduction of the rupee-sterling exchange rate, the lowering of taxes on land, the abolition of the salt tax, the reduction of the salaries of high officials, the scaling-down of military spending and the release of political prisoners. To many, even to his closest friends, the proposal seemed unrealistic and doomed to failure, but for Gandhi it was the way to make independence understandable to the rural people of the villages. The purpose was not to clamor for independence from the British, but to put the Congress in a position to negotiate with the British government with its members as “legitimate national delegates and not as beggars awaiting the constitutional reforms envisioned by the Simon Commission.”
The ‘Salt March’
The issue they made central in their struggle was chosen: the salt tax. Gandhi wanted to organize a “salt march” from his place of retreat, Ahmedabad, to Dandi: a distance of about 380 km, reaching the coast of the Indian Ocean, where everyone would collect salt for their own consumption. It was an initiative with a strong impact, because it touched the interests of every family. It was also an ingenious plan, involving a nonviolent confrontation with the government and because it did not touch vital interests. This tactic was designed to make violent repression difficult.
In early March 1930, Gandhi warned the viceroy that he intended to begin a civil disobedience campaign against the salt tax. The march began with 80 trusted men and was a triumph; the crowds grew from village to village. In the march there was no lack of rest or prayer: it was truly a pilgrimage. The Hindu sacred texts were quoted, but also the Gospel and the speeches of Jesus against the authorities of Jerusalem. When they reached Dandi, everyone harvested salt for their personal use.
The government’s reaction was immediate: Gandhi, his wife Kasturba and 50,000 other people were arrested. Newspapers all over the world reported it. Some marginal episodes were the signs of widespread participation of the people. If the police ordered the demonstrators to disperse, they threw themselves on the ground and were arrested. A truck headed to the prison, packed with prisoners, blew a tire and could not continue. The arrested did not flee, but rather calmed the policemen and walked together toward the prison, between two wings of the crowd cheering them on. A child who was sitting on top of a salt bag refused to get up at the command of a policeman. He was severely beaten, but he did not move and remained with his arms folded. The officer stopped the attack and went to shake his hand: “You are a hero. I’ve never seen war like this before.”
Gandhi at Buckingham Palace
The popularity of the salt march had revealed that India was ready for independence. For the government in London it was a serious blow, accentuated by international diplomacy, which was widely in favor of the self-determination of peoples.
Gandhi came out of prison in January 1931 and, while everyone expected him to make a decisive move, he managed to displease everyone. He asked the viceroy, Lord Irwin, for a conversation “man to man”: “I wish I could meet not so much the viceroy of India, but the man in you.” Irwin agreed: he trusted the Mahatma, valued his religious vision and sympathized with the country’s political aspirations. The talks were useful, because Gandhi had assumed the role of mediator between Congress and the government. On March 5, 1931, the two signed The Delhi Pact: civil disobedience was stopped, and the special powers in force to combat it ceased to operate. In addition, the government undertook to free political prisoners and legitimized the collection of salt for personal use. The result was exceptional: nonviolence had challenged the power of the British Empire.
Everyone expected much more, and opposition to the Congress was immediately apparent., Nehru, Gandhi’s young disciple, however, supported the Pact, and the Mahatma would represent the Congress in London. Having demonstrated to the British “their strength by civil disobedience, they went to London not as beggars, but as true negotiators in a position of strength.”
One cannot fail to report Winston Churchill’s reaction: Gandhi is “a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir… striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace.” Thus he also presented himself at Buckingham Palace. In reality, the Mahatma’s appearance at the palace was just like that of a “half-naked fakir,” yet he embodied the strength of Truth and nonviolence, the right to discuss the new Constitution of India on an equal footing.
A prophet on the fringes of politics
The meeting in London did not produce immediate political results, but in the eyes of the Indians made Gandhi’s status grow out of all proportion. Upon returning home, he tried to have a friendly conversation with the new viceroy, the Marquis of Willingdon. The meeting was not only denied to him, but there followed a campaign of repression against the nationalists, giving rise to a surprising chain of protests throughout the country. In the course of the first, Gandhi was arrested. While he was still in prison, in 1932, the British government established separate electorates for the untouchables. His reaction was immediate: he began a fast. Although the government was willing to grant more seats for the untouchables, Gandhi did not back down and on the sixth day of protest it looked like he was going to die. Only then did the government revoke the measure. For the Mahatma it was very important that the poorer classes could be recognized as citizens and not as a separate caste.
Representatives from both Congress and the All-India Muslim League wanted Gandhi to abandon nonviolence; but for him it was essential; it constituted “the law of life for human beings. […] I am increasingly convinced that, in the complex situation of India, there is no other way to obtain freedom.” In 1934 he left the Congress and retired from politics, to devote himself exclusively to the spiritual reform of India. He was over 65 years old, the age when strength tends to fail. Some react by clinging to old roles, others welcome this time with intelligence, seeking new forms of behavior. Such was Gandhi’s choice. If he became in a sense a prophet on the fringes of political life, in fact he was again free to pursue his mission.
Now he could start again from a new beginning, so he settled in one of the small villages. He chose one of the most remote, in the Central Provinces, named Segaon, a group of huts with few people, to which he gave a new name, Sevagram, “Village of Service.” He explained the reason: village living is different from that of the cities, but it is fundamental to the nation. “Serving our villages means building autonomy. Anything else is a vain dream. If the village dies, India dies too. There will be no more India. Its mission in the world will be lost.”
With the Mahatma’s presence, the village came to life again: Hindus, Buddhists and Christians coexisted there; great respect was shown to all religions, and proselytism was excluded. In a short time, that place became the beating heart of silent India and the center of a movement, the “Pan-Indian Association of Village Industries,” which slowly succeeded in transforming the situation of misery and exploitation. It was the revolutionary force of nonviolence. In the program Gandhi also included education, which should not only include literacy, but had to include manual skills for life and work. There was also a plan to promote good health by fighting diseases, such as malaria and dysentery. Among other things, he indicated he was not against the use of machinery, as long as it did not multiply “indiscriminately” and did not take work away from the poor.
The Second World War
On September 3, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. The viceroy, without consulting the Indians, announced that India had entered the war on the side of Britain. The political life of the country was disrupted. Ten days after the start of the conflict, in a document addressed to the viceroy, the Congress declared itself in favor of war only if the British granted India the freedom it was defending against Nazism. Compiled by Nehru, the text contradicted Gandhi’s position, which rejected any involvement in hostilities.
After weeks came the response of the viceroy: the independence of India would be discussed after the war. In the stalemate that followed, the Congress entrusted Gandhi with the task of organizing a campaign of civil disobedience. Meanwhile, the head of the Muslim League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was thinking about the formation of a Muslim state.
The Mahatma’s public role had suddenly changed: relations with Congress had become difficult. The proponent of nonviolence lived out the war with sorrow: “My nonviolence seems almost impotent. But at the end of the daily struggle comes the answer: neither God nor nonviolence is powerless. Impotence is in man. I must keep trying without losing faith.” The world conflict was a new and difficult issue to deal with.
In September 1940 Gandhi launched a form of individual satyagraha against the war: “Not because I love the English nation, nor do I hate the German nation. […] We are all made of the same stuff, we are all members of the vast human family. […] I cannot save the integrity of the Indians and their freedom except on the condition that I feel benevolence toward the whole human family.”
In 1942, the British government, worried about the advance of Japan towards British possessions in Asia, needed the collaboration of the Indians: therefore it sent Stafford Cripps on a mission to get the Indians to accept the status of The Dominion of India, this status to be ratified after the war. Gandhi’s answer was very clear: “It was a post-dated cheque on a bank close to bankruptcy.” The British had to leave the country. This gave rise to a spontaneous movement that took the name Quit India, with a widespread campaign of civil disobedience. Gandhi accompanied it with the mantra: “Do or die. We will liberate India, or else perish in the struggle; we will not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery.”
The response of the Churchill’s government was immediate: there was unprecedented violence and repression. Official estimates indicated hundreds of government buildings destroyed, 66,000 people arrested and 2,500 dead. Gandhi, his wife and members of Congress were immediately imprisoned. For the Mahatma, detained in Pune, those were the most difficult days, a time of darkness and anguish. First he lost his trusted advisor, then his wife to a heart attack. Finally, because of the violence that broke out during the protest, he began a fast.
Independence of India
After nearly two years of imprisonment, Gandhi was released in May 1944. He first attempted to talk with the head of the Muslim League, to reach an understanding with a view to independence. But the meetings were futile. Jinnah was determined to establish an independent state for Muslims. This opened the way to the partition of India and the “Land of the Pure” (the name of the future “Pakistan”) was born.
In 1945, with the victory of the Labour Party in Britain’s general election, the Attlee government announced a possible withdrawal from India and proposed a single federal state. Gandhi did not mind the plan, and Jinnah, although very critical, at first adhered to it, but then had second thoughts. The viceroy then entrusted Nehru with the task of forming an interim government. The latter went to Jinnah to offer him various roles in the government, but he rejected them.
As northern India was convulsed in 1946-47 by violence, extending from the Punjab to Bihar, the British government proposed the division of India into three autonomous provinces, linked to a central government. Although Gandhi was against it, the Congress and the League accepted it. Lord Mountbatten was tasked with implementing the transfer of full powers to India and set a date for independence in 1947. The Mahatma busied himself traveling through the villages on foot, valiantly attempting one last effort to pacify Hindus and Muslims. Had he succeeded in bringing peace to Bengal and Calcutta, the nation would have remained united.
On August 15, 1947, India achieved independence, but without the two large provinces that formed East and West Pakistan. The following day Jinnah proclaimed a “Day of Direct Action,” abandoning constitutional methods. He initiated a massacre that would accompany the birth of independent India and Pakistan. In Bengal, particularly in Calcutta, the center of Muslims, a Hindu hunt was unleashed that caused 4,000 deaths. Those who were able to take refuge in neighboring Bihar organized a reprisal that resulted in 7,000 deaths.
It was the tragic end of the program that the Mahatma had been pursuing all his life. However, he continued his work of peacemaking in Calcutta and even tried to reach the distant Punjab, when conflict broke out over Kashmir, whose status was a matter of dispute between India and Pakistan. On the way he was forced to stop in Delhi.
On January 30, 1948, during public prayer in that city, a Hindu approached and bowed before him. Perhaps it was a sincere gesture of devotion, but then he pulled out a gun and fired three times, killing him. Collapsing on the ground, Gandhi was just able to pronounce the name of God, Rama. The assassin belonged to the Indian party that repudiated the doctrine of nonviolence and reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims.
The next day, in accordance with religious tradition, the Mahatma’s body was cremated: the whole of India, and perhaps the whole world, gathered around it. If Gandhi was disappointed by the failure of nonviolence, his death revealed instead that the cause of Truth and nonviolence had not been in vain.
DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 6, no.5 art. 7, 0522: 10.32009/22072446.0522.7
. For the two articles, see C. Fusero, Gandhi, Milan, Dall’Oglio, 1968, 401.
. Y. Chadha, Gandhi. Il rivoluzionario disarmato, Milan, Mondadori, 2011, 261.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi. Prigioniero della speranza, Bologna, il Mulino, 1995, 255.
. See the title of the volume that gave an account of the trial: K. P. Kesava Menon, The great Trial of Mahatma Gandhi & Mr. Shankarlal Banker, Madras, Ganesan, 1922.
. The castes in India had been formed for centuries: the Brahmins (priests), warriors, merchants and artisans, and servants. Finally come the pariahs, described as the “untouchables,” the lowest caste, assigned to humiliating and shameful work.
. Cf. M. K. Gandhi, Autobiografia, Milan, Treves, 1931, 373-379.
. Id., Teoria e pratica della non-violenza, Turin, Einaudi, 1973, 185.
 . Y. Chadha, Gandhi. Il rivoluzionario disarmato, op. cit., 256.
 . See ibid., 257.
. D. Dalton, Gandhi, il Mahatma. Il potere della nonviolenza, Genoa, Ecig, 1998, 75.
. Y. Chadha, Gandhi. Il rivoluzionario disarmato, op. cit., 258.
. C. Fusero, Gandhi, op. cit., 400.
. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869: in India Gandhi’s birthday is a national holiday.
. M. K. Gandhi, Autobiografia, op. cit., 120f.
. The term suggests the Latin in-nocens: cf. E. Balducci, Gandhi, Florence, Giunti, 2007, 14.
. P. A. Nazareth, La straordinaria leadership di Gandhi, Nürnberg, The Golden Shore, 2014, 24.
. Cf. M. K. Gandhi, Autobiografia, op. cit., 383-385.
. Cf. Id., Antiche come le montagne, Milan, Mondadori, 1987.
. Cf. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 268.
. Ibid., 97.
. M. K. Gandhi, “Hind Swaraj”, in Indian Opinion, 1909-10. See Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. 10, New Delhi, The Publications Division Ministry of Information, 1963, 6-68.
. E. Balducci, Gandhi, op. cit., 16. This is a paraphrase of a famous maxim of D’Azeglio.
. P. A. Nazareth, La straordinaria leadership di Gandhi, op. cit., 24.
. C. Fusero, Gandhi, op. cit., 5.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 192.
. Cf. M. Torri, Storia dell’India, Milan, Mondadori, 2011, 518-522; J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 196.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 197.
. M. K. Gandhi, Autobiografia, op. cit., 384.
. Ibid., 388. Cf. A. Capitini, “La religione di Gandhi”, in M. K. Gandhi, In cammino verso Dio, Milan, Mondadori, 2006, xvii.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi… , op. cit., 329.
. Ibid., 338; 353.
. Cf. ibid., 355. Along the way there was also an extraordinary sale of Bibles to Hindus.
. Cf. E. Balducci, Gandhi, op. cit., 91.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 368.
. Ibid., 371.
. D. Dalton, Gandhi, il Mahatma…, op. cit., 92.
. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 397.
. Cf. M. Torri, “Il ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi: un santo come uomo politico”, in D. Abignente – S. Tanzarella, Tra Cristo e Gandhi. L’insegnamento di Lanza del Vasto alle radici della nonviolenza, Cinisello Balsamo (Mi), San Paolo, 2003, 17-46.
. Seventy-five percent of the population lived in the 700,000 villages of India.
. M. K. Gandhi, Villaggio e autonomia. La nonviolenza come potere del popolo, Florence, Libreria Editrice Fiorentina, 1982, 32. Lanza del Vasto, one of Gandhi’s disciples in Europe, also visited the village.
. Cf. ibid., 23-26.
. Id., “Statement to the Press”, September 5, 1939, in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, op. cit., vol. 70, 162.
. E. Balducci, Gandhi, op. cit., 130.
. Y. Chadha, Gandhi. Il rivoluzionario disarmato, op. cit., 375.
. Ibid. 382.
. Cf. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 501.
. Ibid., 556.
. Cf. E. Balducci, Gandhi, op. cit., 141.
. Gandhi had said the day before, “If someone were to kill me and I were to die with prayer for my murderer on my lips, and the remembrance of God and the consciousness of His living presence in the sanctuary of my heart, only then could it be said of me that I would have had the nonviolence of the brave” (M. K. Gandhi, In cammino verso Dio, op. cit., 32).
. Cf. J. M. Brown, Gandhi…, op. cit., 567.