Thursday, 14 February 2013

Gandhi's Seven Social Sins

I just love visiting India. There is something about the place that strikes a chord with me at each visit. I also have a few friends in India who I like to visit from time to time.

At the moment I am reading about someone I consider to be the greatest leader and statesman who ever lived. His name was Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi. But he was also known as Bapu, Gandhiji or Mahatma and was one of the most influential figures in modern Indian and world history.

As Britain came towards the end of her influence in pre partitioned India. Gandhi proved to be something of an itch to the British government and Colonial masters that could not be scratched. He was a fundamental part of what could best be described today as a movement of Passive Resistance. But was back then called the non-cooperation movement. The more I read about Gandhi, the more I admire and respect his courage and resolve.

Banner of the "Young India"

Gandhi wrote in a regular weekly newsletter called "Young India" sold at a cost of two anna's. Young India was a weekly journal in English. The editorship taken over by Gandhi in 1919 and published until 1932. Gandhi wrote various quotations in this journal that inspired many. He used the Young India to spread his unique ideology and thoughts regarding independence. Gandhi and others recorded their thoughts on Colonial Rule and the way that the incumbent peoples of India were repressed. In his writings he expressed the way forward for India and independence was to be won by non violent means. Thoreau wrote of "Civil Disobedience" a phrase which Gandhi was not comfortable with as a description. However, the notion of  a "passive resistance" as employed by the Indian people was something that the British Government still did not understand.

Young India Vol IV No 12
Like the Romans before them the British seized control of a country. Then encouraged the local population to do their bidding by keeping the top jobs to themselves and offering the middle rank work to the Indian nationals. In this way, the British government was able to rule a vast country with relatively few British people on the ground. Gandhi had already realised that this was the British weak point.

The British Government brought trumped up charges against Mr Gandhi and Mr Banker. Gandfhi knew that the British would have their way. Sir J. T. Strangman assisted by Rao Bahadur Girdharlal conducted the prosecution, while the accused were undefended.

The offence being in three articles published in the Young India of September 29, Dec.15, of 1921 and February 23, 1923.. The offending articles were, "Tampering with Loyalty;" the second, "The Puzzle and Its Solution" and the last was "Shaking the Manes." 

The charge in each case was that of bringing or attempting to bring into hatred or contempt or exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards His Majesty's Government established by law in British India. Gandhi was later sentenced to six years in prison.

R. K. Prabhu who was working at the Bombay Chronicle in 1919. Wrote about a lesson he was given in Journalistic Ethics by Gandhi. On reading the article, I am sure that you might find that Gandhi comes across as another grumpy old curmudgeon. To read the article Click Here

Yet, some of the anecdotes of Gandhi are simply superb and show underneath it all was a man with more than a little humour.  Take, for instance a quote about the village postman whom Gandhi described as being a "man of letters." Or his observation on Ramsay Macdonald as "one of the statesmen true to his class, always waiting till circumstances force them to move."

But eventually even the British government and the establishment had to give way to his simple presence and authority. Gandhi came on a visit to London to attend the Round Table Conference as the delegate from India. Best summed up by a quotation from Sir Abdul Qadir.
Sir Abdul Qadir said: "The climax of Gandhiji's freedom from convention in the matter of dress was reached when I saw him mounting the carpeted stairs of Buckingham Palace to greet the King and Queen, with his blanket round his shoulders, at the Royal Party in honour of the Round Table Conference delegates and other visitors. I do not think the Palace had seen a visitor in that costume before, nor is it easy to conceive that anyone else would have been allowed the same freedom."
Gandhi wrote what he considered to be seven specific traits to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity. The "Seven Social Sins" were quoted by Gandhi in "Young India". They are "Wealth without Work", "Pleasure without Conscience", "Science without Humanity", "Knowledge without Character", "Politics without Principle", "Commerce without Morality" and "Worship without Sacrifice."

I wonder if we could interest the Members of our Parliament to take up the teachings in "Politic's without Principal." Our avarice ridden bankers to take up the principals in "Commerce without Morality" and certain CEO's of various organisations the principals in "Wealth without Work." 

If I have whetted your appetite to read more about this amazing man of the people. And you have an eReader such as a Kindle you will find much more about Gandhi here  Click Here



  1. Our daughter worked in Mumbai until the end of 2011. Consequently we have also made frequent visits to India and love the place - a feeling not shared by everyone we know. She also has many friends and colleagues there, so we are all making another visit for 3 weeks shortly. We fly to Delhi on 22nd March, and then make our way down through the country by land and air to the South - Kerala. I hope to be able to post to my blog while there again.

    1. Hello Peter and Margaret.

      Lucky you, the Gruffalo has decided that redecorating the house is a much more preferable option to another visit to India.

      regards.. :-(



Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.