The constructive Programmes may otherwise and more fittingly be called construction of Poorna Swaraj or complete independence by truthful  and non-violent means...

Upliftment of women

I have included upliftment of women in the constructive programme, for though Satyagraha has automatically brought India’s India’s women out of their darkness, as nothing else could have in such an incredibly short space of time. Congressmen have not felt the call to see that women equal partners in the fight for Swaraj. They have not realised that woman must be the true helpmate of man in the mission of service. Woman has been suppressed under custom and law for which man was responsible and in the shaping of which she had no hand. In a plan of life based on non violence, woman has as much right to shape her destiny as man has to shape his. But as every right in a non-violent society proceeds from the previous performance of a duty, it follows that rules of social conduct must be framed by mutual co-operation and consultation. They can never be imposed from outside. Men have not realized this truth in fullness in their behaviour towards women. They have considered themselves to be lords and masters of women instead of considering them as their friend and co-workers. It is the privilege of Congressmen to give women of India a lifting hand. Women are in the position somewhat of a slave of old who did not know that he could or ever had to be free. And when freedom came, for the moment he felt helpless. Women have been taught to regard themselves as slaves of men. It is up to Congressmen to see that they enable the women to realise their full status and play their part as equal of men.

This revolution is easy, if the mind is made up. Let Congressmen begin with their own homes. Wives should not be dolls and objects of indulgence, but should be treated as honoured comrades in common service. ...It is hardly necessary to point out that I have given a one sided picture of the helpless state of India’s women. I am quite conscious of the fact that in the villages generally they hold their own with their men folk and in some respects even rule them. But due to the impartial outsider the legal and customary status of woman is bad enough throughout and demands radical alteration. (1941)


Mahatma Gandhi on Women

…I am a self-appointed representative of India’s poor. I ask for money for them. Give up smoking and drinking and give me money. I ask for only a small share of the money you can thus save from misuse. You may extract from me an account for every pice you give me, but after satisfying yourself on the matter, you must slake my thirst for money and ask me to save the honour of Indian women thought it. I don’t mind any women, even my wife, breaking stones and cleaning latrines, but I certainly want no whatsoever to cast a lustful eye on my sister or mother…What is the meaning of Swaraj, so long as a single women is dying of starvation, so long as she can be robbed of her honour by any common man? I am right in claiming that man who shows woman an honorable means to satisfy her hunger, provides the material to win Swaraj. Women in India are crippled. What work for Swaraj can you do as long as you do nothing for them?…( Public meeting in Poona. 5/3/1927)



Mahatma Gandhi on Women

…I am a self-appointed representative of India’s poor. I ask for money for them. Give up smoking and drinking and give me money. I ask for only a small share of the money you can thus save from misuse. You may extract from me an account for every pice you give me, but after satisfying yourself on the matter, you must slake my thirst for money and ask me to save the honour of Indian women thought it. I don’t mind any women, even my wife, breaking stones and cleaning latrines, but I certainly want no whatsoever to cast a lustful eye on my sister or mother…What is the meaning of Swaraj, so long as a single women is dying of starvation, so long as she can be robbed of her honour by any common man? I am right in claiming that man who shows woman an honorable means to satisfy her hunger, provides the material to win Swaraj. Women in India are crippled. What work for Swaraj can you do as long as you do nothing for them?…(Public meeting in Poona. 5/3/1927)

Mahatma Gandhi on Women

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