Lie — Gandhi was a great humanitarian

The Story

Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of modern India, was a man of peace and morality.

Photograph of Gandhi, smiling, with round glasses

He was sometimes referred to as the Mahatma, confusing westerners that aren't aware that Mahatma is a Sanskrit honorific meaning Great soul, not his birth name.

He believed in the equality of mankind, non-violent solutions, and passive resistance, and spent most of his life in meditation and celibacy.



While Gandhi did fight for racial equality, it certainly wasn't for all races. While living in South Africa under Apartheid law, he was forbidden to use white-only services and was often physically removed whenever he, a London lawyer, acted as if he were European. He believed that Indians were racially the same as Anglo-Saxons. Both peoples were Aryan, Indians simply having darker skin due to living closer to the equator.

His stand for racial equality was actually for equality between Indian and white. He saw nothing wrong with how South African blacks were treated, but he hated being treated that way himself, degraded to, as he put it, a level of Kaffir, a South African equivalent of the English word nigger.


Gandhi was married at the age of 14 years and had four sons. Later in life he claimed to have adopted a philosophy of sexual celibacy.

Photograph of Gandhi in bed, holding arm of Indira, sitting beside him)
Gandhi with Indira Gandhi (not related)

For years, each night he exercised this belief, practicing restraint by sleeping naked with one or more similarly dressed young women, including his nieces. He complained of experiencing involuntary discharges during these experiments.


There is no question that Gandhi did do many great things, and is deservedly honoured for them by his homeland India and by other countries.

His racist views and sexual practices did not fit with his saintly image, something India needed. So for decades historians and the media downplayed or ignored these aspects of his life.