American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Gandhi" (1982)


Mr. Gandhi Advocates Policy of Nonviolence

Audio mp3 delivered by Ben Kingsley


Gandhi: I want to welcome you all.

 Every one of you.  We have no secrets.

Let us begin by being clear about General Smuts' new law: All Indians must now be fingerprinted, like criminals, men and women. No marriage, other than a Christian marriage, is considered valid. Under this Act, our wives and mothers are whores, and every man here is a bastard.

  Kahn: He has become quite good at this.


Gandhi: And our policemen, passing an Indian dwelling -- I will not call them homes -- may enter and demand the card of any Indian woman whose dwelling it is.

Understand, he does not have to stand at the door.

He may enter.

Audience Member #1: I will not allow it.

Audience Member #2: I swear to Allah: I'll kill the man who offers that insult to my home and my wife. And, let them hang me.


Audience Member #3: I say, talk means nothing! Kill a few officials before they disgrace one Indian woman! Then, they might think twice about such laws!

Audience Member #4: In that cause, I would be willing to die!!

Gandhi: I praise such courage. I need such courage because in this cause I, too, am prepared to die. But, my friend, there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill. Whatever they do to us, we will attack no one, kill no one, but we will not give our fingerprints -- not one of us.  They will imprison us, and they will fine us. They will seize our possessions, but they cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.

Audience Member #5: Have you been to prison?! They beat us and torture us! I say that we should --

Gandhi: I am asking you to fight! To fight against their anger, not to provoke it.

We will not strike a blow, but we will receive them. And through our pain we will make them see their injustice, and it will hurt -- as all fighting hurts. But we cannot lose. We cannot. They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me. Then, they will have my dead body -- not my obedience.

We are Hindu and Muslim, children of God, each one of us.

Let us take a solemn oath, in His name, that come what may we will not submit to this law.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.