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Day 5 – Q 1.Why did Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and political programme had a wide popular appeal? Analyse.

1. Why did Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and political programme had a wide popular appeal? Analyse.  

महात्मा गांधी के दर्शन और राजनीतिक कार्यक्रम में व्यापक लोकप्रिय अपील क्यों थी? विश्लेषण करें।


Mahatma Gandhi entry into to the Indian national movement was a decisive turn towards a broad-based popular struggle. Gandhi’s philosophy was well accepted by both the masses and the nationalist leaders and his political programme was well received and saw wide-spread participation across India.


Reasons for Acceptance of Gandhi’s philosophy and political programme:

  • Demonstrated results in Africa:
    • Gandhiji, by the use of satyagraha and ahimsa as tools was able to secure major demands relating to poll tax, registration certificates etc., from the British government.
    • Tolstoy farm illustrated the peace time utility of ashramas in helping the masses through constructive work and prepare them for popular struggle. 
  • Early successes in India: Through Champaran satyagraha, Ahmedabad mill strike and Kheda satyagraha – he demonstrated the utility of satyagraha and non-violent struggle. 
  • Practical philosophy and political programmes: tools like Satyagraha and ahimsa could have been used by every section of the society especially the masses. The methods like petitions, constitutional struggle hitherto used were not possible to be followed by masses.
  • Belief in masses: 
    • Gandhiji used to say, India live in the villages and it is only through masses the freedom can be achieved. This was not the case with earlier nationalist leaders including moderates and extremists who involved masses on a limited scale.
    • He held all India public meetings focused mainly on the participation of masses.
  • Identification with masses: 
    • Gandhian followed the philosophy of ‘practice what you preach’. For instance, he popularized charkha by using it personally to weave his clothes. He shunned his elite clothes and wore a dhoti to identify himself with the masses.
    • As Ramachandra Guha noted – he dressed like them, walked among them and a sense of belongingness was developed among the masses. Hence, they followed him. 
  • Secular leadership: every strategy and programmes of Gandhiji was secular and he incorporated members of all the religions without any skepticism or discrimination. He took up the issues of all the factions. For instance, he supported Ali brothers in Khilafat movement, supported Akali movement, Temple entry movement etc.,
  • Social issues included in political programmes: 
    • The political programmes of Gandhiji included Dalit upliftment, women emancipation and hence found widespread participation of these sections.
    • Further, the philosophy of Sarvodaya, Antyodaya etc., tried to address the prevailing issues including inequality, rural poverty, food insecurity etc., and hence was widely supported. 
  • Peace time constructive work: 
    • Ashramas provided a way help those who participated in struggle and build momentum garnering public support.
    • Programmes like promotion of Khadi helped Indian producers and hence found support.
    • Establishing local schools provided alternatives to students who left British schools for participating in freedom struggle.
  • Supporting local issues like demand of linguistic provinces, Vaikom satyagraha, Malabar Muslim protest etc., 
  • Effective use of Newspaper and journals: Gandhiji popularized his philosophy through Harijan and the use of local dialects helped in spreading of his message to large number of people especially in rural areas.
  • Home rule movement: under Tilak and Annie Besant prepared a base for Gandhiji demonstrating self-rule which found its resonance in Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj.


Thus, Gandhian way of struggle was not limited to any section of the freedom fighters. He was able to unite different factions (religious, social etc.,) and more importantly was instrumental in finding wide appeal among masses. 

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