the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338


Brothel in perspective of Mahatma Gandhi


Brothels are business establishments where patrons may engage in sexual activities. Prostitution or the operation of brothels is illegal and societies are not accepted it. The size and style of brothels vary considerably. Laws are regulating brothels vary considerably. In some countries, brothels are legal and others they are illegal. Prostitution was an occupation before 4000 BC, and describes a temple-bordello operated by Sumerian priests in the city of Uruk. The temple was dedicated to the goddess and housed three grades of women. The first group performed only in the temple sex rites, the second group had the run of the grounds and catered to its visitors as well, and the third and lowest class lived on the temple grounds but were free to seek out customers in the streets.

“I am not out of my senses in publishing this article. It was written after two days’ experience and is probably the result of momentary enthusiasm. But personally I think that the status which the author has given to the spinning-wheel is deserved and so, publishing it, I flatter myself. The exaggerated picture of the Ashram which it may have given is published in order that it may serve as an ideal for the Ashram inmates to follow. It will serve to make them feel ashamed whenever they fail to live up to the ideal. The name tapovan was actually suggested by a friend. Even today I regard it as unsuitable. I would be satisfied if scrupulous regard for truth was maintained in the Ashram, and it is my unshakeable faith that the country, too, would be satisfied. The Ashram can, therefore, adopt the name of Satyagraha Ashram alone and no other.

The comments were appended to an article with this title written by one who called himself a brothel of these descendants. After a day’s visit to the Ashram, he described it in glowing terms and spoke of it as a tapovan, or a forecast retreat where the inmates lived a life of austerity and spiritual discipline.”1

 “I know many temples in India in which God no more resides than in a brothel. Some good friends like you have given me some money to build temples for the so-called untouchables. I have refused to spend that money in building a single temple for which I cannot get a holy man and for whose work I cannot get honest trustees.”2

 “I say that in this sense God does not dwell in some of the temples. Or if He does, it is only as much as in a brothel. If this statement of mine has hurt any Hindus I am sorry for it. But for the sake of truth and Hinduism I cannot either take away from or add to my statement.”3

 “The same company would have led me into faithlessness to my wife. But I was saved by the skin of my teeth. My friend once took me to a brothel. He sent me in with the necessary instructions. It was all pre-arranged. The bill had already been paid. I went into the jaws of sin, but God in His infinite mercy protected me against myself. I was almost struck blind and dumb in this den of vice. I sat near the woman on her bed, but I was tongue-tied. She naturally lost patience with me, and showed me the door, with abuses and insults. I then felt as though my manhood had been injured, and wished to sink into the ground for shame. But I have ever since given thanks to God for having saved me. I can recall four more similar incidents in my life, and in most of them my good fortune, rather than any effort on my part, saved me.1 From a strictly ethical point of view, all these occasions must be regarded as moral lapses; for the carnal desire was there, and it was as good as the act. But from the ordinary point of view, a man who is saved from physically committing sin is regarded as saved. And I was saved only in that sense. There are some actions from which an escape is a godsend both for the man who escapes and for those about him. Man, as soon as he gets back his consciousness of right, is thankful to the Divine mercy for the escape. As we know that a man often succumbs to temptation, however much he may resist it, we also know that Providence often intercedes and saves him in spite of himself. How all this happens how far a man is free and how far a creature of circumstances how far free will comes into play and where fate enters on the scene all this is a mystery and will remain a mystery.”4

 “Next in importance and almost part of the central resolution must be deemed the one dealing with our financial obligations. Everyone who knows anything of public finance knows how extravagant this Government is and how heavy is the load of debts that is crushing the nation. Everyone knows also what concessions have been given to foreigners in utter disregard of the national interest. These cannot demand, dare not expect recognition from independent India under the much abused name of vested interests. All vested interests are not entitled to protection. The keeper of a gambling den or of a brothel has no vested interest. Nor has a corporation that gambles away the fortunes of a nation and reduces it to impotence. The Congress at Gaya therefore passed a comprehensive resolution repudiating certain debts. The last, whilst reaffirming the Gaya resolution, lay down that obligations or concessions pronounced to be unjust and unjustifiable by an independent tribunal shall not be recognized by the independence Government to come. No exception can, in my opinion, be possibly taken against such a reasonable proposition. To shirk the issue is to invite disaster.”5 So we can say that it is a curse for humanity. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to engage in spinning of khadi for their livelihood. But he had no sufficient time for it. His first priority was freedom of India.


  1. Navajivan, 27-1-19211.

     2. VOL.40: 2 SEPTEMBER, 1927 - 1 DECEMBER, 1927 143

     3. VOL. 40: 2 SEPTEMBER, 1927 - 1 DECEMBER, 1927 329

     4. VOL. 44: 16 JANUARY, 1929 - 3 FEBRUARY, 1929 109

      5. VOL. 48: 21 NOVEMBER, 1929 - 2 APRIL, 1930 208


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