Gandhi’s speech at trial

Unfortunately, the British government thought that this was an opportunity to arrest Gandhi again and put to trial for treason.  At the trial Gandhi told the judge who was a British: “I have no personal ill-will against any single administrator much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system. India is less manly under British rule than ever before. Holding such a belief I consider it a sin to have any affection for the system…The only course open to you, the judge, is either to resign your post and thus dissociate yourself from evil, if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is an evil and that in reality I am innocent; or to inflict on me the severest penalty if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country, and that my activity is therefore, injurious to the public weal.”

Gandhi’s speech sent wide-spread vibrations. The statement he had prepared was read out. It was a forceful justification of his moral standpoints in various issues of public interest. He began by explaining his campaign for the civic rights of the Indians there. And then he narrated how he joined the struggle for civic rights and freedom for the Indians in India.

The judge, though British, was an admirer of Gandhi, but he was shocked to hear Gandhi’s powerful statement which was proof enough for him to sentence him for treason. Gandhi had conceded to the charge that he was acting against the British Government. The judge was aware of the fact that Gandhi was an idol of worship for the millions of India as a person of lofty ideals and one like a great saint. But the judge had to sentence him to six years’ simple imprisonment since the accused had violated the rule of law and challenged the government and incited the Indian people to rise against the rulers, and the accused had not challenged these charges either.