According to this article:


Churchill didn't like Gandhi.

Is it true? Why he didn't like him?

  • 10
    I believe the answer is right in the article you linked to: "[Churchill] constantly opposed granting freedom to India"
    – user1530
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 16:36
  • 2
    I think "because he was opposed to Indian independence" would be too simple an answer. On the other hand, we don't have the power to delve into Churchill's mind, so maybe this is unanswerable. Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 20:11
  • 5
    Because Gandi opposed the King... the PM is the His Majesty's Prime Minister... its pretty simple math even if not trivially found on the interwebtubes Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 20:33
  • 2
    It would be surprising if Churchill had some kind of affection for Gandhi. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 18:17
  • 2
    Question should be asked on History.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


This may possibly have something to do with Ghandi at best seeing little difference between Hitler/Nazis and Britain and totally opposed anti-Nazi war; and at worst, being friendly with Hitler for the longest of time (src for the latter).

Or, heck, let's just directly quote the man himself on the first option:

Hitlerism will never be defeated by counter-Hitlerism. It can only breed superior Hitlerism raised to nth degree. What is going on before our eyes is the demonstration of the futility of violence as also of Hitlerism.


I appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans. If that be so, yours will soon acquire the same thoroughness as theirs, if not much greater.


I do not want Britain to be defeated, nor do I want her to be victorious in a trial of brute strength, whether expressed through the muscle or the brain. Your muscular bravery is an established fact. Need you demonstrate that your brain is also as unrivaled in destructive power as your muscle? I hope you do not wish to enter into such an undignified competition with the Nazis. I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldier. I want you to fight Nazism without arms, or, if I am to retain the military terminology, with non-violent arms.
I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.


Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs. As it is, they succumbed anyway in their millions.


"Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. ... If I were a Jew and were born in Germany ... I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon. ... And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy. ... The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant.


I do not want to see the allies defeated. But I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed. Englishmen are showing the strength that Empire builders must have. I expect them to rise much higher than they seem to be doing.


  • 2
    The quote in the question is from 1930, so some of this isn't really relevant. Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 20:22
  • 4
    In the biographies of Churchill I've read, his hatred of Gandhi's politics comes from DVK's citation above as well as from Gandhi's unwillingness to support the defense of India. Japan had taken Burma and was heading toward India. Gandhi seemed to care very little about the million plus Indians that would almost definitely be killed (if the occupations of Korea, China, South East Asia were indicators of what awaited India). Churchill was a pragmatist; he also deplored Gandhi's idealism, and was certain that in-fighting would occur among the Muslim and Hindu populations...
    – Jon
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 22:10
  • 3
    ...if India were given independence without an transitional period. Not only was he right, but tensions between Pakistan and India have continued to this day.
    – Jon
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 22:16
  • This answer is focused more on views of Gandhi than Churchill. Speculation at best.
    – tejasvi88
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 9:41

Apart from the reasons pointed out by other answerers, there was another reason for Churchill to hate Gandhi.

Gandhi invented a new technique to protest called Nonviolence.

If we look at this video, we can see how Hindu revolutionaries adopted this technique to protest. At the core of this technique, it was protesting through civil disobedience. This was an ingenious technique which gave Gandhi an upper hand in front of mighty British administration.

If we look at the history of British Raj, we can see that armed rebellions and revolts were routinely crushed by the British government as they had superior firepower. But, the British government didn't have any tool in their hand to counter this new form of protest. This gave Churchill a chilling feeling that he is slowly but consistently losing the grip on India.

  • Gandhi invented a new technique to protest called Nonviolence. Henry David Thoreau disagrees. Along with many others. And even quite a few more, although it doesn't always turn out well: "Due to this tradition of nonviolence, the entire population of 2000 people was enslaved, killed or cannibalized when 900 Māori invaded the island in 1835."
    – Just Me
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 1:16

That has possibly something to do with the fact that Churchill was an imperialist at best, definitely a racist white supremacist and at worst a mass murderer.

Or, heck, let's just directly quote the man himself from various documented sources:

In the standard of life they have nothing to spare. The slightest fall from the present standard of life in India means slow starvation, and the actual squeezing out of life, not only of millions but of scores of millions of people, who have come into the world at your invitation and under the shield and protection of British power.

Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons about Indians (1935); 1. Hansard of the House of Commons, Winston Churchill speech, Hansard Vol. 302, cols. 1920-21, 1935; quoted by Jog (1944), p195 in Jog, N.G. (1944), Churchill’s Blind-Spot: India (New Book Company, Bombay).

No great portion of the world population was so effectively protected from the horrors and perils of the World War as were the peoples of Hindustan. They were carried through the struggle on the shoulders of our small Island.

Churchill (1954), vol. 4, p181 in Churchill, W.S. (1954), The Second World War. Volumes I-VI (Cassell, London) – a book in which he makes NO mention of the 6-7 million Indians he murdered in 1943-1945; his statement is a gross falsehood in view of 2.4 million Indians serving in the Allied forces in WW2 and 6-7 million Indian deaths in the 1943-1935 Bengali Holocaust

I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.

Winston Churchill to Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India (1942); 4. Diary of Amery (Secretary for India), September 9, 1942; quoted by Ziegler (1988), pp 351-352 in Ziegler, P. (1988), Mountbatten. The Official Biography (Collins, London); see also Moon, P. (1973) (editor), Wavell. The Viceroy’s Journal (Oxford University Press, London).

Indians are breeding like rabbits and if shortages are so bad how is Gandhi alive?

In response to urgent requests from British India’s viceroy for more than 1m tonnes of emergency wheat supplies in 1942-43

It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.

R. R. James (ed.), Winston S. Churchill: His complete speeches, 1897-1963, vol. 5, New York, Chelsea House, 1974, p. 4985.

Power will go to the hands of ras­cals, rogues, free­boot­ers; all Indian lead­ers will be of low cal­i­ber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst them­selves for power and India will be lost in polit­i­cal squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed in India. Let the House remember this. The Indian political parties and political classes do not represent the Indian masses. It is a delusion to believe that they do. I wish they did. They are not as representative of them as the movements in Britain represent the surges and impulses of the British nation. This has been proved in the war ... ... The Congress Party declared non-co-operation with Great Britain and the Allies. ... ... the Muslim League, sought to make a bargain about it, but no bargain was made. ... ... Nevertheless, the only great volunteer army in the world that fought on either side in that struggle was formed in India. More than three and a half million men came forward to support the King-Emperor and the cause of Britain; they came forward not by conscription or compulsion, but out of their loyalty to Britain and to all that Britain stood for in their lives. In handing over the Government of India to these so-called political classes we are handing over to men of straw, of whom, in a few years, no trace will remain. This Government, by their latest action, this 14 months limitation—which is what I am coming to— (will) cripple the new Viceroy and destroy the prospect of even going through the business on the agenda which has to be settled. This can only be explained as the complete adoption of one of Mr. Gandhi's most scatterbrained observations, which I will read to the House. It was made on 24th May, 1942, after the Mission. He said: Leave India in God's hands, in modem parlance, to anarchy; and that anarchy may lead to internecine warfare for a time, or to unrestricted dacoities. From these a true India will arise in place of the false one we see. There, as far as I can see, is a statement indistinguishable from the policy His Majesty's Government are determined to pursue.

Speech in the British Parliament on 6th March 1947

A racist never likes when those who he considers inferior come together and elect a leader. He shall definitely not like the leader himself. Winston Churchill opposed Gandhi for the same reason, Donald Trump started birther controversy against Barack Obama, the same reason Nelson Mandela was opposed in by the South African Apartheid Regime, the same reason Hugo Preuß was hated by the Nazis.

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