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  • 26 Nov 2020 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions

    What does the following quotation mean to you in the present context? (150 words)

    “Hate the sin, Love the sinner”- Mahatma Gandhi

    • Introduce the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi from which this quote emanates.
    • Elaborate the ethical connotations of this quote.
    • Conclude suitably.


    • Mahatma Gandhi emphasised the message of love, peace and compassion. For Gandhi love and compassion should also be shown towards an opponent.
    • His approach to Satyagraha and Ahimsa signified this important principle which Gandhi followed steadfastly.


    Gandhi’s pronouncement of “Hate the sin, Love the sinner” has following ethical connotations:

    • Distinction between deed and doer: Gandhi believed that only through love any opponent could be permanently won. When Gandhi says, hate the sin, love the sinner he is drawing distinction between deed and the doer. According to him the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked, always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.
    • Permanent conflict resolution: According to Gandhi, those who seek to destroy men rather than manners adopt the latter and become worse than those whom they destroy under the mistaken belief that the manners will die with the men. Gandhi highlighted how the cycle of violence repeats itself without resolving the conflict.
    • Forgiveness: Gandhi’s approach also highlights his belief in forgiveness. He regarded forgiveness as high virtue. According to him, the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. It is the acid test of non-violence that, in a non-violent conflict, there is no rancour left behind, and in the end the enemies are converted into friends
    • Spirit of Tolerance: Gandhi also highlighted the value of tolerance. According to Gandhi the main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence. Understanding the difference between doer and deed and forgiving the doer inculcates a spirit of tolerance. It leads to achievement of a peaceful, tolerant society where diverse sections of society live in mutually society peace. This spirit of tolerance is important in diverse countries like India.

    Way Forward

    • Gandhi’s message of ‘Hate the sin, Love the sinner’ is extremely relevant in the present situation for a number of global as well as domestic conflicts that persist and escalate because of inability to forgive and aim for permanent resolution.
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