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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. “It was a firm belief of Gandhiji that in the peaceful struggle of Swaraj, the women of India can outdistance men by a mile.” Comment. (250 words)

    21 Oct, 2019 GS Paper 1 History


    • Introduce by explaining the Gandhian concept of Swaraj.
    • Briefly mention Gandhiji's views on empowerment of women.
    • Explain the role of women in the freedom struggle with examples.


    • For Gandhiji, Swaraj was not just liberation from foreign rule. It is a multi-dimensional concept.

    • According to Gandhiji, women are the torchbearers in achieving Swaraj. Gandhian movements played a crucial role in the mobilization of women in the social, economic and political sphere despite India being a highly patriarchal society.


    Gandhiji’s view on women's empowerment:

    • According to Gandhiji, traits like perseverance and peaceful resistance of authority should be the ideals of women in India. They are the symbol of moral power.
    • Gandhian movements helped women shed their deep-rooted sense of inferiority and rise to dignity and self-esteem.
    • Gandhiji was against evil socio-religious practices like child marriage, purdah system, dowry system, etc.

    Influence of Gandhian ideas on women:

    • Women’s active participation in mass movements began with the Swadeshi Movement in 1905 and only grew in later movements. Women played an active role in the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Civil Disobedience Movement.
    • Women had a special role in Gandhi’s constructive program like the promotion of Khadi, ending untouchability.

    Some women leaders during the Gandhian struggle are as follows:

    • Anusuya Ben — Accompanied Gandhi in his tours and actively participated in 1918 Ahmedabad Textile milk strikes.
    • Sarojini Naidu — Led the raid on Dharasana salt works during the Civil Disobedience Movement following Gandhi’s arrest.
    • Some other women leaders like Lakshmi Menon, Sushila Nayyar, and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur rose to prominence adhering to Gandhian ideas.


    • In the words of Gandhi, “Women's entry into national politics through non-violent methods brought miraculous results. On the one hand, women became aware of their inner strength, and on the other, the process brought human and moral elements into politics.”
    • Gandhian movement and the struggle for swaraj witnessed huge participation by women. Gandhian tools for struggle like fasting and praying were majorly popularised by women.

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