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THE SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Vol. V - THE VOICE OF TRUTH > Part II- Section IX : Political Ideas > Franchise and Voters


63. Franchise and Voters

I cannot possibly bear the idea that a man who has got wealth should have the vote, but that a man who has got character but no wealth or literacy should have no vote, or that a man who works honestly by the sweat of his brow day in and day out should not have the vote for the crime of being a poor manÖ I am not enamoured of the doctrine of literacy, that voter must at least have a knowledge of the three Rís. I want for my people a knowledge of the three Rís, but I know also that if I have to wait until they have got a knowledge of the three Rís before they can be qualified for voting, I shall have to wait until the Greek Kalends, and I am not prepared to wait all that time.

Young India, 8-10-31, p. 297


I am wedded to adult suffrage... Adult suffrage is necessary for more reasons than one, and one of the decisive reasons to me is that it enables me to satisfy all the reasonable aspirations, not only of the Musalmans, but also of the so-called untouchables, of Christians, of labourers and all kinds of classes.

Young India, 8-10-31, p. 297


Electorís private relations with the candidates have often weighed with them more than the candidatesí qualifications. It would be well if we set up a better standard for the elections to the legislative councils. Only thus shall we be able to make the best use of the councils. I suggest also that voters should not identify themselves with any party or its quarrels. They should consider candidatesí views and not their party. Their character should weigh more even than their views. A man of character will make himself worthy of any position he is given. Even his mistakes will not much matter. I consider it impossible for a man without character to do higher national service so that if I were a voter from among the list, I would first select men of character and then I would understand their views.

Young India, 9-6-20, p. 7