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


66. Majority and Minority

If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want to faith in one’s cause.

Young India, 2-2-21, p. 33

Claiming the right of free opinion and free action as we do, we must extend the same to others. The rule of majority when it becomes coercive, is as intolerable as that of a bureaucratic minority. We must patiently try to bring round the minority to our view by gentle persuasion and argument.

Young India, 26-1-22, p. 54

The rule of majority has a narrow application, i.e., one should yield to the majority in matters of detail. But it is slavery to be amendable to the majority, no matter what its decisions are.  Democracy is not a state in which people act like a sheep. Under democracy, individual liberty of opinion and action is jealously guarded. I therefore, believe that the minority has a perfect right to act differently from the majority.

Young India, 2-3-22, p. 129

In matters of conscience the law of majority has no place.

Young India, 4-8-20, p. 3

The rule of majority does not mean that it should suppress the opinion of even an individual if it is sound. The opinion of an individual should have greater weight than the opinion of many, if that opinion is sound on merits. That is my view of real democracy.

Mahatma, Vol. VI, (1953), p. 354

One of the speakers said again that “the true solution of the Asiatic question lay in the application of the maxim, ‘the greatest good for the greatest number. “ We must confess that we are not blind believers in that maxim; we think it has worked untold mischief in many cases, and is yet likely to do so in the history of the world’s progress.

The collected of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. IV, p. 237