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THE SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Vol. V - THE VOICE OF TRUTH > Part II- Section IX : Political Ideas > The seat of real power


64. The seat of real power

It must be granted that it is possible to render some service to the State by entering these councils. But it is my firm belief that many can serve the country better by remaining outside. The late Mr. Keir Hardie used to say that it was practically impossible for a true Christian to remain in the British Parliament. Carlyle called it the talking shop. When there are many candidates, those who have accepted service of the land as an article of faith would do well to stand outside the lists, and they will find that they will be better occupied by educating the electorate and keeping the elected members to their promises at the polls.

Young India, 19-5-20, p. 5


It is an illusion to think that M.L.A.’ are the guides of the voters. Voters do not send representatives to the Assemblies in order to be guided by them, On the contrary, they are sent there loyally to carry out the people’s wishes. The people are, therefore, the guides, not the M.L.A.’s. The latter are servants, the former masters.

If we look around the world we shall find that the best guidance is given by those outside. If that were not so, a rot would set in all governments, because the field for guidance is vast and the Assembly is a very small thing. Parliaments are, after all a mere drop in the ocean of national life.

Harijan, 28-4-46, p. 112


Under a Free Government, the real power will be held by the people... The mightiest Government will be rendered absolutely impotent if the people realizing their power use it in a disciplined manner and for the common good… It must be remembered that only an infinitesimal proportion of the people can hold positions of responsibility and power in a country’s government. Experience all the world over shows that the real power and wealth are possessed by people outside the group that holds the reins of Government.

Young India, 24-4-30, p. 137