List of fasts undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, informally The Father of the Nation in India, undertook 18 fasts during India's freedom movement. His longest fasts lasted 21 days. Fasting was a weapon used by Gandhi as part of his philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) as well as satyagraha.[1]


Number Date Duration Place Reason and demands Reaction to fast Result
1 1913 (July 13–20)[2] 7 days Phoenix, South Africa First penitential fast[3]
2 1914 (April) 14 days Second penitential fast[3]
3 1918 (March 15–18) 3 days Ahmedabad Striking mill workers in Ahmedabad were dejected and losing hope of getting their needed raise. Gandhi announced an indefinite fast until it was resolved. Mill workers agreed to stay on strike. Mill workers and owners agreed to arbitration; the workers got their raise.[4]
4 1919 (Apr 14-16) 3 days Ahmedabad First anti-violence fast: against the attempted derail of a train at Nadiad.[3]
5 1921 (Nov 19-22) 4 days Bombay Second anti-violence fast: indefinite fast until peace was made in Bombay, after violence broke out on the occasion of the Prince of Wales arrival[3] Community leaders went around the city to "restore and preserve peace."[5] After a peaceful night, broke his fast with "a frugal fruit repast."[6]
6 1922 (Feb 12-17) 5 days Bardoli Third anti-violence fast: for atonement for violence done in Chauri Chaura incident.
7 1924 (Sep 18-Oct 8) 21 days Delhi First Hindu-Muslim unity fast Interest of Hindu - Muslim unity after the first non-cooperation movement Ended fast while listening to the Quran and Gita being read.[7]
8 1925 (Nov 24-30) 7 days Third Penitential Fast.[3]
9 1932 (Sep 20-26) 6 days Poona First anti-untouchability fast: Communal Award of separate electorates and separate reservation of seats for depressed classes Fast undertaken at Yerwada Central Jail. When released a few days later, Gandhi continued his fast at a private house in Poona, with the result that all national leaders assembled in Pune. British Government withdrew the clauses in the Communal Award against which Gandhi was protesting[7]
10 1932 (Dec 3) 1 day Second anti-untouchability fast: sympathetic to Appasaheb Patwardhan[3]
11 1933 (May 8-May 29) 21 days Third anti-untouchability fast: for the improvement of Harijans' condition[8] Released unconditionally from prison on 8 May, 1933, and observed the fast at Lady Thackersey's home in Poona.
12 1933 (Aug 16-23) 7 days Fourth anti-untouchability fast: to obtain privileges (while in prison) that would enable him to carry on his fight in behalf of the Harijans[8] Released unconditionally from prison on 23 August 1933, for health reasons[9]
13 1934 (Aug 7-14) 7 days Fourth anti-violence fast: against a violent young Congressman[3]
14 1939 (March) 3 days[10] Rajkot In support of political reform.
15 1943 (Feb 10-Mar 3) 21 days Delhi Objecting to his detention without charges by the British.[11][12] The British ignored him; nothing changed.
16 1947 (Sep 1-4) 4 days Second Hindu-Muslim unity fast[3]
17 1948 (Jan 13-18) 6 days Third Hindu-Muslim unity fast for restoration of communal peace. Gandhi was reading the dreadful news of the Kashmir war, while at the same time fasting to death because Muslims could not live safely in Delhi. Meeting Maulana Azad, Gandhi laid down seven conditions for breaking his fast. These were:
  • The annual fair (the Urs) at the Khwaja Bakhtiyar shrine at Mehrauli, due in nine days time, should take place peacefully;
  • The hundred odd mosques in Delhi converted into refugees camps should be restored to their original uses;
  • Muslims should be allowed to move freely around Old Delhi;
  • Non-Muslims should not object to Delhi Muslims returning to their homes from Pakistan;
  • Muslims should be allowed to travel without danger in trains;
  • There should be no economic boycott of Muslims;
  • Accommodation of Hindu refugees in Muslim areas should be done with the consent of those Muslims already in these localities.[13]
Politicians and leaders of communal bodies had to agreed for a joint plan for restoration of normal life. Nathuram Godse assassinated Gandhi. A large number of important politicians and leaders of communal bodies agreed to a joint plan for restoration of normal life in the city


  1. ^ "National hunger strike?". Gulf Daily News. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Letter to Millie Graham Polak, July 13, 1913" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h O.P. Dhiman (2010). Betrayal of Gandhi. ISBN 978-81-78-35-746-1.
  4. ^ Jack, Homer A. (2005). "Short Chronology of Gandhi's Life". Archived from the original on 23 October 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  5. ^ The Bombay Chronicle, 22 November 1921. The Bombay Chronicle (Bombay). 1921-11-22.
  6. ^ The Bombay Chronicle, 23 November 1921. The Bombay Chronicle (Bombay). 1921-11-23.
  7. ^ a b "The Previous Fasts". The Indian Express. 4 March 1943. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Indian Leader at Home and Abroad". New York Times. 31 January 1948. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  9. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (10 March 2008). Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire. p. 361. ISBN 978-0-520-25570-8.
  10. ^ "Rajkot dispute settled - Gandhi breaks his fast". The Advocate. 8 March 1939.
  11. ^ Daily News and Analysis. 24 August 2011 Retrieved 27 January 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Gandhiji Breaks Fast". The Indian Express. 4 March 1943. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  13. ^

139 fast days total.

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