Did Mahatma Gandhi ask Hindu and Sikh women to ‘cooperate with Muslim rapists’?

On November 11, 2017, The twitter handle @ShankhNaad shared a poster that attributed the following quote to Mahatma Gandhi – “if a Muslim expressed his desire to rape a Hindu or a Sikh lady, she should never refuse him but cooperate with him. She should lie down like a dead with her tongue in between her teeth. Thus the rapist Muslim will be satisfied soon and sooner he leave her.” Alt News decided to conduct a quick fact check on the claim since Shankhnaad has been exposed on multiple occasions to have shared fraudulent information.

Shankhnaad - RT if you think ideology of #Gandhi is a boost for #Rape Jihad and disgrace to humanity !!

ShankhNaad attached an article by RightLog that contained this quote about Gandhi. It was a Gandhi Jayanti special article by the website that asked its readers to “Read these Gandhi quotes and decide if you still wish to call him a Mahatma”.

Frustrated Indian screenshot

On the face of it, each quote in the article provided a reference.

“Just before the partition, both Hindu and Sikh women were being raped by the Muslims in large numbers. Gandhi advised them that if a Muslim expressed his desire to rape a Hindu or a Sikh lady, she should never refuse him but cooperate with him. She should lie down like a dead with her tongue in between her teeth. Thus the rapist Muslim will be satisfied soon and sooner he leave her. (D Lapierre and L Collins, Freedom at Midnight, Vikas, 1997, p-479).”

The RightLog article was very specific about the reference. It quoted page 479 of Freedom at Midnight by Lapierre and Collins. When we turned to page 479 of the book, we couldn’t find this quote there. In fact we couldn’t find the quote anywhere in the book. This quote has been making the rounds for a very long time and the earliest reference we could find to this quote was in an article dated Jan 20, 2009, on the right-wing website Haindava Keralam.

On page 479, the book mentions “his advice to girls menaced with the rape in the Punjab had been to bite their tongue and hold their breath till they died.” The quote mentioned by RightLog and Shankhnaad doesn’t match the corresponding reference in the book. Moreover, the authors of the book have not provided any reference for this claim of theirs.

Gandhi's advice to girls

Another reference provided by the RightLog article, mkgandhi.org a website maintained by Gandhian Institutes Bhartiya Sarvodya Mandal and Gandhi Research Foundation presents very different views on rape.

While Gandhi’s views regarding how a woman should act when faced with sexual violence may not be agreeable or pragmatic, his philosophy centered around the moral strength of the individual. His views on violence against women are in consonance with this larger philosophy. This can be seen from the following excerpt:

“I have always held that it is physically impossible to violate a woman against her will. The outrage takes place only when she gives way to fear or does not realize her moral strength. If she cannot meet the assailant’s physical might, her purity will give her the strength to die before he succeeds in violating her. Take the case of Sita. Physically she was a weakling before Ravana, but her purity was more than a match even for his giant might. He tried to win her with all kinds of allurements, but could not carnally touch her without her own physical strength or upon a weapon she possesses, she is sure to be discomfited whenever her strength is exhausted” (H, 1-9-1940, p. 266)

Gandhi further goes on to say that in the event of an assault however, the woman must use all her physical might to resist assault.

“When a woman is assaulted she may not stoop to think in terms of himsa or ahimsa. Her primary duty is self-protection. She is at liberty to employ every method or means that come to her mind in order to defend her honour. God has given her nails and teeth. She must use them with all her strength and, if need be, die in the effort. The man or woman who has shed all fear of death will be able not only to protect himself or herself but others also through laying down hi (or her) life” (H, 1-3-1942, p. 60)

Gandhi’s documented views that a woman must use all her strength to ward off the aggressor are completely at odds with the views presented in the referenced book as well as the quotes mentioned by Rightlog and Shankhnaad.

Shankhnaad and Rightlog’s claim is merely a continuation of the incessant vilification campaign unleashed against Mahatma Gandhi by right wing organisations and groups. Gandhi’s views on a number of issues were often unique, at times complex and perhaps even controversial. Also, much of his writing is in the form of pamphlets and letters which he penned down at different stages of his life. The disjointed nature of Gandhi’s written work makes it easy to quote him out of context with the intention of portraying him in poor light, as has been witnessed repeatedly.

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13 Comments on "Did Mahatma Gandhi ask Hindu and Sikh women to ‘cooperate with Muslim rapists’?"

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We need to file defamation case against these websites and their editor for defaming the father of the Nation. Please.

P s nair

Gandhi was father of Pakistan, not India.

Raja Naresh Janjua

Nehru, General Cariappa, Nizam of Hyderabad also fathered pakistan, Nehru gave 55 crores along with one third kashmir to pakistan, General gave arms and ammunition and the nizam gave 15 crores to pakistan, without this help pakistan would not have survived even one week, pakistan used all these resources to attack India.


I am pretty sure Hindutva will tore the Indian society. BJP and its allies are a blot on the face of Indians.
Do not vote for BJP in the upcoming elections.

George Kovalam

I have read “Freedom at Midnight”, the English version, in 93 0r 94. I don’t remember there is anything like this. I fully remember what I read. It is one of the best novels I read on India. Lapier and Collins did maximum research on the subject and such news are fabricated.

PakChipak RajaBabu

The right winger necrophilics should also post an account of a verbatim said by their second in supreme leader saying that hindus should dig up muslim women graves and rape the corpses!!


This is one of your best articles and exposés of Right wing depravity.
I completely disagree with many of Gandhi’s views , but there is no need to deliberately distort and misrepresent his views and quotes to rebut them .
Only people who are intellectually weak and bankrupt will resort to such deliberate distortions.


Classic case of crying wolf too many times. The time has come when even their most blind supporter doesn’t believe anything BJP / RSS or their cohorts say. What a come-down for the country !!!

Rakesh Agrawal

This is another barrage of lies launched by sanghis to malign Father of our Nation since for them, Godse is respectful, not Gandhi and while Mahatma indulged in ‘My Experiments With Truth,’ their God is busy with His Experiments with Lies, more Lies and White Lies!

Raja Naresh Janjua

Mahatama Gandhi was indeed an apostle of violence, if he had the guts to counter nehru’s lust for power he could have prevented the formation of pakistan in 1947. In the violence related to creation of pakistan ten lakh indians were murdered and one crore were left homeless. look what nehru did to the country he ceded TIBET to china in 1951 and ceded one third of kashmir and large tracts of norht east to china in 1962, still we celebrate gandhi an nehru jayanti so foolish of us indians.


@Raja Naresh Januja,
You are a classic example of what is wrong with this country. you have been fed with half truths and you merrily go about peddling them as facts. FYI, Tibet was never a part of India ever in history, so no question of ceding it to China….you are a nincompoop sanghi whose views need not be dignified by any kind of response.

Raja Naresh Janjua
similarly sikkim was not a part of india and now bhutan is also not a part of india. chinese will gobble up bhutan if india doesnot resist them and then the country would be left with a small corridor for the north-east. So if you are communist keep your ideology with you but you should know that defence, foriegn affairs, post office, law and order of Tibet was India’s responsibility prior to 1951, Go and study history then comment here. almost all the rivers of north india get their water from Tibet and the chinese can starve north India whenever… Read more »
Adil Desai
Are you sure you didn’t find that quote on that page? You have shared the link to the book which I followed, check again. “479 thus unburdened of their household drudgery, would be free to participate equally with men in the community s social and political activities. And participate they did. At every stage of India’s freedom struggle they had stood equally with men before the charges of the British police. They had filled the jails and led the mass movements. Gandhi would not have been Gandhi, however, had not his efforts on behalf of India’s women been accompanied by… Read more »