According to Gandhi, women are custodians of values and culture. Substantiate your arguments.

Title: Gandhi’s Perspective on Women as Custodians of Values and Culture


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a preeminent Indian leader and a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement against British rule. He was not only a political leader but also a spiritual and social visionary. Throughout his life, Gandhi held profound views on the role of women in society, emphasizing their vital role as custodians of values and culture. This essay aims to explore Gandhi’s perspective on women, analyze the historical context that shaped his views, and examine the reasons behind his belief that women are entrusted with safeguarding societal values and culture.

Historical Context:

To understand Gandhi’s viewpoint, it is essential to delve into the historical context in which he lived. India, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was grappling with colonial rule, social inequalities, and widespread gender discrimination. Women’s rights and their participation in public life were largely restricted, leading to significant challenges in shaping society’s values and cultural norms.

Gandhi’s Perception of Women:

Gandhi’s perception of women was multi-faceted and evolved over time. He was raised in a traditional Hindu family and initially held conventional views about women’s roles as homemakers and caregivers. However, his experiences and interactions with women from different walks of life, including his mother, wife, and political activists, significantly influenced his perspective.

Gandhi’s belief in non-violence (ahimsa) and his advocacy for the concept of sarvodaya (the welfare of all) encouraged him to recognize the importance of women’s contributions beyond the household. He acknowledged their innate strength, resilience, and capacity for sacrifice, which, he believed, could positively impact society and promote cultural integrity.

1. Women as Preservers of Traditions and Culture:

Gandhi firmly believed that the foundation of a society’s culture lies in its traditions and customs, which are passed down through generations. He saw women as the principal transmitters of these values within the family unit. As mothers, sisters, and daughters, women were entrusted with the responsibility of nurturing children, instilling moral values, and preserving cultural practices through storytelling, rituals, and daily interactions.

Gandhi emphasized the significance of raising children with strong moral and ethical values, as he believed that the future of a nation depended on the character of its citizens. He saw women as key influencers in shaping the character of the next generation, thereby ensuring the continuity of cultural heritage.

2. Women as Agents of Social Change:

While Gandhi emphasized women’s role in preserving tradition, he also recognized their potential as agents of social change. He argued that women’s empowerment was essential for creating a just and equitable society. Gandhi’s engagement with the women’s movement and his support for women’s education and participation in public life were manifestations of his belief in their capacity to be catalysts for societal transformation.

Gandhi’s efforts to improve women’s status were reflected in his campaigns for women’s rights, including advocating for their right to vote and encouraging their active involvement in India’s freedom struggle. He believed that women, once empowered, would not only uphold cultural values but also challenge harmful practices and contribute to building a more compassionate and inclusive society.

3. Women’s Moral Superiority:

Gandhi often spoke of women’s moral superiority over men. He believed that women, by nature, possessed greater moral strength and selflessness, which made them better custodians of values and culture. Gandhi admired their ability to endure suffering with grace and to prioritize the well-being of others over their own needs.

4. Women’s Role in Satyagraha:

Satyagraha, the philosophy of non-violent resistance, was at the core of Gandhi’s approach to social and political change. He frequently involved women in the Satyagraha movements because he believed that their participation would add a spiritual and moral dimension to the struggle. Women’s non-violent resistance, in Gandhi’s view, would be free from ego and aggression, and their involvement would elevate the struggle to a higher ethical plane.


Mahatma Gandhi’s perspective on women as custodians of values and culture emerged from a combination of cultural influences, personal experiences, and his philosophy of non-violence and social transformation. He recognized the indispensable role of women in preserving and propagating cultural heritage within the family while also advocating for their empowerment and active participation in public life. Gandhi’s vision of women as the torchbearers of values continues to inspire discussions on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the importance of nurturing ethical and compassionate individuals for the betterment of society.

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