The Mahatma’s message, in his own words
Root meaning of politics
Let it be borne in mind that I do not regard politics as something different in kind from other national activities. The root meaning of politics is the science of citizenship and it has also remote connection with polished manners and since the boundaries of citizenship have been extended to cover continents, the science of politics includes attainment of advancement of humanity along all lines, social, moral, economic and political, using the word ‘political’ here in the narrow sense in which we are accustomed to use it. Ever since my return to India in 1915, it has been my earnest endeavour to restore the meaning of politics to its root and if we would be truthful through and through, we should recognize that the predominant part of the Congress programme has been progressively social, moral and economic. And it becomes a powerful programme because it is intimately connected with the political, that is, the attainment of freedom of the country from foreign yoke, not from foreign friendship, that is, voluntary intercourse on terms of absolute equality with foreign nations. If Congressmen forget the constructive programme and simply confine Congress activities to winning of Assembly and Council elections and of fruitless debates in the Assembly and the Councils, they will soon find that I have taken with me the kernel of politics and they have kept for themselves only the outermost husk, without even the vitamins. But I have no such fear. Parliamentary Congressmen will advance the Congress programmes and by their votes register the will of the nation.
Statement to the press, October 30, 1934 [CWMG 59: 264]