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 (February) 1 day[4] Phoenix, South Africa A Phoenix teacher had violated Ashram rules by eating pakodas with some students but denied it. Gandhi began an indefinite fast of atonement.[5] She confessed a day later. Gandhi ended the fast.
3 1914 (May 2- May 16)[6] 14 days Phoenix, South Africa Second penitential fast[3]
4 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.[7]
5 1919 (Apr 14-17) 72 hours Ahmedabad First anti-violence fast: against the attempted derail of a train at Nadiad.[3]
6 1921 (Nov 19-22) 3 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."[8] After a peaceful night, broke his fast with "a frugal fruit repast."[9]
7 1922 (Feb 12-17) 5 days Bardoli Third anti-violence fast: for atonement for violence done in Chauri Chaura incident.
8 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.[10]
9 1925 (Nov 24-Dec 1) 7 days Third penitential fast.[3]
10 1932 (Sep 20-26) 149 hours[11] Poona First anti-untouchability fast: Communal Award of separate electorates and separate reservation of seats for depressed classes Fast undertaken at Yerwada Central Jail. National leaders assembled in Pune. British Government withdrew the clauses in the Communal Award against which Gandhi was protesting[10]
11 1932 (Dec 3-4) 1 day Second anti-untouchability fast: sympathetic to Appasaheb Patwardhan[3]
12 1933 (May 8-May 29) 21 days Third anti-untouchability fast: for the improvement of Harijans' condition[12] Released unconditionally from prison on 8 May 1933, and observed the fast at Lady Thackersey's home in Poona.
13 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[12] Released unconditionally from prison on 23 August 1933, for health reasons[13]
14 1934 (Aug 7-14) 7 days Fourth anti-violence fast: against a violent young Congressman[3]
15 1939 (March 3-7) 99 hours[14] Rajkot Establishment of a political reform committee and release of satyagraha prisoners.[15] The British Viceroy brokered a deal to end the fast. Gandhi's wife was freed, but the committee was never formed.
16 1943 (Feb 10-Mar 3) 21 days Delhi Objecting to six months of detention without charges by the British.[16][17] The British ignored him; nothing changed.
17 1947 (Sep 1-4) 73 hours Second Hindu-Muslim unity fast[3]
18 1948 (Jan 13-18) 123 hours 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 homes and temples should be restored to their original uses;[18]
  • 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.[19]
Politicians and leaders of communal bodies had to agree 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. ^ Hunt, James D. (2005). An American looks at Gandhi : essays in satyagraha, civil rights, and peace. New Delhi: Promilla & Co. Publishers, in association with Bibliophile South Asia. p. 32. ISBN 81-85002-35-5. OCLC 61170051.
  5. ^ "Letter to Raojibhai Patel, footnote 1, After February 15, 1914" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Letter to Elizabeth Mari Molteno, May 19, 1914" (PDF).
  7. ^ Jack, Homer A. (2005). "Short Chronology of Gandhi's Life". Archived from the original on 23 October 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  8. ^ The Bombay Chronicle, 22 November 1921. The Bombay Chronicle (Bombay). 1921-11-22.
  9. ^ The Bombay Chronicle, 23 November 1921. The Bombay Chronicle (Bombay). 1921-11-23.
  10. ^ a b "The Previous Fasts". The Indian Express. 4 March 1943. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  11. ^ Pyarelal (1932). "The Epic Fast" (PDF).
  12. ^ a b "Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Indian Leader at Home and Abroad". The New York Times. 31 January 1948. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  13. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (10 March 2008). Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire. p. 361. ISBN 978-0-520-25570-8.
  14. ^ "Rajkot dispute settled - Gandhi breaks his fast". The Advocate. 8 March 1939.
  15. ^ theg; Higuyin #g; Ago, Hi • 4 Years (2019-03-03). "Gandhi's flawed fast - 99 hours in Rajkot". Steemit. Retrieved 2023-01-13.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "Anna a man of stamina, his longest fast lasted 12 days". Daily News and Analysis. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Gandhiji Breaks Fast". The Indian Express. 4 March 1943. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Gandhi's last (And greatest) fast". 31 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Gandhi's last (And greatest) fast". 31 August 2018.