Friday, October 2, 2009


A rare recording of a speech made by Mahatma Gandhi in English has surfaced in Washington. The Mahatma, who studied Law in England, almost invariably spoke in Hindi or in his mother tongue, Gujarati. In fact, he was recorded speaking in English on only two occasions, in the 1930s and on April 02, 1947.

The historic speech that the Mahatma gave a few months before he was assassinated and only one day after he offered the post of Prime Minister of a United India to MA Jinnah, has been found in Washington. It has been lovingly preserved for 60 years by John Cosgrove, a former president of the National Press Club in the US capital, who discovered the significance of the recording during a chance encounter with Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma's grandson and biographer.

Alfred Wagg, a journalist, recorded the speech delivered in New Delhi to a conference of Asian leaders, and produced four 78 rpm LPs that included both Gandhi’s speech and Wagg’s own commentary. Very few people in the world have heard Gandhi’s own voice. Most have heard Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi-speak in the 1982 Richard Attenborough movie in which Ben played the Mahatma in an Oscar winning performance.

The Washington Post has released Wagg’s recording of Gandhi’s 1947 speech, accompanied by an article by Shankar Vedantam. This rare recording is now available to all those who want to hear Gandhi speaking on some issues which are as relevant to the world today as they were 61 years back. Listen to the Mahatma, to the purity, the power that his voice generates. After the audio, you may find it worthwhile going through the comments that have been posted on the site.

Go on, get the vibrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s voice and his message here.