Morarji Desai (February 29, 1896 – April 10, 1995), was a notable Indian independence activist and the fifth Prime Minister of India from 1977 - 1979. He was also the first Prime Minister to head India's first non-Congress Government.
- Things should be done for their own sake. I accept that I will never understand reality, so I concentrate on action, dharma [duty] and commitment.
- The Home Rule Movement had just started at that time. I used to attend many of the public meetings held under its auspices. I heard with great interest what Mrs Annie Besant whose language was so charmingly appealing and who used the silver tones of her voice with such effect that many students came under influence. After I passed my intermediate examination, in the last days of 1915, there was an annual session of Indian National Congress in Bombay which Sir Satyendra Prasanna Sanja presided.
- I worked as a volunteer at that session and heard Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. I was profoundly impressed by his personality. Mahatma Gandhi was explaining his weapon of non-violent struggle for securing w:SwarajSwaraj....Mahatma Ganndhi told his young companions – May be you don’t agree today with what I say. But I am confident that within twenty five or thirty years, we will get Swaraj by this method. This purportedly proved true and just 31 years later India became independent.
- As quoted in Commissions and Omissions by Indian Prime Ministers (1996) by Janak Raj Jai, Volume 1, p. 210
- For a democracy to be healthy and effective, three political parties fight elections so that they can replace one another in Governments every few years. Dictatorial governments are either communist, or fascist, or military or personal. Nothing can control the power and wealth of a dictator. History has shown that there were no benevolent dictators and even if a saint became a dictator, he would be corrupted by the unlimited power and wealth at his command, and soon become a despot and tyrant. Mahatma Gandhi, who got us freedom by the unique method of non-violent resistance against evil was an ideal democrat.
- As quoted in Commissions and Omissions by Indian Prime Ministers (1996) by Janak Raj Jai, Volume 1, p. 218
- Life at any time can become difficult: life at any time can become easy. It all depends upon how one adjusts oneself to life.
- As quoted in Change your Body - Is your Body Acidic or Alkaline? (2014) by Monica Wright, and Matt Thom, p. 44
- “If charity and philanthropy is not connected with any ulterior motive, they are beneficial. But charity and conversions cannot go together. Religion prospers only when charity and philanthropy are undertaken without any motive. ... The poor and illiterate may enjoy religious freedom without any fear. We have to be particularly vigilant about the Scheduled Tribes whose protection is not only guaranteed by the laws of the land but is also enshrined in the Constitution. It is our duty to preserve every aspect of their way of life along with their religion and ways of worship. No group belonging to any creed should interfere with their religion and rituals. Other organizations are also engaged in the philanthropic work... But that work can be helpful only when it is done without any ulterior motive.
- Morarji Desai, Letter to Mother Teresa, 21 April 1979. quoted from Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121
Morarji Desai speaks about life and celibacy
In: Binoy Thomas Morarji Desai speaks about life and celibacy, Spcoety, 15 July 2014
- Take life as it comes.
- You are free to do any action as you want. That’s not done by destiny. What you get is destiny. Because, that’s the result of your own actions. Destiny is not given by God, one thing to one man, something else to another man. Then God would be unjust, partial and would cease to be God.
- [becoming the Prime Minister of this country] That’s destiny. That’s not the result of my work. But, what I do as Prime Minister is a new action for which I am responsible. And whatever wrong I have done, I’ll have to pay for it.
- This country [India] has the best future. When it reached its summit, it was bound to come down. It has taken 2000 years. Yet, this is the only country which has not been destroyed in the world. All other civilizations have gone.... This is the only country whose civilization has survived to this day. Whether it is Egypt, Babylon or Sumeria, there is absolutely no indication of that in those countries at present.
- There is an inherent quality [resistant to change] in this country which doesn’t allow anybody to destroy it. Whoever tries to destroy it will himself be destroyed. Ravan was destroyed.
- Whoever said Gandhi was against technology was wrong. I am not against industries. There are times when other things have to play a role—like food. But big industries are essential. Take electricity, or steel. These are essentially for big industries only.
- Is truth out of place today? Then we are gone. Will it ever be out of place? Is international politics based on convenience rather than ethics? That’s the malady of the world today. I tried to do things differently.
- When what I believe is the truth, I must act on it. But, I consider that you have every right to think what you think is the truth. I pay a price for adhering to my truth. I pay and do it cheerfully.
- The experience that I have, I think very few have. I’ve been in public life for 50 or 60 years. With this experience, a person acquires a deeper insight into life. And, if I say that and they can’t give a reply, they merely say I am out of place.
- Fate gets you into positions of power. Life takes you there. I only do my duty and service to the people. I take all conditions as they come cheerfully and do my duty.
- I can’t say I have shed [ego] it completely. I have certainly given it up, up to 95 per cent. I believe until and unless I give up my ego, I can’t realise God. My whole ambition in life is to realise God or truth, whatever you may want to call it. Do you believe in God? It’s a fashion not to believe in God.
- Is any serious crime committed without drinking? You see, if drinking were ruining only the man himself, then it wouldn’t matter so much. But, why have we introduced it [prohibition] in the constitution? It’s a crime against society as well. Take the case of ending your own life. Life is to live, therefore we’ve to discourage suicide. That doesn’t mean you can’t actually stop suicide, nobody can stop the actual act. Therefore, it’s only the unsuccessful attempt which is an offence.
- I receive letters from people who’ve been cured with the ‘urine-therapy’…. Several years ago, a man called Lawrence Armstrong was suffering from TB. One day, he was reading the psalms from the Bible, he found the passage, ‘Drink from your own cistern when you’re in trouble.’ He wondered what it meant. It struck him that it was his own urine. And, he saw in the veterinary hospitals some animals given their own urine by his doctor friend. Nature has provided its own cures. What happens to the birds and animals in the forest? For 45 days, he consumed all the urine he passed and at the end of it, he was a young man. Then he wrote a book, "Waters of Life".
- Celibacy is not only my view, but also that of several others', including the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t say that this can be prescribed to the people. Here again, people say that I am imposing my will on them. I am not alone, Mahatma Gandhi was also against all artificial methods of family planning. He felt strongly about it. He said that by using it, you’re turning women into prostitutes. He used such hard language. But, I know that the government doesn’t run on individual opinions. Celibacy depends on self will. Only one in a million people can do it. It’s necessary to have family planning. But, it doesn’t lead to mental strength.
- God has also given the sense to control. He has given us intelligence which could be utilised both for good and bad. I am not saying it’s easy for people to adopt celibacy—very few can do it.
- I only cherished service to people. There should not be greed even in service.
- I consider astrology as a perfect science. But, I also believe what has to happen cannot be changed. Then what’s the use? When you know, you worry about it. That why I never consult any astrologer. Of course, many of them come to me. But, no one can say I invited him or asked any questions. But when I believe it’s a science, how can I deny it?
- I have even acted in a children’s film. It was a 10-minute role which I did somewhere around 1961. I had to quote from Gandhi. I spoke for 8 to 10 minutes continuously without any rehearsal, or writing, or retake. Not one word had to be changed. Because when you speak and act truthfully, you do not make a mistake. It comes naturally.
- Very often, unfortunately the wrong kind of publicity appears in the press...That happens. Is God free from it? Was Mahatma Gandhi free from it? It’s due to ignorance also. Some of these people deliberately misquote.
- Unless morality comes to public life, politics will remain what it is all over the world. My only interest in remaining in politics is to bring in morality. I’ve chosen the path of action and bhakti.
19th World Vegetarian Congress 1967
- For those who believe in God the matter is simpler still and clearly than anything else: because those who believe in God believe that God is the Creator of the whole Universe and there is nothing that does not come from Him.
- Consideration for other persons or for other living beings is very vital for goodness and want of consideration for other people makes human beings selfish, regardless for other people's good.
- I do not say that one who is vegetarian is full of compassion and one who is not, is otherwise. We sometimes find people, who are vegetarians, are very bad people.
- If we do not want to be pained by anybody we must not pain anybody; and how can man consider himself humane if he wants to live at the cost of others.
- The vegetarian movement is an ancient movement and is not quite a modern one.
- As long as man eats animals how can cruelty to animals be removed.
- One can't be kind to one person and cruel to another.
- Vegetarianism alone can give us the quality of compassion, which distinguishes man from the rest of the animal world.
- I do not want to go into its physical reasons: the construction of the human body is different from that of carnivorous animals. But man's intelligence is such that it can be utilised to defend any-thing he does, whether right or wrong.
- An expert gives an objective view. He gives his own view.
- I believe in preventing cruelty to all living beings in any form.
- I would, therefore, say that for no reason whatsoever, except in self-defense, should one think of killing any animal.
- We should propagate the values of vegetarianism.
- In the early ages, I believe not much thought was given to what man is and what his real functions should be, and what is the real purpose of his life.
- One has got to choose between the two evils, also between the lesser of the two evils in the matter of food, and therefore vegetarian food has got to be taken by man in order to sustain human life
- You are quite correct in saying that I banned the export of monkeys on a humanitarian basis and not because the number was lessening.
- It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
About Morarji Desai
- The former Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai, was known for his quirky behaviour, and practising urine therapy was just one of them.
- Binoy Thomas in: Morarji Desai speaks about life and celibacy, Spcoety, 15 July 2014
- He had a strange set of rules, based on what he believed was the truth. There are a few politicians today who look as immaculately clean as he did in his starched white dhoti-kurta outfit, among a sea of corruption. His principles were his own, difficult to follow, even more difficult to understand. You can either agree with him or disagree. No one could say he betrayed them himself.
- Binoy Thomas in: "Morarji Desai speaks about life and celibacy"
- He liked Jimmy Carter because according to him, “he’s one of the few world leaders who’s not a womaniser.
- Binoy Thomas in: "Morarji Desai speaks about life and celibacy"
- He played a very significant role in the state politics and held many important positions. Even before entering the political life, he had served the Government, as an upright judicial officer, for a period of twelve years. It goes to his credit that he did not compromise his principles under any circumstances.
- Janak Raj Jai in: Commissions and Omissions by Indian Prime Ministers, Volume 1, Daya Books, 1996 P.216
Obituary: Morarji Desai
Kuldip Singh in: Obituary: Morarji Desai, The Independent, 13 July 2014
- He was a staunch Gandhian, driven by the burning conviction that he had a selfless mission to accomplish.
- He was the ascetic and eccentric who espoused during a turbulent and controversial political career spanning five decades - including two years as prime minister, from 1977 to 1979 (at which time he was the world's oldest head of government) - he tried to imbue it with spirituality and righteousness.
- A strong protagonist of prohibition and yoga, he caused discomfiture to millions of Indians when, as prime minister, he propounded the efficiency of urine-drinking. He attributed his longevity to drinking urine - which he called the ``water of life - at least twice every day.
- A majority of Indians considered him an embodiment of obscurantism and obstinacy who espoused antediluvian, regressive and protectionist fiscal measures which sparked off an inflationary spiral in the Sixties.