Hyderabad: As the country observed Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October, hashtag #NathuramGodseZindabad started trending on Twitter. Amid this, social media users stared sharing a quote that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.
The quote reads, "If a Muslim expressed his desire to rape a Hindu or a Sikh lady, she should never refuse him but cooperate with him. She should lie down like a dead with her tongue in between her teeth. Thus the rapist Muslim will be satisfied soon and sooner he leave her (sic)."
Twitteratis claim that the quote is from 'Freedom at Midnight' and can be found on page 479. The post is being shared with the caption, "When Hindu and Sikh women were raped in Pakistan during partition. this is what Gandhi suggest them (sic)."
The claim is false.
NewsMeter noticed that several Twitter users had commented that the quote is from page 479 of 'Freedom at Midnight' by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. While we could not find the first edition of the book, we found a reprinted edition on Internet Archive.
According to the description, "First published in 1975, this 2009 edition is a new edition of the best-selling book described as irreplaceable by Le Monde, Paris. It is a poignant reminder of the defining moments of the end of the British Raj, the independence of 400 million people, their division into India and the newly created Pakistan."
The original book was published by William Collins and the new edition by Vikas Publishing House Private Limited, New Delhi. We used the book's International Standard Book Number to search Vikas Publishing's website but found no results.
The full text of the book can be found here.
The website mkgandhi.org maintained by Gandhian Institutes Bhartiya Sarvodya Mandal and Gandhi Research Foundation presents Gandhi's views on rape. While his views regarding how a woman should act when sexually violated may not be agreeable or pragmatic, his philosophy centered around the moral strength of the individual. His views on violence against women are in consonance with this larger philosophy. This can be seen from the following excerpt:
"I have always held that it is physically impossible to violate a woman against her will. The outrage takes place only when she gives way to fear or does not realize her moral strength. If she cannot meet the assailant's physical might, her purity will give her the strength to die before he succeeds in violating her. Take the case of Sita. Physically she was a weakling before Ravana, but her purity was more than a match even for his giant might. He tried to win her with all kinds of allurements, but could not carnally touch her without her own physical strength or upon a weapon she possesses, she is sure to be discomfited whenever her strength is exhausted." (H, 1-9-1940, p. 266)
Gandhi further goes on to say that in the event of an assault, the woman must use all her physical might to resist. "When a woman is assaulted she may not stoop to think in terms of himsa or ahimsa. Her primary duty is self-protection. She is at liberty to employ every method or means that come to her mind in order to defend her honour. God has given her nails and teeth. She must use them with all her strength and, if need be, die in the effort. The man or woman who has shed all fear of death will be able not only to protect himself or herself but others also through laying down hi (or her) life." (H, 1-3-1942, p. 60)
Gandhi's documented views that a woman must use all her strength to ward off the aggressor are completely at odds with the views presented in the referenced book as well as the quotes mentioned by Twitter users.
Hence, the claim is false as there are no credible sources or authentic references for the viral quote.