Gandhi's Early Christian Encounters

Mahatma Gandhi's decisive engagements with Christianity in India, England, and South Africa.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,  who considered himself a sanatani Hindu, went through three stages in his understanding of Christianity. Encounters he had with Christians and their teachings in India (1869-1887), England (1888-1891), and South Africa (1893-1899), during the first thirty years of his life prompted his own enquiry. Guided by his worldview, an amalgam of what he thought was best in various eastern religions, Gandhi wrongly perceived more continuity than discontinuity between Christianity and his own worldview.  Led by his notion of inclusiveness, Gandhi rejected the exclusive claims of Christianity as abusive. 

Dr.George Oommen is the Dean of Academics at Luther W. New. Jr. Theological College, Dehra Doon. He  serves on the board of Church History Association of India (CHAI), and is President for the North India chapter.

This article first appeared in the CHAI publication, India's Christian Heritage, 2011, and is reproduced with permission.