We should be ashamed of resting, or having a square meal, so long as there is one able-bodied man or woman without work or food.


M. K. Gandhi

Young India, February 5, 1925, p. 48

Background :

Gandhiji returned to India in 1915 after shining victory in South Africa with a new and powerful weapon of Satyagraha. He settled down in Ahmedabad with a view to serve the people of India.


In the year 1919 Gandhiji decided to launch Satyagraha against Rowlatt Bill. Meanwhile, Shri Horniman, the editor of the Bombay Cronicle was taken away by the Government to an unknown place outside India, for his fearless writings against the injustice of the Government. Managers of the daily, therefore, requested Gandhiji to conduct the daily. Soon the Government closed down the daily.

At that time Shri Umar Sobani and Shri Shankerlal Banker requested Gandhiji to take up the responsibility of publishing the English weekly Young India. Gandhiji who had experience of running a weekly Indian Opinion in South Africa, accepted the suggestion as he wanted to explain the essence of Satyagraha to the people of India.

"But how can the people be trained in Satyagraha through English ?...." wrote Gandhiji then. He wanted to attain Swaraj for India by educating the people through cultivated and enlightened workers devoted to the Gujarati language.

Shri Indulal Yagnik placed "Navajivan Ane Satya" a monthly published in Gujarati at the disposal of Gandhiji. He accepted the editorship, changed the name to Navajivan and converted it to weekly. As this was being published from Ahmedabad, Gandhiji suggested that Young India too should be brought out from Ahmedabad.

The first issue of Navajivan bearing the name of Gandhiji as its editor was published on September 7, 1919 while the first issue of 'Young India' under the editorship of Gandhiji was published on October 8, 1919. This was the beginning of the unique journey of the people of India towards freedom from the British Rule, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

The story of Navajivan Institution is the brightest chapter in the epic of India's non-violent struggle for freedom. As we shall see, the growth of the weeklies, the Navajivan Institution and the freedom movement were so interwoven that it is difficult to mention about the progress of one without making reference to the other.