‘No amount of speeches will ever make us fit for self-government. It is only our conduct that will fit us for it.’

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, after 21 years in South Africa, finally returned to India for good in January 1915.
He kept away from active political action for the next four years. But he travelled all over India speaking on truth, Satyagraha and social reform.
On 4 February 1916, he made a sensational speech at Benares. Below I give the abridged version.
In 1892, Mrs Besant started a school at Benares, and in 1916 this institution, guided by Pandit Malaviya, was expanded into the Hindu University Central College. An illustrious gathering of notables attended the three-day opening ceremonies in February 1916. The Viceroy was there and so were numerous bejewelled maharajas, maharanis, rajas and high officials in all their dazzling panoply.
On 4 February, Gandhi (not yet Mahatma) addressed the meeting. India had never heard such a forthright speech. Gandhi spared no one. “His Highness, the Maharaja, who presided yesterday over our deliberations spoke about the poverty of India. Other speakers laid great stress upon it. But what did we witness in the great pandal in which the foundation ceremony was performed by the Viceroy (Lord Harding)? Certainly a most gorgeous show, an exhibition of jewellery which made a splendid feast for the eyes of the greatest jeweller who chose to come from Paris. I compare with the richly bedecked noblemen the millions of the poor. And I feel like saying to those noblemen: ‘there is no salvation for India unless you strip yourselves of this jewellery and hold it in trust for your countrymen in India.”
“Whenever I hear of a great palace rising in any great city of India”, he went on, “be it in British India or be it the India ruled by our great chiefs, I become jealous at once and say, ‘Oh, it is the money that has come from the agriculturists’… There cannot be much spirit of self-government about us, if we take away or allow others to take away from peasants almost the whole of the results of their labour. Our salvation can only come through the farmer. Neither the lawyers, nor the doctors, nor the rich landlords are going to secure it.
It is a matter of deep humiliation and shame for us, that I am compelled this evening under the shadow of this great college, and in this sacred city, to address my countrymen in a language that is foreign to me.
Suppose, that we had been receiving education during the past fifty years through our vernaculars, what should we be today? We should have today a free India, we should have our educated man not as if they were foreigners in their own land, but speaking to the heart of the nation; they would be working amongst the poorest of the poor, and whatsoever they would have gained during the past fifty years would be a heritage of the nation.
No amount of speeches will ever make us fit for self-government. It is only our conduct that will fit us for it. And how are we trying to govern ourselves?… If you find me this evening speaking without reserve, pray consider that you are only sharing the thoughts of a man who allows himself to think audibly, and if you think that I seem to transgress the limits that courtesy imposes upon me, pardon me for the liberty I may be taking… I speak feelingly as a Hindu. Is it right that the lanes of our sacred temple should be as dirty as they are? The houses round about are built anyhow. The lanes are narrow and tortuous. If even our temples are not models of roominess and cleanliness what can our self-government be? Shall our temples be abodes of holiness, cleanliness and peace as soon as the British have retired from India…?
All of us have had many anxious moments while the Viceroy was going through the streets of Benaras. There were detectives stationed in many places. This was not to be talked about in public. We were horrified, we asked ourselves, ‘Why this distrust? Is it not better that even Lord Harding should die than live a living death? But a representative of the mighty Sovereign may not. He might find it necessary even to live a living death. But why was it necessary to impose these detectives on us?
We may foam, we may fret, we may resent, but let us not forget that the India of today in her impatience had produced an army of anarchists. I am myself an anarchist, but of another type… Their anarchism…is a sign of fear. If we trust and fear God, we shall have to fear no one, not Maharajas, not Viceroys, not the detectives, not even King George.”