Mahatma Gandhi & Life Insurance

    From My Experiments with Truth’:  

    “About the time I took up chambers in Bombay, an American insurance agent had come there a man with a pleasing countenance and a sweet tongue. As though we were old friends, he discussed my future welfare. ‘All men of your status in America have their lives insured. Should you not also insure yourself against the future? Life is uncertain. We in America regard it as a religious obligation to get insured. Can I not tempt you to take out a small policy?’

    Up to this time I had given the cold shoulder to all the agents I had met in South Africa and India, for I had thought that life insurance implied fear and want of faith in God. But now I succumbed to the temptation of the American agent. As he proceeded with his argument, I had before my mind’s eye a picture of my wife and children. ‘Man, you have sold almost all the ornaments of your wife,’ I said to myself. ‘If something were to happen to you, the burden of supporting her and the children would fall on your poor brother, who has so nobly filled the place of a father. How would that become you?’ With these and similar arguments I persuaded myself to take out a policy for Rs. 10,000.”

    His views changed subsequently. “Have you insured your life?” asked an Agra friend of Gandhiji.

    Gandhiji replied: “I did insure my life in 1901 and a short time after I gave up the policy because I felt that I was distrusting God and making my relatives, in whose behalf the policy was taken, dependent upon me or the money I might leave them, rather than upon God or themselves. The opinion arrived at when I gave up the policy has been confirmed by subsequent experience.”


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