Banaras Hindu University, India, February 4, 1916
Mahatma Gandhi gave a speech in front of an audience of princes in elegant robes, and other worthies, some British, which outraged everybody and turned him into a spiritual leader for the Indian independence campaign .
Having spent many years outside India, on returning to his homeland Gandhi reacquainted himself with the land of his fathers, and swapped his Western-style dress for the simple robes of a peasant. Until that time the independence campaign had been largely waged by a clique of upper-class intellectuals who aped the British in manners, but Gandhi saw this was a road to nowhere.
Invited to speak at the opening of the Banaras Hindu University in front of an audience of princes in elegant robes, and other worthies, some of them British, he declared:
'There is no salvation for India unless you strip yourselves of this jewellery and hold it in trust for your country men.'
His words outraged everybody - you have to remember that this took place during World War I, when India's princes had rallied to the imperial cause - but it was a keynote speech in the struggle for Indian independence, and helped transform the nature of the debate, and turn Gandhi into the movement's spiritual leader.
Tragically, Gandhi would pay for his dedication to the cause with his life, but despite the conflict that followed the declaration of Indian independence, his dream of an India free from colonial rule was achieved.