“The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. It

will destroy you.”

–Kautilya Chanakya – 371-283 BC


The Chapati Movement was a mysterious movement that began in India in 1857. Thousands of unmarked chapatis were distributed to homes and police outposts throughout India by runners at night, and the people who accepted the offerings would quietly make more batches and pass them on. The speed of distribution was particularly disconcerting to the British because it was much swifter than British mail with chapatis travelling up to 300 kilometres every night.

As there was not a word written on or sign made on the chapatis, the British were livid at being unable to find grounds for stopping or arresting the chapati runners who were quite often police chowkidars themselves. The chapatis were real but no one, not even the runners, knew for sure what they were for. When the revolt broke out that year, it was widely believed that the circulation of the chapatis had put it into motion. It turned out to be an effective weapon of psychological warfare against colonial rule.