Published on March 7, 2010
Mahatma GandhiThe Great Soul : Mahatma GandhiThe Great Soul The Mahatma : The Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is definitely one of the most influential figures of all time. Although many of the conservative ethnic majorities disliked him due to his principle of toleration of the minorities, most of the population of the Indian Subcontinent hailed him as a hero. Although he was killed over 60 years ago, he still has an influence on many people around the world today. His teachings of non-violence, toleration, forgiveness, and perseverance will live on forever. Early Life : Early Life Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on the 2nd of October, 1869. In May of 1883 he was married to a 14 year old girl. Gandhi was 13. In 1888, he left his homeland of India to study in England. After studying in England for five years, he moved to South Africa to work as a lawyer. In 1915, he moved back to India and began his civil disobedience movement. First Protests : First Protests Gandhi’s first two significant protests occurred at Champaran and Kheda. In both of these places, there were thousands of peasants who either had small plots of land or no land at all. In Champaran, Gandhi helped rebuild the villages infrastructure. In Kheda, he organized mass tax evasion by the mostly landed peasants. Although the British repressed the Gandhian protests at first, they eventually capitulated. After these protests, Gandhi’s fame spread all over the nation. Salt Satyagraha : Salt Satyagraha From March 12th to April 6th of 1930, Gandhi led the Dandi Salt March. This march was in protest against the British Salt Laws, in which Indians had to pay a tax whenever they made their own salt. Although the march culminated on April 6th, the satyagraha against the salt tax would continue for over one year. Salt Satyagraha (Contd) : Salt Satyagraha (Contd) The main principles of Gandhi made evident by this event are perseverance and non-violence. Although this protest did not result in any immediate concessions, it revealed to the British that they did not have the Indians’ consent to continue their rule of the nation. “Not one of the marchers even raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins.” (Miller 1930) WWII and Quit India : WWII and Quit India After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the Indians were forced to fight for the British crown. Gandhi argued that Britain was forcing Indians to fight for democracy in other nations while they did not have democracy in their own nation. Gandhi and the Indian National Congress took this opportunity to launch a campaign for complete Indian independence from British rule. WWII and Quit India (Contd) : WWII and Quit India (Contd) “If the British refuse, start total disobedience…” (Mashriqi 1942) In response to the protests that followed, the British imprisoned Gandhi and almost all of the members of the Indian National Congress. “Karo Ya Maro (Do or Die)” (Gandhi 1942) Indian Independence : Indian Independence Overall, the Quit India Movement definitely contributed to Indian independence. Gandhi’s organization of mass civil disobedience shook the confidence of British rule. After other countries saw the success that Gandhi had, they too followed his example and were freed within a few years. Therefore, Gandhi’s practices did not only free India, but emancipated suppressed people all over the world. Although Gandhi was an opponent to the partitioning of India and Pakistan, he understood that it was for the greater good because the majority of India wanted it Partitioning of India : Partitioning of India Although Gandhi was an opponent to the partitioning of India and Pakistan, he understood that it was for the greater good because the majority of India wanted it. After he gave in to this, he did not budge when it came to compensating Pakistan 550 million rupees as promised by the Partition Council. Partitioning of India (Contd) : Partitioning of India (Contd) It was around this time that he launched his last fast-unto-death. Soon after, the partition took place and to Gandhi’s pleasant surprise, the money was paid to Pakistan in full. “[Gandhi] was troubled when the Government decided to deny Pakistan the 550 crores due as per agreements made by the Partition Council.” (Anon.) Assassination : Assassination On January 30th, 1948, the world was shocked by Gandhi’s assassination. He was killed while on his nightly public walk, by a fellow Hindu named Nathuram Godse His ashes were spread throughout India in urns for memorial services, then most of them were immersed at Triveni Allahabad. It was an incredibly devastating blow to India. As Jawaharlal Nehru put it, “…the light has gone out of our lives.” (Nehru 1948) Principles : Principles The foremost of Gandhi’s principles was to honor one’s commitments As he said to the Indian National Congress before the Declaration of Independence, “You may take the name of independence on your lips but all your muttering will be an empty formula if there is no honor behind it. If you are not prepared to stand by your words, where will independence be?“ (Gandhi 1928) Another of his principles was perseverance. This was exemplified by the fact that at times he would not eat for more than three weeks at a time as a hunger strike to protest against various issues. Principles (Contd) : Principles (Contd) The principle of Gandhi’s that led to his death was toleration. He believed that all religions were equal and that untouchability should be gotten rid of. When he was asked whether or not he was a Hindu, he answered, “Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” (Gandhi 1947) Lastly, he preached nonviolence. This is clearly revealed in his practice of Satyagraha. He would never hurt anybody, and would always tell others to do the same. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” (Gandhi 19??) “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” (Gandhi 19??) Conclusion : Conclusion Overall, Gandhi was an extremely influential and inspirational person. He showed people that if they stand up for themselves, they can definitely accomplish anything they strive to achieve. Through his acts of Satyagraha, he showed that his principles of toleration, truth, nonviolence, and perseverance will triumph over evil every time. Although his assassination was the end of a life, it was just the beginning of a legacy. You must be the change you wish to see in this world : You must be the change you wish to see in this world Questions??? : Questions???