Gandhi Essay, Research Paper
In the twentieth century Gandhi stimulated fresh expressions of
Hinduism in independent India. Gandhi was a Hindu leader who was
against the British government, served time in British jails, and in
1947 became one of the leaders of a new India where Hinduism is still
the dominant religion.
Gandhi studied in Britain and practiced law in South Africa. He
was keenly aware of the injustices imposed by the British, and of the
the injustices imposed by Hindus on untouchables. In Hinduism an
untouchable is a person, often a Shudra, who is considered by upper
cases too impure to allow physical contact. But Gandhi referred to
them as Harijans or Children of God . In life he worked for their
welfare, in death he inspired continuing care for them. He tried to
kindle, by example, the light of truth available to the simple virtues of
Hinduism. The masses of Hindus loved Gandhi for his organization of
mass demonstrations, nonviolent resistance and emphasis on fasting
in prison until others did his bidding which the British did not
appreciate. Gandhi had a sound spiritual foundation for his program of
reform. Influenced by Isha Upanishad, two doctrines shaped his
personal commitments and public actions, satyagraha and ahimsa.
Satyagraha, or truth force meant to Gandhi that God is truth. A
persons entire life should be a commitment to seek and fulfill truth.
Ahimsa is non-injury or nonviolence but can also mean love . For
Gandhi this meant that to love God is also to love the being in whom
God dwells. There is no room for hatred or violence among any
humans. Before anyone can correct the impurities and injustices
within the world, they must purify themselves. Gandhi was perhaps the
bets example in the twentieth century of using spiritual force to effect
political change. He said that having rejected the sword, he had
nothing to offer his opposition but love. He lived in expectation that in
some future life he would be able to hug all humanity as friends.
Gandhi s spiritual approach was influential in moving the British
government to grant independence to India in 1947. Gandhi influenced
such people as Martin Luther King, Jr. with his nonviolent resistance
methods, which won recognition of the Civil Rights movement of
African-American people in the United States.