Mohandas Ghandi Essay, Research Paper
Satyagraha. Meaning “force or firmness of truth, Mohandas Gandhi worked and lived by this word. By peaceful, non-violent demonstrations he little by little took hold of the people of India’s love and honor and freed them from British rule. This is his story:
On October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India, a region of Queen Victoria, Mohandas Gandhi was born to Kaba Gandhi and his wife. Although his father, Kaba, was the chief Minister for the Maharaja of Porbandar, he and his family lived in a small house and belonged to a Hindu caste of merchants called “banjas.” As he grew, Mohandas became a small, shy and skinny boy, afraid of others’ opinions. He never spoke out, but although he was never a clever child, others were
surprised by his gentleness. At the age of thirteen, he was married to Kastaurbai, a pretty yet strongwilled girl of the same caste. He would now live with his wife,
instead of his mother and father whom he had cared for for so long. Before this, Mohandas had told lies, had smoked, and had eaten meat, which was strictly forbidden of Hindus. Now, suddenly, he felt guilty and that he had hurt himself and in some ways those who he cared for. So, in desperation, he told his father, and they cried together. One year later Kaba Gandhi died. Mohandas was sixteen.
At eighteen he traveled to England to study law and secretly to
see for himself what made the English so powerful. He enrolled in a
college of law but quit after one term. He felt that he didn’t fit
in, so he studied the ” Standard Elocutionist” for use and knowledge
of proper ettiquitte. After a while he quit this also because he saw
no use anymore. Quitting became a popular theme in his early life.
Sometimes he quit because he was bored with something and just grew
out of it, or sometimes when he just couldn’t accomplish anything.
For example, he took English dancing and violin lessons to become more
distinguished, but he was very clumsy and quit after six lessons.
He did not quit every thing though. He worked at some things if
he thought that it would in some way help him. He studied material on
Common & Roman laws and had to pass major exams on it. Despite all of
the quiting and studying, he became a lawyer. He was not a very
distinguished or even good one at first, but later became respected
by his friends and clients after his work on a case in South Africa.
Becoming a moral leader was a very long and slow process. Gandhi
was not looking for success or fame but something more; equality,
respect, but most of all, peace. He had seen the hate the white man
had for Indians. And for what reason? Their color or heritage? This
did not seem right to him, so he began his life long struggle of never
ending peaceful protests and his silent fight for justice for all.
Mohandas Gandhi died in January of 1948. (The actual date is in
dispute. The information from my book said that his death was on the
30th, but the World Book Encyclopedia says that it was Jan. 13th) He
was shot 3 times by Godse, a Hindu himself. The whole world mourned
for Gandhi, a man who had no authority in government, but definitely
had earned the respect and most importantly, the love of his people.
Showing love and humanity through peaceful acts, he became well-
known and well-liked. For instance, in 1906 the Zulus in Africa
(blacks) rebelled. A new tax had been forced upon them and they had
refused to pay and decided to instead, fight. Sadly, they were almost
at once crushed by the well-armed white people. There were many
wounded so showing as much fortitude as possible, Gandhi and a group
of his volunteers marched 40 miles a day through hilly country
carrying much needed medical supplies to heal them. At first some of
the soldiers wouldn’t let him go, but eventually they understood.
Some even thanked him.
Gandhi also, no matter how they hated this, wanted peace between
the Muslims and the Hindus. Their religions were always against each
other and were fighting. The Hindus thought that Gandhi was becoming
a traitor and siding with the Muslims. This was far from the truth-
Gandhi was only looking for peace. He felt strongly about this and
was, unfortunately, the cause of his assassination.
Gandhi did not struggle against others for his race only. He
fought for equality for all. He led Indian workers against other
Indians in a cotton mill strike which was successful. He also worked
to show that the “untouchables” (very poor and supposedly unclean
people) were the same as everyone else. He did this by living as
simply as they did and sometimes with them. It never quite did solve
the problem, but it did help.
A major decision in Gandhi’s life was that of his marriage to
Kasturbai. In India it was tradition to marry early, at 13 in his
case, and to have your child married to the same caste. His marriage
was preplanned from years back to ensure that he would have enough
money and marry into a rich family.
Kasturbai’s family was well-off, her father was a wealthy
merchant. Mohandas’s father was the Prime Minister of the state, but
only because his father (Mohandas’s grandfather) had begun a new
career also as Prime Minister. Therefore, his son had followed in his
footsteps. The men in the Gandhi family before him had once been
merchants and traders like Kasturbai’s family. So to save the
trouble, they had decided to stay in the same caste.
During the beginning of his marriage (and this is why is such an
important part of his life), he was shy towards Kasturbai. When he
finally overcame this, he started to be somewhat of a bully towards
her, since she was brought up to “obey her husband meekly.” Suddenly
she found a strong will of her own though, when he forbade her to go
anywhere without his permission. Because of the clash of
personalities they fought often but did grow to love each other.
Gandhi learned to truly respect others from this relationship not that
just all men are equal, but that all men and women are equal.
Gandhi’s impact on other occurred in many ways but all of them
good During his life many loved him and others respected him for his
Crusades for peace. His followers loved him, but almost to the point
of worship, and that he truly hated.
Toward the end of his life, people’s thoughts about him had
changed dramatically. Most were sick of peaceful demonstrations
because they took too long to get results and some of the time didn’t
accomplish anything. They were ready to look to someone new for
leadership. Gandhi himself stopped protesting and leading for a while
and was teaching skills and helping the poor live better and simpler
lives. Over all, everyone was just sick of hearing the name Mohandas
For some reason when he was killed though, all of that changed.
Everyone was sad, and the Hindu people were ashamed that it was one of
them who had killed him. People began to worship Gandhi in the ways
that he had hated. They knew that if he would have been able to speak
a few words before he died he would have said to the people to “have
mercy on the misguided Godse”, but knowing this, they still hanged his
assassin. Gandhi once said: “I have no strength, save what God gives
me. I have no authority over my country men, save the purely moral.”
And he more than anyone knew how weak that authority could be.
Over time, Mohandas freed India from the British rule, earning
rights and respect for his people and a lasting place in history. In
my opinion, like everyone else’s. he was a great man putting others
ahead of himself, but above all else wanting, hoping, and dying for
Franda, Marcus and Vonetta J. ” Gandhi, Mahatama.” The New Electronic Encyclopedia. 1991, Grolier Electronic Publishing.
Iyer, Raghavan. ” Gandhi, Mohandas.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1989 ed.
Reynolds, Reginald. The True Story of Gandhi, Man of Peace. Chicago: Children’s press, 1964.