Gandhi Essay, Research Paper
MOHANDAS KARMCHAND GANDHI
All throughout history, the most common way to solve a dispute was with violence. The dispute eventually grew larger with many people joining the different sides. These large disputes eventually grew into wars. Most people believed that wars were the only way to solve problems. Then, a native East Indian, named Gandhi, expressed what he thought, and changed the way the world felt about violence “Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”(Mohandas K. Gandhi). Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi also known as Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandan, India on October 2nd 1869. After graduating from Law School, Gandhi moved to South Africa to help fight for Indian Rights under the Apartheid system.
However, Gandhi’s style of fighting did not consist of weapons, rather used words and actions. Gandhi moved back to India, which was under British control, and began to fight for India’s independence. After several years, he succeeded. On January the 30th 1948 a Hindu fanatic assassinated Gandhi, which was regarded as an international catastrophe. From Gandhi’s life, one can see how he went about affecting changes in the world by using several techniques of what he called “ahimsa” (passive resistance). Ironically, throughout his life, Gandhi vigorously fought for what he believed in without violence and that is why he is a hero.
Gandhi is extremely important because he showed the world that there are other techniques that are more effective alternatives to violence and wars. This technique is called the passive resistance. Gandhi preached a new way of life, where violence was not tolerated. He believed it was more effective to use words, in order to pursue something. His definition of fighting was not the literal one, rather a more ethical one. As a result of Gandhi’s efforts, many things were achieved. Firstly, during his time in South Africa, the government made important concessions to his demands by granting recognition of Indian marriages, and the abolition of the poll tax for them. Secondly, in India, slowly but surely, he was the one who was responsible for gaining its independence from the British.
The first technique that Gandhi used to affect change was non co-operation. The Amritsar Massacre, where British soldiers murdered many Indians in 1920, was the first time Gandhi’s non co-operation policy had a major effect. Because the British Government failed to make amends, Gandhi proclaimed to Indians all over, not to co-operate with the British. They overwhelmingly listened to him by boycotting government agencies, withdrawing their children from government schools and resigning from public office. Indians even blocked streets and refused to move or fight back when British police officers beat them. Furthermore, to show that India could be economically independent, Gandhi and many other Indians did not buy British goods, instead used their own raw materials. Gandhi also revived the cottage industries, where people lived simple lives. This led to the renewal of native Indian industries. Another event, in 1930, Gandhi ordered Indians not to pay taxes on salt. Instead, they went to the Arabian Sea and made their own salt by evaporating water. Lastly, when World War II broke out, Gandhi demanded that India be granted independence otherwise they will not help Britain in the war. Near the end of the war, they reached an agreement where India would be granted Independence on certain conditions.
Just as non co-operation was a successful technique used by Gandhi, so was his tactic of fasting in pursuit of peace. It is remarkable how suddenly people reacted when their symbol of peace, Gandhi, fasted. Gandhi started to fast for stretches of time in 1932 when he was put into jail numerous times. These fasts were significant, because had the government let him die, revolution and rebellion would certainly have happened. “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” (Albert Einstein) Later on during the year, Gandhi, once again, undertook a fast until death, to increase the status of the Hindus. Before they were considered to be separate from the Indians. Furthermore, during the War, when the Indian Congress Party and the British government were still in discussion about Independence, Gandhi was put into jail again. Where he fasted again, and like always, released, because the Government couldn’t afford for anything to happen to him. One of Gandhi’s most famous fasts occurred shortly after India’s independence. An escalating civil war broke out between the Muslims and Hindus. Gandhi was disgusted by this and fasted in hope that they would stop. Miraculously, they did and the tensions ceased. Gandhi’s last fast, a successful one too, was 12 days before he died, in 1948, and once again, it was for peace.
Gandhi will be remembered for everything that he did. He changed the way people act, and even though violence is still a major issue in today’s society, the amount of peace he achieved is beyond description. His ideas and beliefs became even more widely used after his death. They have inspired other people, such as Martin Luther King Jr, another pursuer of equal rights and peace “Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk.”(Martin Luther King Jr.) One can learn how enormous Gandhi’s effect was, by looking at his impact today. Not only is he a South African role model, and an Indian role model, but also an international role model for peace and non-violence.