Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Essay, Research Paper
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
During the 20th century there were many great individuals throughout the world but none stand out more to me than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was an Indian nationalist leader, who established his country’s freedom through a nonviolent revolution. He considered the term?s passive resistance and civil disobedience inadequate for his purposes, however, and coined another term, Satyagraha (?truth and firmness?). He was a major part of World War I by recruiting campaigns. His whole life he worked for peace, which I think, is something to be admired and acknowledged by millions of people.
Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born in Porbandar in the present state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869, and educated in law at University College, London. In 1891, after having been admitted to the British bar, Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay (now Mumbai), with little success. Two years later an Indian firm with interests in South Africa retained him as legal adviser in its office in Durban. Arriving in Durban, Gandhi found himself treated as a member of an inferior race. He was appalled at the widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa. He threw himself into the struggle for elementary rights for Indians.
The United Kingdom granted India freedom on August 15, 1947. But Gandhi did not take part in the Independence celebrations. The partition of India into two nations India and Pakistan grieved Gandhi. The violent rioting between Hindus and Muslims that accompanied the partition saddened him. He had worked for a united country and urged that Hindus and Muslims should live together in peace.
On January 13th, 1948, at the age of 78, Gandhi began his last fast. His purpose was to end the bloodshed among Hindu, Muslim, and other groups. On January 18th, their leaders pledged to stop fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later, in New Delhi, while on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was assassinated. A Hindu fanatic, who opposed Gandhi’s program of tolerance to all creeds and religions, shot him three times. A shocked India and a world mourned Gandhi’s death. Gandhi was loved and admired by millions throughout the world because he lived his ideals in an age of cynicism. He insisted on honorable means instead of the principle of the end justifying the means, lived a simple life in a world of mounting complexity, and practiced nonviolence in a world of escalating violence.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of the foremost political leaders of the 20th century. He helped to free India from British rule by a unique method of nonviolent resistance, and is honored by Indians as the “Father of the Nation”. Gandhi was slight in built but had almost limitless physical and moral strength. The great scientist Albert Einstein said of Gandhi” Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”. Gandhi was one of the gentlest of men, a devout and almost mystical Hindu, but he had an iron core of determination. Nothing could change his convictions. This combination of traits made him the leader of India’s nationalist movement. Some observers called him a master politician. Others believed him a saint. To millions of Hindus he was their beloved Mahatma, meaning “great soul.” Gandhi’s writings and devout life won him a mass of Indian followers. They followed him almost blindly in his campaign for swaraj, or “home rule.” He worked to reconcile all classes and religious sects, especially Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi developed a method of direct social action based upon principles of courage nonviolence and truth, which he called shatyagraha (truth-force). This unique method of solving conflicts, was Gandhi’s greatest legacy to mankind.
Gandhi himself was opposed to separation and to the violence that had broken out. He went from village to village trying to get the people to understand the benefits of unity, but it wasn?t working. He was forced to agree with his comrades in the Congress who promoted partition into two areas: India and Pakistan, which came about in 1947. All over the globe, there was a certain sadness as many realized that the man whom they had looked up to and followed was now dead. As Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, put it. ?The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkened everywhere and I don not quite know what to tell you and how to say it. Or beloved leader, Bapu, as we call him the father of out nation, is no more.?
Gandhi?s influence certainly spread the globe. He has been the role model for many famous, influential people. One of these people was Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) who was famous for leading a non-violent movement for racial equality in the U.S.A. Another person is Joan Baez (1941-) who became famous as a folk-singer, a composer, and a guitarist. She led many antiwar and civil rights movements in the USA. A third person could be Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister of India. He was deeply saddened by Gandhi?s death and could not have become Prime Minister without Gandhi?s efforts.
Indeed, Gandhi was an influential man who helped father the nation of India, as we know it today. Without him, the Indians might still be held under British rule. Without him, many might not have been inspired to fight racism or imperialism non-violently. Gandhi?s death was regarded as an international catastrophe. His place in humanity was measured not in terms of the 20th century but in terms of history. A period of mourning was set aside in the United Nations General Assembly, and condolences to India were expressed by all countries. Religious violence soon waned in India and Pakistan, and the teachings of Gandhi came to inspire non-violent movements elsewhere, notably in the US under the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.