A game changer in the modern world in the origins of political struggle has been the ability of enacting political changes vianon-violent struggle. From apartheid in South Africa, to the Velvet Revolution of Czech, to the Civil Rights movement in The United States, to non-violent struggle for freedom led by Mohandas Gandhi, it has change the very nature of what concerned citizens can accomplish through. As a leader and inspiration of this movement, Mohandas Gandhi is not just an important thinker for India. His influence has affected governments and promoted freedom across the globe and the change his ideas lead to have continued after his death.
Mohandas Gandhi was born in Porbandar Bombay in 1860 to the father of a high Hindu servant cases. In line with the tradition at the time, he was married off to a 14 year-old girl Kasurbai when he was only thirteen. Death of those hin his family plagued him early on as Ghandi’s father died when he was 16 years old and he last his first child that same year who died at only 3 days old, although he would eventually go on to have four sons.
After he graduated from high school in 1887 he sold his wife’s dowry jeweler and went to England to study to be a lawyer, but took a vow to lead a monastic existence there eating no meat, drinking no alcohol and not enjoying the company of women.
Racism was not something he was familiar with and he was shaken by his first encounter with not being allowed to travel in the first class by rail or book the hotel he desired because of his race. This spurred something in him, which would continue throughout his entire life.
In his autobiography, “My Experiments With Truth,” Ghandi writes about how his non-violent form of struggle, while novel at the time, was carefully though and planned. He writes, “I cannot attain freedom by a mechanical refusal to act, but only by in intelligent action in a detached manner” (Gandi, 20).
This biography lays out Gandhi’s own struggles with figuring out his p,ace and life. This give image of a man who is not always convinced that he is beyond equivocation, but has faith in the process of lettings his his thoughts grow like seeds to action action and fostering an axiom belief that his beliefs stemmed from noble intention. It also shows Ghandi’s profound interest in other philosophies and religion. He writes, “I intend to make a careful study of my own religion and, as far as I can, of other religions as well” (Gandhi, 18).
Gandhi first began his public career as a civil rights advocate in South Africa where he began meeting with other Indians and defending their rights. IN 1894 he founded the INC (Indian Natal Congress), which was a movement directed at procuring the fill rights for Indians living in South Africa.
When he finally returned India in 1915, he was fully engaged and completely aligned in the effort of obtaining civil rights for Indians. His leadership had grown by 1918 when he began more controversial work of organising strikes against landlords and protests against taxation from the British.
His protest was marked with his brand of compassion for even those whom he fought against. Again from his autobiography, “I hope God will give me the courage and the sense to forgive them and to refrain from bringing them to law” (Gandhi, 144).
1919 marks a turning point in the fight against the British when the Amristar Massacre had British soldiers firing on a gathering of Indians at a religious festival killing nearly 1,000. This was a significant date in the in the struggle for civil rights, but not a change in Ganhi’s method.
Despite his own methods of non-violence and understanding, he spent some of his life in jaily, serving two years for sedition in 1922 and afterwards staying out of active politics until the new decade. One of the non-violent actions he was most famous for was when he marched with 100,000s to a costal village of Dandi to protest a British tax enacted on the production of salt. He boiled water and encouraged others to do so to obtain their own salt from the sea. This led to more than half of those participating being imprisoned. All were soon released in agreement that they would suspend civicl disobedience and Gandhi was finally recognized as a party to deal with and invited to Britain for talks.
Gandhi’s example and life would continue until his assassination in 1948. Sadly and ironically, this pioneer of non-violence met a violent end when a hindu nationalist who disagreed with is policy on Pakistan killed him before he was going to address a prayer meeting.
Ghandi’s legacy will certainly live on as it has, in giving those seeking justice a voice and method to bring about freedom and rights without resorting to violence.
" Mahatma Gandhi Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com ."Famous Biographies & TV Shows - Biography.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
"BBC - History - Historic Figures: Mohandas Gandhi (1869 - 1948)." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
Desai, Mahadev H.. Gandhi's autobiography: the story of my experiments with truth. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1948. Print.