Mohandas Gandhi Essay

Charisma was an essential attribute of Mohandas Gandhi because he had managed to unite millions of people and lead them to consistent changes in India. In fact, he made people believe him and follow his lead. As a result, his ideas spread nationwide and, later, worldwide, that made him a prominent world leader. At the same time, his charisma was different from charisma of many other leaders of his time. His charisma was grounded on his simplicity and closeness to average people. He was just one of millions of Indians, who attempted to teach his nation how to gain freedom, independence and basic human rights and liberties. His charisma helped Gandhi to become the Father of the Nation but his ultimate goal was not the leadership itself but the independence of India and spreading his philosophy to help people to lead a better life.

Nonviolence as a key attribute of Mohandas Gandhi

Non-violence was the key attribute of Mohandas Gandhi’s philosophy. He started to implement the method of non-violent struggle since his early confrontation with the British authorities. In this respect, it is worthy of mention the fact that the reforms of the late 19th – early 20th century were initiated not only as the free will of British administration in India but it was also a response of the colonial power to the growing social tension. The discriminatory policy of British authorities and deterioration of economic situation resulted in the dramatic deterioration of the position of the local population. The official policy of exclusiveness and isolationism led to the creation of a system which seemed to be as strong as the caste system traditional to India. In such a situation, the native population of India became more and more dissatisfied with the British racial or, it is even possible to say, racist policy which affected all spheres of life and was particularly offensive in economic, political, socio-cultural and religious domains.

In response to the discriminatory policy of the official authorities of India, the native population of the country started to develop their own movements which targeted at the change of the current situation and the improvement of the position of Indians in their native country. It is necessary to underline that the restrictive policy of British authorities, which practically excluded Indians from political and socio-economic life of their country, led to the logical response of Indians which resulted in the growing Indian nationalism (Seal 319). On realizing the injustice of the official policy, Indian radicals started to spread their ideas using rhetoric concerning racial superiority and inequality.

Probably, if the radical nationalist ideas became really widely spread and there was no alternative, the social protest against colonial oppressors would probably resulted in a military conflict between the British and Indians. However, due to the ideas and activities of Mahatma Gandhi the opposition between the native population of India and colonizers was realized in a different and totally new way preventing the country from a bloody conflict which could easily broke out, if there were no other alternatives to change the situation in India for better.

In this respect, it should be said that Mohandas Gandhi started to spread his ideas and develop his civil rights movement when he had already got some experience in South Africa where he participated in the protection of rights of Indian community in the SAR. Symbolically, he, as well as many other leaders of Indian civil rights and liberating movements, was educated in Great Britain. However, unlike Indian nationalism, who started to spread their ideas in the late 19th – early 20th century radicalizing the population of India, rejected violent methods of struggle. Instead, he insisted on the necessity of using social disobedience as the major method of the struggle (Lorenzen 621). The effectiveness of his method of the struggle for human rights had been demonstrated when Gandhi organized poor farmers and laborers to protest against oppressive taxation and discrimination. It was worthy of mention that it was Gandhi who led Indians in the famous disobedience of the salt tax on the 400 kilometer Dandi Salt March in 1930 (Bondurant 255). In fact, eventually, Mohandas Gandhi civil right movement led India to independence, while in the early 20th century he provided Indians with really effective methods of the struggle against racial discrimination.

Patriotism and devotedness to universal values

At first glance, the ultimate goal of Gandhi was the independence of India but his philosophy and non-violent methods of struggle had long-run effects, which influenced the emergence of the concept of non-violence worldwide, while non-violent means of struggle became an effective tool used by different civil rights movements. In fact, Gandhi’s leadership encouraged the rise of civil rights movement worldwide because Gandhi’s values were truly universal, while his methods proved that people can gain their rights and liberties through civil disobedience, using non-violent methods of struggle.

Obviously, Gandhi was a true patriot of his country. He was ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of his country. He passed through hardships to help Indian people to set them free from the colonialism of Great Britain. Eventually, he led his people to independence and became the true leader of the nation.

At the same time, his views were not limited to the liberation of India solely. Early in his life, he took an active part in the liberation movement in South Africa, where he started to implement methods of non-violent struggle. He recruited people to the ambulance corps, where he served. He intentionally served in the ambulance corps and recruited people because this corps aimed at saving life of people instead of killing them as other corps did. In such a way, Gandhi manifested his philosophy of non-violence, which became the milestone of his political activities in India and which spread worldwide becoming the milestone of ideology of many civil rights movements.

Conclusion

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that Mohandas Gandhi was a prominent leader, who promoted the idea of the non-violence as the major tool of struggle of people for their rights and liberties. Mohandas Gandhi had managed to apply successfully non-violence as the major tool of struggle to reach social progress. He became the leader of Indian people and Indians treated him as the Father of the Nation because he taught them to use non-violent means to gain independence of India. However, Gandhi’s contribution was more significant than mere independence of India. He used his charisma and patriotism to lead people toward desirable ends, toward independence and the possibility to carry on social progressing using non-violent means. In such a way, he paved the way to the peaceful, non-violent struggle of people for their rights, liberties, and better life not only in India but also in other countries. Gandhi became the leader, who had changed the history of the world and encouraged the rise of many civil rights movements using non-violent methods of struggle.

 

Works cited:

Ashman, S. “India: Imperialism, partition and resistance”. International Socialism, December 1997, 77.

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Bondurant, J. V. Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict. Princeton UP, 1988.

Bowle, J. The Imperial Achievement, London: Secker & Warburg, 1974.

Corbridge, S. and Harris, J. Reinventing India. LA: Blackwell. 2000.

Dutt, R. C. The Economic History of India under early British Rule, New York: Routledge, 2001.

Lorenzen, D.N. “Warrior Ascetics in Indian History.”. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1978, 98 (1): 617–75.

Majumdar, R. C. History of the Freedom movement in India. New York: New Publishers, 1999.

Majumdar, R.C. Three Phases of India’s Struggle for Freedom Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1967.

Seal, A. Emergence of Indian Nationalism: Competition and Collaboration in the Later Nineteenth Century. Chicago: Routledge, 1968.