Mahatma Gandhi: The Great Soul Essay

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The Elixir of Growth

Mohandas K. GandhiIndia
As heard on the This I Believe podcast, January 19, 2015
Mohandas K. Gandhi

photos in public domain, as found at commons.wikipedia.org

Mohandas Gandhi believed that none of the world’s religions had a monopoly on wisdom and that all of them were the same at their core. He was much more concerned with the actions we take in the service of one another, especially in the service of the poor and oppressed.

Themes: charity & service , faith & religion
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I believe that the core of all religions is the same—otherwise they would not be religions. I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Parsi, Buddhist, and Confucian. Rivalry among creeds degrades them. The idea of “My God is better than your God” repels me.

Nor do I believe in the superiority of nations or races. There is good and bad in all of them. I would not hurt England to help India. Peace at the expense of some nations is only an armistice. Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of love between individuals. Love gives men a partnership in the cares and the needs of others. Hate and competitions then yield to cooperation.

Love between individuals is the elixir of growth. I believe that I achieve my highest stature by merging my ego in the other individuals. This is love, or tender identification.

My love of my fellow men does not depend on their agreeing with me or following me. I smile on the dissenter. Disloyalty to my ideas is a gulf easily bridged by friendship and affection.

Civilization, I hold, is the acceptance, aye, the encouragement of differences. Civilization thus becomes a synonym of democracy. Force, violence, pressure, or compulsion with a view to conformity is therefore both uncivilized and undemocratic.

Force leads to fear and fear makes a small man. I have tried, throughout life, to banish fear, for if I fear I am not free.

Fear, I am convinced, reside in possessions. My heart is where my worldly goods are, by worldly goods I mean not only treasure and property, I mean also power, popularity, even this body of mine. Were I to put a high value on these I would hesitate to give them up in payment for principles. An attack on my principles would then make me cringe and retreat.

I am not against wealth. I am against wealth that enslaves. No possession must have a veto power over my actions. I fast when the cause for which I fast is more important to me than life itself. I renounce because that which I renounce affords me less pleasure than the fruits of renunciation.

I am an ordering person, subject to many frailties, and if I have any right to speak about myself it is only thanks to my successful experiments in living. My life is action. I believe that I must live what I believe. I have attempted to eliminate the conflict between what I believe, what I do, and what I say. This is truth. I preach what I practice. The result is an integration which brings inner harmony. In the face of a wrong I cannot remain supine and merely wring my hands, utter pious regrets, and thereby salve my conscience. I share responsibility for all the evils in the world unless I combat them.

The poor and the oppressed are my first and chief preoccupation, but I will not act for them, I act with them. They must not be passive or indifferent. I fear resignation more than failure. Action in a right cause ennobles, though the results be meager, for means are more important than ends. Actually there are no ends in life (there is even no end to life, for every end is a beginning and another incarnation), there are only means, every means is a means to another means. Means, accordingly, make the man and they must be clean and beautiful.

I believe that God is no dictator. He leaves us the freedom to master ourselves.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of the independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. His essay was crafted by journalist and writer Louis Fischer, author of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, from various books, articles, and speeches written by Gandhi during his lifetime.

Originally broadcast in 1954 as part of Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe series

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Mahatma Gandhi A Great Man In History History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Mahatma Gandhi is among the world’s greatest men. He was the most impactful and significant person in the history of India. He gave his life to make India independent through events such as the Jaliavala Bagh massacre, Simon commission, non cooperative movements, and the Dandi March. He even inspired the Civil Rights movement by Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States through his impact. He sacrificed his life what he believes for India.

His full name was Mohandas KaramChand Gandhi. He was born on octombe2, 1869, in Porbandar, Saurashtra. KaramChand Gandhi was his father and Putalibai was his mother. His wife`s name was Kasturba. He studied in Rajkot and Bhavnagar. He was the youngest of four children in his family. Gandhi was a member of the Hindu religion which meant he wasn`t allowed to eat meat or drink wine. When he was young, his brothers offered him meat but he refused to try it which was the best decision Mohandas made. This action showed that even though Gandhi was small, he was responsible, respectful and loyal to his religion. Mahatma Gandhi gave up his clothes. Mohandas wore a loin cloth. Mohandas made the cloth himself. The photograph of Mohandas Gandhi at his spinning wheel is world famous. He works very hard, lived a peanuts and goat’s milk. Mohandas went on long fastest to purify himself. Mohandas spent many years in jail. Mohandas believed in truth and non-violence. Mohandas didn’t hate any one. Mohandas followed his principals throughout his life. He also believed in simplicity and equality. Mohandas loved all. Mohandas had great faith in prayer and god. He served the poor. He was the greatest man of his time. People called him ‘Mahatma’. He was a national leader. A major role played by Mohandas in India`s freedom movement. (Feroz 2007; Gandhi 1948).

The Indian classics, especially some of the story from Indian epics, such as Shravana and Maharaja Harish had a great impact on Gandhi in his child hood. The story of Harish Chandra, hunted Gandhi as a boy. Gandhi had admits in autobiography that it left a permanent impression on him. Gandhi said, that was hunted him and he must had acted Harish Chandra to himself. Gandhi was very brave and he made India free through peaceful ways. He did not fight on a battlefield, but it was a fight to free India. He showed the world that you can be very brave and peace-loving at the same time (Gandhi 1948).

Mahatma Gandhi entered the scene of the Indian freedom struggle in 1919; with this the freedom struggle took a new turn. Mohandas KaramChand Gandhi was a lawyer who had been working in South Africa. There he had been leading the struggle of Indians and colored people against the white rulers. In South Africa the white people considered themselves superior to the colored people and treated them very badly (Gandhi 1948).

After retuning, Ghandhiji went on a tour of India to find out the condition of the people. He found that Indians were very poor and being ill-treated by the British. Indian society was also suffering due to old obsolete practices like untouched ability. Women and social out castes were treated badly. Ghandhiji realized that all Indians would have to be united in their struggle against the British rulers. He wanted all social evils to be brought to an end along with foreign rule. In 1919 the British introduce new lows. Gandhi first requested the government not to introduce this when the government ignored his request; he started his silent protest movement. He asked the people not to obey these laws to show their disapproval, but they had to be non violent all the time. There was a massive response all over the country to Ghandhiji’s call. There were meetings and demonstrations (Prakash 2004 – 2005).

JALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE

One such demonstration was held at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. About 20,000 men, women and children attended the meeting. Same British officers decided to stop the meeting. General Dyer, their leader, blocked the only gate of the park so that the people could not escape. Then he ordered his troops to fire, since the park was surrounded on all sides by the high walls of houses, the crowd was trapped. Guns blazed away, and people ran here and there but they could not escape. Hundreds were killed and thousand wounded. When news about this massacre spread everyone was shocked. The public’s anger knew no bounds (Prakash 2004 – 2005).

NON- COOPERATION MOVEMENT

Gandhiji’s answer to Jallianwala Bagh massacres was Satyagraha. This was the beginning of the Non-cooperation movement. Gandhi declared that the people would not cooperate with the government and would deliberately break laws. Thousands of students left schools and colleges. Many lawyers suspended their work. People made bonfires of foreign goods. People took to wear only thick, rough Khadi, thus doing away with the difference between the rich and the poor. Gandhi wanted the people to follow the principles of non-violence, but sometimes people could not control their anger and resorted to violence. After one such incident, when a group of people set fire to a police station, Gandhi called off the Non-cooperation movement (Andrews 1930).

SIMON COMMISSION

When the British saw the matter getting out of hand they appointed a commission to review the matter. The chairman of the commission was john Simon. As there were no Indian members, the people protested by holding demonstrations. Wherever the commission went, it was greeted with black flags. The British tried to stop the demonstrations through lathi charges and firing. Among the leaders who led the protests against the Simon Commission were Lala Lajapat Rai, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Saradar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad, Sarojini Naidu, Rajaji and Motilal Nehru (Fischer 1950; Gandhi 1948).

DANDI MARCH

The British had made the collection of salt from the sea cost an illegal act. Ghandhiji decided to walk to the sea cost and start his Satyagraha by breaking the salt laws. He wanted to draw attention to the fact that most Indians were so poor that they could not buy salt and pay the salt tax. He shared his march on 1 march 1930. He and his followers walked merely 300km. from his ashram at Sabarmati for over 25days. After arrival at Dandi, Ghandhiji collected water, heated it and made salt, thus breaking the law. He police arrested some people and beat up others. Ghandhiji wanted to raid a government salt go down but he was arrested. The leader ship of the salt movement then passed to Abbas Tyabji and on his arrest to Sarojini Naidu. All over India the new struggle too got in big way. Among the great leaders was khan Abdul gaffe in the northwest. The British tried to arrive at some settlement with the congress. Ghandhiji was called for meeting with the British after the meeting the congress decided to suspend the freedom movement till the Indian leaders held talks with the British government in London. The government in London released and allowed people to collect salt from the sea cost (Gandhi 1948).

THE QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT

Under the leadership of Gandhi the Quit India movement was launched. The purpose of this was to set up series of non violent ways hopefully leading up to the long awaited Independence from this quotes by Gandhi “We shall either free India or die in the attempt, we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery”. The saying Do or Die soon became popular among the Indian people. This was a simple way of stating the way importance to regain independence. This movement got off to a rocky start because before congress could pass the movement the government. Government declared it illegal and arrested all off the major leader. As a result of this a series of revolts broke out in what was known as “British Quit India”. The middle class was especially active during the first few phases. But they were soon weakened by the harsh repression. The last difficult one characterized by communication, police and army installations.

A man named Chandrasekhar Azad put together a campaign called Azad Hind Fauj which stood for Indian nation’s army. INA. His only slogan during the whole campaign was simply “give me blood and I’ll give you freedom.” Many people of India joined in the INA to support the Indian soldiers. But sadly enough after the Japanese defeated them in 1945 they INA`s power and strength slowly declined from there. This was significant because India as a whole supported the INA with all their strength because they were the people standing up and protecting them. And one time when there was a military tribunal held against several INA officers and they were found guilty to severe punishment, the people of India became enraged. As a result of this the government cancelled their punishment.

The government was strongly against the movement and their goal was to make sure it didn`t get out of hand. They did everything from arrested people to physically beating others. The supports of the movement were often shot at and sometimes every bomb blast from the sky. This was definitely one of the most brutal events that happened in India. The British people definitely came out on top and the remaining two and a half years remained unchanged politically wise until the day their independence was granted to them (Andrews 1930; Prakash 2005-2006).

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Martian Luther king was black American. Though Lincoln had abolished severely in 1862 blacks were still badly treated for example, black were not allowed to occupy a seat in public bus until the all whites had been seated Martin Luther king resisted all search practices in the united state. King meet many political and realizes leaders of the world finally he adopted the path of non-violence as son by mahatma Gandhi during his visited to India, he said ” I am not terrorist, I have come on pilgrimage to pay homage to the land of mahatma Gandhi ” such mahatma Gandhi was greatest man (Hakal 2008; Prakash 2004-2005).

END OF LIFE

A mad man Nathuram Godase killed him on January 30, 1848. When the Mahatma was murdered the whole world wept over his death. Like Thoreau Gandhi also insisted on the individual`s right to oppose governments, even governments at war. Democracy is hollow without the rights to dissent but fear and dissent don`t go together. For Gandhi the central evil of the modern world was materialism. It included both wealth and power. The state gathers brute force to destroy the spirit of freedom. This doesn`t mean that he was against wealth or power. He only taught certain values which would make man happy without material possessions. He advised to keep a thing if it provided inner help and comfort from anything. Nothing should be given up in a mood of self sacrifice or out of a strict sense of duty. This way a man might resign his post to be his own master, do his own work and grow. He detested shortening of time and distance and to run about the world to satisfy our wants.

When Leon Blum heard about it he felt great personal loss. He called Ghandhiji an extraordinary man. It has been Mahatma Gandhi’s supreme faith that there is a nobler element in man which may be won over love. If the question is asked, what is the sum and substance of the charge which Mahatma Gandhi laid against the British government in India? It may be summed up in a single phrase. He charged them with the oppression of the poor. His political achievements were many but people paid tributes to his spiritual qualities and ethical qualities. His big contribution to modern civilizations is his life. Fisher rightly says: He was an Indian.

WORK-CITED

Andrews, C.F. Mahatma Gandhi’s Idias. New york: The Macmillan Company, 1930.

Fischer, Louis. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi. New york: Harper  Brother, 1950.

Gandhi. Dir. Richard Attenborough. Perf. Ben Kingsley. 1982.

Gandhi my Father. Dir. Feroz Abbas Khan. Perf. Anil kapur. 2007.

Gandhi. Dir. Richard Attenborough. Perf. Ben Kingsley. 1982.

Hakala, David. “The Top 10 Leadership Qualities.” Leaders can be found and nurtured 19 March 2008: 5.

M.K.Gandhi. The story of my experiments with truth. Washington,D.C: Public Affairs press, 1948.

Raval, Prakash .Raval’s Key to Easy English Prose. Patan (India): Raval Prakashan, 2002-2005.


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