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Gandhi Essay, Research Paper

Gandhi was an influential figure in our society. He taught many people about equal rights, honoring thy neighbor, and peace and tranquility. Although at times his actions were deemed improbable and insane nevertheless, they were effective. In my essay I will be discussing the history of Mohandis Gandhi; the actions he bestowed and took to accomplish freedom for India; and how Mohandis finally obtained freedom for India. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born in the present state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869. He was educated in law at University College, London. In 1891, after Gandhi was admitted to the British bar, he returned to India and attempted to create a law practice in Bombay, which failed. Two years after his failure, and India firm with interests in South Africa hired him as a legal adviser to work in their office in Durban. Once Gandhi arrived in Durban he found himself being treated as a member of an inferior race. He was shocked at the denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa. He then “threw” himself into the struggle for basic rights for Indians.

Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 20 years, being imprisoned many times. In 1896, after being attacked and beaten by white South Africans, Gandhi began to teach a method of “passive resistance,” to, the South African authorities. _Part of the inspiration for this method came from the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Christ and Henry David Thoreau, a 19th century American writer, also inspired Gandhi. In 1914 the government of the Union of South Africa made important concessions to Gandhi s demands. They included recognition of Indian marriages and abolition of the poll tax for them. When his work is South Africa was complete he returned to India. Following World War I, Gandhi launched his movement of passive resistance to Great Britain. In 1919, the British Parliament passed the Rowlatt Acts, giving authorities the rights to use emergency powers to deal with revolutionary activities, Gandhi s method of passive resistance spread throughout India gaining millions of followers. A demonstration of the Rowlatt Act occurred when passive resistance was subjected to British forces who then massacred Indians at Amritsar. In 1920 when the British government didn t make amends, Gandhi created an organized group of noncooperation. Indians in public office resigned, government agencies were boycotted, and Indian children were withdrawn from government schools. Indian streets were covered with Indians who would not get up even if beaten by police. Gandhi was then arrested but the British were forced to release him soon after. The economic aspects of the movement were significant. It resulted in extreme poverty in the country and almost utter destruction of Indian home industries. In order to quell the poverty Gandhi, allowed the revival of cottage industries. Gandhi then began using a spinning wheel as a sign of returning to the simple village life he had preached about. Gandhi became the international symbol of a free India. By the method of passive resistance, Britain too would consider violence useless and leave India. In 1921 the Indian National Congress gave Gandhi complete executive authority. Then, many revolts occurred against Great Britain. Gandhi then confessed the failure of his civil-disobedience method and ended it. The British government once again arrested and imprisoned him in 1922. When Gandhi was released in 1924 he concentrated on communal unity. In 1930, Gandhi announced a new method of civil disobedience, refusing to pay taxes, especially taxes on salt. This method created the “Salt March.” Thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmadabad to the Arabian Sea, where they made salt by evaporating seawater. Once more Gandhi was arrested but was released in 1931, stopping his methods after the British government agreed to some of his demands. In 1932, Gandhi began a new civil disobedience method against Britain. Gandhi was arrested twice, then fasted for long periods of time. These fasts were effective against the British because if Gandhi dies all of India would have revolted against Britain. In 1934 Gandhi completely resigned from politics and was replaced by a leader of the Congress party named Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi then travelled across India teaching passive resistance. In 1939, Gandhi returned to political life because of the federation of Indian principalities with the rest of India. He then decided he would force the ruler of the state to modify his autocratic rule. Gandhi fasted until his demands were met.

When World War II broke out, Congress and Gandhi demanded that a declaration of war aims and their application to India. Due to the unsatisfactory response from the British the party decided not to support Britain in the war unless the country was granted independence. The British again refused only offering compromises, which were rejected by the party. Gandhi was sent to prison in 1942 due to refusing to help Britain in the war even after Japan entered but was released two years later suffering from Malaria. By 1944 Britain had almost completely agreed to independence based on one condition: that the two nationalist groups, the Muslims and the Congress party, should resolve their differences. India and Pakistan became separate states when the British granted India its independence in 1947. Riots broke out during the re-settling of peoples. Gandhi once again fasted until the riots ceased. Once again on January 13, 1948, he undertook another successful fast in New Delhi to restore peace. On the day after he stopped his fast, Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic, assassinated him.

In conclusion, Gandhi restored peace time and time again throughout India. His methods were sometimes extreme, yet effective due to his extreme influence. His death was regarded as an international catastrophe, which would be measured in terms of history. His inspiration inspired non-violent movements elsewhere, especially in Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi was a man, but acted like a saint. His affects of this were that we can solve problems with out violence.

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