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Ghandi Essay, Research Paper


Satyagraha. Meaning “force or firmness of truth, Mohandas Gandhi worked and lived by this word. By peaceful, non-violent demonstrations he little by little took hold of the people of India’s love and honor and freed them from British rule. This is his story:

On October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India, a region of Queen Victoria, Mohandas Gandhi was born to Kaba Gandhi and his wife. Although his father, Kaba, was the chief Minister for the Maharaja of Porbandar, he and his family lived in a small house and belonged to a Hindu caste of merchants called “banjas.” As he grew, Mohandas became a small, shy and skinny boy, afraid of others’ opinions. He never spoke out, but although he was never a clever child, others were

surprised by his gentleness. At the age of thirteen, he was married to Kastaurbai, a pretty yet strongwilled girl of the same caste. He would now live with his wife,

instead of his mother and father whom he had cared for for so long. Before this, Mohandas had told lies, had smoked, and had eaten meat, which was strictly forbidden of Hindus. Now, suddenly, he felt guilty and that he had hurt himself and in some ways those who he cared for. So, in desperation, he told his father, and they cried together. One year later Kaba Gandhi died. Mohandas was sixteen.

At eighteen he traveled to England to study law and secretly to

see for himself what made the English so powerful. He enrolled in a

college of law but quit after one term. He felt that he didn’t fit

in, so he studied the ” Standard Elocutionist” for use and knowledge

of proper ettiquitte. After a while he quit this also because he saw

no use anymore. Quitting became a popular theme in his early life.

Sometimes he quit because he was bored with something and just grew

out of it, or sometimes when he just couldn’t accomplish anything.

For example, he took English dancing and violin lessons to become more

distinguished, but he was very clumsy and quit after six lessons.

He did not quit every thing though. He worked at some things if

he thought that it would in some way help him. He studied material on

Common & Roman laws and had to pass major exams on it. Despite all of

the quiting and studying, he became a lawyer. He was not a very

distinguished or even good one at first, but later became respected

by his friends and clients after his work on a case in South Africa.

Becoming a moral leader was a very long and slow process. Gandhi

was not looking for success or fame but something more; equality,

respect, but most of all, peace. He had seen the hate the white man

had for Indians. And for what reason? Their color or heritage? This

did not seem right to him, so he began his life long struggle of never

ending peaceful protests and his silent fight for justice for all.

Mohandas Gandhi died in January of 1948. (The actual date is in

dispute. The information from my book said that his death was on the

30th, but the World Book Encyclopedia says that it was Jan. 13th) He

was shot 3 times by Godse, a Hindu himself. The whole world mourned

for Gandhi, a man who had no authority in government, but definitely

had earned the respect and most importantly, the love of his people.

Showing love and humanity through peaceful acts, he became well-

known and well-liked. For instance, in 1906 the Zulus in Africa

(blacks) rebelled. A new tax had been forced upon them and they had

refused to pay and decided to instead, fight. Sadly, they were almost

at once crushed by the well-armed white people. There were many

wounded so showing as much fortitude as possible, Gandhi and a group

of his volunteers marched 40 miles a day through hilly country

carrying much needed medical supplies to heal them. At first some of

the soldiers wouldn’t let him go, but eventually they understood.

Some even thanked him.

Gandhi also, no matter how they hated this, wanted peace between

the Muslims and the Hindus. Their religions were always against each

other and were fighting. The Hindus thought that Gandhi was becoming

a traitor and siding with the Muslims. This was far from the truth-

Gandhi was only looking for peace. He felt strongly about this and

was, unfortunately, the cause of his assassination.

Gandhi did not struggle against others for his race only. He

fought for equality for all. He led Indian workers against other

Indians in a cotton mill strike which was successful. He also worked

to show that the “untouchables” (very poor and supposedly unclean

people) were the same as everyone else. He did this by living as

simply as they did and sometimes with them. It never quite did solve

the problem, but it did help.

A major decision in Gandhi’s life was that of his marriage to

Kasturbai. In India it was tradition to marry early, at 13 in his

case, and to have your child married to the same caste. His marriage

was preplanned from years back to ensure that he would have enough

money and marry into a rich family.

Kasturbai’s family was well-off, her father was a wealthy

merchant. Mohandas’s father was the Prime Minister of the state, but

only because his father (Mohandas’s grandfather) had begun a new

career also as Prime Minister. Therefore, his son had followed in his

footsteps. The men in the Gandhi family before him had once been

merchants and traders like Kasturbai’s family. So to save the

trouble, they had decided to stay in the same caste.

During the beginning of his marriage (and this is why is such an

important part of his life), he was shy towards Kasturbai. When he

finally overcame this, he started to be somewhat of a bully towards

her, since she was brought up to “obey her husband meekly.” Suddenly

she found a strong will of her own though, when he forbade her to go

anywhere without his permission. Because of the clash of

personalities they fought often but did grow to love each other.

Gandhi learned to truly respect others from this relationship not that

just all men are equal, but that all men and women are equal.

Gandhi’s impact on other occurred in many ways but all of them

good During his life many loved him and others respected him for his

Crusades for peace. His followers loved him, but almost to the point

of worship, and that he truly hated.

Toward the end of his life, people’s thoughts about him had

changed dramatically. Most were sick of peaceful demonstrations

because they took too long to get results and some of the time didn’t

accomplish anything. They were ready to look to someone new for

leadership. Gandhi himself stopped protesting and leading for a while

and was teaching skills and helping the poor live better and simpler

lives. Over all, everyone was just sick of hearing the name Mohandas


For some reason when he was killed though, all of that changed.

Everyone was sad, and the Hindu people were ashamed that it was one of

them who had killed him. People began to worship Gandhi in the ways

that he had hated. They knew that if he would have been able to speak

a few words before he died he would have said to the people to “have

mercy on the misguided Godse”, but knowing this, they still hanged his

assassin. Gandhi once said: “I have no strength, save what God gives

me. I have no authority over my country men, save the purely moral.”

And he more than anyone knew how weak that authority could be.

Over time, Mohandas freed India from the British rule, earning

rights and respect for his people and a lasting place in history. In

my opinion, like everyone else’s. he was a great man putting others

ahead of himself, but above all else wanting, hoping, and dying for



Franda, Marcus and Vonetta J. ” Gandhi, Mahatama.” The New Electronic Encyclopedia. 1991, Grolier Electronic Publishing.

Iyer, Raghavan. ” Gandhi, Mohandas.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1989 ed.

Reynolds, Reginald. The True Story of Gandhi, Man of Peace. Chicago

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