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Mahatma Gandhi’s tenets of peaceful resistance include the use of non-cooperation, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest. These methods seek to promote social change through peaceful means and without resorting to violence.
Gandhi in South Africa
Gandhi in India
Mohandas .K. Gandhi was also known by the name “Mahatma”, meaning great souled. He is the person who established the principle of nonviolence. Gandhi was also born in Porbandar, on October 2, 1869. Gandhi was born in a religious and political family. His father was at the time the Prime Minister of the city, and he often visited the temple when he wasn’t working on his political work. His mother, however, was knowledgeable about issues pertaining to the state. She observed religious fasts and adhered to the teachings of her church.
Gandhi was a shy child and avoided social situations. He ran home as soon as school ended. He was a bookworm and his school awards and scholarships proved this. He was not a sports fan and would only play cricket when forced by his sports teacher. Through his sanskirt, a pastrol-style class in which the Asians would participate, he also became interested in sacred books.
Gandhi was only 13 when he married Kasturba. She was a simple, independent woman. He is taking his first role as a wife. Gandhi was deeply saddened when his father died at 16 years old due to a long-term illness.
Gandhi went on to earn his first degree of law in England from 1887-1893. While the religious and caste leaders were happy with Gandhi’s achievements, they did not like that he was compromising his values. Gandhi vowed to stay away from women, alcohol and meat during his time in England. While in London, he became the chairman of the Vegetarian Society’s Executive Committee. They met to discuss religious values and teachings. Also, he was acquitted by the Gita. And he also learned a few Christian teachings which astonished him (Beatitudes).
Gandhi was guided by ideas and values that remained constant throughout his lifetime, which is why he has been admired so much by previous leaders. In order to purify oneself and analyze the self, it is important that you eliminate all anger and negativity. He used Civil Resistance and Non-Violent to broaden the understanding of Freedom. Satyagraha governed his life. This was a nonviolent movement where people used soul force/truth as opposed to body force, in order bring about social change. In his encounters Gandhi was arrested, beaten up and imprisoned several times. But he never gave up his fight to change society. Gandhi’s moral position was a result of both his actions and reflection. The basis of his approach was ahimsa & Satyagraha.
Ahimsa is the non-violence of a person, regardless if they are a friend or an enemy. We can see that one should not have uncharitable thoughts, even when it comes to those they perceive as their enemies. Ahimsa must be expressed to the enemy in a way which leaves a lasting impression. Gandhi views this tool for fighting political warfare as being infinitely more powerful than violence. Satyagraha means literally “holding on Truth”. It is also known as soul force, love-force and more commonly, civil resistance.
In this presentation, we will examine the protests of Gandhi and their effects on the oriental world and thought. The principles will be discussed, as well as his role as a religious asceticism and as an activist.
Gandhi’s Principles of Non-violenceA non-violent person does not suffer the humiliation of an insult by a violent opponent, as their self-respect counteracts it. The aggressor loses his dignity. This approach could help to minimize violence during civil disobedience campaigns.
This principle was aimed at empowering the weak, especially in India. Gandhi realized the uninformed poor were easy to oppress and inflict injustice on.
Gandhi’s non-violent campaigns were not motivated by revenge. Instead, he wanted to make his opponents pay for their disobedience. Gandhi spent many years in prison, fasted to the point of weakness, and was beaten. But he never gave up on his quest for truth. For non-violent justice to be achieved, it is necessary to be prepared to endure and accept the consequences. Gandhi considered that self-suffering was a way of expressing his opposition to injustice, policy, law, military occupation or any other grievance. His theory was based on the notion that by inflicting suffering on yourself, the opponent will suffer more than they did originally. This confuses them.
Gandhi encouraged his followers to hate sin, but not sinners or suppressors. Gandhi was able to conduct conflict on a non-personal basis by separating the individual and the system. This allowed him to avoid the destructive effects of hatred or animosity. Anger-driven actions only intensified and consolidated hatred.
The above principle makes it clear that those who support non-violent acts distinguish between the act of the adversary and the enemy himself.
As with a teacher-pupil relationship, non-violent actions are taken on the assumption that your opponent does not know the truth. A teacher can make a pupil aware of the wrong/error that is being committed by a particular action. It is not the case that either the teacher or the student has been defeated. In the same way, non-violent actions are undertaken to teach the opponent what’s right (higher truth) rather than defeating the opponent. Non-violence supporters do not necessarily win over their opponents.
Gandhi’s non-violent campaigns were initially called passive campaigns (resistance). But he did not like the implied meaning because it was not his real campaigns. Passive is defined by three factors: guilt, fear and submissiveness. Non-violent campaigners were brave, and they would suffer to the death.
They were not weak people. Through the principle above, it is possible to see how they could endure suffering as they knew they were doing so for the truth.
Gandhi argued that Satyagraha should only be used if other means to achieve justice have failed. He believed that non-violence, or Ahimsa, should become a part of one’s everyday life. For one to use ahimsa to bring about justice, they must first change themselves or their attitudes or nature. Non-violent behavior is pure and does not include any hateful feelings towards the opponent. Gandhi also advocated that those who follow nonviolence love their’so-called enemy’ as much they love a friend.
Gandhi in South AfricaGandhi’s personality was mild and politically apathetic. He was also prone stage fright. South Africa affected him greatly as he was exposed to the oppression and humiliation of Indians. His trip to Pretoria was a catalyst in his activism. He was thrown from a train when he refused a third-class seat despite having a first-class ticket. He was beaten by a driver when he refused to get on the stagecoach footboard because of a passenger from Europe. The experience made him more aware of the hardships that his people endured in South Africa.
Gandhi briefly returned home to India with his wife, children and other family members to South Africa. He was attacked by a mob of whites when he arrived back in South Africa. He refused the charges because it was his principle not to go to court to get redress in personal matters.
Gandhi claimed that Indians had to support the war to be able to claim their full rights as citizens. To this end, he formed a volunteer ambulance consisting of 300 Indians who were free, and 800 indentured labourers. After the war the Indians were still suffering. Gandhi’s Satyagraha platform was adopted at a mass meeting in Johannesburg, 1906. He called on Indians to resist the new law by defying it and suffering the consequences, rather than using violence. This plan led to seven years of struggle, during which thousands of Indians (including Gandhi on several occasions) were jailed or beaten for engaging in nonviolent forms of resistance, such as striking, refusing registration, etc. The South African government, while successful in suppressing Indians protesters and repressing them, was forced to compromise by public outcry after the South African general Jan Christian Smuts’ harsh treatment of Indians protesters.
Gandhi in IndiaIn the year 1919, the Rowalatt bills were passed, giving the government the power to imprison anyone accused of sedition and without trial. Gandhi’s Satyagraha led to violence in India, including the massacre of 400 Indians at the hands of the British Army. Gandhi extended his nonviolent platform in 1920 by introducing the swadeshi (Boycott of Foreign-Made Goods), especially British-made goods. This was linked to his recommendation that Indian women spin their own khadi cloth and wear it instead of British made textiles. Gandhi urged his followers to boycott British products as well, along with boycotting educational institutions and courts. He also encouraged them to quit their jobs in government and refuse taxes. After empowering the Indian population, this program ended abruptly due to violent clashes which occurred in Chauri Chaura. Gandhi stopped the campaign in 1922 when he realized that violence was on the horizon. Gandhi was arrested for sedition and sentenced to 6 years in prison. However, he was released earlier after an appendicitis operation.
Gandhi declared a civil disobedience movement in 1930. Gandhi called for the Indians to refuse taxation, especially on salt. In a campaign that was basically a march from Ahmedabad, India to Dandi where thousands of Indians evaporated seawater to make salt, Gandhi led a march. He ended the campaign after British acceptance of his demands. Gandhi fasted to death in 1932 from jail for the Hindu Untouchables he called Harijans – the children God. Gandhi felt that the British were guilty of injustice when they allowed the Untouchables, who were considered a separate electorate in India, to be treated as such.
Gandhi, who had resigned from politics in 1934, traveled across India to teach ahimsa. He also demanded that ‘untouchability be eradicated’. In 1944, the Indian independence struggle was at its end. Gandhi fought against India’s partition, but India and Pakistan split when Britain granted India independence. On the 13th January 1948, he again successfully fasted in New Delhi. But on the 30th of January, he died as he walked in a New Delhi garden for evening prayers, by a Hindu militant who accused him of weakening his government.
ConclusionMohandas gandhi was a significant person in the 20th century. He is the person who showed that you can fight successfully without violence. He fought with ideas, tolerance, humanity and tolerance throughout his entire life. He paved the way for a better future.
There are still many people today who admire him and apply his philosophy in order to bring about change. Peace movements are a great example. People who are fighting against wars usually try to do so without violence, by marching in cities and convincing people to stay away from the war.
A strike at work is a form of peaceful protest which we have all seen and experienced. Gandhi popularized ‘the strike,’ a method of protesting. The method is still in use today. British Empire at the turn of the century was the largest empire on earth. India was Britain’s most important colony. Gandhi helped India gain independence from Britain. India’s independence was won by the greatest empire in history, but not with violence or weapons. It was a warning to the entire world, but especially the other British-ruled countries. Gandhi’s example was a sign to many countries that they had a chance at independence. In the 60’s, many of Africa’s colonial countries and Indochina gained their independence.
Gandhi was a lifelong advocate for minorities, and people who had been pushed to the bottom. He encouraged people to stand up for what they believe in and fight cruelty. He showed that it’s easy to show up and fight for your rights. Gandhi was a great inspiration to many who wanted to stand up for their own rights. Martin Luther King’s fights under Gandhi are a good example. Examples include the fights that took place in South America with Che Guevara as well as the fights that the Aborigines of Australia fought in Australia.
The world is still full of people who are willing to put others down. Gandhi was a major player in the struggle for human rights and humanity. Gandhi embodied humanitarianism. He opened the minds of millions and changed their views on racism, class discrimination, oppression and independence.
When people read or watch the film “Gandhi,” they still reflect on this man’s life, his non-violent approach to protest, and the need to preserve human life rather than destroy it.
The greatest weapon at our disposal is nonviolence. “It is stronger than even the most destructive weapon invented by man.”