“Be the change you want to see in the world. ” These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi. Today Gandhi is considered the most important Indian who ever lived. The father of the nation,”Bapu”, non-violently and successfully fought for Indian equal rights and for India’s freedom and independence from British rule. He is one of the greatest leaders who ever existed because he was fearless, selfless and persistent. ?Gandhi was not a great speaker, did not have a very attractive appearance, lived asimple life and avoided the spotlight as much as he could, but he is still regarded as one of the most exemplary persons to have ever walked on earth.
The reason is because he always believed in himself. The first example of his fearlessness was his creation of the concept of satyagraha, a non-violent way of protesting against injustices or civil disobedience. * Even though some believed that this tactic was weak, Gandhi did not believe in punishing the “enemy” but to gain independence by befriending them. * He did not believe in a winners and losers, just as long as the problem was fixed, there was no need for bloodshed. The second example was his works for Indian equal rights in South Africa.
At age 23, Gandhi suffered his first taste of discrimination when he was traveling in South Africa to work on a case (when he was still practicing law) and the railroad officials told him to move from the first class section of the train to the third class section because he was Indian. When Gandhi refused they threw him off the train. Because of this, he noticed the way Indians were mistreated in South Africa and wanted to help them. * In 1896, he sailed back to India to bring his family back to South Africa.
But his boat was delayed because a large group of white South Africans believed that he brought two shiploads of Indians with him to overrun South Africa. But even though it was not true, when his family finally got off the boat, they were still assaulted with bricks, rotten eggs and fists. * But, this did not fear Gandhi. He continued to better the lives of Indians in South Africa for the next twenty years. The last example was when he lead the Salt March in 1930 to protest against the salt tax. The British had made it illegal to own or make salt, not sold or produced by the British Government. Gandhi and thousands of Indian people would walk to the beach and pick up a few grains of salt from the sand. Since this violated the law, Gandhi and thousands of others were arrested and put into jail. Some were battered by police and some were even killed.
* Even though Gandhi knew that he and his fellow Indians could’ve faced death they still fully committed themselves to satyagraha. Because of this, it allowed salt production in India and all the prisoners were released. He believed that he has a great responsibility to free his country and he had complete fearlessness. His faith in himself triggered the faith of millions of Indians in him. Gandhi’s approach to Independence had noting to do with his personal interest. From thevery beginning he always committed himself to others before himself. The first example of his selflessness was when Gandhi started to follow the concepts of aparigraha (non-possession) and samabhava (equability). * Not only did Gandhi sacrifice material wealth but most importantly selfish motives and private goals.
He wore minimal clothing, ate minimal food (vegetarian) and did not even own his own house, He lived everyday with the millions of Indians suffering in thought and how to make life easier for them. The second example of his selflessness was his decision to stay in Kingsley Hall (England’s slums at the time) while attending the round table conference in London instead of the higher end room provided. * Instead of living in a fancy room he decided to live among the poor of England. Because of this, he gained the admiration and interest of the British people. Gandhi believed that everyone should be equal. So if thepoorest of people in India couldn’t live a materialistic life, he wouldn’t either. * It was very tough to lead the non violent Independence movement of a huge country such as India against the violent British army. Gandhi was left alone and beaten a lot of times. Bleeding and lying on the ground, sometimes it seemed that he would not see the sun the next day but each day he persisted and had gotten through it all . The first example of his persistences was him overcoming his jail time.
His release from jail when he was arrested for protesting against the salt march is a perfect demonstration of his presistences. * Even though he was sentenced to jail, he was still able to fight for what he believed in, abolish the salt tax and have all those arrested with him released. He was also released because he was invited to be the representative of congress at the round table conference in London. * After all the times Gandhi has been arrested and put in jail, he did not let this bring him down. Instead, he persisted and continued his fight.
The second example is his persistence to keep fighting even though he came empty handed from the round table conference. * Gandhi was unsuccessful in negotiating India’s Freedom, but when he returned back to India they welcomed him warmly back. * Even though he basically failed in London he wouldn’t let this faze him and he continued his resistance against British rule. Lastly even though he made multiple of questionable decisions, he didn’t let his critics hinder him from correcting himself and moving forward for Independence.
The split between Pakistan (Muslims) and India (Hindus) went against what Gandhi believed in, but still accepted it for Independence. * Gandhi claimed to believe in an India where Muslims and Hindus can live in unity. Because of this, mass killings between Pakistan and India were taken place. * They had totally thrown the idea of non-violence. To protest against these violent happenings he was prepared to fast until death and would only stop if the violence between thetwo new independent countries stopped the fighting. Pakistan and India, after hearing about the fast, promised to stop the violence.
He made mistakes throughout his life but he never made the same mistake twice. He failed but he learned from it, persisted and achieved success. Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader because he was fearless, selfless and persistent. Many leaders follow and look up to Gandhi and his beliefs. Leaders like Martin Luther King jr. , James Lawson and Barack Obama were all greatly affected by Gandhi and his belief in non-violent protest and justice. * To the Indian people, Gandhi gave a nation. And to this day, he still continues to inspire people of all nations to take up the peaceful struggle for freedom from oppression.
Courtney from Study Moose
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