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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Mohandas Gandhi - 945 words
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Mohandas Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as mahatma Gandhi, was a Indiannationalist leader, who established his country's freedom through a nonviolentrevolution. Gandhi became a leader in a difficult struggle, the Indian campaign forhome rule. He believed and dedicated his life to demonstrating that bothindividuals and nations owe it to themselves to stay free, and to allow the samefreedom to others. Gandhi was one of the gentlest of men, a devout and almostmystical Hindu, but he had and iron core of determination. Nothing could changehis convictions. Some observers called him a master politician.
Others believedhim a saint. Gandhi became a leader in a difficult struggle, the Indian campaign forhome rule. He worked to reconcile all classes and religious sects. Gandhimeant not only technical self-government but also self-reliance. After WorldWar I, in which he played an active part in recruiting campaigns, he launchedhis movement of passive resistance to Great Britain
When the Britaingovernment failed to make amends, Gandhi established an organized campaign ofnoncooperation. Through India, streets were blocked by squatting Indians whorefused to rise even when beaten by the police. He declared he would go to jaileven die before obeying anti-Asian Law. Gandhi was arrested, but the Britishwere soon forced to release him. Economic independence for India, involving thecomplete boycott of British goods, was made a result of Gandhi's self-rulingmovement.
The economic aspects of the movement were serious, for theexploitation of Indian villagers by British industrialists has resulted inextreme poverty in the country and the virtual destruction of Indian homeindustries. As a solution for such poverty, Gandhi supported revival ofcottage industries; he began to use a spinning wheel as a token of the return tothe simple village life he preached, and of the renewal of native IndianIndustries. Gandhi became the international symbol of a free India. He lived aspiritual and ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and meditation. He employedpropaganda, agitation, demonstration, boycott, noncooperation, parallelgovernment, and strikes.
He refused earthly possessions, he wore the loinclothand shawl of the lowliest Indian and lived on vegetables, fruit juices, andgoat's milk. Indians thought of him as a saint and began to call him Mahatma.Mahatma meant great soul, a title reserved for the greatest leaders. Gandhi'snonviolence was the expression of a way of life understood in the Hindu religion.By the Indian practice of nonviolence, Gandhi said, Great Britain wouldeventually consider violence useless and would leave India. The Mahatma's political and spiritual hold on India was so great thatthe British authorities dared not to interfere with him. In 1921 the IndianNational Congress, the group that spearheaded the movement for nationhood, gaveGandhi complete executive authority, with the right of naming his own successor.A series of armed revolts against Great Britain broke out, culminating in suchviolence that Gandhi confessed failure of the civil-disobedience campaign he hadcalled, and ended it.
The British government again seized and imprisoned him in1922. In 1930 the Mahatma proclaimed a new campaign for civil disobedience,calling upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes, particularly the taxon salt. The campaign was a two hundred mile march to the sea, in whichthousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmadabad to the Arabian Sea, wherethey made salt by vaporating sea water. Once more Gandhi was arrested, but hewas released in 1931, halting the campaign after the British made compromises tohis demands. In the same year Gandhi represented the Indian National Congressat a conference in London. In 1932, Gandhi began new civil-disobedience campaigns against theBritish. Gandhi fasted for long periods several times; these fasts wereeffective measures against the British, because revolution might well havebroken out in India if he had died.
In September 1932, while in jail, Gandhiundertook a fast unto death to improve the status of the Hindu Untouchables.The British, by permitting the Untouchables to be considered as a separate partof the Indian voters, were, according to Gandhi, aid an injustice. Although hewas himself a member of the Vaisya (merchant) caste, Gandhi was the great leaderof the movement in India dedicated to terminating the unjust social and economicaspects of the caste system. In 1934 Gandhi formally resigned from politics. He raveled throughIndia, teaching nonviolence. A few years later, in 1939, he again returned toactive political life because of the pending federation of Indian principalitieswith the rest of India. Public unrest caused by the fast was so great that thecolonial government intervened and the demands were granted.
The Mahatma againbecame the most important political figure in India. When World War II broke out, the congress party and Gandhi demanded adeclaration of war aims and their application to India. As a reaction to theunsatisfactory response from the British, the party decided not to supportBritain in the war unless the country was granted complete and immediateindependence. The British refused, offering compromises that were rejected. By 1944 the Indian struggle for Independence was in its final stages,the British government having agreed to independence on condition that the twocontending nationalist groups, the Muslim league and the Congress party, shouldresolve their differences.
Gandhi stood steadfastly against the partition ofIndia but ultimately had to agree, in the hope that internal peace would beachieved after the Muslims demand for separation had been satisfied. India andPakistan became separate states when the British granted India its independencein 1947. During the riots that followed the partition of India, Gandhi pleadedwith Hindus and Muslims to live together peacefully. Riots engulfed Calcutta,one of the largest cities in India, and the Mahatma fasted until disturbanceceased. On January 13, 1948, he undertook another successful fast in New Delhito bring about peace.Religious violence soon declined in India and Pakistan, and the teachingsof Gandhi came to inspire nonviolent movements elsewhere. Within fifty fiveyears of his self awakening after being evicted from South Africa traincompartment, Gandhi managed to evict the British Empire from India.
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