An Informative Essay on Gandhi :
This Essay will be about the life and accomplishments of Mohandas
Karam Chand Gandhi. And will also discuss Civil Disobedience.
Throughout history most national heroes have been warriors, but
Gandhi ended British rule over his native India without striking a single
blow. A frail man, he devoted his life to peace and brotherhood in order
to achieve social and political progress. Yet less than six months after
his nonviolent resistance to British rule won independence for India, he
was assassinated by a religious fanatic.
Gandhi was one of the gentlest of men, a devout and almost mystical
Hindu, but he had an iron core of determination. Nothing could change his
convictions. This combination of traits made him the leader of India's
nationalist movement. Some observers called him a master politician.
Others believed him a saint. To millions of Hindus he was their beloved
Mahatma, meaning "great soul."
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on Oct. 2, 1869, in
Porbandar, near Bombay. His family belonged to the Hindu merchant caste
Vaisya. His father had been prime minister of several small native
states. Gandhi was married when he was only 13 years old.
When he was 19 he defied custom by going abroad to study. He
studied law at University College in London. Fellow students snubbed him
because he was an Indian. In his lonely hours he studied philosophy. In
his reading he discovered the principle of nonviolence as enunciated in
Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," and he was persuaded by John
Ruskin's plea to give up industrialism for farm life and traditional
handicrafts--ideals similar to many Hindu religious ideas.
In 1891 Gandhi returned to India. Unsuccessful in Bombay, he went
to South Africa in 1893. At Natal he was the first so-called "colored"
lawyer admitted to the supreme court. He then built a large practice.
His interest soon turned to the problem of fellow Indians who had
come to South Africa as laborers. He had seen how they were treated as
inferiors in India, in England, and then in South Africa. In 1894 he
founded the Natal Indian Congress to agitate for Indian rights. Yet he
remained loyal to the British Empire. In 1899, during the Boer War, he
raised an ambulance corps and served the South African government. In
1906 he gave aid against the Zulu revolt.
Later in 1906, however, Gandhi began his peaceful revolution. He
declared he would go to jail or even die before obeying an anti-Asian
law. Thousands of Indians joined him in this civil disobedience campaign.
He was imprisoned twice. Yet in World War I he again organized an
ambulance corps for the British before returning home to India in 1914.
Gandhi's writings and devout life won him a mass of Indian
followers. They followed him almost blindly in his campaign for swaraj,
or "home rule." He worked to reconcile all classes and religious sects,
especially Hindus and Muslims. In 1919 he became a leader in the newly
formed Indian National Congress political party. In 1920 he launched a
noncooperation campaign against Britain, urging Indians to spin their own
cotton and to boycott British goods, courts, and government. This led to
his imprisonment from 1922 to 1924. In 1930, in protest of a salt tax,
Gandhi led thousands of Indians on a extremly long march to the sea to
make their own salt. Again he was jailed.
In 1934 he retired as head of the party but remained its actual
leader. Gradually he became convinced that India would receive no real
freedom as long as it remained in the British Empire. Early in World War
II he demanded immediate independence as India's price for aiding Britain
in the war. He was imprisoned for the third time, from 1942 to 1944.
Gandhi's victory came in 1947 when India won independence. The
subcontinent split into two countries (India and Pakistan) and brought
Hindu-Muslim riots. Again Gandhi turned to nonviolence, fasting until
Delhi rioters pledged peace to him. On Jan. 30, 1948, while on his way to
prayer in Delhi, Gandhi was killed by a Hindu who had been maddened by
the Mahatma's efforts to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. An epic motion
picture based on his life won several Academy awards in 1983.
I hope this essay has been both educational and informing about
the life of Gandhi. Thank you for your time.
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