On January 30 many Indians around the world stopped to remember a man who showed the world that peaceful means could resist oppression and violence.Known to many as Ghandi, (or in India as Bupa, or Mahatma), the story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence has inspired others. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Steven Biko and Aung Sun Suu Khi, were inspired or directly influenced by Ghandi.Born into a family of merchants in 1869, Ghandi became a lawyer despite his own disinterest in the idea. Trained to be a barrister in London, his time in the British capital would familiarise him with English customs and develop hisunderstanding of the world.
Such skills, he found would become useful when he took up a position in the South African province of Natal.
The Birth of Non-Violence
During his 20 years in
South Africa, Ghandi encountered severe discrimination; he was thrown
from trains for refusing to remove himself from a first-class cabin to
which he held a valid ticket, beaten by stage coach drivers for not
giving up his seat to white passengers, and he was refused entry to
hotels due to his racial identity. These experiences hardened his
resolve and pushed him to pursue equal rights for South Africa's Indian
population. It was also in South Africa that Ghandi decided he would
forgo material pursuit and instead focus on self-improvement.
Ghandi's subsequent depth
of spirituality would meanhis certain brand of resistance would be
unique and become known as the concept of Satyagraha .
Literally Satyagraha means
Satya (Truth) with Agraha (Firmness) which would be the basis of his
philosophy of peaceful resistance.
The South African
Government found itself unable to cope with Satyagraha . Thousands of
Indians willingly got arrested and beaten and continually refused to
obey racially discriminatory laws. Eventually the applied pressure
forced the South African Government to negotiate with Ghandi and by
1914 had agreed to many of his demands. The British Empire received
notice that Ghandi was a political activist unparalleled.
Shaking the British Empire
Upon his return to India
the following year, Ghandi established an ashram (a spiritual retreat)
that was dedicatedt......
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