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Man Of The Millennium: Mahatma Gandhi

1052 words - 4 pages

Man of The MillenniumGandhi was the liberator of hundreds of million people in Asia and Africa from the yoke of imperialism. This is an outstanding achievement. However, the unique means of non-violence employed by Gandhi to achieve liberation from the British Empire, the mightiest empire the world has ever seen, makes him exceptional and "The Man of the Millennium."In his life Gandhi proved that non-violence and love can overcome bombs and bullets. In order to do so he achieved complete mastery of himself. He was a prosperous lawyer who renounced his wealth and other worldly possessions and lived a frugal life of poverty. His life was reminiscent of the Buddha and Jesus Christ. However, in contrast to the Buddha and Jesus Christ who remained aloof from worldly affairs, Gandhi immersed himself in the sordid world of politics and emerged untainted.Owing to his poor health, Gandhi was released from prison in 1925. Over the following years, he worked hard to preserve Hindu-Muslim relations, and in 1924 he observed, from his prison cell, a 21-day fast when Hindu-Muslim riots broke out at Kohat, a military barracks on the Northwest Frontier. This was to be of his many major public fasts, and in 1932 he was to commence the so-called Epic Fast unto death, since he thought of "separate electorates" for the oppressed class of what were then called untouchables (or Harijans in Gandhi's vocabulary, and dalits in today's language) as a retrograde measure meant to produce permanent divisions within Hindu society. Gandhi earned the hostility of Ambedkar, the leader of the untouchables, but few doubted that Gandhi was genuinely interested in removing the serious disabilities from which they suffered, just as no one doubt that Gandhi never accepted the argument that Hindus and Muslims constituted two separate elements in Indian society. These were some of the concerns most prominent in Gandhi's mind, but he was also to initiate a constructive programme for social reform. Gandhi had ideas -- mostly sound -- on every subject, from hygiene and nutrition to education and labor, and he relentlessly pursued his ideas in one of the many newspapers which he founded. Indeed, were Gandhi known for nothing else in India, he would still be remembered as one of the principal figures in the history of Indian journalism.Once back in India, he began supporting Britain in World War One. During this period, he was not involved in much politics, but rather stayed on the sidelines, so to speak, occasionally helping to recruit men. For many years, Gandhi had been friendly with Britain, but he became extremely upset at the passing of the Rowlatt Bills, which were bills that stated that those suspected of sedition could be imprisoned without trial. He immediately called a Satyagraha ("firmness in truth", civil disobedience) struggle against Great Britain. Gandhi had meant for the citizens to use ahimsa (non-injury) methods of protesting, but they protested violently in some areas,...

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