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Mahatma Gandhi: The Great Soul Essay

1253 words - 5 pages

Born in India as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, he later was given the name Mahatma Gandhi--Mahatma meaning "great soul." Architect of Indian independence, he truly was a great soul. At a time when his country was ruled by British, he wanted to change things and did so, differently than anyone else ever had. Many consider Gandhi the most influential non-politician of the 20th century. Although he often got involved in politics, as he said: "I am not a saint who has strayed into politics. I am a politician who is trying to become a saint."Gandhi got his first taste of racial discrimination shortly after her became a lawyer. While on his way to his job in South Africa he was removed from a train simply because he was Indian. Starting then, he decided that he would stand up for his rights. At the time, South Africa was experiencing major racial crisis: the British controlled everything and a new law was passed saying Indians were not even allowed to vote. At a trial against him later on in his life, Gandhi said: "My public life began in 1893 in South Africa in troubled weather. My first contact in that country was not of a happy character. I discovered that...I had no rights as a man because I was an Indian." His friends asked him to help the movement against the British and of course he felt he couldn't refuse. Then his battle against the British began.Gandhi was different from other revolutionaries of the time. For one thing, he was a great leader. As a child he used to be incredibly shy and even towards the beginning of his law career he did not have the courage to speak before a courtroom. Later on, however, as his skills as a lawyer developed, he became a better speaker and negotiator and over time a better leader. The most distinguishable thing about Gandhi, though, was that he was a soldier of nonviolence. He felt that battles should be fought by boycotting and protesting, not by killing. He called this method "satyagraha", which means "holding to the truth." Essentially, if a law was unjust, people should disobey it. Gandhi also had a genuine care for all people. Once, jokingly he said "I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers." He encouraged everyone to stand up together against the British, including the lowest class of India: the "untouchables." Many people criticized Gandhi for reaching out to them because they were considered unfit for others to even look at. However, that was his philosophy and he believed that the nation needed to be rebuilt from the bottom up.Religion was an important aspect of Gandhi's life. He was incredibly religious but he also wanted his religion (Hinduism) to form an alliance with the Muslims so that together they could defeat the British. His faith was great but, as he said, "what is faith worth if it is not translated into action?" They did in fact form an alliance but the bond was always very weak and many people felt that this was a bad mistake on the part of Gandhi. This would...

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