The Gandhian Concept Of Non Violence And Its Spread In The United States

3673 words - 15 pages

Mohandas Karamchand GandhiMohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), the Mahatma, the "great-souled one," of Hinduism and the statesman-pacifist guru if India's struggle for political liberation, developed an intriguing and far-reaching philosophy of community. That philosophy, put into practice as the entire world watched, was uniquely bound up with his views about the ashram, a communal retreat, and his commitment to Satyagraha, nonviolent disobedience to unjust laws and unfair social and political practices. Both satyagraha and the ashram are united in Gandhi's concept of the ashramic community.Mohandas Gandhi's LifeMohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Gujarat, a province on India's Western coast. He came from the Vaishya class, the merchant class, of the Indian social system, though both his father and grandfather had been prime ministers in the government of local, princely states. In his famous An Autobiography, which he subtitled The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi tells of his early life and marriage in India. He tells of his adventures as a student in London where he went for study at the age of eighteen and where he obtained his degree in law three years later. He also tells of his early life in South Africa, where he practiced law, and of his later life in India, where he had his most popular success as both a political and spiritual leader of millions of his countrymen.But it was Gandhi's experiences in South Africa that shaped him for his later work of social reform and active political resistance against the British occupation of India. And it was those early experiences in South Africa, applied subsequently in India, that were to lead in no small measure to the eventual freedom of his country from British rule in 1947.Gandhi had returned to India from London with his new law degree in 1891 but he was unable to earn a living as an attorney. It was, actually, his uncontrollable shyness that cost him his professional career in the law courts of India. As he tells it, his first case was typical and a disaster.The adversarial method of arguing cases in courts, a method first introduced in the West by the Sophists in fifth century B.C.E. Athens, was a technique that Gandhi was psychologically incapable of using. So, in place of the adversarial approach to legal disputes, Gandhi introduced in its place a new technique in which he was eventually to become a master: The method of compromise. In the adversarial method there are winners and there are losers, and the stage is thereby set for future adjudication, future appeals, hatred, and even violence. In the method of compromise there are no losers for, ideally, everyone wins as both parties sit down and talk out their differences.But, after two years of trying to make winners of everyone and unable to earn a living for himself and his family in India, Gandhi accepted an invitation from some overseas Indians in South Africa to represent their company in certain legal matters....

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