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jesspark95 1 / -  
Apr 19, 2012   #1

Examine how Gandhi made contributions to India's independence and world peace

World peace has been developed through the endurance and persistence of several great men throughout history. They have struggled and fought against the social evils and human sufferings in order to materialise the moral values that they carry. Mahatma Gandhi is undeniably one of the most respected, influential men. Without the non-violent movement lead by Gandhi, the independence of India would've taken longer with more bloodshed and destruction to the country. Even after his death, his philosophy of non-violence inspired many prominent figures throughout the world. This essay is to examine how this 'great soul' made contributions to the independence of India and continuing inspirations to world peace.

Elements of Gandhi's non-violence philosophy were rooted from the Indian religions of Jainism and Buddhism. Based on this non-violence doctrine, Gandhi developed 'Satyagraha', a policy of non-violent resistance which became widely accepted as a much more efficient tool of resistance than armed violence. Gandhi believed this was the only effective resistance to the predominant British, as two centuries of British imperialism had emasculated India greatly that other forms of resistance were certain to fail.

The Indian National Congress that was in charge of the independence movement in India recognized Gandhi enthusiasm and entitled him with full executive authority to the group. In 1919, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of hundreds of peaceful civilians by the British troop triggered a national protest. With overwhelming fury and resentment towards the British, many Indians began riots with vengeful violence. Gandhi tried to settle down the infuriated Indians believing that their violent attitudes were becoming more of an obstacle to independence. Thus, Gandhi addresses a speech to persuade the Indians to acknowledge that all violence is evil. Instead, he advocates non-violent and non-cooperative movement. This 'non-cooperation' enjoyed widespread appeal, increasing participation from Indian society. Gandhi advocated non-violent civil disobedience which successfully marked a step forward the liberation of British imperialism.

The Salt March of 1930 was Gandhi's greatest success in civil disobedience. In response to the salt tax as well as a complete British monopoly on salt, Gandhi began an organised act of civil disobedience. Gandhi leading the large, growing group of supporters, began a 24 -day journey along the west coastline of India. Gandhi and his followers pick up lumps of salt, which was actually considered illegal under British law, in demand of freedom over their own country. Gandhi and several followers were arrested and temporarily imprisoned. The significance of the Salt March was not the immediate effect but the impact and attention it created worldwide. Britain was compelled to invite Gandhi to London for a Round-Table Conference where a Gandhi-Irwin Pact was made. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact granted the Indians limited salt production for the discontinuation of civil disobedience by the Indian National Congress. The global attention and news coverage about the Salt March stimulated the Indians to fight with unification and enthusiasm for the first time. Therefore it is vital to recognize that Gandhi's Salt March was a major milestone event which laid the building blocks for Independence later on.

Many recognise the economic stumble of Britain after World War 2 as a large factor to Indian Independence. However, it is still questionable whether independence was viable without Gandhi's guidance to the non-violent disobedience movement. Britain first colonized India to benefit from their abundant spices, salt and cotton. However, with the development of the spinning wheel during the Agricultural Revolution which produced cloth more efficiently and faster than the Indian labourers, Britishers didn't want cotton from India anymore. Gandhi understood that convincing Britain to believe India as an unprofitable business was much more successful than violent protests. Therefore, he encouraged the Indians to boycott British goods and buy Indian goods instead. Moreover, with the Salt March movement and civil disobedience, Britain began to realise that India wasn't in need anymore especially in the midst of an economic stumble. Many Indians believe Gandhi's intelligent decisions and contributions made it much easier to achieve Independence of the country.

After the triumph of Britain leaving India in 1947, India had to experience their continent being split into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India after a violent partition costing lives of one million. The bitter relationship between Muslim-Indians and Hindu-Indians had upset Gandhi greatly that he discontinued his focus on advocating non-violent movements. He was eager to unite both religions and was completely against partition despite the irreconcilable conflicts. Later in his life when he was asked whether he was Hindu, Gandhi replied: "Yes I am. I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew". Gandhi constantly made desperate efforts to persuade others that all religions are equal and true. After his death from an assassination by a Hindu who despised Gandhi's tolerance for Muslims, many people began to agree with his religious beliefs.

Gandhi critisised armed violence in political resistance and the extensive impact it had on innocent people. Instead, he advocated non-violence as an efficient method of resistance. This method has definitely been popular even recently in the 2011 Egyptian protest and the global Occupy Wall Street Protest. His methods of the Satyagraha and civil disobedience had the greatest impact in the global Occupy Wall Street Protest where tactics made by Gandhi were followed in a mass movement against corruption.

Countless people have been inspired by Gandhi's sacrifice for the liberation and happiness of other people by his non-violent ideals. Martin Luther King, a prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement, has revealed his inspiration of the non-violent movement by Gandhi:"Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available...Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation." More prominent leaders inspired by Gandhi are Nelson Mandela, César Ch├ívez, Aung San Suu Kyi and US President Barack Obama. Barack Obama says, "I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world".

In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential people of the 20th century contributing to Indian Independence and world peace. Gandhi's accomplishment and teachings of the 'Satyagraha' were largely responsible in achieving peaceful Indian Independence. His legacy, in proving that peaceful resistance can be achieved through non-violence and non-cooperation, continues to this day with profound effects. His inspirations encouraged Martin Luther King's fight in racial equality, South African President Nelson Mandela's struggle to abolish the policy of racial segregation and Burmese dissident and Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi's fight for democracy in Burma.

sherxon 1 / 11  
Apr 19, 2012   #2
great essay!!! i think no mistakes

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