Spiritual Icons

Essay by mattychiHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2004

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Mahatma Gandhi & Jesus Christ

Gandhi was moved to dedicate his life to fighting for India's independence because of his first hand experience of oppression in South Africa. When Gandhi was young he was a successful lawyer. He was traveled first class on a train and was kicked off because of his refusal to sit be classified as simply a "colored" man who had to sit in the back. Indians were being treated as inferior, second-class citizens. This enraged Gandhi because areas like South Africa and India were populated with colored people but consequently these countries were being run by the white British minorities in the government. This inspired Gandhi to fight for independence.

Gandhi used several techniques to gain freedom for India but the basis of the revolution was a non-violent approach. The revolt started small by burning "passbooks" that "colored" individuals were forced to use. Gandhi, viewing that these were a form of oppression against him and his fellow people, took brutal beatings from police and abstained from fighting back.

Gandhi also wrote in a magazine, spoke in public, and held rallies so his people could join in the revolt against the tyrants controlling their country. However, the largest measure Gandhi took was to organize a stoppage in all work in India for one whole day. This sent the message to the government that although all of these steps taken were non-violent, the oppressed were in no way going to back down from their cause. Non-violence was a essential part of Mahatma Gandhi's way of life, and he insisted his followers practiced passive resistance in their protesting as well.

At first the British government was not overly concerned with Gandhi's simple campaign. They put the revolt down with force and threw Gandhi into prison when necessary.