Mahatma Gandhi: The Leader Of Non-violence

Mahatma Gandhi was a great spiritual and political leader, able to lead the civilian population of India towards resistance and non-violent civil disobedience.
Mahatma Gandhi: the leader of non-violence

The legacy of Mohandas K. Gandhi, better known as Mahatma (great soul), still lives among us. Mahatma Gandhi, with great humility, started a peaceful revolution to defend the civil rights of his country.

Later, he became a political and spiritual leader capable of inspiring not just an entire country like India, but the whole world. Its principles of nonviolent resistance are still today a unique example of moral integrity.

October 2 is the world day of non-violence, an opportunity to reflect on the work of the leader of the Indian independence movement and its implications in contemporary history. His ideas, in fact, have promoted not only a style of thought, but a real philosophy of life.

During nearly thirty years of peaceful activism, Mahatma Gandhi sought to free his people from the British Raj , but his goals were more ambitious. He defended social justice, aspired to the transformation of economic structures and laid the foundations for a more active ethics for the human being. As if that weren’t enough, it taught us that coexistence between different peoples and religions is possible.

Gandhi as a young man

Gandhi: from naive lawyer to brilliant activist

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in Porbandar in 1869. He belonged to a distinct Indian caste of the late 19th century. The father was Prime Minister of Gujarat and the mother, belonging to Hinduism, was a woman known for her tolerance and for promoting peaceful coexistence between all religions.

Gandhi grew up in a privileged environment both from an economic point of view and for the harmony and spirituality with which he was educated from childhood. He was a vegetarian, practiced fasting and was a tireless student of traditions, customs and traditions of Indian culture.

The family chose him from among his two older brothers to use him for academic training. For this reason, he moved to London in 1888 where he studied law. This phase of his life away from India, which lasted almost twenty years, was crucial in the construction of his identity, the decision to devote himself to social activism and the birth of his philosophical convictions.

In England he came into contact with the circle of Theosophists, who initiated him into the Bahagavad Gita , the holy book of Hinduism, which was a great inspiration for his ideals and religious principles.

After earning his degree, Mahatma Gandhi traveled to South Africa, a divided and unstable country made up of multiple colonies ruled by the British and the Dutch. It was in this context that a decisive stage in his life began: the young lawyer suddenly became a strong defender of equality and freedom.

In South Africa the four creeds were formed that from that moment on would define Mahatma Gandhi:

  • Defender of freedom.
  • Social reformer.
  • Defender of the tolerance of all religions.
  • Spiritual leader.
Gandhi illustration

The struggle for the independence of India

When Gandhi returned to his country in 1915, the situation was not at all rosy for India. A law was about to be passed to ban the suffrage of Hindus. It was at this time that Gandhi began to apply the same social activism that he had already started in South Africa. He decided to call his people back to resistance and Satyagraha (the creed of non-violence).

Meanwhile, echoes of the First World War began to be heard around the world. But in this climate of violence and fear, Gandhi still managed to lay the foundations for India’s peaceful achievement of independence . To this end, he resorted to a tactical and intellectual approach that was as new as it was stimulating for all generations. Mahatma Gandhi built a farm in the city of Ahmedabad to gather his disciples.

He quickly became a spiritual leader capable of inspiring more communities. He helped create peaceful settlements, which were the beating heart of a great revolution.

One effective strategy was to stop the production of cotton, a key element for the British textile industry. So he would have done the same with the British salt monopoly. Unfortunately, however, these civil disobedience campaigns claimed thousands of lives and earned him and his followers several years in prison.

Despite this, the goal was achieved: August 18, 1947 is the official date of India’s independence from the United Kingdom. A few months later, on January 30, 1948, Gandhi was killed by the Hindu extremist Nathuram V. Godse in the crowd. He was 78 years old.

Mahatma Gandhi’s guidelines on Satyagraha (the creed of non-violence)

Satyagraha is a word invented by Gandhi himself to represent his struggle, which was based on the absolute and firm conviction not to resort to violence.

This humble man and adamant in defending social rights (to the point of being nominated 5 times for the Nobel Peace Prize) insisted that life is indivisible and that, as such, it is inconceivable that a person could do anything about it. hurt another.

Any active struggle for the good and defense of those who suffer must therefore be based on Satyagraha , a dimension governed by the following principles:

  • Always tell the truth.
  • Do not steal.
  • Respect any religion.
  • Believe in truth and non-violence and in the intrinsic goodness of human nature.
  • Feel neither anger nor hate.
  • Resist the opponent’s assaults, without retreating or feeling fear.
  • Do not oppose violence and agree to be arrested.
  • Give up private property.
  • Give up on revenge.
  • Don’t verbally insult someone.
  • Don’t recognize the UK flag, but don’t insult it.
  • If there is a fight, protect yourself from attacks and insults.
Gandhi statue

Conclusions on the work of Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi was able to generate an undeniable change in twentieth-century thinking. His principles and activism have left an indelible mark, like that of Martin Luther King in his day or of Mandela years later.

Knowing how to collect the legacy of these figures is undoubtedly a challenge for our time and we should all take them as an example to improve coexistence within civilization.

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