Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 in Porbandar, a town of 70,000 people and was ruled by a native prince whom the British usually left alone as long as he did as he was told.
Gandhi family belong to the Modh Bania which is a subdivision of the Vaisya caste. According to the old Hindu social scale, the Vaisya is classified as tradesmen or farmers which ranked third. The Bania which had a connotation of moneylender, slightly lower. However Gandhi’s father and as his father before him was a Diwan or chief minister for the Porbandar prince.
Gandhi was one of the youngest of the six children and spent his early life in a thee-storey house that had been in the family since 1777. Gandhi as an infant could not tell his brother and sisters from his numerous cousins for following the Hindu custom and his father shared the house with five brothers, their children’s children. The immediate family lived in two rooms which one of them was 20 by 30 feet and the other 13 by 12. Such crowded quarters required patience and the ability to give and take were the main part of survival. Gandhi learned both of these values and also tuning out what he did not want to hear.
The later years, Gandhi freely credited his mother with his religious devotion. However it never occurred to him that he may owe his father for something as equally as important such as his instinct for practical politics and diplomacy. While officially as a servant of the ruling prince, Gandhi was mainly a negotiator in grievances and long suffering subjects.
Even though porrly educated, Gandhi’s father had a common sense approach to problems that made his judgement as a highly valued official circles. His reputation as a absolute loyalty. After an assistant political agent for the British insulted the Rajkot prince, others sat in silence, but Gandhi stood up and criticized him and Gandhi was arrested immediately and also refused to apologise. This was the first lesson for Gandhi in passive resistance.
Young Gandhi spent his hours after school with his mother, who he said was “the embodiment of the traditional Hindu virtues of love, humanity and self-sacrifice.” Gandhi would accompany her to the temple, sitting nearby and listening as she comforted the widowed mother of the prince, tended the sick and other this lead throughout the night. Gandhi was influenced by his mother’s powers of endurance as he was awed by her spirited of willing self-denial and she inspired Gandhi during some of the most troubled times of his adult life.
The Ahimsa is the cornerstone in Gandhi’s tactics, strategy and ethics. The word Ahimsa means “non-violence”. However accurately speaking the term means the absence of himsa. Which the himsa is a Sanskrit word meaning doing harm to others or being hateful. Therefore the first layer of the meaning to ahimsa involves a substantial portion of the Hindu belief. This broadly influences and guides the other levels of social interaction. This suffering ideally takes place without the anger, vengeance or even resentment. As for example today protestors such as Greenpeace who aspire to save the forests show considerable resentment when they are made to obey injunctions, pay fines or are arrested. Which they seemed to have learned the most visible portion of civil rights movement but also have missed philosophical roots in Gandhi and Hinduism.
Gandhi was also considerate to other world religions. As an example, he identified a central principle common to both Hindu and Christian religion. More importantly he used this idea to help motivate the desired actions on the part of his followers and at the same time as well, he anticipated the emotional reactions of the populations which could be put political pressure on British power. This influence was Gandhi’s overt objective. He also often spoke of the inability of the human heart to witness suffering without wanting to help which Gandhi believed that persuasive appeals to the hard of the western citizens could bot be ignored. His moralist part of him said this was because of the nature of the “law” however his politician side understood how such a priority would be experienced by Christian believers.
He mixed politics with religion and also mixed religious traditions. He said “I do not share the belief there can or will be on earth one religion” I am striving to find a common factor to induce a mutual tolerance”. However to those who saw in his teachings the emergence of a new faith, he said “There is no such thing as Gandhism. I am not a saint who has strayed into politics. I am a politician who is trying to become a saint.”
Gandhi rose as an unlikely religious and political celebrity. He was the crusader against injustice who renounced both sexual pleasure and the entire modern world. To this mix of traits was added to his philosophy of political protest which he gained the name Satyagraha. Taken this term literally means “The truth force” in Sanskit however in practical terms it means the refusal to obey unjust authority.
To the Indian people, Gandhi gave a nation and to the world he gave satyagraha and ahimsa which are the most revolutionary ideas of a long and ravaged century. He also showed that political change could be affected by renouncing violence and that unjust laws could be challenged peacefully and with readiness to accept the punishment. The “soul force” as much as like armed force could bring down an empire. Not only he drew his lessons from his religion, he also learnt from the readings of the Bible, Tolstoy and the Bhagavad-Gita, and he taught it to Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and countless other political protestors who would follow his example in mayn years to come. Gandhi’s greatest achievement lay in his legacy to inspire people of all nations to take up the peaceful struggle for freedom from oppression. In New Jersey City with the reports of increasing teenager violence a bill has been introduced to the New Jersey Assembly seeking to include Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence teachings in school curriculum throughout the state. The bill that was introduced along with 17 others to stem violence and would require schools to teach the non-violence teaching and philosophies of Gandhi as part of the Core Curriculum standards for social studies in school if it is passed. Gandhi works pass from time to time and his influence upon our society is still evident today and probably the four most important things to take from Gandhi his teachings are peace, truth, non-violence and equality.
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