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Gandhi’s Philosophy

3. Is it possible to establish just authority by defying authority? Is it possible to overcome anger with anger? Yes, it is possible to establish just authority by defying an unjust or oppressive authority, but it is not possible to overcome anger with anger. Gandhi applied both these fundamental principles in his fight against the British for the independence of India. He propounded the novel method of Satyagraha or peaceful resistance based on these basic principles, and in holding on steadfastly to the truth.

“Satyagraha … is literally holding on to Truth and it means, therefore, Truth-force. Truth is soul or spirit. It is, therefore, known as soul-force. It excludes the use of violence because man is not capable of knowing the absolute truth and, therefore, not competent to punish” (Gandhi, 1921). He organized the massive Civil Disobedience Movement, the Salt Satyagraha and many a fast-unto-deaths as a way of defying the unjust authority of the British. However, he always laid emphasis on peaceful conduct during such movements.

His justification for such a form of resistance was that the people of India should fight for their own right without actually expressing any form of anger or hatred. In the Civil Disobedience Movement, he called on the people of India not to co-operate with the British administration; and in the Swadeshi Movement, he asked the people of India not to use British-manufactured goods. Gandhi did not advocate violent means of protests basically because he believed that anger served no purpose. 10. Expand on the following statement: One person with courage is a majority.

One person with courage is a majority because those who not have the moral courage to stand up for their own convictions do not count in the ultimate scheme of things. A person with courage, on the other hand, becomes a formidable force all by himself or herself. The person with courage becomes a rallying point for people who lack confidence in themselves but need a leader to lead them to their goal or destination. The followers draw courage from the leader. The person with courage motivates people and assumes the position of a leader.

The example of Gandhi illustrates this point in practice. Gandhi became the leader of millions of Indians in their fight for freedom because he had the courage of his convictions. Compared to the might of British, the Indians had very little to fight the British with. Gandhi gave the Indians weapons of love and peace. The British had no answer to Gandhi’s peaceful way of resistance and was left floundering in utter confusion. With the support of all his countrymen, Gandhi became a majority by himself.

The various Indian resistance groups prior to the advent of Gandhi would perhaps have remained disparate and largely ineffective had it not been for Gandhi. 15. Originally, Ghandi embraced the attitudes and attire of the British. What do you make of Ghandi’s changed attitude toward the British? Gandhi had acquired his higher education in Britain. A lawyer by profession, and more in touch with Englishmen than with his own people, Gandhi had grown up to adopt the culture of the English and dress and behave more like them.

Unlike the majority of the Indians who remained uneducated and poor, Gandhi was quite well to do and had access to a comfortable life. When practicing in South Africa he had dressed in Western attire and led the life of a ruling class. However, certain incidents such as the one in which he was thrown out of a first class railway compartment because he was not a white, had made him realize that there was a great difference between the way of life of the rulers and the ruled. Gandhi wanted to experience the life of the people who he was fighting for in all its aspects.

He therefore decided to dress in the most basic of Indian attire and be a complete Indian. His decision was also based on the logic that only by knowing first hand the happiness and sufferings of the people who he stood for, would he be able to better understand and appreciate their needs and requirements. References -01 1. Gandhi, M. G. K. , Satyagraha, civil disobedience, passive resistance, non-co-operation, Young India, March 23, 1921, Processor, Compiled by Terp Hoger, Danish Peace Academy, May 2008

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