Mao & Gandhi: Western Thought in an Eastern World Essay

Mao & Gandhi: Western Thought in an Eastern World Essay

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For thousands of years, Asia led the world in technology and thought. Millions throughout those years followed the teachings of the Vedic religion, Buddhist thought, or Confucian philosophy. These societies solidified their power in the early centuries of anno domini and even boasted of self sufficient power as late as the fifteenth century. To the West however, grew nations with a different heritage of thought that soon infiltrated the Eastern world. Though their influence seemed minor in such a developed world, by the twentieth century political relations and western philosophy became a part of Asia’s reality. In the writings of two influential thinkers in modern Asia, Mao Zedong and Mahatma Gandhi, western thought’s existence is clear. Specific western philosophy helped define and further both Mao’s and Gandhi’s beliefs, such perceptiveness to these strains of thought can be found deeply rooted in China’s and India’s history.
Qing China was a place of dynamic success and power. Beginning in 1644, the dynasty began as others had, with foreign control. But non-Chinese rule did not impede the country’s success. The Qing Emperors quickly began expanding territory. By Qianlong’s rule, just short of a hundred years into Qing reign, China boasted the greatest amount of territory and surplus the country had seen before. Their tax system was so efficient that on occasion taxes were canceled across the kingdom because of surplus goods. Soon, China showed massive population growth. In 1600, forty four years before Qing control, China held a population of 160 million souls. By 1700 the population remained at the 160 mark, but within 50 years the population soared to 225 million. Even in the face of massive population incr...


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...hand of Chinese model, capitalism and imperialism and moved to Communism. Gandhi experienced his countries diversity, yet hated the affect of civilization so prevalent in Western belief. Asia, in meeting the West, was shaped by it. Mao and Gandhi prove that. Their stories go on, India would be freed from British control and Moa would put into affect his communism hopes. The success and failures of these events are still discussed today, but it is clear that the East did not become West nor did the West becomes East, rather they were both changed, the affect of this new world is one still being discovered today.







Bibliography

Cheek, Timothy, trans. Mao Zedong and China’s Revolutions: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.

Gandhi, Mahatma. Hind Swaraj. http://www.mkgandhi.org/swarajya/coverpage.htm (accessed March 24, 2014).

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