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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in India and was murdered
by a fanatic, Hindu Nathuram Godsey. Gandhi was a Hindu as well and he
was born in the second cast. Hindus have the belief that everyone is
born into a cast. Depending on how well you stick to the religious
rules depends on what cast you are in once you get to the next life.
If you are true to the faith, you will be in a higher cast. However,
if you behave badly you will be dropped a cast.
Some Hindus don’t have a cast. These people are called the
“Untouchables” and live in the biggest poverty. They have a horrible
life, getting rejected from everyone.
When Gandhi was born, India was under the rule of Britain. They had
been in the British Empire for several hundred years. Many people
lived in poor conditions because Britain took all the wealth. After
school, Gandhi went to London to study law. He became a lawyer and
worked for an Indian firm. They soon wanted him to go and work in
South Africa and represent the company.
It was there in South Africa that Gandhi realised how bad the white
settlers hated the Indian people. He was often resented and once got
thrown off a bus for refusing to give up his seat. It was that day
that he decided he would no longer be pushed away. He would fight for
the rights of his fellow people. He swore that he would fight for his
people without violence.
Gandhi started up a project, ashram, which united people of all
religions to live together in peace. He soon went back to India and
was received by many crowds of people cheering him at the harbour. He
did not like all the fame he had been getting; he wanted to live like
the poor people of India, out in the country. He started travelling
through India on the train and third class wagons. Doing this, he saw
what the real life was like for the less fortunate people of India.
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From then on, Gandhi led the way to India’s independence. He soon
became the Indian leader for home-rule, encouraging people to not buy
British clothes. He realised that Britain got a lot of wealth from
India buying clothes from them. He told people to burn all British
clothes, and spin their own. He had been doing this for years.
His plan was a success, people made clothes for themselves. All
clothes in India were made, and sold in India. Many people now
realised that they no longer needed Britain for anything. Many
products were rejected and factories were shut down making many
British workers unemployed. This was the first important step to
Britain however, wasn’t convinced that anything was going to happen
until he asked India to go on a strike for a day, and they did.
Everything stopped. The most important feature of this was the
telegraph lines, they were closed. British people in India were cut
off from their home country. It was then that Britain began to realise
the power of Gandhi.
Gandhi was thrown in prison many times, quite a few times in South
Africa and a lot in India. Spending a lot of time in a cell just gave
him plenty of chances to think up new plans and ideas. He continued to
lead the way to independence from Britain. Many of his plans led the
enemy into confusion; Britain didn’t know how to fight someone using
non-violence. Someone once told him that surely they had the right to
kill someone if they killed their wife or child. He then replied “An
eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.
After the Second World War, in 1947, India became independent. Britain
was pushed out completely.
Gandhi however was not pleased. Many religious fights broke out; he
gave many non-violence and peace talks. With these speeches, people
began to see peace and stop fighting. Indian was in union again.
A few months later, a Hindu fanatic shot him at his daily prayer.
I think that Mohandas Gandhi was one of the most influential people of
the 20th century. He was the one that proved that non-violence works.
There are many organisations that have followed his footsteps.
Greenpeace operates in the same way and many nuclear waste protestors
never use violence. Another great weapon used by Gandhi is the strike.
This year, many work forces have gone on strike because of things like
conditions or pay.
He also showed the rest of the world that the biggest empire was
pushed away without violence. This led to many countries becoming
independent. In the 1960’s many of the African colonies also pushed
Independence wasn’t the only thing that people realised could be done.
People like Martin Luther King saw that fighting for the minorities
rights could be done. Another example of this is the fights in South
Africa under Ché Guevara.
Fights for rights still happen all over the world right now, I think
we have to thank Gandhi for this. He started the fight for humanity in
today’s world. He was the catalyst in a series of marches and
protests. I think he was the most significant person in the fight for
equal rights and independence.