Gandhi

Quick overview of his influences, things that made hm oppose the British, Gandhi's satyagraha philosophy and how he begins to get involved in politics etc.

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Gandhi South Africa Influences

  • Builds up his experience of working with different people
  • Builds confidence
  • Learns about publicity and different forms of it - publishes his Journal (Indian Opinion)
  • Teaches him about Non-violent opposition eg. Burning legal documents and ID Cards
  • Learns about different protests

All of these point develop Gandhi's personality and teach him about standing up against the British when he returns to India.

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What made him oppose the British?

Originally Gandhi was not anti Raj and supported the British, particularly in World War One.

However - 3 things made him oppose the British

1. The Rowlatt Acts - They were aimed to repress the Indian People

2. The Amritsar massacre - British supported it and it was caused by General Dyer

3. The Paris Peace conference - Turkey was harshly treated for it's part in WW1. Indian fears were confirmed that Westerners had little concern for Islamic/partially Islamic Nations

It developed the idea of Swaraj-(self rule) for Gandhi. He followed Gopale Krishna who wanted to slowly obtain independance.

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Satyagraha - Truth Force/Soul Force

Satyagraha was a made up word by Gandhi meaning - Non violent Resistance to injustice/evil ie. The British. Literally it meant "Truth Force/Soul Force"

He Believed..

  • Every Person is made to search for Truth in them
  • Every person is on their own Journey to find it
  • Non violence is essential. A person should be free to find their own truth not be pressured to find it/to find someone elses'

Traditional Hindu Views were -: Self suffering can be worked into good to change an opponents mind. Satyagraha took this further

It meant your commitment towards the search for truth was strong if you had to suffer and therefore you became a stronger follower of Truth. The opponent would see truth in you and be lead further on their journey for truth.

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Getting into Politics

He was advised to wait a year after returning from South Africa before acting politically.

Believed - The West & technology had decreased human happness & made man slave to machines. Called it the "Test of Civilisation" Disease increased, work was more dangerous and in bad conditions, and he detested letters saying they were bad communication and thought it better to speak in person

His Solution - He wanted a return to small self sufficient communities. Food, garments, cloth, thread made locally through traditional farming, weaving and spinning.

Reason - 1. To increase happiness in return to previous ways of life. 2. To dismatle the Westernised state.

Gandhi's theory was flawed as a return to self sufficient small communties would be impossible especially in big cities like Madras and Bombay. However the idea was popular and attractive.

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How Gandhi identified with people?

1. Renouncing contempory values and society

2. Wearing the Dhoti instead of the typical clothing of a Westen Lawyer.

3. Walking wherever possible

4. Vegetarian lifestyle - Eating more and more frugally

5. Living in Ashrams (secluded small religious community)

6. Renouncing sexual relationships (the emission of semen was seen as a loss of strength therefore abstinance was a sign of power)

Although Older Leaders and Upper classes didn't understand his rejection of society many supported him as he had gained the popular support of the masses and was of little threat to them.

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Begins to Act politically - 1917-1918

His first steps politically though small are significant as it creates links and support for his later plans particularly from the peasant population.

North Bihar - Stands up for peasant farmers who have been forced to grow crops on disadvantageous terms - Gandhi refused to leave the state

Gujarat - Stands up for cotton mill workers earining a pittance - Fasted until the situation was resolved.

He used the time to build up relations with upcoming regional leaders. Developed connections with Muslim leaders (later supported him in Congress) and Businessmen (funded his non-cooperation campaign).

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