Gandhi Film Reflection

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Gandhi (1982, 191 min.), directed by Richard Attenborough, depicts that fascinating life of the strong and renowned person known as Mahatma Gandhi. The film begins as Gandhi, a young lawyer, naively enters South Africa, a nation plagued by extreme racism, where he chooses to actively stand against the injustices being committed against the Indians rather than passively accept the fate just as so many others had themselves done. It was through his experiences and victories in South Africa that he was prepared to handle the position of great esteem and influence he walked into as he returned to India years later. Gandhi’s personal religions beliefs were deeply rooted in his Hindu upbringing but were not determinate of his worldview as demonstrated through his continual efforts to reconcile the polarized religious groups contained within his beloved nation of India. In this paper I am going to discuss the insights I gained through watching this film into Hindu religious beliefs and practices in addition to my personal response to the film.

In the film Gandhi mentions briefly his religious upbringing, which was characteristically Hindu, but the priests would often read through the Quran as well. He considered himself a Hindu, but held Islam, Christianity, and other religions in high respect and found validity in each and every one of them. At one point he is quoted as saying, “I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.” His religion was intensely founded in the understanding that the universe was governed by a power characterized by love and grace, a power characterized by the desire to see humans living in peace and harmony. This was epitomized in Gandhi’s continual search for those very characteristics within his family, community, and nation. The specific religion followed by an individual was never the care of Gandhi. His closest friends included Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. To him the important aspect of an individual’s...
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