Colleen R. Bassoukos, RN
Western Governors University
There have been many individuals throughout history that have left an indelible impact on their people and the world, but few could rival the difference that Mohandas Gandhi made. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in the British Common Wealth of India. He spent his youth witnessing the injustices that the English purveyed on the Indian people; something that eventually helped him to decide to become a barrister. Shortly after passing the bar, Gandhi was offered a case in South Africa that would require him to live in that country for about 1 year and he readily accepted. Once arriving in South Africa, he almost immediately experienced the prejudice that Indians living there had been enduring. The turning point for him came when he purchased a first class train ticket but was asked to move to the 3rd class coach, simply because he was Indian. When he quietly refused, he was physically thrown from the train. It was at that point that he decided to stay in South Africa to fight discrimination and what had been planned as a 1 year stay turned into 20 years. During that time he created, taught and practiced the concept of satyagraha, a non-violent way of protesting against injustices. (Rosenberg, n.d.) Gandhi believed that freedom could not be taken but must be given willingly and that this concept helped both the oppressor and the oppressed recognize the humanity in each other. The idea of satyagraha would be used by many great civil rights leaders as a way to advance their causes. Because of this, it remains Gahndhi’s greatest contribution to political change.
Gandhi finally returned to India for good in 1915. (Lal, 2012) He spent the next few years traveling throughout India to familiarize himself with the struggles of the impoverished people of that country. He witnessed multiple instances of English oppression