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Mahatma Gandhi's Post-Colonial Views

By RealKD Feb 25, 2013 1264 Words
“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi”

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, or commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most customary figure in post colonial studies mainly due to the fact that he was the one who resisted the Indian rule and stood up for the Indian citizens to given them equal rights and civil liverty. In addition, some says that he is the father of Indian Independence Movement, pointing out his works as a resistance to British rule. Family

Mohandas Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India. His clan belongs to the Bania Caste, classified as merchants, but he had three generations, from his grandfather that were seated as the Prime Minister of several Kathiawad States. Gandhi’s father was an illiterate during those times when he married his spouse, Gandhi’s mother, and 4th marriage in over forty years old. While his father was short-tempered and brave, Gandhi described his mother as a “saint” due to her deep religious beliefs. He even remembered when his mother visits a temple everyday, thus she made it habitual, and the scene where his mother pray before meal. Childhood

During his early years in school, Gandhi emphasized that nothing would have been noted in these years; a shy and mediocre young boy. But what stands out to him was his obedience, to the point that he never copied anything in his entire life. He married at the age of 13 to a girl named Kasturba because of the so-called fixed marriage. In India, marriage is a complex thing, and elders decide to whom will the youngsters be tied with one another. Kasturba fostered four children with Gandhi. His pursuit of being a lawyer

At the age of 18, Gandhi left India for London to study law. Gandhi didn’t catch the hook at first. His first three months was mainly his adjustment period to the culture, language, society, environment and many more. It was more like the embellishment of his life during those months; tried to buy new stuffs that could’ve transformed him into and English man. Although after few weeks of discernment, he withdrew from this lifestyle and returned to his old self of being a studious and serious student. Gandhi passed the bar exam on June 10, 1881 and flew back to India after two days. He handled his first case in Bombay while studying the Indian Law. After he thought of the complexity of the Indian Law, he transferred to Rajkot, where his first office lies, but with lesser income. He was offered for a yearlong contract in South Africa, which Gandhi immediately accepted hoping that he could earn some more and learn the convolutions of law. Although what he got from South Africa was completely different. In that part of the globe, Gandhi developed his self-esteem and ability to argue. His shyness vanished and replaced it with the emergence of his potential as a leader. He realized concepts that applied in his homeland like injustices. Gandhi, who was a first class ticket holder was asked to transfer to the third class seats but refused to, and so he was thrown out the police. After this instance, he realized that injustices weren’t an isolated cases and it is happening everywhere, and that started his resistance to British Rule. South African Expedition

Due to his practical knowledge on the issue of Indian discrimination, Gandhi’s twenty-year career in South Africa was dedicated to resist and lead his people to abolish the bigotry. He established a philosophy named Satyagraha, where to express their hostility thru non-violent mobilizations and civil disobedience. He then became one of the most celebrated religious leaders. Back to his grass roots

After working twenty years towards a free and independent society in South Africa, Gandhi and his family trooped back to India. He helped India in two categories: free India from external influences of the British Government and Human rights to all the Indian citizens. In lieu of his advocacies, he created a religious center, ashram, wherein people including untouchables could work together and live harmoniously and he taught the essence of non-violence. The next 28 years were devoted for his protests against the British government for their political restrictions and inequitable economic conditions given to the untouchables. Eventually, British government ruled out a law that promises to eliminate revolutionary movements. But the law didn’t scare Gandhi, thus making him stronger and braver. He started the Salt March, and fought against the salt tax. This triggered the Indian citizens to make their own salt instead of buying from the imported goods delivered by the British. Soon after the British found out, he was jailed for his influences on the said march. He was released in 1931, and soon after attended a long table meeting with the British rulers to discuss the constitutional change. After India gained independence in 1947, he tried to fix the mess between the Hindu-Muslim clash in Bengal but failed to do so after a Hindu fanatic in Delhi assassinated him. Hind Swaraj

Hind Swaraj or in direct translations Indian Home Rule was written by Gandhi in 1908 in South Africa, London and India where he experienced discrimination. In times of peril, he perceived this book as “put into the hands of a child. It teaches the gospel of love in place of that of hate. It replaces violence with self-sacrifice. It pits soul force against brute force" (p. 16). Thus serving the book’s purpose as the binding force that will unite Indian citizens to resist against the external forces persecuting them. Although, he wrote this not just to bind his people but also to expose his dismay over the ruling principles of the British Empire. As he points out “"we want English rule without the Englishman...This is not the Swaraj [freedom, self-rule] that I want" (p. 30). Hence, hanging the rulers wouldn’t change the situation given the fact that the transitory rulers would have the same principles. The logic can be applied in modernization theory where countries modernize but stays with its core principles. Gandhi wanted to reform India as a whole and not just the rulers alone. In addition, principle alterations will lead them into a different, progressive and non-violent nation. Clearly, his critique of modernization theory suggests that it was not Britain who got them but their own eagerness to modernize persuaded them. Moreover, to follow up his critique not to western people per se but modernization theory, he criticized the professionals who’d kill for the sake of modernizing for the doctors, lawyers who advance arguments than extinguishing them. In a closing note, Gandhi became a key figure in Post Colonial studies because of his logical arguments presented in his book. His critique of the modernization theory could be a good base ground of the study because we can vividly see the view from an oppressed standpoint.

Sources:

Desai, Mahadev. M.K. Gandhi: An Autobiography or the story of my experiments with truth . Bombay, India: Navajivan Publishing, eBook. <http://www.holybooks.com/wp- content/uploads/M.-K.-Gandhi-An-Autobiography-or-The-Story-of-my-Experiments-with-Truth.pdf>

Gandhi, M. K. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule [1908]. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1938; various reprints.

"Mahatma Gandhi." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Feb 06 2013, 07:25http://www.biography.com/people/mahatma-gandhi-9305898.

Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Gandhi - Biography of Mahatma Gandhi." About.com 20th century History. N.p.. Web. 6 Feb 2013. <http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/a/gandhi.htm>.

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