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Gandhi: Gentle Strides of Peace

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"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"

The greatest of teachers do not necessarily have to be those who educate children at schools; they can be those who leave an enduring mark on human history, teaching people love, tolerance, and new methods of resistance.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in India, in 1869. He was an exceptionally goodhearted person and because of that people called him Mahatma Gandhi, “Mahatma” meaning “great soul”. When Gandhi came to the world, India was part of the British Empire; he dreamt of an independent and peaceful country, and throughout his life, he worked toward that end.

The “Salt March” is a famous act of civil disobedience that was led by Gandhi. The British had a firm grip on the salt industry; they did not allow Indians to neither collect it nor sell it. Being an important element of the Indian diet, the poor were forced to buy it from the British; moreover, a heavy salt tax was imposed on the people. Gandhi initiated the “Salt March” to oppose the British rule and the salt tax. In 1930, along with many Indians, he started a 240-mile march towards the sea to collect and make their own salt.

Gandhi was one person. With untraditional methods, he caused a headache to the British Empire; his effect was similar to that of an ant on a huge elephant, minor but annoying.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"

In order to be free, you must not be dependent on anyone. The British Empire took India’s raw material and sent it back as clothes. Gandhi encouraged people to make their own clothes so as not to buy clothes woven in England. Gandhi always traveled with a spinning wheel to spread the idea; moreover, he was always seen spinning even when he was giving speeches. That is why the spinning wheel is the symbol of India’s independence.

Gandhi was loved and respected by many Indians. His dream was not limited to ending the British rule; he was also concerned with the welfare of Indians and how they treated each other. He tried, for example, to convince landowners to decrease the rent for the tenant farmers. He resorted to fasting whenever there was a conflict. Fasting for many days made him sick and because of his fame and prestige, none of the parties wanted to be responsible for his death and normally yielded to his wishes.

One of Gandhi’s inspirational quotes is: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” This sums up his philosophy and ideas; he believed that in order to make the world a beautiful place, violence must come to an end. Gandhi believed he can make a difference, and he did; in 1947, India finally regained its independence.

References
brainyquote.com
biography.com
behindthename.com
bbc.co.uk
history.com
britannica.com
history1900s.about.com

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