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Transcript of Gandhi
After triumph in South Africa, Gandhi, victorious, comes home with his wife to India and is astonished by the poverty and sadness there. Inspired by his success in South Africa, and using the experience he gained there, Gandhi starts to lead the Indians in protests against British rule and tries to get them to leave India without the use of violence. From then onwards he is known to everyone around the world as Mahatma Gandhi, the great soul.
The Massacre of Amritsar
One average afternoon in the popular Sikh Golden Temple, British General Dyer and his men fired upon a peaceful demonstration of Sikhs, thereby conducting a brutal massacre that killed and wounded several hundred people. There were multiple protests occurring outside of the temple encouraging citizens to stop the British from imposing taxes in the past, which led the British army into becoming warier and warier during large meetings. Thus, when the British officials saw some Sikhs wanting to protest again, they fired at hundreds of innocent citizens that actually came to the temple just to celebrate an important Sikh festival. Immediately afterwards, news of the outrage spread like wildfire throughout India, and it especially made a big impact on Gandhi by taking a different approach to achieving independence.
This event played a big role in Gandhi's approach in persuading the British to leave India, by using mass civil disobedience. From this moment onwards, Gandhi organized several campaigns involving the principles of major civil-disobedience that quickly spread out throughout India, which caused the natives to defy the British rule. Furthermore, this lead British officials feeling intimidated about Gandhi's influence turning negative on the people, which eventually made him go to prison. However, after the British took away their father of the nation, the riots involving police officers stopped, which helped India reunite and gain it's belief of non-violence again.
Leaving South Africa and coming back to where he grew up was important to Gandhi because he loved his country. When he saw the unfair way that the British were treating Indians, in their own country no less, Gandhi decided to peacefully rebel against the government. This began the process of India's struggle for independence from the British Empire.
"Quit India" Campaign
The Salt March
Alarmed by Gandhi's growing influence, British leaders plan a conference in London to discuss India's future and exclude all Indians from the talks. Gandhi is very angry, and begins a campaign to protest against the British-imposed laws that prevent Indians from collecting and selling salt. This forces them to purchase heavily-taxed British salt. Gandhi leads protesters on a 24-day, 240-mile long 'March To The Sea', where they boil salt in order to produce illegal salt, as an act of defiance against the British. He is arrested, and many refuse to pay their taxes and rents, as a form of protest against Gandhi's imprisonment. He is released, and given permission to join the London meeting.
Partition of India
Mohandas 'Mahatma' Gandhi
Life in South Africa
After graduating law school in England, Gandhi returns to India as a lawyer. He loses his first case and is fired. Humiliated, Gandhi accepts a job in South Africa. On the way there, he gets thrown out of First Class for refusing to move to Third Class to accommodate a white passenger, even though he held a valid First Class ticket, simply because of his skin color. This type of racial discrimination against Indians and other races in South Africa was a common practice. This incident motivates Gandhi to fight against racism. He sets up an 'Indian Congress' to fight against racial segregation and to develop the idea of peaceful protest.
This was really the first time that Gandhi really, truly experienced racial discrimination firsthand. Before, he'd never been treated inhumanely as he was on that train. As such, the incident was the one pivotal point in his life that made him decide to stop accepting injustice and to start fighting against it. This attitude and intolerance for prejudice is what spurs him to begin the first of his many campaigns against bigotry.
The 'Asian Population Registration Act'
In 1906, the South African government puts the 'Asian Population Registration Act' into place, which obliges any and all residents of Asian nations to register their names, ages, addresses, jobs, and other personal information and to carry an identification card with their fingerprints around with them. In protest of this, Gandhi develops the foundation of the form of non-violent resistance called
which he is best known today. Gandhi and his fellow protesters peacefully campaign against the act for nearly a decade, gaining more and more supporters and sympathy. Finally, in 1914, the act is abolished.
Unification Efforts Between India And Pakistan
Gandhi is horrified by the discord and hatred between the Hindus and Muslims displayed by the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, and embarks upon a series of campaigns after the split of India. He requests in January of 1948 that Muslim homes be returned to them, and that payment be made to Pakistan, and accomplishes this by beginning another fast. Five days into this hunger strike, India complies and religious leaders begin peace talks. However, several Hindu sects are angered by this and seethe in anger.
The doctrine of
is one of Gandhi's most prominent and important achievements. It teaches the principles of passive resistance and non-aggression. He utilized it in every one of his protests, and it was the philosophy by which he lived. It was also studied and used by many other leaders of civil rights movements in various countries, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. It was used for the first time in Gandhi's campaign against the Asian Population Registration Act in South Africa, where it proved to be successful, leading him, and, later, activists all over the world, to apply it to myriad other situations.
The 'Quit India' Campaign gave the citizens of India a taste of independence before it officially got freed, which made the Gandhi's followers a bit more hopeful that they would eventually succeed in their campaign against British rule in India and that they would gain their freedom. This optimism inspired them to keep on disobeying the government and proved that they were able to hold together a country.
The salt march was one Gandhi's most significant acts of civil disobedience against the British. His march traveled 240 miles through India, encouraging everybody that passed by to take part in the march. Not only did the march escalate in size as it progressed further in its route, it intimidated the British officials, with the natives committing the felony of producing their own salt. Even though Gandhi got in major trouble during the salt march, the Indians became even more mentally toughened and still defied the British no matter how violent the latter behaved towards them. This attitude was caused by the natives' knowledge that Gandhi had their backs on every step on the way to freedom from Britain, even during the most gruesome moments.
During World War II there was great tension between the Indian National Congress, Britain, and the Muslim league for producing two separate countries after India gained independence from the British. The INC leader, Nehru, wanted India to be unified with Muslims, Hindus and other minority religions. However, the Muslim league leader, Jinnah, opposed Nehru's idea and instead believed that Muslims deserved to be part of another country. This argument soon stirred Gandhi and the Viceroy of India into encouraging the idea of India becoming one unified country, which later backfired, with more and more violent riots and escalating pandemonium. The Viceroy finally grants India its independence, as well as the separation of India into two countries with different majorities---India, a Hindu-majority nation, and Pakistan, a Muslim-dominated one.
Gandhi started this campaign to protest against sending Indian troops to fight for the British in World War II and insisted that Britain give India independence. The government decided to postpone considering letting India be its own country until after the end of the war, but Gandhi refused and started 'Quit India'. After this campaign was announced, Indians were urged to act as if India was a free country and to ignore the British government's orders. Gandhi and other important leaders were arrested which caused major riots and mass arrests of Gandhi's disciples.
One of the most important events that occurred during Gandhi's life was the violent situation involving India becoming two different countries. The whole drama between the Hindus and Muslims made Gandhi want to stop the violence by encouraging citizens to live together in one country, despite the fact they didn't follow the same religion. Even though Gandhi's reason for making India stay together was positive, the Hindu radicals didn't believe his decision was beneficial of India. This later plays a part in the motive of Gandhi's murderer.
The resentment bred by this is a major factor in Gandhi's assassination a few weeks later, on the 30th of January 1948. His killer was a discontented Hindu extremist who disagreed with Gandhi's peacemaking efforts between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs and sympathetic views towards those whom he (the assassin) perceived to be the enemy.
Grace Du, Amiya Subramanian, Carrie Yu