# 26

LEONARDO, Dayanne Lei A.

BA 198 – WFW

MAHATMA GANDHI
How did Gandhi discover his strategy for gaining independence?
Mohandas K. Gandhi was revered around the world because of his philosophy of non-violent (passive)
resistance against the British imperial rule in India during the 20th century. Born into a historical and spiritual
land, he saw his life as a search for ultimate truths. His father was a prominent politician but it was his mother
who was his role model because of her extraordinary discipline and devotion to religion. At age 16, Gandhi’s
father died during a time when he decided to leave the former to be with his wife. Having made the wrong
choice when faced with the conflict between duty and desire, Gandhi often referred to that time he neglected his
duty, which became the basis for his sense of duty to society and humankind.
In the 1890s, Gandhi accepted a job and migrated to South Africa. Unaware of the discrimination against
Indians in the British colony, he innocently booked a first class ticket on a train, only to be violently thrown off
the journey in the next station. That humiliating incident sparked his desire for change, making him wonder how
to obtain justice. However, it was in 1906 that his famous philosophy began. After the government passed an
ordinance regarding the registration of its Indian population, a merchant declared to a crowd how he would
rather go to prison than obey that law. It was then that Gandhi first thought of the idea of prison saying,
“We will take a vow to God that we will go to prison and we will stay there until this law is withdrawn.”
That speech sparked a campaign of mass civil disobedience. He soon began developing and teaching the
concept of satyagraha ("truth" and "the pursuit of"), or passive resistance, as a way of non-cooperation with
authorities. This continued on to the famous Salt March in 1930 to India’s independence in 1947 and to his
murder in 1948 when violence between the Muslims and the Hindus finally ceased overnight and India became
truly free.
The idea of non-violent resistance has been around for years when Gandhi initiated it in India. The
method entails standing up against your opponent, telling him that you will not give in to their desires but you
also reassure him that you will do no harm. The aim of any non-violent conflict was to convert the opponent; to
win over his mind and his heart and persuade him to your point of view. Rather than resulting to brute force and
bloodshed, Gandhi encouraged his followers to rely on will power and to rise beyond the hate and the hurt that
the colonizers have inflicted on them.
From what I have gathered from the documentary on Gandhi, he was not always the way he was. Just
like anybody, he was a person of weakness and pride. He was not perfect and he recognized that the domination
and discrimination he sees around him was also reflected in the way he lived his life and in the way he treated
his wife. There were a number of events in his life that changed him and made him want to fight for his people
and eventually for the rights of all mankind. And through them, he developed humility, courage, integrity,
discipline and vision; traits that, according to the book The 8th Habit, make up a leader who inspires and
empower people and who is filled with gratitude, reverence and respect for all people.
Gandhi is a perfect example of a person who developed enormous moral authority by surrendering his
intelligence to his spiritual conscience and by applying those traits abovementioned, in order to make people
believe and follow him despite the fact that he was never elected and had no formal authority. He recognized
that he had to give up all the desires and material things in this life in order to eliminate impurity and thus,
avoid violence. Through his actions and his determination, he inspired others to follow him. He liberated a
country consisting one-fifth of the world’s population because he knew that in order to destroy the shackles that
the colonizers have over them, people have to win over themselves and to yield the will power not to do to the
British what they did to the Indians. He developed freedom, power and moral authority to make them see that
the things we want in this life are within reach if we just learn to surrender everything that we are to the cause.
Gandhi made me see that an ordinary person could make a difference and that if you have high moral authority,
formal authority would not be as necessary to make people follow you, so long as you have the right vision and
discipline to pursue and make a difference.