Gandhi’s London Year
Gandhi arrived in London in October 1888, when he was about to celebrate his nineteenth birthday. He was financially stable to fund his education in the field of law. A month later after arriving in London, he got enrolled at the inner temple, which was among the main four in London. The inner temple is what is referred to as the University of London currently (Fischer, 46). His elders were against him going to London to pursue his education, but he single-mindedly achieved his objective of attaining a degree in law at the University of London. In 1891, he got himself enrolled in the high court of London but unfortunately, he left for India towards the end of that year.
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Gandhi’s South African years
After leaving London, Gandhi stayed for one year and decided of accepting an offer by an Indian businessperson who was staying in South Africa. This businessman wanted Gandhi to become his legal advisor. Gandhi did not know that was the beginning of a long stay in South Africa for more than twenty years. Those Indians who were living in South Africa during that period were considered as less human beings (Fischer 63).
They were denied political rights, and being undermined, South Africans used to call them ” coolies.” Gandhi tried to make some efforts for the Indians to be considered as full human beings. There was a time he had purchased a first-class ticket for traveling in a first-class railway compartment vehicle but he was thrown out. He considered this as an initiative to stand as a leader of the Indian community.
When Gandhi decided to break the silence of oppression of Indians in South Africa by fighting for their rights, that’s when he coined the term satyagraha for the very first time. This term defined his effort of eradicating the oppression of Indians through non-violent actions. He applied the truth to fight for Indians. Gandhi described himself as a seeker of truth, and that is the reason why he used to love in his claims and acted non-violently (Fischer 65). Gandhi as well wrote a book known as “satyagraha in South Africa” where he defined the truth behind fighting for the oppression of the Indians. For instance, issues of the poll tax on them, and the making of all non-Christian marriage unions unacceptable.
Gandhi in his process of seeking the freedom for Indians decided to apply celibacy, to strive well towards God. He wanted to apply both brahmacharya and Satyagraha to make both the oppressor and the oppressed to realize both of them have a common destiny and humanity. Gandhi had a great desire to see freedom for everyone (Fischer 66). His fear of God made him apply celibacy in his process of fighting for freedom.
Swaraj (Home Rule)
In 1909, Gandhi made his trip back to India. On his way, he wrote a short agreement that he named Hind swaraj that meant an Indian home rule. In this article, he started a criticism of modern life and that of industrial civilization. He arrived in his home country in 1915, with a promise that he would never leave the country again. However, in 1931, he made a short trip to Europe (Fischer 69).
Indian national congress
The Indian national congress was revived in early 1930. The main theme of the movement was to gain satisfaction by acquiring complete independence from the British. Through this movement, Gandhi led people to initiate resistance against the oppression of the British in his nation. As the leader, he wrote a letter to Lord Irwin requesting the demands of Indians to be considered, failure to which he said he was ready to break the salt laws.
After handing over the letter, he started a journey to Dandi on the sea together with some of his followers (Fischer 102). Gandhi arrived on the sea on the 5th of April. The entire British group was amused by the plans of Gandhi, as they monopolized on producing and selling salt. British considered this as a disobedience movement, and they arrested Gandhi together with his followers. A positive move was realized when Irwin decided to have a talk with Gandhi that led to the British negotiation of Indian independence.
Subhas Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose, was the serving leader of the congress when Gandhi was away. He had taken this opportunity when the issue of salt by Gandhi weakened the British. His leadership was against the wish of Gandhi and his followers. He realized this when he found that Gandhi still had the power to influence the working committee of the congress (Fischer 103). He discovered it was impossible for him to rule, as he failed to win the support of Gandhi and his followers. Shortly after, Bose resigned and escaped from India to Japan to search for support for his plans to set India free.
The Muslim league existed between 1942 and 1945. This group had the main theme of representing the interests and wishes of certain groups of Muslims. They wanted a separate reservation for Muslims. During this period of its existence, it greatly gained the consideration of the British whereby; it was supported in its effort to gain a new homeland (Fischer 115). Through this Muslim league, there was a fight between the Hindus and the Muslims. Gandhi contributed greatly to end that fight through nursing the injured and consoling the widowed. Through his efforts, he regained the peace between the Muslims and the Hindus.
Gandhi on wealth and industrialization
Gandhi said that industrialization is not necessary for any nation; he considered it less especially for Indian people. After gaining independence, Gandhi wanted India to concentrate on maintaining peace with the rest of the world. He preferred a simple peaceful life rather than wealth. However, he advised on having some key industries that would prevent an armchair life or armed socialism. He encouraged state ownership by people working together, enjoying the products of their labor, and through non-violence actions. Gandhi considered both millionaires and paupers as sores of the same sickness (Fischer 142).
Gandhi described mass-scale industrialization as a way of exploiting the villagers once the competition will strike in as well as during marketing. He advised villages to remain as self-contained societies where manufacturing would be done only for products to be used by them. He said real planning of wealth and industrialization should be utilizing well the manpower of India, distributing raw products within the villages, and avoiding sending their raw materials outside, as they would purchase the final products at high prices.
Former Hindu Caste System
This is the control system that was used by Hindus in India. The principle of hereditary was the base for the Hindu caste system. Through the caste system, people were subdivided into separate groups depending on how close they are to each other. Although the origin of the caste system was well known to be the Hindu religion in India, it affected the whole of India (Fischer 134). Gandhi fought against this division and encouraged Hindus to form one united group, as these subdivisions were the main source of discrimination.
Fischer, Louis. Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World. (vol 1982), Los Angeles: University of California, 2009.