How Gandhi Led India’s Liberation

Gandhi is one of the heroes of the 20th century who combined political liberation and spirituality in his philosophy of non-violent satyagraha. In so doing he became the most important influence on contemporary non-violent social change. Gandhi is one of the heroes of the 20th century who combined political liberation and spirituality. His principles of soul-force and non-violent political change liberated India from British colonial rule and inspired non-violent heroes like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Martin Luther King in the US, Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, and the Dalai Lama in Tibet and India–more examples of individuals who changed the course of history. Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth explained, “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth,” called ahimsa, non-violence.

He wrote, “It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself,” for we are all children of the same Creator. “To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world.” Gandhi believed that “God could be realized only through service,” in his case to Indian liberation in South Africa and latter from the British in India. He believed in “the infinite possibilities of universal love.”

Gandhi liberated India through non-violent means–by persisting patiently and not giving up. He made every effort to be fair and to talk with his opponents. He also threatened their money flow by boycotting their goods or leading workers to strike. He is often shown spinning cotton to boycott British textiles. He led a march to the sea to get salt to protest British tax on salt, shown in the film Gandhi (1982). He developed a philosophy that motivates and inspires people to make change. Gandhi said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Gloria Steinem pointed out that Gandhi learned a lot from the Indian women’s movement and from British suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst.

In Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, he explained, “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth,” which he called ahimsa, non-violence. He wrote, “It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself,” for we are all children of the same Creator.  Gandhi believed that “God could be realized only through service,” in his case for Indian liberation in South Africa and then from the British in India. He believed in “the infinite possibilities of universal love.”

Gandhi liberated India through non-violent means by patiently persisting. He made every effort to be fair and to negotiate with his opponents. He also threatened their money flow by boycotting their goods and leading workers to strike. He is often shown in photographs spinning cotton to boycott British textiles. He led a march to the sea to get salt to protest the British tax on salt, as shown in the film Gandhi (1982). He explained that an oppressor can’t rule without the tacit consent of the governed, so his task was to encourage withdrawal of consent by the Indian masses. “You must not lose faith in humanity,” he said. “Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” As Gandhi explained, when people gain hope and withdraw their tacit consent, political change occurs.

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