Kim, Alex

English-05
March 4, 2004
The Power of Sadagraha
Brutally shot 3 times, point blank range, “Eh Ram!” were the last
words to leave Mahatma Gandhi’s lips as he was assassinated on January
30th, 1948. “Eh Ram!” in Indian meant “Oh Ram!” a god in the Hindu
religion, he promised to say this when he died and kept true to his word.

Hundreds, upon thousands of people came to his funeral; Gandhi was the
radiance, the father, and the truth of India. (Lavanam) Mahatma Gandhi
destined from his childhood to be a humanitarian, lead the fight against
Britain’s tyrannical rule in India with nonviolence, often sacrificing his
own health and well-being in the process but never compromising his values
of peace, and justice.

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Gandhi fought against the odds and the oppression bravely by defying
Britain with non-violent action. At the time England ruled over India with
an iron fist, but not just economically. It used its military power and
utterly controlled India’s by all means. Mahatma Gandhi however, chose to
fight against this by means of non-violence. On March 12th, 1930 a march to
the closest sea to collect sea salt had begun, this march was other wise
known as the Salt March. The government had imposed a tax on salt so the
poor could not afford it and the law forbid individuals to collect salt
from the sea. Gandhi saw this atrocity and with his 78 members walked for
24 days to Dandi, the closest sea, and picked up a handful of salt thus
defying the law. Over 100,000 people had joined Gandhi on his march and
that many were arrested but not before being brutally beaten, still not a
soul fought back. (Chandri) Gandhi’s leadership and steadfast determination
to free India are traits needed to be a hero. Even when facing impossible
odds, Gandhi eventually broke through the brick wall of England but even
after that, not all the problems of India were solved.

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The internal struggle of India constantly frustrated Gandhi till the
point where he had to put his own life in danger to stop the chaos and
constant rioting that encircled him. Gandhi saw many tribulations and to
chastise himself he would fast. Fasting is the act of abstaining from food,
used most often for religious purposes. However Gandhi’s reason for fasting
was due to his concern for the people and the sins they had committed. On
the 31st of August, Gandhi started a fast till death or until all sanity
was restored in Calcutta. At the time, rioting and general violence between
Hindus and Muslims were occurring because of the different ideology and
religions they had however Gandhi’s voice had come through and almost
instantly Calcutta was transformed. Within days, all was quieted and people
were beseeching Gandhi to quit his fast and this city also signed a pact to
never riot again. (Gandhi’s life in 5000 words) Gandhi’s voice had such an
impact over the thousands of people, but he always suffered immensely
whenever he fasted but by fasting he gained enlightenment and helped unite
his people.

Most of Mahatma Gandhi’s life was in the service to others before
himself. Gandhi had always been a non-materialistic man, and you could tell
by the way he dressed, which was usually in a white, homespun, loin cloth.

But he also “gave” away his life little by little, teaching others by
speech, forging bonds between fighting workers and companies, uniting the
people of his country and his time in jail for doing the right. Gandhi lost
considerable time in jail, constantly being imprisoned for doing good
deeds. One of his notable jailing was when he was resisting the Black Act
which required all Indians to register and carry identification at all
times. After a compromise with General Smuts, the general who enforced all
laws, all Indians were to register voluntarily, nevertheless General Smuts
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went back on his word and Gandhi told all Indianstoburnthe
identification in a bonfire and as a result was jailed. However the General
soon folded under Gandhi’s non-violent power and the Black Act was revoked.

Mahatma Gandhi’s true concern for his people and doing whatever it took for
a just cause, even if it was his life was in danger, were truly heroic
traits.

Everyone has their faults however some have fewer then others, Gandhi
was one of those fortunate people who had fewer faults then others but
would never admit it himself. Gandhi lived his life accepting all types of
cultures and religions, but that may have been a cause to his death. Gandhi
loved all different religions even though he was a Hindu. His prayers
included passages from other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and
Buddhism to name a few. One could argue that he did not stay truthful or
faithful to his real religion. Yet he accepted all people just like he
accepted all religions, he never said either was better or worse, they’re
all equal in his eyes. But his open heart and ear to other religion led him
to his death. (Lavanam)
Mahatma Gandhi was India’s and the world’s light in the ever
darkening world of xenophobia and anguish. Gandhi fought for freedom by
means of peace, never raising a fist and urging others never to do so. Even
after accomplishing his goal of freeing India, he never stopped teaching
others. Gandhi inspired many from his teachings and changed lives of many.

As General Smuts who received a pair of sandals he made from Gandhi once
said “I have worn these sandals for many a summer since then even though I
may feel that I am not worthy to stand in the shoes of so great a man.”