Critical Thinker Essay

Gandhi When you hear the name Mahatma Gandhi, what’s the first thing you think of? The terms nonviolence, civil disobedience, and mahatma (meaning great soul) are what most people will likely think hearing his name. From being raised as a child in India, to attending law school in England, to his countless movements for Indian freedom, to his tragic assassination, Gandhi and his critical thinking have helped pave the way for others who have brought change to our world. Born October 2, 1869 in the small state of Porbandar, located in the western part of India, Gandhi means grocer.
The name came from generations earlier in which that had been his family’s occupation. He attended school where as a child he tended to run home from school for fear of being of being made of fun of because he had difficulty with multiplication. Another interesting fact about Gandhi is that he was married at age thirteen, as it was arranged and quite common in India. Gandhi’s first true insight into nonviolence came when he stole gold from his brother. He felt guilty for doing so and eventually confessed to his father, who instead of being mad at him, wept. Information above from http://www. progress. org/gandhi/gandhi01. htm) This is where his journey to the great accomplishments he would reach later in his life began. Gandhi would go on to attend law school in London and eventually return home. He had only graduated with enough information to know English laws, not Indian/Hindu laws. He was given an opportunity by a large Indian firm where he was to travel to South Africa to assist in a legal case in court. He told his family goodbye as he went forth “to try his luck in South Africa”.
Not only did he have luck; he would end up discovering himself, his philosophy, and his following from this expenditure. (http://www. progress. org/gandhi/gandhi02. htm) While on a train ride, a white passenger had protested to the officials and Gandhi was ordered to a lower class region. When he refused to move because he had a first class ticket, he was kicked off the train. Sitting alone in the cold that that evening, he realized he had two choices; fight for his rights or go back to India. He chose to fight for his rights and the rights for all people.

After a difficult first week, he decided to gather the local Indians to discuss their horrible conditions. As more meetings were held, Gandhi soon knew the problems they experienced (couldn’t vote, own homes, go out without permit, or even walk on public roads). (Information from http://www. progress. org/gandhi/gandhi03. htm) In Gandhi’s attempt to bring equality to the Indian people, he was a strong believer in nonviolence. One time, while protesting peacefully outside a building for the Black Act, Gandhi was arrested.
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This would be his first of a few different times he spent in jail. One of Gandhi’s most known nonviolent/civil disobedience protests would be the salt march. They traveled 200 miles to the sea to extract salt from it as a way of fighting back against the British Salt Tax. As they picked up the salt, some were arrested. And this lead to more nonviolent protests that caused British shops and mills to close. In a march following the salt march, policemen became violent against Gandhi’s followers, who in return did not fight back.
The world took notice of this and embraced the nonviolence shown. This would eventually enable India to gain their freedom from Britain. Unfortunately, Gandhi was assassinated one late afternoon during a group prayer. (Information from http://www. progress. org/gandhi/gandhi14. htm) Even with his assassination, his philosophy of nonviolence/civil disobedience still lives on. Civil disobedience, nonviolence, and truth are pillars in Gandhian thought that would be used by others who wished to seek change for people (above information from http://www. ahatma. com/php/showNews. php? newsid=52;linkid=1). Martin Luther King Jr. would adopt Gandhi’s philosophy and use it in his fight against discrimination of African Americans in the United States. Gandhi came from a humble beginning and was able to make a difference that not only helped free his people, but would be the sparks for another man’s dream have all people be equal and free. References http://www. progress. org/gandhi/gandhi01. htm (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 14) http://www. mahatma. com/php/showNews. php? newsid=52&linkid=10

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