(Created by Bob Hartman and Rick Peck, History 135, July 1998)
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What has been the impact of Gandhi's methods of nonviolence and civil-disobedience on other national liberation or protest movements?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, leader of Indian nationalism and known in his later life as Mahatma ("great soul"), was one of the greatest national leaders of the twentieth century. His methods and philosophy of nonviolent confrontation not only led his own country to independence but affected people and events throughout the world.
Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India, on 2 October 1869. The family came from the traditional caste of grocers and moneylenders (the name Gandhi means "grocer"). His mother was an adherent of a religion in which ideas of nonviolence and vegetarianism were paramount. Gandhi stated that he was most influenced by her, describing her life as "an endless chain of fasts and vows." When, as a boy, he secretly smoked, ate meat, told lies, or wore Western clothing, he suffered intense feelings of guilt. These feelings caused him to make resolutions about his moral behavior that were to stay with him for the rest of his life.
He was married by arrangement; both he and his bride,Kasturba, being age 13. Later, he wrote, "I can see no moral argument in support of such a preposterously early marriage." Gandhi went to London to study law when he was 18. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and for a while practiced law in Bombay, but without success. In his first cross-examination his mind went blank, and he could think of no question to ask. Sitting down, he withdrew from the case and recommended another attorney. His lack of success in India was a factor in his decision to accept a legal assignment in South Africa.
His first trip in South Africa was by train. Unprepared for the racial intolerance he would encounter, his initial response to an incident on the train shaped his actions for years. He described entering the train for the first time:
"But a passenger came next, and looked me up and down. He saw that I was a ‘colored’ man. This disturbed him. Out he went and came in again with one or two officials. They all kept quiet, when another official came to me and said, ‘Come along, you must go to the van compartment.'
'I tell you, I was permitted to travel in this compartment at Durban, and I insist on going on in it.'
'No, you won’t,’ said the official. ‘You must leave this compartment, or else I shall have to call a police constable to push you out.'
'Yes, you may. I refuse to get out voluntarily.'
The constable came. He took me by the hand and pushed me out. My luggage was also taken out. I refused to go to the other compartment, and the train steamed away.
I began to think of my duty. Should I fight for my rights or go back to India, or should I go on to Pretoria without minding the insults, and return to India after finishing the case? It would be cowardice to run back to India without fulfilling my obligation….I should try, if possible, to root out the disease and suffer hardships in the process. Redress for wrongs I should seek only to the extent that would be necessary for the removal of the color prejudice."
Gandhi assumed leadership of protest campaigns in South Africa and gradually developed his techniques and tenets of nonviolent resistance known as satyagraha (literally, "steadfastness in truth"). While he acknowledged being influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau, he believed that satyagraha went further. His central contribution to contemporary social problems was his new paradigm of conflict that fused the warrior and pacifist motifs. Under his approach, individuals fought against evil, but in a way that did not harm ones opponents. While Gandhi’s actions and views had a direct effect on the treatment of Indians in South Africa, they had longer-term effects throughout the world.
For example, Kwame Nkrumah came to visit Gandhi in India during India's struggle for independence. Nkrumah returned to his country of Ghana and fought for Ghana's independence using Gandhi's tactics of non-violence and boycots against the British. After ten years of protests, Ghana became the first African country to break free from British rule in 1957. It was not long after Ghana gained its independence that the rest of the British colonies in Africa would tumble like dominos. The decolonization of Africa was one of the most peaceful in history. Gandhi and his philosophies were factors in this process
Roy Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the U.S. also studied Gandhi and was greatly influenced by him. Farmer, in turn, influenced the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi’s actions on the railway car on his first trip into South Africa were a prelude to the actions of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, actions that were considered key catalysts of the Civil Rights movement in America.
Returning to India in 1915, Gandhi soon became involved in labor organizing. A 1919 massacre in Amritsar, in which British troops fired on and killed hundreds of nationalist demonstrators, turned him to direct political protest. Within a year he was the dominant figure in the Indian National Congress, which he launched on a policy of noncooperation with the British in 1920-22. Although total noncooperation was abandoned, Gandhi continued his tactic of civil disobedience, organizing protest marches against unpopular British measures, such as the 1930 salt tax.
Gandhi was repeatedly imprisoned by the British and resorted to hunger strikes as part of his civil disobedience. His final imprisonment came in 1942-44, after he had demanded total withdrawal of the British (the "Quit India" movement) during World War II. While some in India viewed Gandhi as not protesting against violence directed against the British, Gandhi spent much time in fasting, grieving over partition of the country, and trying to quell violence.
As well as struggling for political independence, Gandhi fought to improve the status of the lowest classes of society, the casteless untouchables. He was a believer in manual labor and simple living; he spun the thread and wove the cloth for his own garments and insisted that his followers do so, too. He disagreed with those who wanted India to become an industrial country.
Gandhi was also tireless in his attempts to forge closer bonds between the Hindu majority and Muslims and other minorities. His greatest failure, in fact, was his inability to dissuade India Muslims from creating a separate state, Pakistan. When independence finally arrived in 1947, after negotiations in which he was a principal participant, Gandhi opposed the partition of the subcontinent with great intensity. Ironically, he was assassinated in Delhi on 30 January 1948, by a Hindu fanatic who thought his anti-partition sentiment was both pro-Muslim and pro-Pakistan.

2 October 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born into a family of merchants.
1883, Married Kasturba at age 13 through an arranged marriage.
1888-1890, Studied Law in England.
1891, Passed English Bar. Returned to India.
1893, Sailed for South Africa, employed by a Muslim firm for legal work.
1896, Returned to India and started agitation on behalf of South African Indians.
1905, Opposed Bengal Partition; supported boycott of British goods.
1906, Supported "Home Rule" for India "in the name of justice and for good of humanity."
1906, Took vow of Brahmacharya (celibacy and poverty) for life.
1907, Organized "Satyagraha" (non-violent resistance) in Transvaal.
1909, Corresponded with Tolstoy. Founded Tolstoy farm.
1912, Gave up European dress and restricted himself to diet of fresh and dried fruit.
1911, "Great March". Arrested at Palmford and sentenced to 3 months in jail.
1911, Inaugurated All-lndia Satyagraha movement.
1911, Gave up wearing shirt and resolved to wear only a loin-cloth to propagate Khadi (home-spun cloth).
1912, Arrested for sedition at Sabarmati and sentenced to six years' imprisonment.
1923, Wrote Satyagraha in South Africa and part of his Autobiography while in prison.
1930, Broke Salt Law by picking up a handful of salt at seashore and was arrested.
1934, Announced  retirement from politics.  Appealed to British Government to quit India.
1944, Kasturba died in detention at Aga Khan Palace at age 74.
1944, After decline in health, released unconditionally from detention. This was his last imprisonment; Gandhi had spent 2,338 days in jail during his lifetime.
1944, August: Viceroy announced invitation to Congress to form Provisional Government.
1944, 16-18 August: The "Great Calcutta Killing"
1944, 4 September: Interim Government formed.
1947, July: Independence of India Bill passed. Pakistan created.
1947, 16 August: Hailed "Miracle of Calcutta."
1947, 25 December: Pleaded for amicable settlement between India and Pakistan.
1948, 15 January: Entered "danger zone." Hailed Indian Cabinet's decision to release Pakistan dues of Rs. 550 million.  Fast continued for establishment of communal peace.
1948, 18 January: Peace Committee signed and presented "Peace Pledge" to Gandhi, who broke fast.
1948, 30 January: Drafted Constitution of the Congress transformed into Lok Sevak Sangh.
1948, 30 January: Assassinated on way to evening prayer, at Birla House, in Delhi.

WWW Sites
The thousands of web sites referring to Gandhi are testament to the continuing reach of his philosophy.  Here are some of the more notable ones:
Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal (Charitable Trust & Book Center) (India) is an ever-evolving site with contributions from various supporters of Gandhi to spread his views on various topics.
Mahatma Gandhi Foundation (India) is devoted to Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi and contains references to books, cartoons, pictures and quotes, & homage.
The Gandhi Information Center (Germany) is for research and education on non-violence. The center has organised educational activities with publications about the Life and Achievement of Mahatma Gandhi.
The mission of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence (Christian Brothers University, TN) is to promote and apply the principles of nonviolence locally, nationally and globally, to prevent violence and to resolve personal and public conflicts through research, education and programming.
There is a valuable site containing information about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gandhiji) is.  The organization CORE: The Papers of the Congress of Racial Equality: Addendum, 1944-1968 can be found, and there is a site with information about Gandhi's activitives in South Africa.
Gandhi has been named the one of TIME Magazine's top 100 Leaders & Revolutionaries and one of LIFE magazine's People Who Made the Millennium.
There is a site about Martin Luther King and his links to Gandhi.  Photos of Gandhi can be found on the www.  Quotes by Gandhi can also be found

Recommended Books
All of Gandhi's books are highy recommended, including his autobiography (The Story of My Experiments with Truth) and Gandhi on Non-Violence.  An excellent source of Gandhi's writings is The Gandhi Reader:  A Source Book of His Life and Writings, edited by Homer Jack.
The Meanings of Gandhi, edited by Paul Power, has an excellent series of essays, especially "Gandhian Values and the American Civil Rights Movement" by William Stuart Nelson.  Joan V. Bondurant's "Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict" provides a thorough analysis of Satyagraha.  Raising Up a Prophet:  The African American Encounter with Gandhi explores the impact of Gandhi on African Americans.  Gandhi's wife has her own fascinating story, which is explored in Arun Gandhi's The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur Gandhi, Wife of Mahatma Gandhi.
For those curious about the spark of genius Gandhi displayed, and its commonality with other geniuses of the world, Howard Gardner's Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Greud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham and Gandhi is highly recommended.  Finally, Gandhi: A Pictorial Biography provides over 150 photographs of Gandhi from his childhood to his final days.
No listing of notable sources would be complete without mention of the movie Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley, which is an excellent complement to the books listed above.

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