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Gandhi's life beliefs and strategies

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  • 1. Gandhi Life, Beliefs and Strategies
  • 2. Ideologies
    • Gandhi was exposed to a wide range of ideologies
    • No single ideology can account for Gandhi’s philosophies
    • Gandhi was influenced by:
      • Hinduism
      • Jainism
      • Christianity
  • 3. Hindu influences
    • Gandhi’s mother was a pious Hindu who often fasted
    • Gandhi was guided by his mentor Swami Vivekananda who like Gandhi, gave up worldly pursuits and sought to help the downtrodden masses
  • 4. Jain influences
    • Many of Gandhi’s friends were Jains
    • Later in life, he adopted the style of dress of the “White Clad” Jains
    • “White Clad” Jains believed in the concept of “ahimsa” or non-violence to all creatures
    • Non-violence formed the basis of Gandhi’s non-violent political protest
  • 5. Christian influences
    • Gandhi travelled to England to earn a law degree
    • In England, Gandhi became partially ‘westernised’ but remained true to his Indian origins
    • While in England, Gandhi read the Bible and became interested in the “Sermon on the Mount” – it encouraged selfless action in the service of fellow humankind and non-violent action
  • 6. Political Strategies
    • Satyagraha (“truth force”)
      • Pursuit of truth as the highest goal for humanity
      • Must be carried out in a non-violent manner
      • Passive resistance in which the protestor breaks unjust laws, but accepts the consequences in order to change them
    • Fasting
      • Used as a method of protest and as a tool to control the actions of the people
      • For example, Gandhi pledged to fast to death unless the people of India ceased their violent protests
  • 7. Early Protests
    • Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
    • Kaira Satyagraha (1918)
    • Ahmedabad Satyagraha (1918)
    • Rowlatt Satyagraha (1919)
  • 8. Champaran Satyagraha
    • Poor farmers forced to pay rent to British landlords in Champaran
    • When he made enquiries, Gandhi was asked to leave the district, he respectfully refused and invited the Magistrate to imprison him
    • To avoid civil unrest, the Commissioner ordered Gandhi be released and a commission of enquiry set up for the investigation of grievances
    • Landlords forced to reduce the rent imposed on farmers
  • 9. Kaira Satyagraha
    • Peasants had been hit by epidemics and bad harvests in Kaira
    • Gandhi convinced thousands of peasants to commit to not paying land revenue (taxes)
    • Government seized possessions and crops
    • Satyagraha ended when the government exempted the poorest peasants from paying tax
  • 10. Ahmedabad Satyagraha
    • Cotton mill workers went on strike to demand higher wages from Indian mill owners
    • First time Gandhi used the strategy of fasting – he pledged to fast until the mill owners gave in
    • Mill owners were afraid Gandhi would die so they gave in to the demands
  • 11. Rowlatt Satyagraha
    • Rowlatt Acts dictated that the government could impose martial law in any part of India labelled ‘subversive’
    • Severely curbed the civil rights of the people and imposed censorship of the press
    • Gandhi ordered a Hartal for 6 April 1919 – people would close all shops and businesses and engage in a day of fasting and prayer
    • Gandhi was arrested and people responded with violence
  • 12. Amritsar Massacre
    • 13 April 1919, a group of Indians gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in peaceful protest against Gandhi’s arrest
    • Indian gatherings had been banned in the Punjab as it had been labelled ‘subversive’
    • General Dyer invoked the Rowlatt Acts and opened fire on the unarmed peaceful protesters
    • At the end, 1,650 rounds were fired, 379 protesters were killed and 1,137 were injured
  • 13. Non-Cooperation
    • All titles and honours conferred on Indians by the British were to be given up
    • No participation in the changes to be introduced under the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 (these reforms allowed some Indians to vote and stand for election in the provinces, but the important aspects of government remained in the hands of the Viceroy – the Viceroy had the power to veto the actions of any province)
    • Swadeshi (boycott of all foreign goods)
      • Gandhi encouraged the people of India to become self-sufficient
      • He encouraged people to spin their own cotton (which he took up himself)
  • 14.