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Mohandas K. Gandhi: Term Paper

2031 words - 9 pages

A philosopher is a person who "lives a life of reason and equanimity" (Miller). Philosophers have played an important role in society beginning in the early centuries of BCE. Theories of significant philosophers can help to change the fates of thousands of people and generate a change in the future. Gandhi lived through the time of the Civil Rights movement in India and he not only contributed to this progress and believed in its cause, but eventually led it. An accomplished Hindu follower and lawyer, Gandhi would leave his mark on the world and lives of many others through his revolutionary non-violence philosophies. Mohandas Gandhi was an influential thinker whose philosophies, created ...view middle of the document...

These were the early stages of development for Gandhi's philosophies. Due to being a highly religious Hindu, and from becoming an educated child, Gandhi realized the truths and injustices of the world at the time. One of Gandhi's major undertakings was the destruction of the harsh Indian social system, the caste system. In the caste system, the lowest group was the Untouchables. The Untouchables were considered unclean due to jobs considered as "polluting". Some of these jobs included handling the dead, garbage, or cleaning. They were treated harshly and looked down upon as non-humans. In most areas during Gandhi's life, untouchables were publicly humiliated and often segregated from members of high social status. Gandhi's advocacy for untouchables began when he was a child, after making friends with a boy named Uka who was an untouchable (Shanker 7-8). He once received sweets from someone and right away brought them to Uka to share. Uka refused but Gandhi shoved them into his hands and returned home, only to be scolded by his mother. She told him it was against the Hindu religion to touch an untouchable and Gandhi was appalled at this. He did not understand how Uka, a young boy such as himself, could be treated so differently. At the age of only fifteen, Gandhi's parents had arranged a marriage for him to a girl named Kasturbai (Lewis 714). Gandhi's father wanted him to get a good education and attend college, and after graduating high school, Gandhi was accepted to the Samaldas College in Bhavnagar (Shanker 12). After the first semester he decided to go to Britain to study law (Lewis 714). After graduating from law study, he returned home to India in 1981 (Lewis 715). He attempted to become a full time lawyer but eventually realized his disgust with the business, and also that his shyness interfered with the practice. But soon in 1893 an offer from a firm in South Africa was offered to him, and Gandhi jumped at the opportunity to see a new country. After being in South Africa for a while, Gandhi also noticed the little respect that Indians were shown. He was shocked when once, a white man in the courthouse asked him to remove his turban. Another event which was the deciding factor in Gandhi's crusade for the rights of others was during a train ride in South Africa. He purchased a first class ticket, but a white man protested his presence, and he was kicked out of the compartment (Shanker 20-22). In another instance similar to this, the conductor of the train threatened and eventually punched Gandhi until the other passengers stopped him. During his work in South Africa, more and more discriminative actions were taken against the Indians. Indians were charged annual taxes, and were denied privileges such as using certain highways, and even the right to be outside after 9 P.M. Gandhi joined various Indian groups in South Africa, advocating for Indian rights. From the 1920's until the 1930's, Gandhi was the leader of the Indian Independence...

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