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20.06.2019 204 просмотров

Mahatma Gandhi is an Indian political and public figure who became one of the ideologists of the liberation of India from the British colonizers. 

We continue our story about this outstanding person.

It was in Africa that Gandhi plunged headlong into politics. And it was there that he managed to perfectly master the art of oratory. Subsequently, already at home, according to eyewitnesses, in Indian homes, husbands were worried when their wives put on some jewelry when they went to Gandhi's speeches. And there was reason to be nervous - Gandhi's magical speech in defense of the oppressed worked miracles: gold bracelets and diamond necklaces miraculously passed from the hands and necks of their rich owners to the donation basket. But that was much later…

At the same time, after a two-year stay in Africa, Gandhi's entire family comes to visit. It was at this time that his formation as a politician and as a Mahatma took place. There were more and more public appearances. There was not enough money to support the family - the practice of law almost did not feed (in total, Gandhi had four sons). In addition, we still had to find funds to help the families of comrades-in-arms in civil disobedience campaigns.

Mahatma Gandhi with his associates
Photo: digitalindiapreview .com

With the help of friends, Gandhi purchased a small plot of land and organized a commune that became be called Tolstovskaya farm. Lawyer practice gradually faded into the background. Now his thoughts and hands were occupied with the arrangement of his "brainchild": Gandhi began to learn building skills and plow the land, and also "broadcast the truth" to his associates. Later, he admitted that his whole life was turned upside down by two interconnected events.

First: taking the vow of self-restraint - brahmacharya. From 1906, Gandhi began to differ sharply from other representatives of the Indian intelligentsia in Africa. He no longer imitated the Europeans, and he also renounced property by taking a vow of sexual abstinence. From that time on, Gandhi began to lead an ascetic life of a man who abandoned the cares of the house - he sent his family to Phoenix, where there was a colony of his followers. Outwardly, he looked like a hermit: half-naked, with a staff in his hand - this is how he was remembered by many. Thus began his socio-political ascent of a man named Mahatma.

The second most important event in Gandhi's life was the development of a specific form of social protest movement, which he called "satyagraha", which meant "perseverance in truth." The name itself, by the way, was suggested by his son Maganlal. The meaning of the movement is civil disobedience and non-violent non-cooperation. What did it mean? Everything is very simple: the participants in satyagraha deliberately violated the colonial law, did not resist arrests and, as they say, "squeezed" the situation until the authorities made concessions. Gandhi also insisted that his associates not only did not resist, but did not even allow themselves hostile thoughts towards the enemy. This new method turned out to be so unusual and effective that the foolish, according to the authorities, the Indian hastened to put behind bars.

Gandhi leads public protest in Africa
Photo :

But the prison did not break Gandhi. Coming out of it, he continued to fight with the tenacity of the doomed. As a result, in 1914, the authorities were forced to sign an agreement with Gandhi, making numerous concessions to the Indians. It was a victory. The year was 1915, and the Mahatma returned to India, where, as it turned out, he had already been elevated to the rank of a national hero, as the whole world was watching his struggle for the rights of his people against the British in Africa.

Gandhi proved in practice that much can be achieved through non-violent means. He became an experienced politician. However, he was severely lacking in knowledge about his own country, which he had not been to for over 20 years.

In the valleys and on the hills

For a whole year, Gandhi traveled around India, met people from the hinterland. Hopes that his country would gain independence were fading right before our eyes. Therefore, it must be conquered - this is the main conclusion reached by the Mahatma. But by what means? This issue has been the subject of lengthy, sometimes tough, discussions with other Indian politicians for a long time. Despite the close friendly ties between Gandhi and Nehru, they saw the methods of struggle for the liberation of the country differently. Once a respectable subject of the British crown, respecting the constitution, Gandhi actively opposes the violation of the equality of all citizens of the empire in the face of the law.

In 1918-1919, when the whole of India was engulfed in the fire of popular unrest due to the refusal of England to fulfill the promise to give the country self-government after the end of the First World War, Gandhi is full of strength and political activity.

Mahatma Gandhi. Public Protxt - Satyagraha.
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Once in a dream he had a vision: he needed to organize a one-day “hartal”, something like a nationwide strike, all participants of which should spend this day in fasting and prayers. Even the organizers did not expect such a scale that this strike took: life in all of India froze, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin all institutions, shops were closed, traffic stopped, the streets were practically empty. The confused government arrests Gandhi. The news that Bapu, the Father, was behind bars shook India. Violent clashes broke out with the police. A lot of blood has been shed. Gandhi was shocked, he publicly admitted that he had made a mistake on a “Himalayan scale” - the masses were not ready for satyagraha. Gandhi announced a three-day penitential fast.

On the same day, April 13, 1919, when Gandhi was about to fast, an unarmed crowd was shot in Amritsar. The last illusions were dispelled. Gandhi said that from now on he no longer has respect for a government that defends its immorality. Gandhi called for a boycott of the colonial regime. It provided for the following forms: refusal of honorary positions and titles, participation in official receptions and events, boycott of English schools, legislative elections, boycott of foreign goods.

Fires blazed all over the country - foreign-made things were burned, rich ladies threw Parisian silks into the fire and dressed in coarse homespun clothes, institutions stopped working, students ignored classes in educational institutions, and thousands of “walkers” went “to people” in the most remote corners of the country, explaining to people the essence of the protest action. For the first time, women took to the streets from domestic confinement - this has never happened in India before.

Many Indian politicians had to obey these trends. Thus, for example, witnesses reported an interesting conversation that took place between Gandhi and Nehru. The latter was far from an ascetic, he liked to live in luxury, dressed in the latest fashion. When well-known events broke out, Nehru, like many other Indians, was forced to put on clothes made of coarse fabric. Reluctantly, he accepted the new trend from the point of view of a radical politician. But what he never managed to give up was good English cigars. Once, when Gandhi was rebuked about this, he reacted like this:

-    But I'm burning them, Bapu!…

Gandhi was a symbolic genius. A fire is a fire! Fire purifies, leaving only pure ashes. Another of his finds is a hand spinning wheel, which fits in perfectly with his theory of “swadeshi” (home-made). This item could be found even in the poorest house. Gandhi declared that with the help of this simple tool of production, the country would do without British textile goods, which would no longer have to be bought at exorbitant prices. He himself learned to spin, made homespun cloth - khadi. It was woven by all without exception, including members of the INC. Gandhi evaporated sea salt with his own hands, thereby breaking the British state monopoly on its production. And he constantly resorted to protest hunger strikes.

Gandhi and Nehru

Starving together with Mahatma and his wife Kastarubai, who played her role in that tense drama into which their life together has turned. Castarubai followed her husband to prison, shared his three-week fasts with him, and fully bore her share of the heavy burden of other endless duties. She paid tribute to Gandhi in this way: “I thank you for giving me the honorable opportunity to be your companion and assistant throughout my life. I thank you that our marriage was the most perfect, based on brahmacharya and not sexuality. I thank you for considering me your equal in your lifelong work for the good of India.”

The country at that time was advancing by leaps and bounds towards freedom. It seemed that a little more - and the hated regime would collapse. But the unexpected happened. In the village of Chaura-Chaura, the police started shooting at the protesters. The angry mob managed to twist the shooters and push them into the hut, after which it was set on fire. Gandhi reacted instantly. And he offered to end the company. He was not understood even by close associates, who tried in vain to convince him of the unreasonableness of interrupting the uprising from a political point of view. But Mahatma was implacable: violence is unacceptable.

“I must say that those who believe and prove that murderers can benefit India are deeply ignorant ... Even if they manage to drive out the British - who will rule country instead of them? There is only one answer: killers. Who will they make happy?

In these words, the whole of Gandhi is Bapu. And the people listened to him, the unrest gradually ceased to the joy of the authorities, stupefied by such an outcome, who could not even imagine that the revolutionary campaign would suddenly be interrupted at the call of only one person. History has never seen anything like it.

Non-violence is implicated in blood

On the eve of World War II, Mahatma lived in one of his many communities - ashrams - in the town of Vardha. According to eyewitnesses, this little saint radiated physical, mental and spiritual health. His gentle brown eyes sparkled with intelligence, sincerity and understanding. Already at that time, the Mahatma communicated exclusively with pen and paper on Mondays, taking another vow - a vow of one-day silence. And it worked, it worked…

Mahatma Gandhi
Photo: wpagandhi.

And India? India takes part in the war on the side of Great Britain. It could not have been otherwise. The colony contributed to the victory over fascism: its resources worked for the war, and the Indian soldiers were cannon fodder.

During this period, India still remained a country torn apart by all sorts of contradictions - communal, ethnic, religious, finally. And then there was the internal opposition. Not even an opposition, but an entire army led by Subhas Chandra Bose. Once this man was an ally of Gandhi and Nehru, and now he led the army, which took the side of the Japanese, who approached the eastern border of India. Indian Muslims are still stirring here. Their leader named Jinnah, Gandhi's fellow countryman and also a lawyer, persistently demanded that England agree to the creation of a separate Muslim state - Pakistan. But Churchill, in his characteristic manner of cunning and leading everyone by the nose, only gave oath promises to return to this issue after the end of the war. However, he had his own reason - he did not believe that the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs would be able to unite in the fight against colonial rule.

Gandhi was indignant. He was well aware that under the current conditions it was not possible to organize satyagraha. Fearing riots, he nevertheless puts forward the slogan "Get out of India!", suggesting that the British give the colony "to the will of God or the arbitrariness of anarchy." Then Gandhi uttered the historic words: "Act or die!". This time, the government reacted instantly - the entire leadership of the National Congress (including Gandhi) ended up where dissidents were sent at all times, that is, behind bars.

And the people stirred. It was no longer possible to stop the protest movement. Mass riots began. The authorities responded according to the law of war - rivers of blood were shed again. Several tens of thousands of people died. Gandhi was declared the instigator of the riots. And he, in response to these insinuations, again resorted to the most accessible form of protest for him - a three-week hunger strike. Alas, this time without success - he only miraculously survived, although he did not achieve any significant result with his action.

Gandhi failed to get close to the "brother Jinnah", who by that time was already terminally ill with tuberculosis and wanted to meet his death hour as the ruler of a Muslim state. Therefore, the calls of the “nosy fox” (as Jinnah disparagingly called Gandhi) to resolve the conflict between Muslims and Hindus were answered evasively and ambiguously.

The division of India, against the will of Gandhi, nevertheless took place. The fratricidal Hindu-Muslim slaughter continued after the war. England understood that it would hardly be possible to keep India, even if she was drowned in rivers of blood. Therefore, in order to maintain their reputation, the British made it clear to Indian nationalists that they were ready to grant independence to the country, but on one condition - British India would be divided into two parts: Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Many politicians liked this idea: it gave them a real opportunity to come to power and resolve political differences between the INC and the Muslim League.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was no longer particularly happy about the independence of India: after the partition of the country, the movement millions of people came, a great "exodus" began - the Hindus rushed to India, the Muslims to Pakistan. There was no end to the bloody skirmishes. Entire cities of refugees sprang up. More than 400,000 people gathered in Delhi alone. In total, more than 6 million Muslims and 4.5 million Hindus moved from one country to another. At the same time, about 700 thousand people died. Terrible tragedy!

Officially, the division of the country took place on August 15, 1947. Gandhi spent that day, praying and fasting, in Calcutta, in the same Calcutta, where exactly a year ago he tried to stop the bloody massacre - risking his life, he then made a peacekeeping trip to the surrounding villages, where the flames of the pogroms had spread. But the Muslim population did not hear him, they followed Jinnah and were ready to die for Pakistan.

Fifteen times Gandhi staged hunger strikes - the last time in independent India, protesting against religious pogroms.

...The first attempt on the life of Mahatma Gandhi occurred on January 20, 1948, two days after he ended his last hunger strike. Then he addressed the believers from the veranda of his house in Delhi. A Punjabi refugee named Madanlal threw a pipe bomb at him. The device exploded, but no one was hurt.

Gandhi was offered protection, but Bapu refused it, saying: “If I am destined to die from a madman's bullet, I will do it with a smile. God must be in my heart and on my lips."

Exactly ten days later, Gandhi was shot dead by the chauvinistic Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse. It happened during prayer. Mahatma Gandhi slowly sank to the ground with three bullets in his weakening and fading body, he raised his hands in the traditional Indian gesture of greeting, silently testifying to his forgiveness.

A few days later, his son Ramdas lit the funeral pyre. Tongues of flame merged into one fiery column. Gandhi's body turned to ash and ashes. This was his last sacrifice on the altar of freedom and unity of India.



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