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The World - Countries - India Teamwork OP 03
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India
Teamwork Oral Presentation
By Inmaculada (01 Intro), Sonia (02 History), Carlos (03 Gandhi),
Adela (04 Spirituality), Montse (05 Taj Mahal), Diana (06 Women), Encarna (07 Microcredits), Irene (08 Food), Miguel MM (09 Music 1), Tere (10 Music 2),
Esther (11 Bollywood) Y5C, 2006-07

Mohandas Gandhi
by Carlos
(with slide show)

Gandhi is also known as “Mahatma”, which means “Great Soul”.

Mohandas Gandhi was born in Porbandar, state of Gujarat, in 1869, and he was educated in law at University College in London. It was in South Africa when he started to work for basic rights for Indians, after being treated many times as a member of an inferior race.

His thinking was highly influenced by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and also by the American writer David Thoreau, especially by Thoreau’s famous essay “Civil Disobedience”. Thanks to his effort, in 1910, the government of the Union of South Africa made important concessions to Gandhi’s demands, including the recognition of Indian marriages and the abolition of the poll tax.

When he came back to India, he had become a spiritual leader for all his fellow citizens. He was an international symbol of a free India. He refused material possessions, he always wore a loincloth with a shawl as if he were the lowliest Indian and he subsisted on vegetables, fruit juices and goat milk. He lived a spiritual life of prayer, fasting and meditation.

Gandhi took a relevant role in the independence from the British Empire. He carried out a policy of non-violence and civil disobedience, that is, non-cooperation and civil resistance against British authorities. In the past, non-cooperation had been deliberately expressed in violence to the evil-doer. He endeavoured to show Indians that violent non-cooperation only multiplied evil and that as evil could only be sustained by violence, to withdraw the support of evil required a complete abstention from violence. Non-violence implied NOT complying with British laws AND accepting the consequent punishment, thus making a stance of non-cooperation with “evil”.

His dream was that India could win its freedom through non-violence. He was so convinced about that longing that he would rather commit suicide than be deflected from his position. Truth could only be expressed by non-violence.

Non-violence resistance did not happen in the way that Gandhi wanted to, so many times, he began protests of prayer and fasting until eventually Indians decided to give up violence. At first, when he saw injustices, he only appealed to reason but in the end he realized it was not enough, so he decided to refuse to obey laws that were degrading to Indians, allowing British authorities to put them in jail if they wanted to.

 He called this the moral equivalent of war. If you want something really important to be done you must not merely satisfy the reason but you must move them. Non-violence was not a resignation from all real struggle against wickedness. The retaliation against wickedness would only increase that wickedness. Giving a non-violent answer would disappoint British expectation that Indians offered physical resistance. At first, it would dazzle the British and eventually it would compel recognition for them.

Muslims and Hindus, the two majority communities in India, had great differences between them and because of that, India and Pakistan became separate states when the British granted India its independence in 1947. On the 30th of January in 1948, he was assassinated by a fanatic Hindu when he was going to his evening prayer meeting in New Delhi.

Albert Einstein said this words about Gandhi: " Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth".