Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Gandhi As Book Review

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Gandhi accounted the fear of losing a comfortable life not equal to the goal of universal freedom. In a world where "working-class" politicians get $400 haircuts, where "people's" advocates live in penthouses, where our President is considered down-to-earth because he only owns one outrageously expensive home, how refreshing would it be to find a leader who not only identifies with, but also lives the lives of his constituents as Gandhi did?

The people's love for Gandhi fueled another aspect of his courageous nature. Understanding he could not be killed but only martyred, he engineered situations where only winning outcomes were possible. Either the authorities would capitulate and he would have his way, or they would kill him and risk the wrath of hundreds of millions of Indians. He did not fear death. Rather, he embarked on innumerable fasts-unto-death, offering his life as the ransom of the people's faith and independence. In 1944, after losing his wife and contracting malaria while in prison, Gandhi was released by the authorities to avoid any backlash from the public in the situation that he should die in jail.

And, perhaps, it would be difficult for Gandhi to describe himself as courageous. Rather, like all truly courageous men he may have felt that he only did what needed to be done, what was right:

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?

This quote highlights not only Gandhi's unwavering conviction in the falsehood of all violence, but illustrates also the courageous belief that Gandhi would never be like the people he fought against.
If he fought, it would be as he believed a man should fight, and never by the un-civilized, un-enlightened terms of the oppressor. For Gandhi, the road taken to independence was as important as the independence itself; and if the necessary road were fraught with great danger, still it ended in an only acceptable outcome, a government unwilling to compromise itself morally. Gandhi had the physical courage to stand unarmed before rifle barrels, but also the moral courage to refuse expedience in favor of virtue.

"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for," says Gandhi in his autobiography. It must have been easy to follow such a man, for some even unto death. In Gandhi's time the people of India clamored for freedom, but for many, as today, their fear was an overriding factor. Fear of the monolithic government, fear of death, fear of imprisonment, fear of the loss of the orderly lives and structures we all build around ourselves. Gandhi was the man who overcame that fear, who led courageously into the night and made it possible for the common Indian to follow.


1. Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand The Story of My Experiments with….....

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