Mahatma Gandhi and Non-cooperation Movement

Gandhi-His life and His Ideals Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the greatest leaders of India, the Father of the Nation, and respectfully called Bapu by his countrymen. His greatest virtue was his power to stand for truth and on pillars of non-violence. He fought the mighty British imperialism and won his battle so convincingly that even his adversaries accepted his victory. His faults were many but his achievements were not less. He launched movements like the non-cooperation, civil disobedience and even proposed the Quit India movement, and emerged, after every agitation, as a taller personality. He won the Indian people and kept them united in the Indian National Congress. He graced the jails many a times and made his followers brave and fearless. He was not anti-British, nor anti-government, but he opposed untruth all the time. Satya was his mantra and the Satyagraha, with nonviolence, was his tool. He was always for peace and condemned all battles and wars —— even writing to Hitler to shun violence. What he always hated was injustice and discrimination, and what he always loved was ‘justice, equity, brotherhood and welfare of all, including the poorest of the poor. He was a personality who absorbed in himself the tenets of the past, the present and the future —_- a pre-modernist, a modernist and a post-modernist. The works associated with his name include his autobiography-The Story My Experiments with Truth, Non-violence in Peace and War, Non-violent Satyagraha, Satyagraha, Hindi Swaraj, Koung India, editing the papers like the Harijan, the loung India and a collection of his writing and speeches, the Harijans, the Yound India and a collection of his writings and speeches, the Gandhiana which ran into about 125 volumes.

Though Gandhi would support the mixing up of the personal life with religion as a matter of individual faith, he did approve of politics with values: “For me, politics bereft of religion is absolute dirt, ever to be shunned.” ‘Swaraj’ was much more than ‘simply wanting the English rule without the Englishmen, the tiger’s nature but not the tiger’. For Gandhi, Swaraj means not mere political awakening, but an all-round awakening —— social, moral, economic, and political’. Swaraj, he would mean, ‘to be free oneself first’-saying” If we become free, India is free …. It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves; ‘it is self-purification’.

Gandhi’s notion of democracy was not confined to exercising one’s voting power or holding any public office, but it was the exercise of inner freedom, its development-a capacity to regulate and control one’s affairs/desires/impulses. His ramrajia is a decentralized system —— the democratization of all the institutions, equality of rights, balancing political authority and moral power.

Gandhi lived and died for truth. His whole life had been an experimentation of truth : truth is what responds to one’s moral self. Truth alone is the end, the essence of life, something which can be attained through the method of non-violence; one can impose truth on others but can not urge to accept it oneself, until it responds to one’s own judgement itself. For Gandhi means were more important than the ends _- ends come later than the means; our means make and unmake our ends.

Gandhi’s concept of Swadeshi was more than mere use of one’s own made commodities; it was a spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of more remote : in economics, it means the use of goods/products/services available around us; in politics; it means the use of indigenous institutions (i.e., panchayats etc. etc.); in religion, it means the use of our own morals, traditions, religious beliefs etc. etc.

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