Ghandi-ji was the name showing love and respect by Indians for the Father of India. Interesting that he chose non-violence and civil disobedience to reach the desired end of freedom and self-reliance for all Indians. Two hundred years before, the colonies of America turned to George Washington to lead their rag-tag army to victory over the British, the most formidable army in the world. Washington was then elected president of the new United States. Unlike Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu unhappy that Gandhi was giving Muslims too much in Pakistan, Washington died in his bed of old age and repertory infection. Both men, though by different paths and methods, worked for human rights, the rejection of unjust British laws, and freedom for their countrymen.
Gandhi married at the age of thirteen. He and his wife Kasturba had four children. Gandhi went to study law in Britain and practiced law there, though rather unsuccessfully. He next went to South Africa where he was faced with non-violent resistance to improve human rights for all. While travelling on a train with a 1st class ticket, he was thrown out of his seat due to his color. STUDENT ALERT: Remember Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience of the Jim Crow law when she was told to leave her seat for a white man? Now Mr. Gandhi understood how the common people lived their lives when he returned to India and began his life’s work of striving for self-reliance for all Indians. He traveled around India to talk to all the people. He encouraged the poor to wash, themselves and their clothes to improve their life conditions. One woman shared with Gandhi’s wife that she would be glad to wear clean clothes, but how was she to do it when she had only the clothes on her back? Mr. Gandhi learned another life lesson that day. Next he built an enclave near Ahmedabad (where we have been staying). Here he planned and worked for Independence in India. He also worked for respect for all religions or faith systems, though he, himself, was a committed Hindu. He lead a famous “Walk to the Sea” to collect salt from the sea brine, in direct disobedience of the English law that forbade Indian collection of salt in order for England to have all the money for producing and selling salt that was collected all over India. They were taxed on their own salt. He was also imprisoned for his resistance as well as going on hunger strikes to change injustice.
The Gandhi plan was to become independent and then self-reliant by providing meaningful jobs for all Indians. He spoke of Khadi and urged all Indians to wear this cotton clothing that was grown and made in India. He is famous for using a spinning wheel to demonstrate the cotton, silk, or wool into thread, and then made into clothing. He urged boycotting of all foreign goods. Even today many years after his death, politicians wear the white Khadi tunics and pants to show their solidarity with Gandhi’s plan. There are stores all over India today using the word Khadi, selling only Indian made clothes, home linens, soaps and other made-in-India products.
These photos were taken at the Gandhi Ashram near Ahmedabad. The site overlooks the river with Ghats (Varanasi) leading down to the water. It is a Spartan colony on a lovely garden site. His cottage is the one where the man is demonstrating the spinning wheel. The building with no side walls is the open museum filled with Gandhi’s words. He wrote 55,000 words during his lifetime. He owned few, if any, worldly possessions for museum displays.
Who knows, but I think Ghandi-ji would be pleased that today, sixty-five years after his death; India is the largest democracy in the world, with the largest young college educated work force in the world. They are ready to change the world.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Nameste…T I I
He would not be pleased to see how little progress the poor people have made since independence!
Thanks Judy for your thoughts. Solving problems for the poor seem never ending. There is a growing middle class that I think is new. I have talked to some young men in the TV production who are very happy to be out of the village, college educated and working night and day. There are schools in the country now for the village children. The slums are deplorable, without a doubt. Our guide in Delhi wants to run for parliament to try to provide clean safe bathroom facilities in his village.
What bothers me is the HUGE discrepancy between the very rich (of which there are far too many) and the extremely poor. There is no education for the very poor and no way for them to rise above their current situation. There is very little sense of social responsibility among the very rich. Unless the official corruption and bribery as a way of doing business is stopped, I see no way for India to truly move forward into the 21st century and be the true democracy that Ghandi envisioned.
It is my understanding that there are government schools where there is a one time enrollment fee and then it is free education. There are many of the English system “public ” schools which are our private schools. You are right about the bribery and corruption. The pr-election jockeying is all over the news. Of course, the people of Gujarat are wanting Chief Minister Modi to work his magic or try with the country government. He seems to have gotten rid of the bribery and corruption here and the economy has grown at a 10% rate. I hope that is the number. If you want to be really sick Google the Ta Ta house in Mumbai. It is the largest house in the world with 26 stories of a high-rise. There are no less than 600 servants! This man is a master mind at making money….though he is only 4th riches, I think in wealth. The richest man in the world is from Mexico. Go figure! Greed is a terrible thing. Supposedly, Ta Ta does lots of charitable work, but too bad he hasn’t done more. The scuttlebutt is that his view is of the bay and the slums. Did you read the Katherine Boo book on the Mumbai slums? BEYOND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS
What a fascinating place to have visited. This was such an interesting post. My favourite quote from Gandhi is “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. Lovely photographs!
All of India is amazing in spite of never ending challenges. I have been blessed to visit many countries, and now India is near the top of favorites….warts and all. Ghandi-ji had a talent of getting to the heart of things, didn’t he ? Thanks for commenting.
Nameste…T I I
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This throwback Thursday blog is about a man known and loved throughout the world. Was he perfect, not at all, but he was committed to equality and dignity for all people. His lessons to the world are as necessary and important as they were in the 1940s.
Mahatma Gandhi is such a great man, it is a bit embarrassing how little I know of his life prior to becoming “Gandhi” ~ wonderful post!