Explain the impact on Hinduism of ONE significant person or school of thought other than the Vedas. Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most significant people of the 20th century.
His Impact on Hinduism, India, South Africa, and indeed the world is timeless and people still look to his teachings for inspiration and guidance. Despite having received a law degree at the University College in London, Gandhi found himself being persecuted for being part of an inferior race, The widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants arriving in South Africa appalled him.After struggling for fundamental rights for Indians and being imprisoned multiple times for his efforts, he started teaching a policy of passive resistance, especially during protests such as the burning of the Alien travel passes which had been enforced on Indians by British rule.
His teachings had a monumental effect. In 1914, the government of the Union of South Africa made concessions to Gandhi’s demands, including recognition of Indian marriages and abolition of the poll tax for Indians. Gandhi advocated Satyagraha and launched his movement of passive resistance towards Great Britain’s tyrannical rule.He declared, “Nonviolence is the greatest force to the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. He became the international symbol of a free India. He lived a spiritual ascetic life of prayer, fasting and mediation.
Refusing earthly possessions, he wore the loincloth and shawl of the lowest Indian and subsisted on vegetables, fruit and juice. Indians revered him as a saint and began to call him Mahatma (great soul). Gandhi’s advocacy of nonviolence, known as ahimsa was the expression of a way of life implicit in the Hindu religion.In 1930 Mahatma proclaimed a new campaign of civil disobedience calling upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes, particularly the tax on salt.
Gandhi began a campaign to march to the sea. Thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmedabad to the Arabian sea, where they made salt by evaporating sea water. In 1932, Gandhi undertook a “fast unto death” to improve the status of the “Hindu untouchables.
He became a great leader of the movement in India, who was dedicated to eradicating the unjust social and economic aspects of the caste system.Twelve days after his peace fast in 1939, to promote Hindu and Muslims living together peacefully, Gandhi was assassinated on his way to evening prayer by a fanatic Hindu. Ghandi came to inspire nonviolent movements elsewhere, such as in the United States under the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. and in South Africa under Nelson Mandela. His important place in humanity and the impact he made on the world cannot be measured simply in terms of the 20th century but in terms of history.