Why is Gandhi called a "prisoner of hope"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Brown's label of Gandhi as a "prisoner of hope" comes from her study of his impact on Indian independence and political development as a result of his philosophy, civil disobedience and imprisonment (March 18, 1922).  She believes that Gandhi can be described in such a manner because she believes Gandhi to have sincerely believed the authenticity of his convictions.  In contrast to the portraits of Gandhi as one who understood the political machinations of what he asked Indians to embrace, Brown's portrait of Gandhi as a "prisoner of hope" is rooted in that he sincerely believed what he preached.  This helps to construct a portrait of someone who believes that his own teachings will intrinsically prove to be successful as they emanate from a position of hope and strength.  This becomes where Brown sees him as a prisoner of said hope.  The characterization that Brown offers is one who did not see the political manipulation of his philosophy.  Gandhi is shown as an individual who believed in the intrinsic nature of his philosophy and could not foresee the political implications and manipulation of it.  In this, he becomes what Brown sees as a "prisoner of hope."


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