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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), also known as Mahatma Gandhi was a central figure in the formation of the modern Indian nation. A Hindu of the merchant caste, he studied law in England and first engaged in the struggle against colonialism in South Africa, where he began to formulate his theory of non-violent resistance, combining traditional Hindu religious commitments with more western concepts of tolerance and religious freedom. 

He is best know for his struggle to free India of British rule through nonviolent means, including tactics such as protest marches and hunger strikes, and was crucial to the task of trying to establish independent India as a pluralistic democracy. He was strongly opposed to the caste system and all forms of religious, gender, and ethnic discrimination, partly as a result of having had close Muslim friends as a child. He objected to the oppression of women and opposed the practice of sati, paving the way for many of the rights women enjoy in India today.

Throughout his life, he remained a strict vegetarian and advocated a simple, non-materialistic lifestyle, with a strongly spiritual focus. He is still revered as a role model by many people in India.


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another effect Gandhi had is to bring awareness to India and its struggle for statehood.  Even today people are so impressed by his ideas and actions that we still remember India's quest for independence and actions taken to become independent of Britain.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would think that the major impact that Gandhi had on India was to help the country get its independence.  He was not the only one who was responsible for that happening, but he clearly played a major role in that process.

gsenviro | Student

One of the biggest contributions of Gandhi to India was, of course, its independence. Gandhi led the Congress party and the country against the British and used the concepts of civil disobedience and non-violence to drive the colonists out. He is also known as the Father of the nation.

His other contribution was the self-awareness and nationalism that he instilled in millions of Indians through simple means. He promoted the use of Indian clothes, namely Khadi, and shunned the use of imported clothes. 

Gandhi was also against the class/caste-based Hindu society, in which the lowest strata was treated like slaves and had to manually clean toilets and carry human excreta on their heads for final disposal. He called them "harijans" (children of god) and worked for their betterment. He established ashrams where such practices (making Khadi and cleaning your own toilets and doing your own chores) were followed.

Gandhi has been called the Father of India and the effect that he had on India was two-fold:

First, he showed them that they could stand against the British and take control of their own destiny.

Second, he drew the differing cultural and political factions together, giving them a united strength to negotiate independence from their foreign rulers.

Gandhi had trained as a lawyer in London before spending over 20 years giving legal representation and advice for Indian nationals living in South Africa. He stood against discrimination in all its forms and developed a strategy of non-violent protest. It was this background that enabled him to lead the Indian people to independence.

Before the British took the Indian subcontinent into their empire, the land was divided between a number of princes and rulers. The British united these various kingdoms into one nation.

Gandhi was able to use his legal training and his understanding of the British mind to create a pathway for Indians to become independent. He then used his experiences from South Africa to lead them down that road.

Arguably, without Gandhi's strength of will and unstinting leadership, a united, independent India would not have been created. The fact that against the odds they are still united today is his lasting legacy.

rohanlekhwani | Student

Gandhiji brought independence to India, intoduced important methods like Satyagraha which shook the mindset of the harrasers of Chapar ,Kheda and Ahemdabad. Gandhiji also taught Indians to use one's own goods for one's own purpose and not depend on any one by the method of Swadeshi for which he also introduced Khadi and Charkha in India .One of his ideals was that anything could be achieved by Ahimsa or non violence.His ideas were basically base on two basic principles truth and non violence.He started the Dandi march for disobeying the Salt Law as a part of the Non-Cooperation movement which he started in 1920.

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