What would be inclued in a critical appraisal of Mahatma Gandhi?

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

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I think that a couple of elements would have to be included in any critical appraisal of Gandhi.  The first would be that Gandhi was successful in his approach towards achieving independence for India.  A strong case could be made otherwise in terms of independence being seen as inevitable after the weakened condition of England after World War II, but the reality is that Gandhi's approach was able to create the conditions and cohesiveness in India that forced the independence issue into India's favor.  I think that a critical appraisal of Gandhi would be to stress how he was different from so many of his contemporaries as he steered away from political activity.  Unlike Nehru or even Jinnah, Gandhi remained a social activist with political implications.  He never actively demonstrated himself as a politician, realizing that he could do more on the outside than anything within the execution of political power.  I would include that Gandhi's approach and his effectiveness has to be viewed in a more realistic context given the violence and brutality that followed Independence with Partition.  The moral and ethical strides that he led the Indian people with in terms of their conflict with the British seemed to disappear in the mass of violence that appeared with Partition.  I think that appraisal of Gandhi's techniques and effectiveness has to be understood in the light of how Partition violence so little of Satyagraha and civil disobedience.  Finally, I believe that a critical appraisal of Gandhi and his work would have to focus on the legacy he had on other movements.  Leaders like Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement in America immediately come to mind.  The effectiveness of Gandhi in inspiring other movements across the world has to be included in any critical appraisal of Gandhi and his life's work.

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