What made Ghandi successful?
While all the great conquerors are probably wallowing in Dante's river of blood, Gandhi emerges as the few who used the concepts ofruth and love as weapons. Gandhi was no doubt successful in his quest for India's independence and his truth weapon did not fail him. The truth weapon emerged from the concept of satyagraha which in Sanskrit means truth force. Although Gandhi's success was partly because of his philosophy and thinking a large part of it had to do with the British. Gandhi's weapons were only successful because he believed that the British had a conscience that could be appealed to.
In order to appeal to the British conscience Gandhi used the teachings of the New Testament. He followed the parables and the teachings of Jesus. "One who enters into no dispute with his neighbor, he neither attacks nor uses violence. On the contrary, he suffers himself without resistance and by his attitude towards evil not only sets himself free but helps to free the world at large from all outward authority." This was Tolstoy’s version of a Christian man in is book, The Kingdom of God is Within You, that Gandhi liked so much. Using this Gandhi fought for India’s independence.
Gandhi managed to show the British their sins. When Gandhi and his followers marched with him to the sea in order to protest the salt tax, the British beat them down, but they continued to walk peacefully. This stung the British conscience and appealed to their Christian values. Through this the British realized their evils and the cruelty that lay in their oppression. Gandhi was right, the British had a conscience and he used his influence to appeal to it.
The other tool Gandhi used in his struggle for independence was to side with the British. When the British got involved in World War II they used about a million Indian soldiers to fight for them. Gandhi criticized the British , but since he considered himself a loyal member of the Crown Gandhi used his influence to support the war effort. He wrote to the Viceroy saying, "I would make India offer all her able-bodied sons as a sacrifice to the Empire at this critical moment. I know that India by this very act would become the most favored partner in the Empire and racial distinctions would become a thing of the past." Many of the Indians criticized Gandhi for going against his customary teaching, but Gandhi did this because he believed that if India came through for Britain in her time of need Britain would surely pay India back by giving her the Independence that was long overdue. This of course, was not the case as the Rowlatt Act proved. The act imposed harsh measures and stifled the Independence Movement in all ways possible. Gandhi was betrayed and let down but he continued to give the British the benefit of the doubt.
While giving the British the benefit of the doubt, Gandhi made sure to let the British know when he meant business. He always tightened the reigns after a betrayal like the one above. For example, after the massacre by General Dyer in the Jallianwalla Bagh Gandhi had immediately adopted the non-co-peration policy. With this, all British goods were boycotted, and almost all British operations were shut down. The British immediately responded by reconciliation, and Gandhi called off the policy. Gandhi still believed that the British would honor their word, but he was never afraid to put them in place.
Gandhi also used his keen sense of the happenings in the World to free India. Gandhi knew that a World War had broken out. He also knew that if Germany took over, his policies of non-violence and appealing to the conscience would not work with a monster like Hitler. Even though some of India’s freedom fighters like Subash Chandra Bose wanted to going with Japan and Germany, he used his influence to steer the Indian people in the other direction. Thus, his sharp sense of the world affairs helped make Gandhi the leader he was.
Finally, Gandhi realized that India was not a tightly knit country. He knew that the people were plagued with religious differences. The Muslims and the Hindus were at war with each other and that this would severely hurt India in her pursuit for Independence. Thus, Gandhi tried his best to heal the hatred and partition that existed. He told the people to put aside their religious differences because they were all, "The Sons of God." He also tried to bind the Hindu community that was ridden with the caste system. He campaigned for the Harijans who were the lowest class. Gandhi was not only a freedom fighter, he was also a friend and a healer and this made him a successful leader.
Gandhi managed to get the British out of India on 15 August 1947. He showed the people that India belonged to the Indians. Although the British left, and the Indians got their country back there was partition. The Muslims and the Hindu’s were not able to reconcile their differences. Gandhi wrote: "My present mission is the most difficult of my life." Gandhi was right, and no amount of teaching, and fasting could cure this disease. The Harijans were still considered untouchables, and the Muslims still fought with the Hindus. India did not respond to Gandhi’s peace mission. Gandhi finally said, "My thirty-two years of work have come to an inglorious end."
Even though today the Hindus and the Muslims fight, Gandhi’s words were not true, for his work was not inglorious. Gandhi’s teaching were adopted my many other freedom fighters in many other countries. Martin Luther King, Jr. used it in his fight against racism and so did many others. Gandhi was successful, not only because of his philosophy, but because of his understanding. He understood India in all ways: socially, politically, and economically.