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A Hero in a Loincloth and His Methods

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  • Pages: 4
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  • Category: Hero

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Can one individual make a difference? The movie Gandhi depicts Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful struggle for independence of India and equality among the Indian and British. He, alone, successfully prevented multiple acts of violence with the use of nonviolence. Through this, Mahatma Gandhi becomes a selfless hero whom is trusted and respected despite going too far with some of his methods.

Mahatma Gandhi has been and still is a hero, inspiring generations to come. Onelook.com defines a hero as “a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength” and also “someone who fights for a cause.” Throughout the movie, Gandhi has shown that he possesses these qualities by demonstrating that he has the courage and ability to strive for peace and for the right to a free India.

The first example of this is Gandhi’s decision to abandon his livelihood as a lawyer so that he can concentrate on achieving what he values most, an India free of oppression for his children and grandchildren. The first step he takes to end the discrimination is to burn identification cards that all Indian nationals are forced to carry on their persons at all times. This rebellious act is directly against British law and although he knows it is a crime to do so, he accepts the responsibility, setting in motion the removal of barriers between Indian and British populations. Mahatma Gandhi believes that it is his duty to end the suffering and indignity of his fellow countrymen, no matter what the cost may be.

It is through this course of action that Mahatma Gandhi becomes an inspiration for the suffering of India, providing them with the long awaited dream of a liberated nation. This now-probable hope that such an incredible dream may come true results in millions following Gandhi and his method of nonviolent solutions, such as the (in)famous Salt March of 1930. In this, Gandhi leads millions in a protest against buying Britain’s most profitable product in India, basic salt, by acquiring their own at the end of the 240 miles march to the shore of the Arabian Ocean. Though they know that it is against the long-established Salt Act, the millions attend the march anyways, risking arrest for only a meager amount of salt.

In the end, up to 100,000 people are arrested for possession of “illegal” salt, so in a protest, followers of Gandhi march to a major salt factory where the military is stationed. On this day, thousands of natives solemnly walk one at a time, row-by-row, where they are cruelly beaten by the military. The beatings continue throughout the day and night, with no end in sight. This is another example of the extent the people are willing to go to for the same cause that Gandhi is fighting for. What is shown is the people’s confidence in Gandhi for the liberation of India.

However, some of Mahatma Gandhi’s methods, specifically self-starvation, are questionable, in which he has gone too far to get his message across. For example, when violence erupts between the Hindus and the Muslims in India, Gandhi reacts by starving himself until the people agree to end the violence. This is similar to a tantrum a child may have when he/she does not get his/her own way, in order to seek attention and ultimately getting what he/she wants.

This technique is what Hollywood calls a “shock tactic,” resulting in a forced action on the people. One may argue that Gandhi has no better choice, but Martin Luther King Jr., who also emphasizes nonviolent protests, has proven that there are better methods. Instead of starving himself, King takes the initiative to go on peace rallies and give speeches everyone can understand. These actions are what inspire others to fight for what is just. In this way, it is King who is the true leader that the people can rally behind and look up to, not Gandhi who instead forces his own actions on the people.

In conclusion, Gandhi brings forth Mahatma Gandhi’s message of a nonviolent solution. It has proven to be an effective method as it conveys a struggle for a peaceful solution while humiliating the other side at the same time. This nonviolent struggle by Gandhi and his followers against the cruelty of the British Empire is an example of good human nature against evil, respectively. The movie also portrays human nature as naturally evil through people’s greed for power and control. However, this evil can be influenced to become good, such as when Gandhi is put in jail for the first time. As an instinctive reaction, the people riot in an attempt to free Gandhi. In order to end this violence, Gandhi starves himself until the people finally realizes the wrong in their actions.

In Gandhi’s shoes, I will not have the courage to go against a whole empire. However, if I do, I will keep Gandhi’s nonviolent ways, not only because it is effective, but also because violence will only lead to more violence as shown in the previous movie, Romero. As Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.” This is why Gandhi was and still is respected throughout the world as a hero and an inspirational figure.

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