Imperialism in India
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The movie Gandhi was about the impact Mahatma Gandhi made on India in gaining its independence from Britain and how the Hindus and Muslims utilized non-violent protests to achieve this goal. This film reflects imperialism in the sense that what went on in the video clearly supported the exact definition of the word imperialism. Imperialism is the policy of extending the rule or influence of a country over another country. Indeed this was the case in India during the time of Gandhi, this was what he was fighting against. Gandhi was an Indian lawyer educated in the United Kingdom. He was on his way to South Africa to be legal advisor to a firm down there. Upon arrival, he was treated in such a manner that is unthinkable to present day people, but was a reality for thousands of Indian immigrants to South Africa at that time. He decided he would join in the struggle for basic rights for his fellow Indians. Gandhi’s efforts towards a better way of life had begun in South Africa, and after he moved back to India, there too became a colony directly effected by imperialism.
Of course the presiding country over these colonies, Britain, was also effected by imperialism, more so, the reactions colonists had to it. Britain tried to exert control over South African immigrant Indians. They were made to carry around some form of passport-like identification which allowed them to be in that country. After Gandhi made a movement in South Africa where he burned his passport, and others did the same, the British government decided they would no longer require the immigrants to use passports. Instead they had to be fingerprinted, “like criminals”, Gandhi said. This too upset the Indians and they rebelled against it. Too many new and similarly unjust laws were being passed and under the leadership of Gandhi, were being peacefully fought against. In addition to the new laws, the British took it upon themselves to entirely alter India by means of government.
What is was that Gandhi mainly fought against was British imperialistic rule. He felt India should be home ruled. The British developed police called sepoys and gave the Indian men British weapons to use, such as muskets. As touched on earlier, colonists peacefully fought against the imperial rule of Britain. Gandhi exercised non-violence. He peacefully held speeches with huge turnouts all over India. He did not physically fight back at any point in time. One of Gandhi’s basic strategy of non-violent resistance, which he called satyagraha, was the training of volunteers who helped lead mass marches and mass violations of specific laws that resulted in intentional mass arrests. Only so much people could be arrested before the prisons were filled, and yet rallies and marches continued to occur but there was no way anyone could get arrested now. Gandhi had a very well thought out, “slick” tactic for taking on the entire
British government. Causes of the social unrest of India was not only caused by Britain, but also by Indian authorities and inside conflicts. One of the more important characters in this film was Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Jinnah was leader of the Muslim League. He felt that Muslims would become a permanent minority in India and therefore he was determined that Muslims should secure protection in an Islamic state of Pakistan, made up of the Muslim-majority areas of India. Some half a million people were killed, while upwards of 11 million Hindus and Muslims crossed the newly created borders as refugees. But even all this bloodshed and suffering did not settle matters, the creation of Pakistan left nearly half of the subcontinent’s Muslims in India. Another main character in the movie was Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru became acquainted with Gandhi through his father, when he joined him in the push for Indian independence from Britain.
Nehru and Gandhi were a powerful pair. Gandhi represented the old ways and the ideas of Hinduism. Nehru, a good speaker and a favorite of India’s young people, represented modern ways and modern thinking. Nehru can be regarded as Gandhi’s right hand man. They remained friends till the end, when Gandhi was assassinated. Gandhi was a historically correct movie that revolved around the views, ideas, and works of Mahatma Gandhi. This film describes the life and times of Gandhi, Indian political leader who managed to free his country from the British rule using peaceful means and thus giving hope and inspiration for generations to come.