The scale of Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi’s influence needs to be viewed from the perspective of the time. India was ruled by the British and included what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh. There were deep spiritual divisions especially between the Hindus and Muslim populations and the caste (class system) was inextricably set, dividing the rich from the poor. From this, Gandhi rose to be the leader of the Indian Nationalist movement against British rule.
His doctrine was to achieve this without the use of violence.
He challenged all the rules in a massive way which is symbolised in the Dandi March starting from the Sabarmati Ashram on March 12th, 1939, and culminating at Dandhi, a coastal village in Gujarat, on April 6, 1930. This was a protest against a salt tax and Gandhi chose to make this a defining moment in the struggle against injustice but also as a medium of dialogue and communication with people along the route.
As part of this dialogue with the Indian people he claimed to be a revolutionary, he said: ‘I have become a revolutionary, when politeness and persuasion proved infructious (not fruitful). I find peace in describing myself as a revolutionary and I practice my dharma (faith) to some extent. In a revolution which is calm, peaceful and truthful, you should get yourself enrolled regardless of the religion to which you belong. ‘
For those of you who aspire to achieve improvement, we all experience times when politeness and persuasion seem to be yielding no results – this is the time when there can be more.
‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ Mahatma Gandhi (Paradigmeer)