Influences Upon the Mahatma
The practice of passive resistance influenced future world leaders
such as Mohandas Gandhi. Passive resistance is the practice
of peacefully refusing to obey a given law.
Part of Gandhi's philosophy was
influenced by practices of passive resistance. Gandhi's philosophy
rewakes around the act of arguing, protesting, negotiating etc.
in a peaceful way. An example of this occurred in the 1930's.
Gandhi and his followers protested in the injustices of Britain
by holding peaceful marches, boycotting and strikes.
Gandhi was also influenced by
the famous essay written by David Henry Thoreau, an early 19th
century American writer, called "Civil Disobedience." He was
also interested in the philosophies of Thoreau and his teacher
Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both were transcendentalists, which are
people who follow the American philosophy of learning about
life not just from books but form nature as well. IN the essay,
Civil Disobedience, Thoreau argued that people shouldn't obey
laws they find unjust. Gandhi considered the terms passive resistance
and civil disobedience inadequate for his purposes, however,
and coined another term, Satyagraha (Sanskrit, "truth and firmness").
He had also been influenced by the Sermon on the Mount, similar
to Bhagvad Gita and the holy books of other faiths and religions.
Having received inspiration from the Quaker movement, he believed
too that he could make a difference.
Gandhi also has strong beliefs
concerning freedom and democracy. To Gandhi, freedom meant everything
in a person's life. It was either one has their rights or they
don't have any at all. Not having rights meant that it was being
similar to a slave.
In 1893 Mohandas Gandhi was a
24-year old barrister straight from law school in England. He
was thrown out of a train that was going to Pretoria from Durban
in South Africa. He held a first class ticket on board the train
and was traveling to meet a client. But train personnel asked
him to move to a third class coach because of his race. When
he refused, he was pushed out of the train and forced to spend
the night in Martizburg railroad station. On that night he developed
his idea of offering moral and non-violent resistance to injustice
which evolved into his epiphany.