Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has been widely accepted as a global citizen in the twentieth century. He led India to independence though he never held any public office. As many Indians revered him, he became an inspiration to the west. The Uniqueness of Gandhi as a global citizen lay in his ability to combine the moral appeal with the political leadership that was shrewd. He was first known in South Africa where led the Indian community to resist discriminatory laws nonviolently before the First World War. As he returned to India, he was already famous. He had come up with a philosophy that people should strive for their political and human rights. Using this philosophy, he led Indians to strive for their rights. Therefore, Mahatma Gandhi is a global citizen because of the philosophies that he developed, his way of life that inspired many as a role model and his stand concerning discriminations. Additionally, his political involvement with the philosophy of nonviolence influenced many people (Carter, 1995, p. 6).
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Gandhi was born in Gujarat India as Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi in 1869. The name Mahatma, which means soul, is what many knew him. Others called him “Bapu” which means father. Having been born in the business family of Gujarat, he got good education where he studied law in England. It is when he was representing one of his clients in South Africa that he met discrimination. This led him to begin fighting it by establishing his philosophy of fighting for political and human rights. This is the philosophy that he led Indians with by fighting against the colonial government for discriminating Indians.
Gandhi is a global citizen because of the philosophy he developed while in south Africa. Gandhi grew up in many difficulties with coming to reality with the colonization of India by Britons. After his law degree, he began practicing law. This led him to South Africa to defend his client in a court case. He stayed in South Africa for some. It is in South Africa that Gandhi sought his spiritual well-being and the right way of life. The understanding of religion led him to adopt a community-based lifestyle that distinguished his leadership in India. While in South seeking the right way of life, he came along discrimination while travelling. The discrimination he encountered led him to formulate his philosophy of people fighting for their human and political rights. Even as he left South Africa for India, the philosophy that he used had effect on the Indian people leading them to begin fighting for their rights (Carter, 1995, p. 5).
Gandhi is a global citizen because of his ability to participate in movements that opposed discrimination and abuse of human and political rights. According to Johnson (2006, p. 54), Gandhi had developed the non-violent means of solving problems that accompanied his social theory. Using his philosophy of fighting for human rights, he participated national campaigns in India against indentured labor and injustices between 1919 and 1922. His participation gained him a wide political following where he became the leader of the national independence movement. Additionally, he remained a key figure during the struggle for independence in India. Due to his philosophies and way of life, he gained some Indian and European admirers (Gandhi, 1957, p. 29).
Major life changing activities of Gandhi that included his role as a political activist credited with destroying the British Raj also made him a global citizen. During the First World War, he was an apostle of nonviolence where he acted as a recruiting officer for the British government. During his last years, before his death in 1948, he wore loin clothes while working for the poor. His way of life had impact on many people. Those Indians who followed his example while drawing inspirations from him criticized the Hindu religion especially the caste system. They were cosmopolitan and eclectic in their approach to religion. Gandhi was a lifelong advocate of religious tolerance. He usually strove to make reconciliations between Muslims and Hindus who used to fight constantly. His efforts led to the creation of the independent state of Pakistan (Carter, 1995, p. 8).
Gandhi is a global citizen because of the controversy that his works, philosophies and way of life has created. As a global citizen, Gandhi has attracted a lot of controversy through out his life and thereafter. Since his death, historians and biographers have had divergent assessments. One of the contentious issues surrounding his life is whether hi strategy that combined periods of non-cooperation and civil disobedience with negotiation and compromise promoted or contributed to the independence of India. His was of life led to many people opposing him including the British colonial government in India. Indian moderates who wished to make progress through constitutional reforms that was offered by the British and radicals believed that the scruples of Gandhi about violence reduced the momentum of the movement for change (Johnson, 2006, p. 60).
Gandhi is a global citizen because of the criticisms that he has received for his nonviolence philosophy and his rejection of western civilization. Historical debates have also influenced the interpretations of Gandhi. For instance, the Cambridge school of British historians has made arguments that India’s independence was being ceded rapidly due to inner weakness of the British administration. They have therefore interpreted the nationalist movement as the few Indian elites struggling for power and not a genuine movement against the Brutish government. Some Indian writings “Subaltern Studies” have also regarded the intellectual and political leaders as self-serving power struggle. The philosophy of Gandhi of nonviolence has also attracted criticism especially his views that Jews will face Nazism and his nonviolent resistance of the Second World War to the Japanese. Additionally, his work has attracted criticism from Marxists and socialists who argue that it failed to support the political and political measures. Gandhi’s rejection of Western civilization drew mixed reaction with many people indicating that his views were backward and obscurantist tending to perpetrate the ills of the Indian society. Despite these criticisms, many people following his philosophies were able to improve their human and political rights (Carter, 1995, p. 10).
Gandhi lived a good life with his work and way of life influencing many people. Having received good education with a degree in law, he embarked on a career that sought to help people. After having lived in South Africa for some time, he sought a spiritual understanding of how he should live. This spiritual understanding led him to live a righteous way of life that influence many. Additionally, he developed his nonviolence philosophy that accompanied the philosophy to fight for their human and political rights. His works influenced many with other finding a way to criticize his works. He was an inspiration to many through his way of life and writing.