Challenging established traditions and authorities are characteristics of strong revolutionary leaders. Their efforts have inspired or influenced change and have met with varying degrees of success. Two individuals that have challenged established authorities in their societies are Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Both of these men used mass movements to achieve better lives for the people of their countries.
Before Mohandas Gandhi, India was controlled by the British, more specifically the British East India Company. Prior to the British government ruling India, the British East India Company controlled it, using both Muslims and Hindus for war purposes. These soldiers rebelled in the Sepoy Mutiny, when the company did not respect their religious views. This led to the British taking over the entirety of India. As a colonial ruler, the British goal was to maintain and expand their control. They manipulated divisions in society between Hindus and Muslims between ruling princes. The British saw India as their crown jewel, but the people under British rule did not agree with them. While the British increased the role of Indians in the colonial government, they also established laws with harsh punishments for anti-British activities, resulting in protests. Things changed in 1919 when peaceful protesters in Amritsar, objecting to restrictions on their civil rights, were gunned down by orders of the British commander. Mohandas Gandhi, an Indian lawyer, realized that his people were always going to be brutally oppressed. Gandhi believed in the principle of civil disobedience, in which he would disobey unjust British laws without the use of violence. Gandhi used the Indian National Congress to build a mass movement. He also got regular people involved in defying the British government. In the Salt March, Gandhi and thousands of his followers walked many miles to the coast of the Indian Ocean to make salt to oppose Britain's salt monopoly.