Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian nationalist leader who established his country's freedom through a nonviolent revolution. His beliefs are shown in today's society as an excellent means of resistance to unjust rule. The life of the Mahatma was a long struggle filled with brutality and hardships. In order to understand passive resistance, we will take a look at his hate-filled upbringing. Gandhi was born in Porbandar in the present state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869, and educated in law at University College, London. In 1891, after having been admitted to the British bar, Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay, with little success. Two years later an Indian firm with interests in South Africa retained him as legal adviser in its office in Durban. Arriving in Durban, Gandhi found himself treated as a member of an inferior race. He was appalled at the widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa. He threw himself into the struggle for elementary rights for Indians (Gandhi, Arun). Gandhi was disgusted with the way his people were treated. This paper will discuss his religious and spiritual point of view and the environment which called for change in India. Passive resistance will be studied and explained as well.
Gandhi's religious quest dated back to his childhood, the influence of his mother and of his home at Porbandar and Rajkot, but it received a great impetus after his arrival in South Africa (Brown 34). His Quaker friends in Pretoria failed to convert him to Christianity, but they quickened his appetite for religious studies. He was fascinated by Leo Tolstoy's writings on Christianity, read the Quran translation, and delved into Hindu scriptures and philosophy (Brown 54). The study of comparative religion, talks with scholars, and his own reading of theological works brought him to the conclusion that all religions were true and yet every one of them was imperfect because they were "interpreted with poor intellects, sometimes with poor hearts, and more often misinterpreted- (Gandhi, Mahatma 127).