Mahatma Gandhi Part II: Career Struggles and Successes Against the British Empire
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Gandhi returned home to India in January of 1915 as a stranger, after having been away in South Africa for 21 years, fighting for the rights of fellow migrant Indians. During this era, India was ruled by the British Empire, a colonial authority which Gandhi vehemently wanted to expel. While abroad, Gandhi had developed the highly effective political tool of passive, non-violent resistance referred to as “Satyagraha” which is derived from the Sanskrit terms “satya” which means “truth” and “graha” which means “force” for a combined and literal meaning of the “force of truth”.
By 1914, Gandhi believed that this same tactic could usher in reformation for India. Upon returning, Gandhi found himself out of synchronicity with his homeland, which prompted him to travel with his wife Kasturba Gandhi (pronounced “kus-toor-bah”) for a year via the Indian railway network, to re-integrate into Indian society. The pair decided to travel Third Class, which inevitably opened their eyes to overcrowded carriages, abominable lavatory conditions, and food and tea covered often in flies among other lesser shocking sights. During these travels, Gandhi observed destitute poverty, fraudulent Hindu practices intended to swindle unfamiliar patrons, and the corrupting influence of western ideology. Because of this, Gandhi believed India required both social and spiritual overhaul, allowing India to earn itself the ability to self-govern by demonstrating morally pure behaviors.
Upon arrival back to India, a number of receptions were thrown in Gandhi’s honor by leading political figures, at which Gandhi spoke about his goals and ambitions for India. These messages fell flat as most politicians he met dressed in western clothing and had adopted western mindsets, providing a physical and mental barrier between Gandhi’s ideas and choice of traditional Indian clothing and that of his contemporaries within the political sphere of influence.
Gandhi’s quest to free India from the British Raj began in his home state of Gujarat, India. Gandhi created an ashram, which is a religious community, that would be at the core of his political work. Gandhi chose the city of Ahmedabad, India (pronounced “ehm-meh-dah-bad”), one of India’s most industrialized cities at the time, with its many textile factories providing it the nickname, “the Manchester of India” in reference to Manchester, England. This ashram was erected upon“