2 October 1869–30 January 1948

The Language Of Dignity

4 Life Lessons From Mahatma Gandhi

By Shaktida at Ekko

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be able to forgive someone for the hurt and pain that they have caused us. Tougher than that is to forget that it happened and move on with our lives. But in reality this is the only quality that will help you live a life that is free from insignificant concerns that tie you down to unhappiness. To lead a happy life it is important to realize that an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. This is what one of the greatest anti-war activists, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi taught us through his tactics of non-violence and civil disobedience in the war for Indian independence against the British.

1. You are never too small to make a difference

Your worth is never determined by your size, your gender, your background or what you do. It is determined by your actions and your intentions. If you make the right choices, you can never be a wrong person.

Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar, India, which was then part of the British Empire. Gandhi grew up worshiping the Hindu god Vishnu and following Jainism, a morally rigorous ancient Indian religion that espoused non-violence, fasting, meditation and vegetarianism.

2. Stand up for what you believe in

The world is ready to stomp on you and move ahead if that is what it takes. Have the courage to challenge what you don’t believe in. You might lose the battle but you’ll earn a lot of respect.

When Gandhi went to South Africa to provide legal services he was quickly appalled by the discrimination and racial segregation faced by Indian immigrants at the hands of white British and Boer authorities. Upon his first appearance in a Durban courtroom, Gandhi was asked to remove his turban. He refused and left the court instead. The Natal Advertiser mocked him in print as “an unwelcome visitor.” He faces color discrimination when a white man objected to his presence in a first class railway compartment despite him having a ticket. Gandhi opposed but was thrown off the train at a station.

3. Do what you can to bring about a change that will matter

Every drop matters for an ocean. You might think your work won’t make a difference but in reality these smaller contributions combine together to bring about a change that changes everything.

Gandhi’s act of civil disobedience awoke in him a determination to devote himself to fighting the “deep disease of color prejudice.” He vowed that night to “try, if possible, to root out the disease and suffer hardships in the process.” From that night forward, the small, unassuming man would grow into a giant force for civil rights.

He set about organizing peasants, farmers, and urban laborers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

4. Non violence is a weapon of the strong

Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon that cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. There are countless ways to make a person realize his mistake without actually turning into a revengeful person yourself.

Gandhi was a firm believer in non-violence even when it came to driving the British out of India. In his letter to the British viceroy, Lord Irwin, he wrote “My ambition is no less than to convert the British people through non-violence and thus make them see the wrong they have done to India.” And indeed he was able to do that. Mahatma Gandhi’s noble beliefs that reflected humanity and brotherhood earned him the title “Mahatma” that means high-souled.

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