Born in 1869 and raised in Gujarat, Mohandas Gandhi was one of the foremost men to help lead the nationalist movement. Gandhi is probably the best known proponent of passive resistance and this idea helped him to achieve the goal of Indian nationalism. His inflexible self-control helped him to be the great leader that his is known as today and helped to fuel his fire for a new India.
Gandhi studied law in London and then went to South Africa to work as a lawyer for Indian immigrants. He then returned to India and set up a nonviolent movement based on his experiences gained from South Africa. His goal was to free India from British rule and to gain self-respect and confidence for his people. He believed adamantly in a few things, one, passive resistance, two god as a creator and not as a religion, and three, the return of India to its roots.
His actions of passive resistance presented a great force upon the British. Although hard to control at times, the idea eventually worked in the end. Gandhi practiced protesting, fasting, and the boycotting of British goods. To accomplish the last he made his own clothes that were simple and made from hand-woven wool. The spinning wheel was one of the symbols used in his fight for India.
Gandhi gave new life to the old idea of nationalism indeed. He helped to spark the fire that once was weak and now burned brightly. By his actions and protests and rallies for nationalism, he helped to try to unite Muslim and Hindu against their oppressors. Gandhi gave speeches on god attempting to show him as one entity as opposed to being separate through religion. These speeches helped to give Muslims and Hindus common ground on which to fight. The theory was good but in the end it did not work, bringing about two separate independent countries as opposed to one strong nation.
One of the greatest examples of the passive resistance, but certainly not the last, movement was the march to Dandi from 240 miles away. The march took 24 days and went through towns where Gandhi preached his ideas of passive resistance and gained followers. By the end of the march Gandhi had thousands of followers that followed his example and began to make salt on the shore. This act was a direct violation of British rule and spoke out against the oppression more than any speech ever could.
It would be 16 years after this act of defiance until India was declared free from British rule. The nation of India was declared free but split into two separate countries, India and Pakistan. Gandhi reached his goal of a free India but it was not truly free because of the split. Approximately five months after the British announcement, Gandhi was assassinated on his way to prayer. This was truly a heavyhearted demise of a great leader that is mourned to this day.