send mail to email@example.com mentioning your email id and mobileno registered with us! if details not recieved
Resend Opt after 60 Sec.
Please verify your mobile number
Subscribe to Notifications
Stay updated with the latest Current affairs and other important updates regarding video Lectures, Test Schedules, live sessions etc..
Refer & Earn
My Abhipedia Earning
Kindly Login to view your earning
Type your modal answer and submitt for approval
Read the following passage and answer the questions :
Gandhi's experience in South Africa was decisive: not only in his political, family, and social life, but also for his culture and religion, Two of his most faithful collaborators there, Henry Polak and Hermann Kallenbach, were secular Jews. Gandhi had occasion to meet exponents of diverse religions and denominations, including Christian ones; he held long discussions with them, and some tried to convert him. It was a Jainist poet and thinker from Bombay, Raychandbhai, who confirmed Gandhi in the faith of his fathers.
Gandhi met him on his return to India from England, and continued to correspond with him from South Africa, until the poet's premature death. In his autobiography, Gandhi wrote that only once in his life had he come close to choosing a personal guru: yes, Raychandbhai. He considered him “the best Indian of his time," and freely acknowledged his debt to the Jain. If his Christian friends in London had awakened in him “the thirst for a religious quest," Raychandbhai had taught him that religion was essentially the control of one's own spirit, and liberation from any attachment or aversion to people or things.
It was principally during his South African years that Gandhi became acquainted with writers whom he would consider masters for the rest of his life: Ruskin, Thoreau, Carpenter, Tolstoy. In 1904 he read Ruskin's Unto this Last, a book identifying the individual good with the common good, and speaking of the importance of work as the cornerstone of life; for Ruskin, all types of work have equal dignity and value, whether they be intellectual or manual, noble or humble. In 1907, Gandhi read Thoreau's "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," and was struck by its central theme: one's duty to refuse to obey a country's laws if one believes them to be unjust. Two years later, while in London, he read a volume written by the idealistic socialist, Edward Carpenter: Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure. He found it "enlightening," excellent in its analysis of civilisation. An advocate of the return to a simple life in harmony with nature, Carpenter condemned modern civilisation as degrading and corrupting; like Ruskin, he exalted the joy of manual work, which industrialism had separated from the creative project.
However, the author that struck Gandhi more than any other was Tolstoy. All during the rest of his life, Gandhi would recognize his debt to the Russian writer. He probably read Tolstoy for the first time during the London years of his youth, when he greatly admired the author's ideas and work. But his first great encounter with Tolstoy dates back to 1894, in South Africa, when a friend gave him a copy of God's Reign is within You. Gandhi's reading of it left an indelible impression on him. He felt for the book and its author the same admiration that he had held for the Sermon on the Mount. He found in it an admonition against responding to evil with violence, an exhortation to love one's neighbour and practise pacifism, and a confirmation of the ancient Indian commandment (Jainist, in particular) of ahimsa. He also found a brief story of the forerunners of non-violence, and a catalogue of its advocates and "militants" at that time: from the Quakers to Tom Paine, from the American abolitionists to the Russian duchobors.
In other books by Tolstoy which he read in the years that followed, Gandhi was led to agree more and more adamantly with the Russian's distillation of Christianity - and of every religious faith — to the commandment to love one's neighbour; the aspiration toward a profound moral rebirth of man; a highly critical attitude toward progress, science, luxury, and wealth, as well as toward the city, a place of alienation and destruction of man's deepest values.
Q. (i) Why was Gandhi's experience in South Africa decisive ?
Q. (ii) Who was Gandhi's personal guru and why did he consider him so ?
Q. (iii) Who were the writers whom he considered as masters and how did these masters influence Gandhi ?
By: Abhipedia ProfileResourcesReport error
Access to prime resources