Champion of Freedom: Mohandas Gandhi

Champion of Freedom: Mohandas Gandhi

by Kem Knapp Sawyer
     
 

In 1893, a London-trained lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi left his native India to handle a legal matter for two Indian merchants in South Africa. Soon after his arrival, he was thrown off a train for refusing to leave a "whites only" compartment. Skeleton-thin and painfully shy, Gandhi spent a bitter cold night in the railway station wondering whether he should

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Overview

In 1893, a London-trained lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi left his native India to handle a legal matter for two Indian merchants in South Africa. Soon after his arrival, he was thrown off a train for refusing to leave a "whites only" compartment. Skeleton-thin and painfully shy, Gandhi spent a bitter cold night in the railway station wondering whether he should stay in South Africa or return to India. By morning he decided to stay and to resist the racial laws of South Africa. The train incident sparked a political awakening in Gandhi, and he would later describe the experience as "the most important factor" in directing his future political life.

Gandhi remained in South Africa for twenty-one years, and during this time he became active in politics and began formulating his ideas on nonviolent resistance as a means to bring about political and social reform. At age forty-six, he returned to India, then a country of 500 million people, two-thirds of which were ruled directly by the British. Back in his homeland, Gandhi expanded on the strategies he had developed in South Africa and used them to help bring an end to British rule in India.

Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, by a Hindu militant who considered him too tolerant of Muslims, and he has become the dominant symbol of nonviolence resistance. His philosophy is credited with inspiring civil rights activists around the globe, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Tibet's Dalai Lama, Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Barack Obama, who describes Gandhi as "a hero not just to India, but to the world."

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Tanya Bush
This is the riveting life story of India's Mohandas Gandhi, born in 1869, who lived during a trying time of political unrest under the regime of the British Empire. While traveling on business to South Africa, he witnesses disturbing social injustices toward Indians. Instead of leaving, Gandhi, a devout Hindu, stays on, vowing to fight for a diplomatic solution. His "weapons" of choice are "non-cooperation, non-violence and peaceful resistance." He fasts, spends time in jail, and is ridiculed, but gains numerous followers on his long-suffering quest for civil rights. Gandhi eventually returns to his beloved India, where, again, hardworking Indians are being unfairly taxed and imprisoned by the British government, which he believes is intended to "crush the very life out" of the less fortunate. He spends his life helping India gain its independence from everything British until his death at the hands of a Hindu extremist in 1948. He is fondly referred to as "Mahatma," or the Great Soul, and his philosophies continue to inspire the human race. For most, the very image of Gandhi is synonymous with peace and passivity. Sawyer's biography gives young readers a compelling glimpse into his world. The text is easy to follow, and the book is peppered with vivid photographs that tell their own stories. The chapters are short, and each highlights a specific, often historic, time in Gandhi's life. It is the perfect classroom companion to touch on an array of issues such as religious tolerance and nationalism. Reviewer: Tanya Bush
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This is a fairly straightforward biography, focusing on Gandhi's political roles and belief in nonviolent resistance. The less-savory aspects of his personality, including his treatment of his wife and sons, are covered briefly. Sawyer conveys the importance of his early years fighting racial inequality in South Africa to his philosophy of satyagraha, mentioning the inspiration provided by Tolstoy and Thoreau. The chapters devoted to Gandhi's return to India are largely a report on the resistance to British rule in which he played a central role, but at this point it reads more like history than biography.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599351667
Publisher:
Morgan Reynolds, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/10/2011
Series:
Champion of Freedom Series
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.53(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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