A Little Brown Man Who Freed His Nation

A Little Brown Man Who Freed His Nation

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."—Matt. 5:44

When we think of patriots who free their lands from foreign oppressors, we usually have in mind daring military geniuses who lead poorly clad and ill-equipped armies against superior outside forces and finally drive the enemy off their lands.

Most liberators of the world have done just this.

But the man who freed the second largest nation in the world from foreign rule never fired a shot. He never used a rifle or fired a cannon. In fact, he forbade his followers from using any kind of force against their enemies.

Mohandas K. Gandhi was a funny-looking little brown man, a citizen of India. He owned no property except his spectacles, his Bible, and a few other personal articles.

As a young man he acquired a high education, attending Oxford University in England. Once while in South Africa he saw the terrible injustice of race prejudice when he was ordered one night to leave a train compartment reserved for white people. When he refused to leave, he was pushed off the train at the next station.

He took the stagecoach. He was called vile names and beaten. No hotel would give him a room.

Then and there Gandhi dedicated himself to a peaceful, steady campaign of liberation of his people, and without using force or violence.

When he returned to his native India, he began a program of education using the teachings of Christ. Although not a Christian but a Hindu, he recognized Christ's greatness. He saw that as Christ had rejected force and killing as methods of winning victory, so he, Gandhi, would too.

The British at that time controlled and ruled India. With love in his heart for the British, Gandhi showed the Indians how they must disobey oppressive laws. Soon the jails were filled with Indians. Two of them were Gandhi and a young man named Nehru, later to be India's prime minister.

Soldiers beat the Indians, clubbed them with rifles, and abused them in all sorts of brutal ways. Still the Indians refused to strike the British.

During World War H when the British had to fight the Japanese, Gandhi called off his independence campaign so that he would not be taking unfair advantage. After the war, though, he started up again.

By this time the British, so impressed by Gandhi's character and knowing that they could not keep over 300,000,000 Indians under their rule, decided to give India freedom.

The most amazing fact about this new freedom was that India decided to remain friendly with England and, instead of cutting off all ties, became a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, a world-wide group of independent countries bound by loyalty to certain democratic ideals originating in England.

Thus Gandhi won two major victories without firing a shot—his nation gained complete independence, and he made a friend of a former enemy country.

Today the whole world honors this tiny brown man who refused to hate or kill. In 1948 he was killed by a fanatic, but even those who opposed him wept at hearing of his death.

Doesn't the world need more men like Mohandas Gandhi today?

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