Page:A Brief Study of Mahatma Gandhi.djvu/11

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movements, he set about to study the true conditions of things that contributed in the main to the degeneration of his people. He associated the mystical practices of prayer, fast and renunciation of worldly possession with his program for social, political and economic regeneration of India. Although Gandhi has been enthusiastically busy with the work of social reform and the abolition of “untouchability,” his name and energies have been more prominently used in the political struggle. The world outside is naturally interested in the outcome of political issues involved in the relation of Great Britain and India.

Gandhi’s spectacular movement, known as “non-violent non-cooperation” flashed through the political circles, both in the Orient and in the Occident, and the world press became loud both in its condemnation and praise of Gandhi as the great passive revolutionist of India. Indian people also emphasized Gandhi’s political services and leadership by electing him President of the Indian National Congress and later by rendering him “dictator,” an honor never before in the history of the Indian National Congress enjoyed by any political leader. The incarceration of Gandhi by the British also helped at a very psychological moment to bring untold publicity to Gandhi and his movement, in Europe and America.

Although by no means a politician of high rank or a scholar in the ancient lore of India, Gandhi embodies in his life and personality all those spiritual qualities which honest students of Oriental culture have declared to be of Indian origin.

Gandhi is a typical saint; living in our times, he is drawn into struggles which are peculiar to our present day civilization. Like the saints of old, he has given full measure of his powers to the service of his fellowmen and also simultaneously has adopted a mode of life which is calculated to purify and emancipate his being from the material fetters of wordly existence. He is not only proving in his life what is best in the Hindu mysticism but is effecting a happy union between what is truly spiritual, humane and honorable in the cultures of the East and the West.

It is to the credit of Western Christianity that many of its prominent divines have been moved to call Gandhi the greatest living man of the world and many others have been liberal enough to speak of him in the same breath with Christ. We in India are especially happy for this honesty of courage displayed by the prominent ministers of the Christian gospel, for this is highly promising in bringing about a healthy understanding and appreciation between the two great faiths. Responsive appreciation and will to understand the contributions made by the Eastern and Western peoples are alone capable of fostering international spirit and human solidarity.