Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was known to many as Mahatma, or “the great souled one”. He was known by the world for his nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance. Gandhi was a Hindu Indian immigrant in South Africa in the early 1900s when he became appalled by the discrimination he faced. He became the leader in India’s struggle to gain independence from Great Britain after World War I. Gandhi is still seen by many as a hero and exhibits three specific heroic traits. Gandhi is a modern day hero because he displays the epic hero characteristics of bravery, persistence, and solidarity.
The first characteristic that Gandhi exhibits is bravery. One of the reasons why Gandhi was so popular was his bravery. One example of Gandhi being brave was in the Dandi march. The Dandi march was an Indian march led by Gandhi for the salt tax to be revoked by the British. It lasted 24 days and was very successful. Gandhi did not have to organize this march but he did because he was brave and courageous. The british government decided that because of the results of the Dandi march they had to get rid of the salt tax that the people had to pay. The Dandi march was the first act against the British that Gandhi organized. This took immense bravery because Gandhi knew he was going to be imprisoned for many years, but he did it anyway because he wanted to stick up for what he knew was right. Gandhi is also brave because he single handedly decided to fight for India’s independence from Britain and sacrificed himself everyday. Gandhi always stayed true to his beliefs until the day he died, even if he would have to suffer consequences. He went out there everyday and suffered extreme abuse because of his beliefs; that is bravery.
The second characteristic that Gandhi exhibits is persistence. Gandhi is known by many specifically for his persistence. The first example of persistence is when a European magistrate in Durban, South Africa, asked him to take off his turban. Gandhi was appalled by this request and refused to do so by leaving the courtroom. He refused to cooperate with their ridiculous rules and persisted by leaving. The second example of persistence is when Gandhi was thrown out of a first-class railway compartment after refusing to give up his seat for a European passenger. Gandhi was beaten up by a white stagecoach driver which showed the obvious discrimination against him. Gandhi was persistent with his position on the train and did not give up his seat. That train journey served as a turning point for Gandhi; after this incident, Gandhi started to develop his major theory of satyagraha or, “truth or firmness”. Satyagraha was a passive resistance, or a violence free way of non-cooperation with authority. He fought against many injustices over his lifetime and was imprisoned many times due to his pursuit of non-cooperation. By refusing to take off his turban and giving up his seat on the train, Gandhi was showing his heroic characteristic of persistence.
The third characteristic that Gandhi exhibits is solidarity. Many of the native indians only had enough money to buy clothes that covered the bare necessities. Gandhi was dedicated to his Hindu faith and to the poor people of India, so he often dressed only in a loincloth and shawl in hope that he could relate to the poor people. Gandhi’s mentality was if he was going to lead them, he was going to dress and live like them. Gandhi lived in the Ashrams which were communities where they “lived simply so others could simply live”. Gandhi strictly followed this saying, “A good leader must identify himself with the poorest among them.” By saying this quote, Gandhi made the people that wanted to follow him live poorly so they could literally live with the poorest among them. This characteristic of solidarity was very important to Gandhi and was a major trait that Gandhi held close to his heart.
Gandhi is a modern day hero because he displays the heroic characters of bravery, persistence, and solidarity. In conclusion, Gandhi showed the heroic characteristic of bravery by creating the Dandi march and starting the long road of getting India’s independence. Gandhi showed the heroic characteristic of persistence by never giving up when he saw discrimination in the world. Gandhi showed the heroic characteristic of solidarity by living in and amongst the poor, and by only wearing loincloth to symbolize his stance with the poor of India. Gandhi continued his work toward peace between Hindus and Muslims until he was shot to death in Delhi in 1948 by a Hindu fundamentalist. Gandhi will be known forever as an amazing hero and will never be forgotten.