Mohandas K. Gandhi
by Nancy Golden
From Human Rights Painting Project
Work by Tom Block
Mohandas Gandhi, called Mahatma ("Great Soul") by the Indian people, is universally known for his practice of non-violence and civil disobedience as a means to bring about social and political change.
As a lawyer originally on a one-year contract in South Africa, Gandhi was distressed by the racist legislation he encountered, and he ended up working for 21 years to secure the rights of Indian people living in that country. Upon his return to India in 1915, Gandhi became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement, galvanizing its quest for independence from Britain. In the process, he fought for the rights of India's "untouchables" and strove for unity among Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
Believing that the way people behaved was more important than what they achieved, Gandhi based his actions on a principle of courage, nonviolence and truth called "satyagraha." In promoting civil disobedience, he encouraged Indians to break laws that were unreasonable or suppressive, yet to also accept punishment.
He himself spent a total of seven years in prison, often fasting as a means to communicate his ideals. Though India was granted independence in 1947, Gandhi continued to work for peace between Hindus and Muslims, disheartened by their fracture into the separate countries of India and Pakistan.
Though his immediate objective had been political freedom for India, Mahatma Gandhi ultimately sought a higher goal for himself and his people: the quest for truth, justice, human dignity and integrity. He led his followers with an enduring optimism, asserting that, "inspiration can only come from our faith that right must ultimately prevail."
About Tom Block:
I utilize the visual arts, writing projects and scholarship to explore the interaction between the spiritual life of humanity and our sometimes-sad shared reality. At the very best, I hope that my art will have an activist influence, causing viewers to question their own personal roles in making the world a better place to live. To learn more about my art and thought, please visit www.tomblock.com
This article and painting used by permission.