Case of Personal Stability

Mohandas Karamchan Gandhi was born in 1869 into a family of modest means in India. His mother was devoutly religious, and she impressed young Mohandas with her beliefs and practices. The Gandhi family not only practiced traditional Hinduism but also practiced Buddhist chants, read from the Koran, recited verses from Zoroastrianism, and even sang traditional Christian hymns. Young Mohandas developed a personal philosophy of life that led him to renounce all personal desires and to devote himself to the service of his fellow human beings.

After studying law in England, and a few years practicing in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India. At that time, India was under British rule, and most Indians resented the oppression of their colonial rulers. Gandhi devoted himself to the ideal of Indian self-rule and to freedom from British oppression. When the British decided to fingerprint all Indians, for example, Gandhi came up with an idea he called passive resistance—he encouraged all Indians to simply refuse to go in for fingerprinting. During the period of 1919-1922, Gandhi led widespread but nonviolent strikes and boycotts throughout India. He coordinated campaigns of peaceful noncoop-eration with anything British—he urged Indians not to send their children to the British-run schools, not to participate in the courts, even not to adopt the English language. In their frustration, British soldiers sometimes attacked crowds of boycotting or striking Indians, and many Indians were killed, but others stepped up to take their places. The people of India loved Gandhi so much that they followed him in droves, recording everything he did and said. Eventually, this ongoing record of his words and acts filled more than 90 volumes with the record of his life. He became a living legend, and the people referred to him as Maha Atma, or the Great Soul. We know him today as Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1930, Gandhi led the Indian people in nonviolent defiance of the British law forbidding Indian people from making their own salt. He started out with a few of his followers on a march to the coast of India, intending to make salt from seawater. By the time Gandhi had reached the sea, several thousand people had joined him in this act of civil disobedience. By this time, the British had jailed more than 60,000 Indians for disobedience to British law. The jails of India were bursting with native people put there by foreign rulers for breaking foreign laws. The British rulers were finally coming to some sense of embarrassment and shame for this situation. In the eyes of the world, this frail man Gandhi and his nonviolent followers were shaking the foundation of the British Empire in India.

Gandhi was not an official of the Indian government, nor was he ever elected to any office. Nevertheless, the British began negotiations with him to free India from British rule. During negotiations, the British played tough and put Gandhi in jail. The Indian people demonstrated and nearly a thousand of them were killed by the British, again bringing shame on the colonial rulers in the eyes of the world. Gandhi was finally freed and a few years later, in 1947, Britain handed India its independence. Gandhi's leadership of

Mahatma Gandhi lived in a tumultuous period and led one of the largest social revolutions in human history. Despite the changing conditions of his life, his personality remained remarkably stable. For example, he practiced self-denial and self-sufficiency throughout his adult life, preferring a simple loincloth and shawl to the suit and tie worn by most leaders of the world's great nations.

Mahatma Gandhi lived in a tumultuous period and led one of the largest social revolutions in human history. Despite the changing conditions of his life, his personality remained remarkably stable. For example, he practiced self-denial and self-sufficiency throughout his adult life, preferring a simple loincloth and shawl to the suit and tie worn by most leaders of the world's great nations.

nonviolent resistance and noncooper-ative pacifism forced the more powerful British to relinquish their colonial rule of India.

During his adult life, Gandhi became the popular leader of one of the largest nations on earth. He negotiated a mostly peaceful transition from British rule to self-rule for the people of India. He was admired and respected by millions of people, who happily put their lives in his hands. In his lifetime, he was one of the most influential leaders in the world. His ideas have influenced the struggles of many oppressed groups since.

In 1948, an assassin fired three bullets into Gandhi at point blank range. The assassin was a Hindu fanatic who believed that Gandhi should have used his position to preach hatred of the Muslims of India. Gandhi instead preached tolerance and trust, urging Muslims and Hindus to participate together in the new nation of India. This most nonviolent and tolerant man became a victim of violence.

Even though Gandhi became the "Father of India," he remained essentially the same person throughout his adult life. Each day of his life, he washed himself in ashes instead of expensive soap, and he shaved with an old, dull straight razor rather than with more expensive blades. He cleaned his own house and swept his yard almost every day. Each afternoon he spun thread on a handwheel for an hour or two. The thread was then made into cloth for his own clothes and for the clothes of his followers. He practiced the self-denial and self-sufficiency he learned early in his life. In most ways, his personality was remarkably stable over his life, even though he was at the center of one of the most tumultuous social revolutions in history.

same—the overall level of dominant acts. Thus, personality coherence includes both elements of continuity and elements of change—continuity in the underlying trait but change in the outward manifestation of that trait.

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