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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Subject: Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi
Location: Dupont Circle
( Massachusetts Ave. & 21st )
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was educated in Britain and first practiced in South Africa, eventually specializing in cases that involved civil rights. He returned to his native India and began a political movement aimed at creating an India free of British rule. The keynote of his political program was "nonviolent civil disobedience." His followers were encouraged to engage in acts which disrupted the normal activities of the British government and commerce but were told not to resist if arrested or physically attacked.
In support of Indian independence, he adopted a simple life style in which he wore simple native clothes and spent time each week spinning cotton, a home industry he believed would help India achieve economic independence.
Things came to a head when the British Government declared war on Japan during the Second World War, on behalf of Great Britain and India. Many Indians resisted the war effort, claiming that it was not their war. Gandhi called on British to quit India, leaving her "to God or anarchy". Rioting across India led to the arrest of many Indian political leaders, including Gandhi.
pon his release from prison, Gandhi once again preached resistance to British rule. Britain began to negotiate a peaceful transition from British to Indian rule, but encountered resistance because some Muslim politicians wanted a separate country independent of the Hindu India.
In 1947, during a personal appearance before a massive crowd on his followers, Gandhi was assassinated by a student who opposed partitioning.
The statue was dedicated in June, 2000, and was erected by the Indian-American community and the Indian government. It stands across from the Indian Embassy near Dupont Circle.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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