Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Lilly T., Jessica B., Nicole S., and Alo K.
Reasons of Protest- Gandhi
Gandhi protested against British rule in India. At that time, the British were an alien power that treated India and its people with disrespect. Gandhi was extremely unhappy with the way the British officials would discriminate against the people of India and their culture, languages, and beliefs. He believed that it was not fair to have his country run by people who had not lived there before, as they did not understand the language, cultures, and beliefs of the people in India.
Goals of Protests- Gandhi
Similar to Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi had many protest goals. Gandhi led India to its independence from Britain. Gandhi was and still is known as the father of India. His protest goals were to free Indians and to accomplish this nonviolently, just like Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi also wanted to improve the lives of low class citizens. However, unlike Martin Luther King Jr., the goal of Gandhi's protests were to rid India from the unfair laws of the British. In Martin Luther King Jr.'s time, there were supposedly already laws against treating colored people differently, but these laws were not being upheld. Not only did Gandhi’s protests lead to a successful outcome but he proved that even one person can change the world.
Effectiveness of Protests- Gandhi
In the earliest stages of his protests, Gandhi was met with violence from the British which initiated violence from his peaceful followers. Gandhi discovered that he still had a lot to teach them about nonviolence and peaceful protesting and fasted in order to get them to stop fighting. Once his followers were fully aware of how to handle themselves, they were still met with further violence from the British, but remained resilient. As Gandhi became more and more well known, his influence grew and empowered India. Slowly but surely, the iron grip of the British weakened and India gained back control of its land and its freedom.
Tactics of Protesting- Gandhi
Gandhi would organize strikes and marches to protest. When he led a protest, he would convince a very large amount of people to participate with him. Not only this, but he would give speeches about how to follow the Satyagraha, so the people could protest on their own.
Ghadhi would try to persuade people with his speeches. But if there was violence because of an action he took, then he would fast until people cooperated. For example, when Gandhi’s decisions about the partition caused people to riot, he refused to eat until there was no more fighting. People listened to him because they didn’t want him to die.
Gandhi was willing to let himself and his followers get hurt, sometimes putting them in danger’s way, so long as it followed the Satyagraha to accomplish a goal, ie. convincing the british to resign control. For instance, when he chose to lead a raid on the Dharasana Salt Works, he knew that the military would not hesitate to hurt the people, and he specifically told people not to fight back. He thought this was the best way to achieve the goal of getting the british to repeal the salt laws and eventually India itself.
Tactics of Protesting- Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther king Jr. also participated in protests and strikes. First he only joined protests, but later he began to lead them to great effect. He also organized boycotts to damage companies that were discriminating against blacks. These were as effective, if not more so than the protests.
Martin Luther King did persuaded people by using speeches to change their minds. He was very persuasive; his “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most famous speeches of all time. He put things in a way that people could understand and relate to.
Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t do things if he thought it would lead to people being hurt or killed. He tried to avoid injury, but he was willing to sustain it if it meant that he could get his point across. Because of this, he was willing to go to jail for his actions. Despite his precautions, was hurt during protests, but he did not suffer nearly as much pain as Gandhi did.
Effectiveness of Protests- Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s earliest peaceful protests were fairly effective and drew some attention. For instance, he encouraged a bus boycott which eventually lifted the bus laws against African Americans. However, it was his later protests that drew the public eye. In his Protests, Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for laws against discrimination including the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. These laws said that African Americans could not be treated any differently than whites and that they would have rights. Although people supported these peaceful protests, police did not hesitate to use violence against them. But, like Gandhi had said, “peace and love has always won in the end,” these violent opponents were overpowered and shut down by the peaceful protesters.