Making the Grades
Who was Mohandas K. Gandhi? In 1982, after twenty years of effort, a biographical portrait was produced to try and capture the essence of the man who impacted the world with his desire for peaceful solutions to problems and adherence to a non-violent philosophy.
In 1893 this privileged Indian lawyer, educated in England, traveled by train to Pretoria on business. When white passengers complained about the presence of a person of color in their first class compartment, South African authorities threw Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) off the train. Unknowingly, they had awakened a sleeping giant. Outraged by this experience and fueled with his knowledge of English law, the victim of discrimination soon embarked in a battle over human rights. South Africa provided an early experiment in peaceful resistance, and gave the young man an opportunity to develop his moral views as well as improve the living conditions of the immigrant Indian community.
Upon returning to his homeland Gandhi sees poverty, racial injustice, and oppression with new eyes and is determined to be the catalyst for non-violent change. His insurmountable goals include helping Hindus and Muslims find peace with one another, destroying the ridged social cast system, and liberating India from the British Empire. Soon to be titled Mahatma (great soul), the unpretentious insightful leader teaches the need for passive, yet active and provocative resistance: rather than killing their oppressors, the people should embarrass them.
Unlike many of today's valueless escape adventures, this grand epic (winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay) engages its audience with heartening and heartbreaking historical events, while inspiring viewers to see themselves as an integral part of a greater whole. Parents will want to note these depictions include some very violent scenes (severe beatings and a massacre) that are likely too intense for youngsters.
The abundant talent and dedication of those involved in the making of Gandhi provides us with a rare work of art that reminds us there is much to learn from this incredible real life hero.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Gandhi.
In one part of the film, Gandhi becomes so principle-driven that he almost kicks his wife out of their home over her refusal to perform a menial task. Are there times when even worthwhile philosophies must be compromised?
Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time they may seem invincible, but in the end they always fail. Think of it: always. -Gandhi
Considering Gandhi lived between 1869 and 1948, do you think his words still have relevance for today?
Learn more about this incredible man at: http://www.mkgandhi.org/index.html