Gandhi had generally positive and empathetic views of Islam, and he extensively studied the Quran. He viewed Islam as a faith that proactively promoted peace, and felt that non-violence had a predominant place in the Quran. He also read the Islamic prophet Muhammad's biography, and argued that it was "not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission." Gandhi had a large Indian Muslim following, who he encouraged to join him in a mutual nonviolent jihad against the social oppression of their time. Prominent Muslim allies in his nonviolent resistance movement included Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Abdul Ghaffar Khan. However, Gandhi's empathy towards Islam, and his eager willingness to valorise peaceful Muslim social activists, was viewed by many Hindus as an appeasement of Muslims and later became a leading cause for his assassination at the hands of intolerant Hindu extremists.
Gandhi was cremated in accordance with Hindu tradition. Gandhi's ashes were poured into urns which were sent across India for memorial services. Most of the ashes were immersed at the Sangam at Allahabad on 12 February 1948, but some were secretly taken away. In 1997, Tushar Gandhi immersed the contents of one urn, found in a bank vault and reclaimed through the courts, at the Sangam at Allahabad. Some of Gandhi's ashes were scattered at the source of the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, and a memorial plaque marks the event. On 30 January 2008, the contents of another urn were immersed at Girgaum Chowpatty. Another urn is at the palace of the Aga Khan in Pune (where Gandhi was held as a political prisoner from 1942 to 1944) and another in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles.More Info
According to Bhikhu Parekh, three books that influenced Gandhi most in South Africa were William Salter's Ethical Religion (1889); Henry David Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849); and Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1894). Ruskin inspired his decision to live an austere life on a commune, at first on the Phoenix Farm in Natal and then on the Tolstoy Farm just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The most profound influence on Gandhi were those from Hinduism, Christianity and Jainism, states Parekh, with his thoughts "in harmony with the classical Indian traditions, specially the Advaita or monistic tradition".More Info
Gandhi based Satyagraha on the Vedantic ideal of self-realization, ahimsa (nonviolence), vegetarianism, and universal love. William Borman states that the key to his satyagraha is rooted in the Hindu Upanishadic texts. According to Indira Carr, Gandhi's ideas on ahimsa and satyagraha were founded on the philosophical foundations of Advaita Vedanta. I. Bruce Watson states that some of these ideas are found not only in traditions within Hinduism, but also in Jainism or Buddhism, particularly those about non-violence, vegetarianism and universal love, but Gandhi's synthesis was to politicise these ideas. Gandhi's concept of satya as a civil movement, states Glyn Richards, are best understood in the context of the Hindu terminology of Dharma and Ṛta.More Info
During World War I (1914–1918), nearing the age of 50, Gandhi supported the British and its allied forces by recruiting Indians to join the British army, expanding the Indian contingent from about 100,000 to over 1.1 million. He encouraged Indian people to fight on one side of the war in Europe and Africa at the cost of their lives. Pacifists criticised and questioned Gandhi, who defended these practices by stating, according to Sankar Ghose, "it would be madness for me to sever my connection with the society to which I belong". According to Keith Robbins, the recruitment effort was in part motivated by the British promise to reciprocate the help with swaraj (self-government) to Indians after the end of World War I. After the war, the British government offered minor reforms instead, which disappointed Gandhi. He launched his satyagraha movement in 1919. In parallel, Gandhi's fellowmen became sceptical of his pacifist ideas and were inspired by the ideas of nationalism and anti-imperialism.More Info
Gandhi returned to active politics again in 1936, with the Nehru presidency and the Lucknow session of the Congress. Although Gandhi wanted a total focus on the task of winning independence and not speculation about India's future, he did not restrain the Congress from adopting socialism as its goal. Gandhi had a clash with Subhas Chandra Bose, who had been elected president in 1938, and who had previously expressed a lack of faith in nonviolence as a means of protest. Despite Gandhi's opposition, Bose won a second term as Congress President, against Gandhi's nominee, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya; but left the Congress when the All-India leaders resigned en masse in protest of his abandonment of the principles introduced by Gandhi. Gandhi declared that Sitaramayya's defeat was his defeat.More Info
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