Did Gandhi's influence help to achieve Indian Independence quicker or did he hinder it?

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Did Gandhi’s influence help to achieve Indian Independence quicker or did he hinder it?                                                                                                                                         


“Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by a vision of humanity evolving toward a world peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.”

-Dr Martin Luther King.Jr -  1

This is one positive view on Gandhi by Martin Luther King. There were many others who had a lot to say about Gandhi.

 During World War 1, Gandhi became the political leader of the Indian nation. India’s fight for freedom was an on going ‘saga’ for around 30 years. It is believed that even without Gandhi’s contribution it would have achieved Independence after the end of World War 2. Therefore he cannot be the sole reason for India’s freedom. An important point to note is that it was due to his leadership and guidance that India did achieve Independence. Gandhi must be credited for sticking with the Indian cause through the worst and best of times of the nation from around 1920 until the day in August 1947 (Indian Independence). His personality and character, though not the key to India’s freedom, evidently played a major role in the way that it was acquired.

        Historians and others still believe that Gandhi’s work and attitude were of a harmful nature to the Indian cause. Historians have said that if Gandhi had followed the constitutional path of Gokhale where he would have accepted any concessions that the British empire had to offer and preceding to ask for more, Independence would have come about more rapidly and even avoided the violence and unhappiness which took place. More importantly it could have avoided the partition of the country. People at the time lost respect for the British and were desperate to be free from their grip, Gandhi seemed like their only hope, we can see this from what a famous Indian writer and historian had to say:

“Europe has completely lost her former moral prestige in Asia. She is no longer regarded as the champion throughout the world of fair dealing and the exponent of high principle, but as the up holder of Western race supremacy and the exploiter of those outside her borders”

-Rabindranath Tagore. Famous Indian writer and historian- 2

Gandhi’s policies and methods caused some harm. The resistance of the British authority whether in conjunction with ahimsa (non-violence) or not, led to mass disturbance and in effect left a black mark on Independent India. It was his appeal in arousing the passion of the people which led to his aim of Hindu-Muslim unity falling apart. Whether a more constitutional line of conduct could have achieved a better outcome is still unknown.

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 "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the vice regal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor."

-Winston Churchill, 1930-3 London, England-3

From this quotation1 we can gather that Gandhi was a man disliked by the British.  People like Churchill who deplore Gandhi as not being a great ...

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