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Mahatma

Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma

It was during his first year back in India that Gandhi was given the honorary title of Mahatma (Great Soul). Many credit Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature, for both awarding Gandhi of this name and of publicizing it. The title represented the feelings of the millions of Indian peasants who viewed Gandhi as a holy man. However, Gandhi never liked the title because it seemed to mean he was special while he viewed himself as ordinary.
After Gandhis year of travel and observance was over, he was still stifled in his actions because of the World War. As part of satyagraha, Gandhi had vowed to never take advantage of an opponents troubles. With the British fighting a huge war, Gandhi could not fight for Indian freedom from British rule. This did not mean that Gandhi sat idle.
Instead of fighting the British, Gandhi used his influence and satyagraha to change inequities between Indians. For example, Gandhi persuaded landlords to stop forcing their tenant farmers to pay increased rent and mill owners to peacefully settle a strike. Gandhi used his fame and determination to appeal to the landlords morals and used fasting as a means to convince the mill owners to settle. Gandhis reputation and prestige had reached such a high level that people did not want to be responsible for his death (fasting made Gandhi physically weak and in ill-health, with the potential


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