A Positive Human Trait
Wisdom is not simply intelligence or scholarship. It is a combination of knowledge and good judgement based on experience.("Wisdom" 96) As one familiar quote states, wisdom comes through suffering.(Bartlett 68) You must undergo something in order to fully comprehend it. No one is born wise. Wisdom is gained only through acquiring insight and understanding. Often, wisdom takes many years to achieve.
Gandhi is one very prominent and famous figure who demonstrated a remarkable amount of wisdom and compassion. Gandhi was born is Porbandor, India, but he was educated at University College in London, England. In 1986, after being attacked and beaten by white South Africans, Gandhi began to teach a policy of passive resistance to, and noncooperation with, the South African authorities.(Encarta 94) In 1914, the South African government agreed to Gandhi's demands to abolish the poll tax for Indians and recognize Indian marriages. With this accomplished, Gandhi returned to India.
Again in his homeland, Gandhi soon became a leader in the Indian revolution against British control. The British industrialists were exploiting Indian villagers, and caused the virtual destruction of India's home industries. To remedy India's poverty, Gandhi revived domestic industries, preaching simple village life and the renewal of native Indian industries. This movement also called for the complete boycott of British goods. During this campaign for home rule and economic independence, Gandhi was the international symbol of the hope for India's freedom. Indians revered him as a saint and began to call him Mahatma, or "great-souled", a title reserved for the greatest sages.(Encarta 94) Gandhi's hold on India, spiritually and politically, had grown immensely, and the British didn't dare interfere with him. In 1947, Great Britain granted independence to India.
Gandhi was also known for his movement to eradicate the harsh and unjust caste system in India. He traveled through India, teaching ahisma, which means noninjury or nonviolence, and demanding that "untouchability" and the caste system be eliminated.
On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated on his way to evening prayer. Gandhi's death, the death of a great Indian nationalist leader, had a devastating impact on millions of people around the world. Gandhi's teachings came to inspire nonviolent movements elsewhere and his place in humanity will forever be remembered.
"I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world." (Attenborough 82)