We can say without hesitation that Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest humanist of the XX century.
“Mahatma” (Sanskrit “great soul”) – that's how Indians call people who got free from sansara being alive. Famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore was the first one to give that title to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the lawyer from Gujarat state, who freed his country from British domination without a blood-drop. Gandhi used to say that “nonviolence is not cowardice, it’s always heroism”. And he proved his words to the whole world. In 1982 Richard Attenborough released a movie about Gandhi’s life. It received 8 Academy Awards, including the prizes for “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, and “Best Actor in a Leading Role”.
The movie begins with the retelling of Gandhi’s service in South Africa where he had witnessed the oppression of “colored” people for the first time and then began fighting for the rights of Indians there. The campaigns he held in South Africa were so successful, he was considered to be a national hero when he came back to India. Attenborough managed to create an illustrated biography of Gandhi: a few arrests, disobedience campaigns and hunger-strikes – all these events from his life are reflected in the movie. The director also got to show the great human rights fighter as a simple, humble, honest man, as his contemporaries saw him.
“Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth,” – this is one of the most famous quotes about Gandhi by Albert Einstein. And he was right. You just can’t believe that there were times when one person was able to stop the bloody fights between hundreds of thousands of people by simply saying that he would not eat until the violence stopped. And a few days later thousands of Muslims and Hindu stopped their pointless murders so that Gandhi would stop his hunger-strike.
One of the most impressive scenes is the Gandhi’s funeral scene. It was included into the Guinness Book of World Records as the scene with biggest amount of people involved in the whole history of the cinema. You won’t believe it, but about 300,000 people took part in it and 200,000 of them had volunteered to do it for free.
The life of Gandhi is mixed with the Indian history of early XX century in this film. We can see Indian National Congress led by Jawaharlal Nehru, Muslim League led by Muhhamad Ali Jinnah, their aggression, the confrontation of Hindu and Muslims, which later led to Pakistan’s separation from India.
The movie is 3 hours 11 minutes long but you will watch it in one breath. We recommend it to everyone interested in Indian history and to those who are sick of all the news about war, terrorism, murders and who wants to truly believe, even just for one evening, that one can actually build a world without violence.