Date of Award

Summer 1962

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


To attempt to assess the importance of any man in the his­tory of the world, or even within the narrower confines of his own nation. is a difficult task. How great an impact Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had upon the world or upon hie own vast coun­try must be left to future historians to determine and catalogue.

For the present, we can only list the accomplishments of a people who listened to the powerful voice of a gentle leader whose greatest personal quality was compassion for suffering hu­manity. And those accomplishments were considerable: Indian women came out from behind the purdah, the laboring class organized, the caste system yielded, and the nation achieved its in­ dependence. How all this came about and the leader who made it possible is the content of this Master's Essay.

A word must be said of Gandhi from our vantage point as Christians not as judgment but as commentary. Mahatma Gandhi as a Hindu from the depths of his being. As such, the truth to which he was so devoted was necessarily incomplete, lacking as it does the fulfillment of the doctrine of the Incarnation. But to so comment is not to detract one inch from Gandhi's personal stature. He had to be a Hindu in order to have any influence at all on his predominantly Hindu country. But here we leave the study of history and enter the realm of philosophy and the Providence of God.

Perhaps in the final accounting, it will have been Gandhi's special task to effect the Westernization and thus, eventually, the Christianization of his country. This remains to be seen. He helped to set up a Western,democratic style of government, and the sociological implications of his doctrines of Satyagraha and Ahimsa are the same as those of Christianity. What can never be argued is that it was given to Mahatma Gandhi to lead his people to freedom and in his own way to be another voice crying in the wilderness to help make straight the way of the Lord.