Director: Richard Attenborough.
Starring: Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Candice Bergen (Margaret Bourke-White), Edward Fox (Gen. Reginald Dyer), John Gielgud (Lord Irwin), Trevor Howard (Judge Broomfield), John Mills (Lord Chelmsford), Martin Sheen (Vince Walker), Rohini Hattangandy (Mrs. Kasturba M. Gandhi), Ian Charleson (Rev. Charlie Andrews), Athol Fugard (Gen. Jan Christiaan Smuts), Roshan Seth (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru), Saeed Jaffrey (Sardar Valabhhai Patel), John Ratzenberger (American Lt., driver for Bourke-White), Geraldine James (Meerabahen), Michael Hordern (Sir George Hodge), Marius Weyers (Conductor).
Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) comes back to India after 21 years working in South Africa where he developed his philosophy and strategies of non-violence. Upon his arrival he feels that he is a stranger, so he spends two years touring the country. He sets up a journal for which he writes articles about getting the British out of India.
When he feels he has an understanding of the people of India and has listened to their many problems, he dec ides to start his real work against the British. In Champaran he works for the Indian poor against the restrictive and punishing taxes from the British landlords. Gandhi is sent to prison.
When he comes out he calls for a general strike. One response of the British is to use force. Gen. Dyer conducted a massacre of peaceful Indians, men, women, and children, while they listened to a political speech.
Gandhi became more committed to the movement after this. He says to the British at one meeting that You must humiliate us in order to control us." One response was a campaign to burn English textiles and weave their own cloth. When the campaign leads to violence, Gandhi goes on a hunger strike to stop the killing of British and allied forces. He also calls an end to the campaign. The violence did stop.
The final blow was the success of the work against the salt tax. Gandhi is arrested. But the protests went on. Britain also knew it was possibly heading to war. Prime Minister Ramsey McDonald called Gandhi to London for a round-table conference on peace. But the British were partly bluffing, by talking about the continued need for a British presence, given the continuing problems between Hindus and Muslims.
The famous Life photographer Margaret Bourke-White (Candice Bergen) shows up to take many photos of Gandhi and to follow his successes.
In 1947 Britain granted independence to India. But part of the price for independence was the split of India into Indian and Muslim (Pakistan on the west and Bangla Desh on the east). In the transition period, the problems and killings really started as Hindus and Muslims virtually went to war with each other. In order to stop the killings. Gandhi went on a hunger strike and the battles did stop. Shortly after this, is 1968 Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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