Gandhi (1982)




Director:     Richard Attenborough.

Starring:     Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Martin Sheen, Rohini Hattangandy, Ian Charleson, Athol Fugard, Roshan Seth, Saeed Jaffrey, John Ratzenberger, Geraldine James, Michael Hordern, Marius Weyers.

British-Indian film.




Spoiler Warning:



Historical Background:


1893 -- Gandhi arrives to do legal work.  Traveling first class, he is told to go to the back of the train. He protests and is thrown off the train. The white man objecting to his presence did not believe that Gandhi was an attorney, saying "There are no colored attorneys in South Africa."

The first protest they took was to burn the identification cards that Indians, but not whites, had to carry at all times. Gandhi is beaten to unconsciousness.

In the attempt of three white youths (one of youths on sidewalk is Daniel Day-Lewis) to block his walking on the sidewalk, which was not allowed, their taunts reveal some of the epithets hurled their way: brown sammie, coon, and khefir (equivalent to the N word).

The response of Gen. Smuts and the legislature was to become more repressive, now demanding that Indians be fingerprinted and only recognizing Christian marriages (and not Hindu or Muslim). The response by Gandhi was to call a huge mass meeting where he explained his demand that the movement be a non-violent one.

Gandhi led a march at the factory. He is imprisoned. Gen. Smuts later lets him and all the political prisoners go and said he would ask the legislature to repeal the previous act.

So then Gandhi went to India, already a hero in India because of his work in South Africa.

1896 -- Gandhi goes to India to bring back his wife and children to South Africa

1899-1902 Boer War.  The British thought it would be soon over, but it takes 2 years and costs 22,000 lives and half a billion dollars. The Boers lose the war, but win the peace. The war leaves the Afrikaner world strengthened.

1901 -- Gandhi returns to India

1902 -- Gandhi returns to S. Africa to present the case of the Natal Indian Congress; he decides to stay in the Transvaal and fight the color bar.

1905 -- Liberal party in Britain decides to reconcile with the defeated Boers and gives the defeated republics back their independence within a union with the two British colonies.

Blacks and therefore others are actually hurt by the war. With independence under a white electorate dominated by Afrikaners, the policies of the Boer republics became extended to the two former British colonies.

1906 -- apartheid; blacks and Indians need personal "certificates" that they must carry always; Gandhi starts non-violent resistance; leads Indians across from Natal into the Transvaal, where their presence is illegal.

1912 -- formation of the African National Congress.

1913 --Gandhi organizes a march of over 6,000 Indian workers from the Natal mining area into the Transvaal; beaten; arrested

1913 (December) -- Gandhi is released

1915 -- Gandhi returns to India for good


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