Leading Their People: Gandhi And Zedong

678 Words3 Pages
By the turn of the twentieth century, elements of Indian nationalism and Chinese revolution existed in embryonic form. In the years to follow, Mahatma Gandhi would emerge as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement and Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party. Both countries were forever changed by the movements led by these two leaders. Although the inherent political and intellectual differences between Gandhi and Mao eliminate any blatantly obvious connections, similarities exist in both of the leaders’ universal goals of enacting economic, political, and social changes within their respected countries. For both China and India, the early twentieth century marked a period of radical changes that were not common to these highly traditional societies. The phenomena that spurred both leaders’ desire for change were mainly systems that both perceived as representative of the West. In India, Gandhi opposed British colonization in his country. The British had forced Western civilization, industrialization, and modernization onto the Indians. Gandhi struggled to fight against British colonizing power and the Western models of society brought with it. In China, Mao shared the same struggle against an invading power. While not a Western nation, Japan invaded China and brought what Mao considered Western systems: imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. The historical context in which these two leaders fought an invading power was, of course, a national issue, independent of one another. However, what they fought against and the goals they made for their national struggles were global and holistic. Even though Gandhi and Mao were unified in their opposition to the West, both of them had to give reasons for others to accept their rejection of a phenomenon whose future remained desirable to many. To counteract the promise of progress,
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