The author’s goal is to persuade Lord Irwin to stop colonial exploitation through nonviolent threats and a petition for justice.
2. To inform and reassure British officials that their administration in India is unfair and that Gandhi will vigorously oppose it.
3. If the British refuse to put an end to their atrocities, Mahatma Gandhi would rally his countrymen to use peaceful resistance as a more effective tactic than aggression.
Central Claim: in case the British declines to evaluate the evils advanced by their government, people of India will be compelled to seek independence using non-violence tactics, beginning from starting from March 11 with violations of the requirements of Salt laws.
1. Subject matter: the abuse by Britons is a significant issue worth risking lives for by Indians.
2. Audience: Lord Irwin holds human rights in high regard and may be convinced by the ethical and emotional appeal of the letter
3. Self: Mahatma Gandhi feels ready to spearhead a team of people through a dangerous, rebellious action.
4. Values: reason, compassion, faith and hard work
5. World view/ underlying philosophy:
a. Being: there is a supreme God to whom Gandhi is answerable.
b. Nature of human beings: naturally, people prefer good over evil through reason.
c. Knowing: good impressions, reasoning, and experience.
d. Human importance: even the fiercest enemy need respect.
e. Morality: it is evil to take advantage of an innocent person
6. Persuasiveness: Gandhi is keen to give evidence showing why nonviolence is the best strategy against British rule. If the audience feels that he has persuaded the reader that the danger to the British government is authentic, then his efforts have borne fruits.
1. Logos- Gandhi utilizes reason and logic throughout the speech. The clear examples include the definition of taxes, British officials’ salaries, and the philosophical and historical impacts of non-violent strikes.
2. Pathos: Gandhi’s speech appeals to emotion by elaborating the sufferings of the Indians on the hands of the British contrary to the affluent lives led by British rulers.
3. Ethos: Gandhi behaves like a leader, he strictly adheres to ethical and moral standards; he never insults his audience, and he attracts the attention of Lord Irwin by his passion for bringing change.
Analysis of Context
Gandhi’s political profession, geared towards liberating India from British colonialism. After announcing the declaration of freedom of India, on January 26, 1930, Gandhi immediately knew that a new anti-government agitation was fundamental to make India independent, but was still unclear what strategies could be employed in that quest (Padmanabhan 489). He said that the political process could not bear fruits and championed for a nonviolent civil boycott to champion the fight for freedom (Padmanabhan 489). In February 1931, Gandhi directed his strategy to British Salt tax-which financed British luxury, as a central tenet for this nonviolent boycott. Because of the humid and hot weather and the agricultural work which caused a lot of sweating, salt was an essential commodity. Besides, there is plenty of salt in India, and the citizens could have gathered it for the government, but it was against the law (Padmanabhan 489).
2. Audience and Assumptions About the Audience
Lord Irwin conceded that some laws were unfair and oppressive to the Indian populace. Thus, in the letter, Gandhi was hopeful that Lord Irwin could give a positive response; besides, he prepared for a negative response through non-violent striking plans (Johnson 29).
Mahatma Gandhi was aware of his influence among his countrymen and that he had political support from the people. He had confidence, that Lord Irwin could respect his sentiments. Nevertheless, through his previous interactions and disagreements, he knew that he needed a robust and a balanced argument to convince Lord Irwin (Procida 130).
Further, Gandhi had sufficient knowledge about the British empire-on its rise and fall and knew the challenge awaiting him; it was one of the strongholds of the falling empire (Procida 130). Also, Gandhi was aware that the struggle in his country had a global political interest, and he had faith that by spearheading a peaceful, well-organized and ethical battle against the brutality of the British rule, he could attract attention and reinforcement from other countries (Procida 130).
Evidence shows that Mahatma Gandhi was a very religious man who yearned for peace in the society and therefore had a strong stance against violent tactics in the battle for freedom in India. He authored several essays about non-violence, incorporation of religion and politics, loving one’s rivals, finding the truth, etc. These literary works demonstrate the consistency and character of Gandhi and give a head start on the philosophy behind the script to Lord Irwin (Procida 131).
Additionally, Gandhi had comprehensive knowledge of the British history and empire. He was born when India was ruled by Britain and lived for some time in South Africa, also, a British colony by then. On many instances, he raised claims that Indians must stick to their culture and decline anything of European Origin. It was not a claim of superiority, but the preservation of Indian culture had value in itself (Procida 131.
As pointed out above, Gandhi was an influential political personality who had held key leadership positions within the Indian freedom campaigners, and it was not easy for the British rulers to dismiss him as just insignificant. By the time he authored the letter, he had organized a satyagraha movement, a team of Indian freedom crusaders seeking common objectives through peaceful means (Procida 132).
4. Interaction of the audience in previous forums
Lord Irwin welcomed Gandhi and some key Indian politicians to a war conference. Gandhi accepted to assist recruit troops but almost died in the process. While recovering, he read Rowlatt Committee’s report which recommended changes to criminal legislations. Gandhi opposed the recommendations as biased and against human rights. Together with other Indian opinion leaders, he went on demonstrations against the recommendations (Procida 130).
5. Cultural Beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi
He believed in Indian traditions and was pro-peace between Hindus and Muslims. He disagreed on several occasions with Lord Irwin, in particular on the salt legislation. The British and Lord Irwin believed that it was Britain’s responsibility and right to colonize people they classified as “lesser.” The colonizers held the belief that they did India a favor by bringing them civilization. However, they never expressed these openly (Procida 130).
Lord Irwin was regretful over Gandhi’s resolve. Ten days after Lord Irwin received the letter, Gandhi organized a demonstration of 78 satyagrahis to collect salt against the law. Thousands of Indians backed Gandhi. In response, the British administration detained over 60,000 Indians (Procida 133). Besides, Gandi was arrested. After release, he signed the Gandhi-Irwin pact, whereby both sides compromised. From the world view, the U.S and other countries requested Britain to free India. In later years, other influential human rights campaigners like Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr emerged and followed the example of Gandhi (Procida 133).
The Letter to Hitler
Gandhi, the Indian politician, wrote letters to Adolf Hitler, asking the Nazi dictator to seek peace as the best alternative to war with Great Britain. He preached peace in the international arena apart from leading the freedom movement in his native country, India. In 1939 and 1940, Gandhi, also referred to as Mahatma or Great Soul worked to salvage the world through two letters addressed to Hitler (Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin 73). According to his website, MKgandhi.org, the initial letter was inscribed at the end of July 1939. It was a very brief note in which Gandhi said that Adolf Hitler was the only man in the world who had a chance to avert the Second World War (Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin 73).
One month after the first letter, the Nazi chair signed a peace pact with the Soviet Union, on 23rd August 1939 which immediately followed the Nazi violation of the Munich Treaty by occupying Moravia and Bohemia (Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin 74). After two weeks of signing an agreement with the Soviets, Germany attacked Poland and France. Britain reacted by announcing war against Germany, signing off the start of the Second World War (Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin 73).
Unfazed with the outset of the war, Gandhi did another letter. By the end of 1940, Germany had stirred conflict in many parts of Europe, taking control of Poland, Scandinavia, and France. The second letter was sterner as he pointed out that another powerful country will rise with powerful weapons and defeat Hitler and that there is no legacy left by going into war. In both instances, he refers to Hitler as “Friend,” advising that nonviolent tactics to war leaves no enemies (Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin 73).
Analysis of the letter
Issue: seek to convince Hitler not go into begin World War II
Author’s purpose: persuade Hitler that war is not the best strategy for solving disagreements within nations. Besides, the letter wanted to show that no achievement or legacy is achieved through warfare methods.
Primary claim: war is very destructive and more regrettable in the aftermath.
1. Subject matter: Gandhi advises Hitler to abstain from plans of going to war in the first letter and warns him about the effects of war in the second letter
2. Audience: Adolf Hitler, the Nazi chairman and may be persuaded to stop going into war by considering the consequences of the war
3. Self: Gandhi warned against fighting and gives reasonable evidence for his claims
4. Values: reason and compassion for other people.
5. World view/underlying philosophy:
a. Being: We have a supreme God unto him all people give account for their actions.
b. Human nature: people are naturally reasonable, and therefore through the letter, Gandhi was hopeful that Hitler would choose a right course over evil.
c. Morality: it is wrong to take a dangerous course when there are better alternatives which can save the lives of people
d. Human importance: it is important to revert to effective methods of problem resolution that does not harm or affect the well-being of individuals.
e. Persuasiveness: Gandhi is keen to give evidence of the effects of war by showing its effects to the subjects and what happens to the instigators. Handling the problem in another way could be better than going to war. Had Hitler taken heed to Gandhi’s letters, the world would not have experienced what happened during the Second World War and after. Therefore, his actions would have been a success had it been taken into account.
1. Logos: Gandhi applies reason and logic all over the letter. As the letters show, he tells Hitler that he is the only person that can avert the outbreak of war. Besides, he gives himself as an example of a person who could have used warfare to fight against injustices committed by colonizers to his people, but he sought alternative ways.
2. Pathos: Gandhi ignites emotions by elaborating the sufferings war can cause in the first letter to victims and the impact to protagonists in case it takes place.
3. Ethos: Gandhi shows attributes of a real leader who is purely moral and proactive. He addresses Hitler as a friend in both letters even though he is the man behind the Second World War.
The Salt March Speech
Issue: encouraging supporters to continue with the march and demonstrations even if Gandhi and other freedom campaigners are arrested.
The purpose of the speech: motivate the masses and leaders from all parts of India to continue with the demonstrations irrespective of the expected arrest of the leaders. Even if the leaders die, Gandhi stirs up the people to agitate for freedom.
The primary claim of the speech: Keep the people focused on the bigger picture; the quest for justice and liberty for all Indians.
Subject matter: the abuse of the Indian citizens by the colonizers is an issue of immense significance and quest for freedom could not be substituted by anything else including detention of the movement leaders.
Audience: Indians and all people taking part in in protest against British rule in India.
Self: Mahatma Gandhi appears to have made up his mind to free his nation from colonial oppression.
Values: Bravery, respect for the enemy, and the audacity to fight against harsh colonial rule
a. Being: there is God who will give them victory provided that the methods used in the quest for justice are acceptable, harmless to the large populace and does not entail any form of violence.
b. Human nature: when people are guided by right leadership, they can choose good over evil. Besides, people with a conviction can strive for the big picture irrespective of the absence of their leaders.
c. Morality: it is immoral to use brutal methods to fight for freedom; even the strategies which appear ineffective can bring desired fruits when applied with zeal and conviction.
d. The significance of human life: the insistence on using acceptable approaches to fight against social injustice especially against biased salt rules reveals how Gandhi held human life in high regard.
Persuasiveness: Gandhi shows the people why they must march and demonstrate with zeal even if the leaders including him are detained or killed. Besides, he explains the importance of respecting the directions of leaders at local levels or even in the absence of leaders; the people need to get out and oppose any form of injustices.
Logos: Gandhi richly uses reason and logic throughout his speech. This is evident when he urges people to boycott engaging in the purchase or any other form of salt usage to ensure that the monopoly of salt business is broken down (Karlekar 45).
Pathos: Gandhi raises the emotion of the people by outlining and total against protest against all activities which aid the colonial government in running its operations (Karlekar 45). These include encouraging civil servants to resign, parents to withdraw their children from colonial sponsored schools and even avoiding purchasing cloth and other goods imported into India until they achieve the ultimate goal, doing away with social injustices particularly on the usage of salt (Karlekar 45).
Ethos: the methods used by Gandhi to fight for freedom and colonial brutality elevated him to another level; purely peaceful demonstrations devoid of any form of violence; methods applied nowhere else but proved useful. His leadership qualities, moral standing, and ethics particularly utmost respect for oppressors granted him respect from all parts of the world notably Britain (Karlekar 46).
Johnson, Richard L., ed. Gandhi’s experiments with truth: essential writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi. Lexington Books, 2005.
Karlekar, Malavika. “The Relevance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: A Contemporary Perspective 1.” Bulletin (Centre for Women’s Development Studies) 2.1 (1995): 45-65.
Markovits, Claude. The unGandhian Gandhi: the life and afterlife of the Mahatma. Anthem Press, 2004.
Padmanabhan, K. P. “Poverty, microcredit, and Mahatma Gandhi: lessons for donors.” International Social Science Journal 53.169 (2001): 489-499.
Procida, Mary A. “” The Greater Part of My Life Has Been Spent in India”: Autobiography and the Crisis of Empire in the Twentieth Century.” Biography25.1 (2002): 130-150.
Sørensen, Majken Jul, and Brian Martin. “The dilemma action: analysis of an activist technique.” Peace & Change 39.1 (2014): 73-100.