Figures of Transformation: Mohandas Gandhi and Joseph Stalin

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Updated: May 21, 2019
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“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar” ( Raymond Lindquist ). Changes are a part of nature and the effect of it sometimes can be good or bad. We can learn more about this through two figures of transformation: Mohandas Gandhi and Joseph Stalin. Each has a distinctive approach on how to improve their country. Gandhi tried his best to avoid violence; Stalin’s main method was savagery.

Lenin died on January 1924. In the wake of Lenin’s death, various protagonists emerged in the struggle to become his successor: alongside Stalin was Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, and Mikhail Tomsky (“ Joseph Stalin “). Eventually, he outwitted Trotsky, Lenin’s natural successor, and won the power struggle for control of the Communist Party. In India, by the 1880s, British Viceroy and his Council ruled India.

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The British government considered to involve Indians in ruling India. But the country was so valuable to Britain that they were afraid to lose control. By the end of the First World War, Indians had sent for thousands of troops to fight during the war they felt that this sacrifice should be recognised.In 1919 there was a huge demonstration at Amritsar. The commander of the British forces in the area, General Dyer, ordered troops to fire on the peaceful protesters. His actions caused horror and outrage in India and back in Britain.

This made the British nervous about the growing nationalist movement. One of its leading figures was a remarkable man called Gandhi. In 1915, he returned to his home, India, intended to bring back independence for his country. He aimed for nonviolence protests and encouraged non cooperation with British rule. For instance, Gandhi led a march to the sea to collect salt in protest of the British salt tax. “With this I’m shaking the foundations of the British Empire,” Gandhi holds up a handful of salt to the gathered crowd.

The protests were broken up violently by British troops. International opinion began to turn against Britain and its control of India. “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic,” said Joseph Stalin. He ruled his country with terror and violence. In the late 1920s, Stalin decided to transform his country into an industrial superpower .

The government violently took control of farms; millions of farmers refused to cooperate were shot or exiled. In order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him, he expanded the powers of the secret police, had millions of people killed or sent to the Gulag system of forced labor camps. During the second half of the 1930s, Stalin purged political opponents and those he considered a threat, leading to arrests and executions of millions.

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Figures of Transformation: Mohandas Gandhi and Joseph Stalin. (2019, May 21). Retrieved from