Mahatma Gandhi: A Model Hero for the Zero Theft Movement

Table of Contents

Studio photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, London, 1931.

Mahatma Gandhi, a champion of peaceful revolution, remains an influential figure to this day. Considered by some to be the ‘father of India,’ Gandhi helped bring about Swaraj, complete Indian independence from British rule. 

For us at the Zero Theft Movement, we view his activism as an exemplary model for our efforts to eradicate the rigged economy. He realized early on that successful revolutions begin with waking up the public to the problem of the status quo and the great power they possess to change it. Without this awakening of the public, change proves impossible.  

In our own way, we hope to jolt all of you readers into action through these articles. We want you to not only realize that trillions of dollars are being stolen from us by crony capitalists and corrupt lawmakers but also understand that you have the power to reform this system.  

Don’t believe you can be a hero? Learn about Gandhi’s life and what you can do to support the public’s movement against the rigged economy. 

Gandhi’s Early Life 

Born in Porbandar, Gujarat, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) did not appear to have the makings of greatness. 

Gandhi’s father, Karamchand, held a prestigious position as the dewand (Chief Minister) of Porbandar, securing his family a place in the privileged caste. He expected his son to eventually carry on the family legacy: to hold a position in high office. 

His mother, Putlibai, devoted her life to her family and her religion. The home and the temple, she rarely spent her time anywhere else. Her Vaishnavism, coupled with a strong dose of Jainism, provided the ideological foundations for Gandhi’s revolutions. She instilled in her son, in spite of his quiet and secretive rebellion, ahimsa (noninjury to all living beings), mutual tolerance, and vegetarianism.   

Mahatma Gandhi’s birth home

Mahatma Gandhi’s birth home in Porbandar

Mohandas did not show much to suggest he would be able to live up to his father’s expectations. He received a few awards and scholarships as a student, but overall, his academic performance proved mediocre. Even as he pursued a tertiary education in 1887, Mohandas barely passed the entrance examinations to the University of Bombay (now University of Mumbai). But he continued on, even departing for London to earn a Barrister’s degree and pass the English bar.

Gandhi’s First Cycle through The Hero’s Journey

Tracking Gandhi’s life, you will find he cycled through The Hero’s Journey numerous times. This ‘adventure’ to London, perhaps, was his first.

He welcomed a complete change to his status quo, traveled to a foreign land, and came back improved. Gandhi had to acclimate to a world where he was viewed as an outsider, the other. His customs, his beliefs, coming under scrutiny at all times. Not only did he overcome his academic mediocrity by earning a Barrister’s degree, but he also overcame his shyness to serve as a member of the executive committee of the London Vegetarian Society. We will continue to track Gandhi’s hero’s journey throughout the rest of this article.  

Each of us receive these call-to-adventures in our lives, but it’s up to us to take on the challenge and see where the journey takes us. Granted, most of us are not going to achieve what Gandhi did. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean we cannot strive to improve ourselves and fit heroism into our busy schedules. We at the Zero Theft Movement have begun the much-needed fight against the rigged economy, where crony capitalists and corrupt lawmakers might be stealing trillions of dollars every year. You can help prevent this by giving just twenty minutes of your day to our cause.

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The Unceremonious Return

Achieving more than what he set out to do, Gandhi returned home with the world at his fingertips. But tragedy and failure soon befell him.  

Gandhi’s father had already died in 1885, three years before Gandhi traveled to London. At the very least, Mohandas was there to grieve and say his farewells to his father. He would not get to do the same for his mother. When he returned to India in 1891, he was met with the death of his mother. Putlibai had quietly passed away. No one had told him that she’d died, perhaps thinking it best that he focus on completing his studies.

His mother’s passing, however, proved to just be the start of a chain of hardships.

Gandhi had a life to live and a budding family to feed. He had been married since thirteen, to a girl his age named Kasturba, and had already started having children before turning 18. He needed to get a job quickly, but surely his hard work and barrister’s degree would secure him a good position…right?

In Bombay, he found the legal profession already saturated.

And his first time in court, he failed miserably.

Even when he returned to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants, he lost the job because he displeased a British officer.

Gandhi could not even get a part-time job as a teacher.

Gandhi’s Journey to South Africa

He’d exhausted many of his options in India, and came up with only one offer: a contract to work one year for a law firm in Natal, South Africa. 

With no other choice available, Gandhi moved yet again to a completely foreign land, at the turn of the century.

Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa

Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, 1906.

Encounters with Racial Injustice 

Aparthied had yet to be ratified, but the racial segregation and persecution already divided much of the nation. 

One after the other, Gandhi experienced prejudice and violence on his journey from Durban to Pretoria. In a Durban court, the European magistrate requested he take off his turban. He refused. Just a few days after, he was thrown off a first-class train carriage and abandoned, even though he had a valid ticket. The struggles persisted, as a white driver of a stagecoach beat Gandhi because he refused to give up his seat to European passengers and travel on the footboard. Some hotels would not even give him a room as they only serviced Europeans. 

Such amounted to the daily plight of the Indians in South Africa, taking the abuse in stride and toiling away at their jobs for meager wages. Gandhi knew his experience was that of many, but his reaction proved singular. Gandhi, for the months he had left on his contract, knew he had to do something to defend his dignity as an Indian and as a human being.

Famously, he vowed to cure the “deep disease of color prejudice.”

A Near Departure

Gandhi, while in Pretoria, sought out the South Asian communities and attempted to teach them about their rights and civic duties. He tried his best, but he thought he wouldn’t be staying on in South Africa much longer as the end of his year-long contract was approaching. 

Nevertheless, at a valedictory party, he happened to skim through an issue of the Natal Mercury newspaper and learned the Natal Legislative Assembly was considering a law to revoke the Indian’s right to vote. Gandhi brought the matter up during the celebrations, leading to the partygoers pleading with him to stay in South Africa and lead the movement for them. It took him only a day to decide to dedicate himself to advocating for his people, starting what would be a 21-year stay in South Africa as well as his lifelong career as a social activist. 

This moment represents a turning point, the instant where Ghandi ‘crosses the threshold,’ the point of no return. He would not allow him or any of his people to surrender to the discrimination any longer. 


Crossing the Threshold with the Zero Theft Movement

The wealthy and well-connected have held us, the public, down by rigging the economy in their favor. 

From the discrimination of Indians in South Africa, the Jim Crow era, to society prior to the Suffragettes, packaged with suffering always came economic injustices. As we mentioned before, the Indians, based solely on where they came from, were exploited by Europeans, believing they had to accept poor wages if they wanted any work at all. Those in power should not have the ability to unethically profit off of us, whether it’s due to race, sex, or class. Just on the news, you have probably heard of corporate bailouts, tax exemptions, windfalls, lobbyists dealing with ex-lobbyists who now work as legislators and regulators. The system gets fixed when business and government collude, and you, powerless, must accept it all. 

Or so you think…

This is your opportunity to cross the threshold. You do not have to surrender to the status quo where trillions of our dollars flood the bank accounts of bad actors. Crony capitalists capitalize on the Pay to Play system, where rent-seeking officials exchange access for campaign donations. In a sense, auctioning out their time (and sometimes vote) to the highest bidders. That’s how moneyed interests take priority over public interests, and how our democracy really functions as corporatocracy

The Zero Theft Movement provides you with the power to eradicate the rigged economy for good. Don’t believe us? Read one of your fellow citizens’ proposals on any area of the rigged economy.

Gandhi’s Activism in South Africa: The Natal Indian Congress & The South African (Boer) War

Gandhi immediately got to work, drafting and circulating petitions amongst the Indians in South Africa. Hundreds of his compatriots signed his documents, which Gandhi then sent out to the Natal legislature and British government. During this period, he produced the Green Pamphlet, a succinct explanation of all the grievances of the British Indians in South Africa. Unfortunately, he failed to block the bill depriving Indians of the right to vote; nevertheless, he remained committed to his cause. This setback only stoked his fire even further. 

Assembling the Natal Indian Congress

Gandhi’s Indian constituents managed to persuade him to send for his family (wife and children) and establish his residence in Durban, where he eventually set up a law firm as well as the Natal Indian Congress in 1894. The Natal Indian Congress united and mobilized the diverse Indian populations in the country. Gandhi, along with his organization, inundated the government, the legislature, and the press with clear explanations of the Indian discrimination. While perhaps not the most academically inclined, Gandhi demonstrated his aptitude for writing and publicizing, generating buzz around the terrible injustices against Queen Victoria’s Indian subjects in one of Britain’s many colonies.

Founders of the Natal Indian Congress


Founders of the Natal Indian Congress; Mahatma Gandhi is on the top row, fourth from left.

The Second Boer War and Its Discouraging Aftermath

Through an attempted lynching and general social upheaval due to growing racial tensions, Gandhi committed to his belief that, over time, the Europeans would eventually understand that the Indian people were their equals. He even assembled an ambulance corps to support his oppressors during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). Even though the Boers and the Britons appeared to reach some understanding by the end of the War, the Indians seemed completely left out of the equation despite their efforts to provide medical relief. 

In 1906, the Transvaal government posted a new ordinance calling for the registration for all Indians in South Africa. Gandhi organized the small, but loyal Indian community and protested the regulation in Johannesburg. The Indians vowed to defy the ordinance, welcoming the suffering that they would surely experience without hate or resentment. This gave rise to the famous technique of Satyagraha, a method of changing the heart of your opposition or oppressor by welcoming all the suffering they cause you. These valuable, though trying experiences eventually aided Gandhi in his movement to end Britain’s colonial rule of India. 

Gandhi, with his small group of followers, managed to expose the South African government, damaging the reputation of those truly in charge: the British colonizers. With the hope of moving on after close to a decade of Gandhi-led activism and pressure from the British and Indian governments, the South African leadership reached a compromise with the activists. Unfortunately, as Apartheid eventually became enshrined, Gandhi’s good work dissolved.  

Trials, Allies, and the Reward

Gandhi found a handful of allies through the formation of the Natal Indian Congress who helped him face all those trials during his time in South Africa. His spiritual mentor, a young Jainist philosopher named Shrimad Rajchandra, guided him on the religious path that would come to define Gandhi as a person, informing both his activism and the monastic personal life he led. 

The teachings of Hinduism and the Bhagavad Gita, which he had first read in London actually, soon informed his mission of nonviolent revolution. This was, perhaps, the most important reward of this South African cycle of Gandhi’s journey as a hero. As his time in this country came to a close, Gandhi had the powerful tools that would hold him in good stead for the ‘battles’ he faced in his homeland. 

This ‘reward’ is crucial, but we can only receive it by all of us playing our part. For the Zero Theft Movement, our ‘reward’ comes in the form of the Public’s Total Theft Report, our green pamphlet that compiles all of our top-rated theft proposals covering each economic sector and calculates a grand total for the amount stolen via the rigged economy. Bringing this to the public, as well as our allies in RepresentUs and Move to Amend, will significantly increase our chances of collectively eradicating the layer of the rigged economy.

Becoming Mahatma Gandhi

In 1915, before the outbreak of World War I, Gandhi and his family finally returned to Bombay. He remained on the fringes of politics for three years, preferring to focus his efforts on the oppression in Bihar and Gujarat. Replicating his methods of encouraging nonviolent defiance, he educated the peasants about their rights and civic duties, and led peaceful protests and strikes. The Indian voice, long suppressed through fear tactics, began to reach the ears of the British Raj. 

Stories of his work started to spread, and soon enough, the citizenry had given the once-shy, once-unimpressive Mohandas the title of ‘Mahatma’ (‘Great Soul’).

An unavoidable accessory to his activism, his political influence grew as well. But it wasn’t until 1919, with the passing of the Rowlatt Act, that Gandhi committed to bringing his movement straight to the national stage. The legislation that led to Mahatma Gandhi’s reawakening authorized British authorities to incarcerate people suspected of sedition without trial. Drawing from his experiences in South Africa, Gandhi initiated a Satyagraha campaign. 

The British authorities responded with violence. The bloodshed came to a head with a tragic outburst of violence on April 13, 1919, in the Massacre of Amritsar. British troops gunned down a crowd of unarmed demonstrators, killing close to 400 people. 

Amritsar Massacre Memorial

Amritsar Massacre Memorial Photo by Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada / CC BY-SA (

The Massacre ended Gandhi’s loyalty to the British government and motivated the fight for Indian independence from British rule. 

Swaraj & The First Revolution

By 1921, Gandhi had achieved a political stature rivaled by few. He reorganized and led the Indian National Congress, shifting the party away from Christmas picnics to Swaraj (complete independence from the British). 

Gandhi famously argued that the imperfections of the Indian people, not the British weaponry, were the root cause of India’s subjugation. Only when the Indians reformed themselves would their nation achieve freedom. Swaraj took fire, inspiring villagers and city dwellers alike to boycott all British goods and institutions. The citizenry faced their fears of violence and suffering, took it upon themselves to fight for the liberation that clearly wouldn’t be handed to them. 

Gandhi’s nonviolent program continued to gain traction until he called it off at its apparent peak in 1922. A violent outbreak in the village of Chauri Chaura made Gandhi rethink his movement. Many lost faith in Gandhi, questioning his ability to see Swaraj through. That same year, the court sentenced him to six years in prison for two counts of sedition. He only had to serve two years of the sentence.   

The Salt March, ‘Untouchables,’ & The Second Revolution

After his release from prison, Gandhi showed no interest in returning to politics. Surprisingly perhaps, no one particularly wanted him back either. He had failed in his movement, so what could he possibly offer anymore? 

Fate, however, had its own plans. The British government, in 1927, established a constitutional reform commission that had no Indian representation. Numerous organizations, challenging the move, boycotted the commission. Gandhi, pulled back into politics, demanded dominion status from the British within the year, threatening to start a nationwide Satyagraha campaign if they did not meet that one condition. Immediately, Mahatma Gandhi regained his position as the leader of the Indian National Congress.

The Salt March

Heightened political tensions and continued oppression eventually led to the famous Salt March in 1930. Gandhi initiated a Satyagraha as the poor communities could not afford salt because of a British-imposed tax. He marched 24 days, 250 miles, to the sea to collect his own salt. As he marched along, his group multiplied, sparking similar protests across the nation. Often praised as one of his most successful and grand campaigns, the Salt March resulted in the imprisonment of 60,000 people. Viceroy Irwin and Gandhi eventually reached an agreement (the Gandhi-Irwin pact) about a year later, bringing a close to the mass civil disobedience movement. 

Mahatma Gandhi leading the famous 1930 Salt March, a notable example of satyagraha (nonviolent resistance


Mahatma Gandhi leading the famous 1930 Salt March, a notable example of satyagraha (nonviolent resistance).

Defending the Harijans

Soon enough, relations broke down yet again with the appointment of a new viceroy. The British government imprisoned Gandhi for a second time, and altered the constitution to segregate the ‘Untouchables’ (the lowest caste). During his time in prison, he fasted to protect the rights of those he called Harijans or ‘Children of God.’ 

Again, Gandhi decided to step away from politics. He believed his party members were solely using nonviolent resistance as a means to achieve Swaraj. He focused his efforts on building the country from the ground up by providing a practical education to rural India (accounted for 85% of the nation). To help them improve their standards of living, Gandhi taught them about cottage industries (e.g. weaving), which would create opportunities for supplementary income.  

Education is the Foundation for All Movements

Key to any major movement education, learning that you actually have the means to fight for your rights as a human being. The powerful suppress others through fear, propaganda, and rhetoric. 

The rigged economy can appear too big for you to handle at first. Unethical corporations and individuals rip us off in all sorts of ways across the many sectors of the economy, so it will overwhelm you at first. 

Don’t worry. We have you covered. 

On our website, we regularly publish educational articles that teach you about elements of the rigged economy in a quick, simple way. From subreddit profiles to articles defining and providing examples of a particular strategy, we keep you informed in small easily digestible chunks. 

An aware and awake public is exactly what those in power fear. We must all educate ourselves on these issues to properly identify and fight to fix them.

The Quit India Movement & The Final Revolution

With the 1940s came the tragedy and carnage of World War II. The Indian National Congress, who had long renounced pacifism, began preparations to support the British. Nevertheless, Gandhi could not see why Indians, after suffering so long under British rule, should fight for their oppressor. The man had returned for his third stint in politics.  

Gandhi demanded for Swaraj. But, of course, the British Raj remained decidedly vague on the issue and continued to sow discord between the Hindu and Muslim communities. After receiving an unsatisfactory offer in the summer of 1942, Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement, an effort calling for the immediate British withdrawal from India.

Procession in Bangalore during the Quit India Movement

Procession in Bangalore during the Quit India Movement No machine-readable author provided. Dore chakravarty~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). / CC BY-SA (

The Indian revolt, along with the turmoil of the war, triggered a draconian response from the British. Fed up with the Indian National Congress, they incarcerated the entire leadership, hoping to crush the opposition once and for all. Violence broke out in the country, while Gandhi along with his ever-supportive wife languished behind bars. Both dealt with serious ailments, but only Gandhi survived the ordeal. 

But when the Labor party took over the reins of Britain in 1945, the National Congress and the Muslim League managed to negotiate the nation’s independence. India, however, did not come out as a united whole. The Muslim separatists had won their own separate land, in the form of Pakistan. Gandhi opposed the partition, but alas, he could not persuade the leaders to come together. 

A bittersweet victory, that unfortunately led to more bloodshed. 

Five Attempts, One Assassination 

Six attempts were made on Gandhi’s life.

Because of the continuing bloody relations between Pakistan and India, Gandhi spent much of his last years trying to end the conflict and unite the two countries. Radicals on both sides thought Gandhi served the other, inciting anger, resentment, and the many assassination attempts.

One particular flash point emerged when Gandhi supported the paying of restitution to Pakistan for lost territories. Indians objected to this, believing they would be funding the Muslim forces. Gandhi, staying true to his beliefs, fasted, and soon made the repayment a reality. Hindu radicals, especially one Nathuram Godse, deemed Gandhi a traitor for his actions.

After a failed bombing, Godse managed to assassinate the Great One in 1948. Gandhi, none the wiser, was on his way to a prayer meeting when Godse intercepted him. Three bullets in the chest, at point-blank range. Extremists reportedly celebrated with festive ferve. The rest of the world weeped.

Fight the Rigged Economy with the Zero Theft Movement

Through great strife and struggle, Mahatma Gandhi continued to champion the rights of his compatriots. We must use his example to create a revolution of our own, against the wealthy and well-connected who have rigged the economy against us, the people.  

By eliminating the rigged economy, we will all be able to thrive in an ethical economy. Crony capitalists and corrupt officials are stealing trillions of dollars, that’s our status quo! We have the opportunity to create wholesale change if you just spare twenty minutes each day to VOTE on theft proposals. 

Higher wages, improved living conditions, a system free of morally bankrupt lawmakers. That should be our ordinary world. As much as the oppressors exert their power over us to keep us down, we have a choice whether we will cross the threshold, face them, and collectively transform the world. If we do not act, if we do not revolt, then we are, in part, to blame for our rigged system. 

The Zero Theft Movement will wake up 330 million American citizens to the truth. We can all profit from an ethical, powerful, and safe economy if we all play our part. 

The question remains: what will you do? 

Standard Disclaimer

The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.   

Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.