Orientalism

While Gandhi in Gandhi stressed unity between people like Hindus and Muslims working together, rich and poor, Indian and white, etc., there were still divisions between the Indian nationalists and the white people who sought to help India’s independence. The best examples of this division between the east and west would be represented by the priest, Charlie Andrews, and Mirabehn. Charlie first shows up in South Africa to help Gandhi fight against the unjust laws against Indians in South Africa. He and Gandhi walk side by side as equals on the street, and Charlie also contributes to Gandhi’s newspaper. Later, Charlie travels with Gandhi to India, and explores the land too, even riding on top of a train with Indian men despite Gandhi’s wife’s protest. But eventually Gandhi tells Charlie to leave because he believes Indians should work for India’s independence without non-Indians.

Mirabehn, on the other hand, does not get told to leave or to stop aiding India’s independence movement. She differs from Charlie Andrews in that although is white and British, she takes on a new Indian identity by changing her English name to an Indian one, dresses like an Indian woman in Indian clothes,and leaves her British admiral father to become Gandhi’s daughter. East and West can work and live together, but to truly be intertwined, does one have to give up their identity in order to join the other?

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