Long Walk To Freedom & Gandhi- Documentary Analysis
The hypothesis derived from the analysis of "Gandhi" within the context of
public international law posits that cinematic narratives can effectively convey
and elucidate key principles and challenges within this legal framework. The
film's exploration of self-determination aligns with the foundational principles
of international law that emphasize the right of nations to determine their
political status free from external interference.
By portraying the struggles of a colonized nation seeking independence, "Gandhi"
serves as a visual representation of the complexities inherent in the
application of self-determination principles during a period marked by imperial
The examination of the limits of civil disobedience in the movie raises
pertinent questions about the ethical and legal boundaries of dissent within the
context of public international law. Gandhi's commitment to nonviolence
challenges traditional paradigms of protest, inviting viewers to contemplate the
role of peaceful resistance in the pursuit of justice and the potential
implications for international legal norms.
Furthermore, the film's portrayal of decolonization aligns with the historical
trajectory of post-World War II international relations. The negotiations,
challenges, and geopolitical considerations depicted in "Gandhi" reflect the
broader processes of decolonization and the establishment of new nation-states,
highlighting the role of international law in overseeing and guiding these
Richard Attenborough's 1982 cinematic masterpiece, "Gandhi," transcends the
boundaries of traditional biographical films, delving into the intricacies of
international law within the riveting narrative of Mahatma Gandhi's pursuit of
Indian independence. Beyond its exceptional storytelling and performances, the
movie provides a profound exploration of self-determination, national liberation
movements, the complexities of civil disobedience, and the transformative era of
decolonization. In a world grappling with the shadows of imperialism and the
aftermath of World War II, "Gandhi" navigates the intricate web of legal,
ethical, and political challenges inherent in the struggle for freedom.
Self-Determination And National Liberation Movements:
The film serves as a compelling case study of self-determination, a foundational
principle of international law. Gandhi's commitment to nonviolent resistance
becomes a beacon for nations seeking autonomy, illustrating the tension between
colonial powers and those aspiring to shape their destiny independently. The
narrative underscores the pivotal role of international law in shaping the fate
of nations and the intricate dance between legal principles and the pursuit of
As "Gandhi" unfolds, viewers are immersed in the complex landscape of early
20th-century India, a time when colonial powers held sway over vast territories.
The concept of self-determination, enshrined in international law, asserts the
right of a people to determine their political status and pursue their economic,
social, and cultural development freely. Gandhi's leadership and advocacy for
nonviolent resistance were not only strategic choices but a manifestation of
this profound legal principle.
The tension depicted in the film between the British colonial administration and
the Indian people reflects a global struggle for self-determination in the face
of imperial dominance. Gandhi's endeavors to empower the Indian populace to make
choices about their political future without external interference mirror the
broader aspirations of colonized nations around the world. The movie effectively
portrays the clash between the imperial powers clinging to their colonies and
the burgeoning demand for independence and self-governance.
The Limits Of Civil Disobedience:
"Gandhi" challenges conventional notions of protest and revolution, offering a
nuanced examination of the boundaries of civil disobedience. Gandhi's unwavering
commitment to nonviolence prompts contemplation on the ethical and legal
dimensions of dissent. The film's portrayal of the juxtaposition between
Gandhi's principles and the actions of some in the independence struggle raises
profound ethical and legal questions, particularly within the discourse of
international law and the contested use of force in self-determination
The concept of civil disobedience, rooted in the philosophy of nonviolent
resistance, takes center stage in Gandhi's quest for Indian independence. His
adherence to nonviolence was not merely a strategic choice but a moral and
spiritual commitment. The film captures the internal struggle within the
independence movement as it grapples with the tension between Gandhi's
philosophy and the desire for more forceful resistance among some factions.
This aspect of the film delves into the complexities of civil disobedience as a
tool for political change. Gandhi's Salt March, a symbolic act of civil
disobedience against British salt taxes, exemplifies the power of nonviolent
resistance in mobilizing masses and garnering international attention. However,
the movie does not shy away from portraying the challenges and dilemmas faced by
those advocating for change.
The violent actions of some individuals in the pursuit of independence raise
ethical questions about the limits of civil disobedience and the moral
ambiguities inherent in any struggle for political freedom.
Decolonization And Post-World War Ii Realities:
Set against the backdrop of post-World War II decolonization, "Gandhi" captures
the seismic shifts in global politics and the dismantling of colonial empires.
The film illustrates the complexities of decolonization, shedding light on the
negotiations and challenges inherent in the process. Gandhi's ability to garner
global support underscores the influence of international opinion and
institutions in shaping the decolonization narrative, highlighting the interplay
between law and the geopolitical landscape.
The end of World War II marked a turning point in global history, triggering a
wave of decolonization as nations sought to cast off the shackles of imperial
rule. "Gandhi" skillfully navigates this tumultuous period, depicting the
challenges and negotiations involved in the decolonization process. The film
showcases the role of international law in overseeing and guiding these
transitions, emphasizing the significance of legal frameworks in shaping the
post-colonial world order.
Gandhi's approach to decolonization was not confined to local efforts but
extended to the global stage. The film portrays his adeptness in mobilizing
international support for India's cause, recognizing the importance of
international opinion in influencing the actions of colonial powers. This
diplomatic dimension adds another layer to the exploration of international law,
demonstrating how global dynamics and alliances played a crucial role in shaping
the destiny of nations emerging from colonial rule.
The film's depiction of the negotiations surrounding the partition of India and
the creation of Pakistan highlights the intricate legal and political
considerations involved in the redrawing of national boundaries. The challenges
faced by leaders in reconciling competing interests, religious differences, and
the principles of self-determination provide a sobering reflection on the
complexities inherent in the decolonization process.
In conclusion, "Gandhi" transcends its biographical roots, emerging as a
profound exploration of the intricate relationship between international law and
pivotal themes of self-determination, national liberation, civil disobedience,
and decolonization. Gandhi's life serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring
relevance of these themes in the realm of international law, acknowledging that
while legal frameworks exist, their real-world application is fraught with
challenges and moral dilemmas. This cinematic masterpiece stands as a timeless
testament to the struggles and triumphs that have shaped the modern
international legal landscape.
Written By: Bhumi Tejra
Law Article in India
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