Changes by Mahatma Gandhi
In Changes by Mahatma Gandhi we have the theme of guilt, economics, lifestyle, happiness, change and acceptance. Taken from his The Story of My Experiments with Truth collection the reader realizes after reading the essay that Gandhi may be exploring the theme of guilt. While living in England Gandhi has lived the life of a gentleman rather than as a student. He feels guilty about this because he knows his family do not live like this. They live simply and Gandhi decides it is time that he too lived his life simpler. He begins by changing his lodgings to two rooms but then decides upon one room which befits a student. If anything Gandhi takes an economic outlook on his life and begins to save money. Changing his lifestyle completely. Which is important to Gandhi as he now lives like his family, simply and modestly.
It is also noticeable that Gandhi lacks confidence when he is studying. He feels as though he is under achieving when it comes to Latin. A subject and language that his friends have to persuade Gandhi is worthwhile. This may be significant as Gandhi is embracing an old world tradition while at the same time he is famous for bringing change to India. It is also noticeable that Gandhi is making sacrifices by the changes in his life. No longer is he entertaining the women of the family he used to stay with. Possibly realizing that such a pursuit was selfish and non-progressive. Gandhi was a man of the spirit rather than the flesh and his romancing of women is not in accordance with his or his family’s beliefs.
Despite this change in Gandhi’s life he does find happiness and contentment in the simpler things in life. For breakfast Gandhi has oats and when he returns to his lodgings boils water for cocoa. This is far removed from how Gandhi lived his life while playing a gentleman. It is also interesting that Gandhi remained friends with the same people while living in England and some of them were the inspiration for Gandhi to bring some change into his life. Some of his fellow students lived in slums and spent very little. As Gandhi now does. He even saves money from his change in lifestyle. The guilt that Gandhi feels also begins to leave him now that he has found a simpler life to live. He no longer worries about not living a life like his family.
The end of the essay is interesting as the reader senses that Gandhi accepts the position he finds himself in. From playing the gentleman to living like a student Gandhi is not only happier but he also feels comfortable in his new way of life. Again he is living a modest life and saving money. Something that he thinks is possible for others to do too. They can be happy and live a modest life that has the same benefits personally as the ones that Gandhi felt he had by living as a gentleman. If anything Gandhi may be living modestly but he is spiritually free. He has found his niche in life and is prospering in England even if he finds that he struggles with Latin.