The preocupation of the composer of "minimal music", Philip Glass, with Indian music and his interest in Gandhi began in 1966 during his first visit to India where he met Ravi Shankar. Since then, the rhythmic figures of Indian music have exercised a significant influence on his music which has a strong meditative and almost hypnotic effect through the repetitive sequences of tones with minimal changes. Glass's work needs time to unfold its hypnotic effect and fascination. With his second opera Glass didn't want to draw a historic portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Instead he used the example of Gandhi"s work during the last years between 1893 and 1914 in South Africa to draw an outline of the current worldwide political and religious problems. In South Africa Gandhi formulated his theory of passive resistance and civil disobedience known as "Satyagraha" as a reaction to the government"s discrimination against the Indian population evidenced by its denial of basic rights such as the right to vote.
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