Mahatma Gandhi

Family of Mahatma Gandhi - Wikipedia
2nd October 1869 – Porbandar – Jan 3, 1948


  • Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar, located in the present day state of Gujarat.
  • His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of Porbandar and mother Putlibai was a pious lady and under her tutelage Gandhi imbibed various principles of Hinduism at an early age.
  • After completing his college education Gandhi left for England on September 4, 1888 to study law at University College, London.
  • In 1893, went to South Africa as a legal adviser to an Indian firm in South Africa.
    • As he descended in South Africa, Gandhi was left appalled at the rampant racial discrimination against Indians and blacks by the European whites.
    • Soon Gandhi found himself at the receiving end of such abuse (thrown away from first class bogie of the train) and he vowed to take up the cudgels on behalf of the Indian community.
    • He organized the expatriate Indians and protested against the injustices meted out by the African government.
    • After years of disobedience and non-violent protests, the South African government finally conceded to Gandhi’s demands and an agreement to this effect was signed in 1914.
  • Later, Gandhi realized the war that was to be waged against the British awaits his arrival in India and he returned to India in 1915.
    • After reaching India, Gandhi traveled across the length and breadth of the country to witness the atrocities of the British regime.
  • He founded the Satyagraha Ashram and successfully employed the principles of Satyagraha in uniting the peasants of Kheda and Champaran against the government. After this victory Gandhi was bestowed the title of Bapu and Mahatma and his fame spread far and wide.
  • In 1921, Mahatma Gandhi called for the non-cooperation movement against the British Government with the sole object of attaining Swaraj or independence for India.
    • Even though the movement achieved roaring success all over the country, the incident of mob violence in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh forced Gandhi to call off the mass disobedience movement. Consequent to this, Mahatma Gandhi took a hiatus from active politics and instead indulged in social reforms.
  • The year 1930 saw Gandhi’s return to the fore of Indian freedom movement and on March 12, 1930 he launched the historic Dandi March to protest against the tax on salt.
    • The Dandi March soon metamorphosed into a huge civil disobedience movement.
  • The Second World War broke out in 1939 and as the British might began to wane, Gandhi called for the Quit India movement on August 8, 1942.
  • Post-World War, the Labour Party came to power in England and the new government assured the Indian leadership of imminent independence. The Cabinet Mission sent by the British government proposed for the bifurcation of India along communal lines which Gandhi vehemently protested.
  • Eventually Gandhi had to relent and on the eve of independence thousands lost their lives in communal riots.
  • Gandhi urged for communal harmony and worked tirelessly to promote unity among the Hindus and Muslims.
  • But Mahatma’s act of benevolence angered Hindu fundamentalists and on January 13, 1948 he was assassinated by Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse.

Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi

Truth: Gandhi strictly maintained that the concept of truth is above and beyond of all other considerations and one must unfailingly embrace truth throughout one’s life.

Satyagraha: In the context of Indian freedom movement, Satyagraha meant the resistance to the British oppression through mass civil obedience.

Nonviolence: The principle of nonviolence or Ahimsa has been integral to many Indian religions and Mahatma Gandhi espoused for total nonviolence in the Indian freedom struggle.

Khadi: Mahatma used the adoption of Khadi as a subtle economic tool against the British industrial might and also as a means of generating rural employment in India.

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