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Mahatma Gandhi: His Life, Works, Principals and Biography
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Mahatma was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2, 1869, at Porbandar. Mohandas or Mohan was youngest of the three sons of Putlibai and Karamchand Gandhi. His father had been Prime Minister successively in three Kathiawar States. He was straight and true as steel, known for his steadfastness and loyalty. The little house were Gandhi was born is today known as the “Kirti Mandir”.
FAMOUS AS
For His Philosophy of Truth and Non-violence
NATIONALITY
Indian    Famous Indian Men
RELIGION
Hinduism
BORN ON
02 October 1869 AD    Famous 2nd October Birthdays
ZODIAC SIGN
Libra    Libra Men

BORN IN
Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British Indian Empire
DIED ON
30 January 1948 AD
PLACE OF DEATH
New Delhi, Dominion of India
EPITAPHS
Hey Ram
FATHER
Karamchand Gandhi
MOTHER
Putlibai Gandhi
SPOUSE:
Kasturba Gandhi
CHILDREN
Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas, Devdas
EDUCATION
University College London, Alfred High School
AWARDS:
1930 – Man of the Year by Time magazine

Even as a child Gandhi was deeply influenced by his mother Putlibai’s deeply religious and austere beliefs. He did his primary schooling at Porbandar, and his high school at Albert High School, Rajkot. Gandhi showed no particular brilliance, played no games, and was quite an introvert. He read little beyond text books, but respected his teacher, and was determined not to copy from his neighbour’s answer sheets.

Marriage with Kasturba, at the age of thirteen, was almost play. But Gandhi began as a jealous and possessive husband; he wanted to make his illiterate wife an ideal one. The other person he was much attached to was his eldest brother Laxmidas. When their father was no more, it was Laxmidas who helped to educate him and send him to England for legal studies.

Putlibai let Gandhi go abroad only after he vowed to lead a simple & religious life. For a while Gandhi was tempted to follow westerners. But soon he returned to simplicity. A vegetarian by tradition he soon became one by conviction, joining and working actively for the London Vegetarian Society. He was called to the Bar in June 1891.

The Legendary Mahatman Gandhi's Life and Biography 1

Early Life

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the Porbandar city of Gujarat, to Karamchand Gandhi, the diwan of Porbandar, and his wife, Putlibai. Since his mother was a Hindu of the Pranami Vaishnava order, Gandhi learned the tenets of non-injury to living beings, vegetarianism, fasting, mutual tolerance, etc, at a very tender age. Mohandas was married at the age of 13 to Kasturba Makhanji and had four sons. He passed the matriculation exam at Samaldas College of Bhavanagar. In the year 1888, Gandhi went to University College of London to study as a barrister.

He came back to India after being called to the bar of England and Wales by Inner Temple. In 1893, he accepted a yearlong contract from an Indian firm to a post in Natal, South Africa. There, he faced racial discrimination directed at blacks and Indians. Such incidents provoked him to work towards social activism.

Civil Rights Movement in South Africa

In South Africa, he had a first hand experience of racial discrimination and prejudice directed at Indians and the injustice imposed on them. Gandhi himself experienced the humiliation and disgrace while in South Africa. Initially he was thrown off a train for refusing to travel in a third class coach while holding a first class ticket. Other similar events including being barred from many hotels in South Africa moved him and encouraged him to work for Indian people there. As a result he extended his original period of stay to protest a bill passed by the South African government to deny them the right to vote.
 In 1906, the Transvaal government launched a new act forcing registration of Indian population. Enraged by the act, a mass protest meeting was held in Johannesburg on 11 September in which Gandhi called on Indian people to resist the new act through non-violent and peaceful means. His methodology of Satyagraha (devotion to truth) was adopted by thousands of his followers and during the seven-year long struggle; thousands of Indians were jailed (including Gandhi), beaten and punished for striking and refusing to register. Though the government successfully repressed the protest through its harsh methods, the impact of this protest forced the government to initiate for a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi’s idea of non-violence and truth developed during this period.
The Legendary Mahatman Gandhi's Life and Biography 1

Indian Independence struggle and Gandhi

(1916-1945)
Gandhi’s Satyagraha started from Champaran and kheda, where the condition of farmers was worsened by landlords (mostly British) by imposing taxes and leaving them in an abject poverty. The peasants were forced to grow cash crops instead of food crops necessary for their survival, and this led to a situation of famine there.
To end that devastating famine and poverty Gandhi organized detailed survey and study, based upon which he began leading the cleaning of the villages, building of schools and hospitals, encouraging villagers to condemn and combat many social evils including pardah and untouchability. Gandhi organized protests and strikes against the landlords that resulted in to the cancellation of the revenue hikes and collection of taxes until the famine ended.

Non-cooperation Movement and Swaraj

Non-cooperation Movement of Mahatma Gandhi was one of his prime fights against the British. The massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh of Punjab was what instigated him to take this step. After the gruesome incident, he focused himself entirely on obtaining complete autonomy for the country as well as the control of all Indian government institutions. Soon, this movement turned into Swaraj (complete individual, spiritual and political independence). His association with the Indian National Congress (INC) was further strengthened in December 1921, when he was made the executive authority of the party.

Under Mahatma Gandhi, INC was restructured, accepting the goal of Swaraj, having open membership, forming a hierarchy of committees, and so on. He urged Indian citizens to boycott imported goods, British educational institutions, law courts, government employment, and the like. Non-cooperation became very popular and started spreading through the length and breadth of India. However, the violent clash in Chauri Chaura town of Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922, led to a sudden end of this movement. Gandhi was arrested on 10th March 1922 and was tried for sedition. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but served for only two years in prison.

Problems in the Indian National Congress

Indian National Congress began to fall apart without the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The party split up into two groups, one led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru and the other led by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Even the basis of the non-violence campaign, the cooperation amongst Hindus and Muslims, began to break down.
The Legendary Mahatman Gandhi's Life and Biography 1

Salt Satyagraha and Dandi March

During the period of 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi concentrated on resolving the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress. Around 1928, Gandhi again started focusing on Indian freedom struggle. In 1927, British had appointed Sir John Simon as the head of a new constitutional reform commission. There was not even a single Indian in the commission. Agitated by this, Gandhi passed a resolution at the Calcutta Congress in December 1928, calling on the British government to grant India dominion status. In case of non-compliance with this demand, the British were to face a new campaign of non-violence, having its goal as complete independence for the country. The resolution was rejected by the British.

The flag of India was unfurled in Lahore by the members of the INC on 31st December 1929. January 26, 1930 was celebrated as the Independence Day of India. Soon, British government levied a tax on salt and Salt Satyagraha was launched in March 1930, as an opposition to this move. Mahatma Gandhi started the Dandi March with his followers in March, going from Ahmedabad to Dandi on foot, to make salt himself. The campaign became so successful that British ended up arresting over 60,000 people who participated in the March. Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931, where the British Government set all political prisoners free as an exchange for the suspension of the civil disobedience movement.

Bitter Fruit

The end of the great war brought India no freedom, only more repression. Gandhi called for country-wide hartal to protest against the Rowlatt Act. Of 1919. in mosques and on beaches he preached Satyagraha; pacified rioters atBombay and Ahmedabad; but Jallianwala in Punjab was to witness an unprecedented and cold blooded massacre.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

People massed in thousands, to protest against Govt. repressive policy, at Jallianwala Bagh. Determine to “Make an example of them”, the Government ordered troops to fired on the unarmed crowd. Hundreds died. Martial low and a reign of terror followed. Deeply shocked Gandhi returned his war decorations, decided to non-cooperate with a government that was evil.

Quit India Movement

As the World War II progressed, Mahatma Gandhi intensified his protests for the complete independence of the Indian subcontinent. He drafted a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. The ‘Quit India Movement’ or the ‘Bharat Chhodo Andolan’ was the most aggressive revolt of the INC, with the aim of gaining complete exit of the British from India. Gandhi was arrested on 9th August 1942 and held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. There, he lost his secretary, Mahadev Desai and his wife, Kasturba. The Quit India Movement came to an end by the end of 1943, when the British gave hints that complete power would be transferred to the people of India.

Freedom and Partition of India

The independence cum partition proposal offered by the British Cabinet Mission in 1946 was accepted by the Congress, inspite of being advised otherwise by Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel convinced Gandhi that it was the only way to avoid civil war and he reluctantly gave his consent. After India’s independence, Gandhi focused on peace and unity of Hindus and Muslims. He launched his last fast-unto-death in Delhi, asking for all communal violence to be stopped and the payment of Rs. 55 crores, as per the Partition Council agreement, to be made to Pakistan. Ultimately, all the political leaders conceded to his wishes and he broke his fast by sipping orange juice.

The Legendary Mahatman Gandhi's Life and Biography 1

Assassination

The inspiring life of Mahatma Gandhi came to an end on 30th January 1948, when he was shot by Nathuram Godse. Nathuram was a Hindu radical, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by ensuring the partition payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, were later tried and convicted. They were executed on 15th November 1949.
Gandhi’s Principles
Mahatma followed as well as preached the following principles throughout his life:
  • Truth
  • Nonviolence
  • Vegetarianism
  • Brahmacharya (Celibacy)
  • Simplicity
  • Faith in God
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