Mahatma Gandhi (Early Life and Family)
A famous and revered figure in Indian history, Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in the coastal town of Porbandar in Gujarat, India. He was the youngest of four children born to Karamchand Gandhi, who served as the Diwan of Porbandar, and his wife Putlibai. Despite his illustrious future, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was shy and introverted during his formative years, which put him at a distance from his peers. Mahatma Gandhi had a deep influence on Shravna and Harishchandra.
His father was Dwan (Chief Minister of Porbandar). Mahatma Gandhi was the son of his father’s fourth wife whose name was Putlbai. She belonged to a Vaishnava family.
Education of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
In November 1887, the 18-year-old Gandhi graduated from high school in Ahmedabad. and In January 1888, he enrolled at Samaldas College in Bhavnagar State, The following is the Education of Mahatma Gandhi and his early academia:
Gandhi’s Formative Years in Porbandar and Rajkot
Mahatma Gandhi received his early education in Porbandar and later in Rajkot, where his father worked as a Dewan. Although he did not demonstrate exceptional academic ability, his family and teachers recognized his natural curiosity and passion for learning. His Hindu mother, a religious woman of great spiritual power, played a pivotal role in instilling values such as truth, compassion, and self-restraint in the young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Gandhi’s Further Education
In 1888, Gandhi embarked on a journey to London to study law in college at the University of London. Initially, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi faced difficulties in adjusting to the new environment, which affected her learning. However, he soon became more interested in religious and philosophical works of different cultures and beliefs. Gandhi’s extensive reading covered Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, focusing primarily on the Bhagavad Gita.
Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa
In 1893, Gandhiji embarked on a journey to South Africa, initially on account of the legal case of the plaintiff, Dada Abdullah. Little did he know that this migration would become a pivotal chapter in the history of his life and human rights.
When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived in South Africa, he faced the harsh reality of apartheid, a system of racial discrimination targeting blacks and Indians, and the injustices he witnessed stirred in him a deep sense of responsibility. Instead of returning to India, Mahatma Gandhi chose to stay in South Africa, determined to inspire and empower Indian communities to fight for their rights.
Moderate Phase (1894 – 1906)
Mahatma Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress during this phase, to unite various Indian groups in South Africa to disseminate information and promote unity among Indians.
Phase of Passive Resistance (1906 – 1914)
During this crucial phase, Gandhi introduced the concept of Satyagraha, which advocated non-violent resistance against injustice. He established Tolstoy Farm as a shelter for satyagrahi families. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his followers faced imprisonment for their acts.
After an unwavering commitment and several negotiations, an agreement was finally reached. The government agreed to address the major grievances of Indian communities and promised a more compassionate approach to immigration.
Gandhi’s time in South Africa laid the foundation for his future endeavors in India. The lessons Mahatma Gandhi would learn and the principles established in the anti-apartheid struggle would become an integral part of his philosophy of nonviolent protest and social justice, shaping the course of history in South Africa and India.
Mahatma Gandhi in India
In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to his native land, India, and became actively involved in the Indian nationalist movement. His most important role in India’s freedom struggle against British rule was an unwavering commitment to nonviolent resistance as a radical form of political protest.
Gandhi’s journey from his early life and education to his experiences in South Africa and his subsequent leadership of the Indian independence movement represents a remarkable transformation driven by his commitment to justice, truth, and non-violence.
Early Movements by Mahatma Gandhi in India
After Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915, his early movements in India laid the foundation for his reforms in the country’s struggle for independence. Guided by his political mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi embarked on a journey that would define India’s destiny.
Establishment of Sabarmati Ashram (1916)
In Ahmedabad, Mahatma Gandhi established the Sabarmati Ashram, where his followers could embrace the principles of truth and non-violence that he held in high esteem.
Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
The Champaran Satyagraha was the first blow to Gandhi’s civil disobedience. Rajkumar Shukla’s plea compelled Gandhi to investigate the plight of indigo farmers in Bihar. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began passive resistance or civil disobedience in response to the fact that these peasants were subject to the tinkatia system which required them to grow indigo on a large portion of their land.
Prominent leaders like Rajendra Prasad and Anugraha Narayan Sinha joined him to advocate for the rights of indigo farmers. Eventually, through Gandhiji’s negotiations, the British put an end to this policy and the victimized peasants got compensation for paying illegal wages.
Kheda Satyagraha (1918)
The Kheda Satyagraha was Gandhi’s first non-cooperation movement. Kheda in Gujarat had suffered a severe drought in 1918, leaving them unable to pay exorbitant taxes imposed by the British due to crop failures and epidemic outbreaks Mahatma Gandhi rallied around these farmers afterwards and demanded that the proceeds be withheld.
The party saw young leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Indulal Yagnik as ardent followers of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Eventually, the government relented and adopted a policy of tax exemptions in 1919 and 1920 and the re-admission of confiscated properties.
Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the first to go on a hunger strike during the Ahmedabad Mill Strike. Intervened in a dispute between mill owners and workers in cutting epidemic wages. Workers demanded a 50% wage increase, while employers were only willing to accept a 20% wage increase. Activists led by Anusuiya Sarabai sought Gandhi’s help.
He urged them to beat them without resorting to violence and began a fast unto death. The mill owners eventually agreed to appeal, and the strike was settled with a 35% wage increase. These early movements exemplified Mahatma Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, laid the groundwork for later efforts in India’s freedom struggle, and highlighted the power of peaceful protest and the importance of solidarity needed in the face of injustice.
Political Campaigns of Mahatma Gandhi in India
Gandhi’s political journey in India lasted decades, marked by a unique doctrine of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and took an active part in the Indian National Congress, a movement dedicated to Indian independence.
One of Gandhi’s major forays into Indian politics was the launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement in the 1920s. The group’s initial aim was to avoid British objects and institutions, including schools and civil servants. It became a larger movement and more involved in all sections of society.
Mahatma Gandhi’s cry for non-violent protest and civil disobedience resonated deeply with a society that was subject to British subjugation and yearned for self-government. The movement was a spectacular success. It forced the British government to make concessions, including the release of political prisoners and the repeal of the Rowlatt Act, a law that gave the British the right to imprison individuals without trial.
Nevertheless, the group witnessed a few riots, especially the Chauri Chaura incident. In the process, a group of protesters set fire to a police station, leaving 22 police officers tragically dead. In response to these riots, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi acted to end the Movement in 1922, as he felt that the riots went against his creed of non-violence but that the movement had already aroused a surge in nationalist interest in India, which paved the way for subsequent campaigns.
The Salt Satyagraha, Dandi March, and Civil Disobedience Movement
Later, Gandhi’s most important political endeavor materialized with the Salt Satyagraha of 1930, colloquially known as the Dandi March. The main goal of the campaign was to oppose the British salt tax, a symbol of British subjugation. Accompanied by a group of devoted followers, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi embarked on a 240-mile journey from Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi. There, they ignored British law by extracting salt from seawater.
This seemingly simple act of salt-making was illegal under British rule, a direct affront to British sovereignty. The Salt Satyagraha proved a great success, capturing the hearts and minds of the Indian people. Its pitch meant wider dividends and forced the British administration to bend to some concessions. In addition, it inflamed the spirit of civil disobedience, inspiring movements such as boycotts of foreign clothing and mass refusal to pay taxes.
The Quit India Movement
In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi launched his final political crusade, the Quit India Movement. The aim of this important campaign was unequivocal – to force the British to leave India immediately, without a date. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi kind of advocated non-violent protest and civil disobedience. The group attracted people from all walks of life, including a broad Indian population.
The Quit India Movement stands as one of the most important political movements in Indian history. It represented the culmination of India’s freedom struggle and laid the foundation for India’s eventual independence in 1947. However, the campaign was not without violence and witnessed extreme violence and brutal repression at the hands of the British authorities. Thousands were imprisoned and tragically lost their lives.
Mahatma Gandhi’s political career in India symbolized his singular philosophy of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. These efforts were made to challenge British domination and take India to independence. Gandhi’s enduring legacy continues to inspire individuals around the world and inspire them to uphold justice and equality through peaceful means.
Mohandas Gandhi's Leadership Role
The history of Gandhi’s extraordinary leadership reveals that the Salt March of 1930 was one of his most famous campaigns. This dramatic event came as a peaceful protest precisely against the imposition of the British salt duty, an unfair tax that caused great hardship to the Indian people.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, accompanied by a group of devoted followers, embarked on a 240-mile trek from Sabarmati to Dandi. There, in open defiance of British rule, they laboriously produced their salt.
Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of work and non-violent protest left an indelible impression not only on the borders of India but also across the world. His influence resonated deeply and served as a source of inspiration for countless other leaders and professionals. Icons like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela used his ideas and methods to fight for civil rights and national independence.
However, amid this respect and universal acclaim, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist for strongly opposing his policy of religious tolerance on 30 January 1948. Mahatma Gandhi’s death was a great loss and was deeply felt by India and the world, however, his legacy will last forever.
Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent protest fuels the spirit of individuals around the world who are making a concerted effort to initiate social change through peaceful means. His life and teachings are celebrated in India every year on Gandhi Jayanti, his birth anniversary, a national holiday honoring his enduring legacy.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Death
The world was plunged into sorrow on 30 January 1948, when Mahatma Gandhi, the revered father of the Indian nation, met his tragic end. His assassination sent shockwaves rippling across the globe, sparking an outpouring of grief and indignation throughout India.
Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who vehemently opposed Gandhi’s principles of non-violence and his tireless efforts to foster unity between Hindus and Muslims, perpetrated this heinous act. As Gandhi embarked on his customary walk to the evening prayer meeting in New Delhi, Godse approached and, at point-blank range, fired three fatal shots.
News of Gandhi’s demise spread like wildfire, evoking profound sadness and disbelief among millions worldwide. In India, the government declared a National Day of Mourning, and the nation came to a standstill. Schools, businesses, and government offices shuttered their doors, and the streets filled with mourners paying their heartfelt tributes to their departed leader.
The reverberations of Mahatma Gandhi’s death transcended India’s borders, resonating globally. Leaders from various countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, extended condolences and honored Gandhi’s enduring legacy of non-violence and social justice.
Gandhi’s passing marked an epochal moment in Indian history, signifying the conclusion of an era. Yet, his legacy of non-violent resistance, along with his unwavering dedication to social justice and equality, continues to ignite the spirits of people around the world to this very day.
Ideologies of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi’s views on religion and society developed during his time in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. He refined these principles during India’s freedom struggle Gandhi drew inspiration from sources like the Bhagavad Gita, Jainism, Buddhism, the Bible, and teachings by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
These ideas were elaborated by Gandhi’s followers, especially Vinoba Bhave and Jaiprakash Narayan in India. Outside the borders of India, individuals like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela also contributed to these ideas. Some of the major ideas of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi are