Gandhi - A Signature of Truth and Peace
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
A Life Dedicated To Justice And Non Violence
"Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth." - Albert Einstein
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a prominent political leader of the Indian independence movement. Following the principles of Satyagraha and non-violence, he played an important role in providing independence to India. These principles of his inspired people all over the world for civil rights and freedom movement. He is also called the Father of the Nation. Subhash Chandra Bose addressed him as 'Father of the Nation' in the broadcast released in the name of Gandhiji in the year 1944 from Rangoon Radio.
Mahatma Gandhi is a inspiration for the entire human race. He followed non-violence and truth in every situation and asked people to follow them. He lived his life in virtue. He always wore traditional Indian dress dhoti and cotton shawl. This great man, who always eats vegetarian food, also kept a long fast for self-purification Before returning to India in 1915, Gandhi fought for the civil rights of the people ofthe Indian community in South Africa as a migrant lawyer. Coming to India, he visited the entire country and united the farmers, laborers and workers to fight against heavy land tax and discrimination. In 1921, he took over the reins of the Indian National Congress and through his actions influenced the political, social and economic landscape of the country. He gained considerable fame with the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and the 'Quit India' movement in 1942. During India's independence struggle, Gandhi ji also remained in jail for many years on several occasions.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal city in Gujarat, India. His father Karamchand Gandhi was a Diwan of a small princely state (Porbandar) of Kathiawar during the British Raj. Mohandas's mother Putlibai Parnami belonged to the Vaishya community and was highly religious in nature, influenced by young Mohandas and these values later played an important role in her life. She used to fast regularly and used to make her service day and night in Sushrusha when someone in the family fell ill. Thus Mohandas naturally adopted non-violence, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification and mutual tolerance among those who believe in different religions and creeds.
In 1883, at the age of 13 and half, he was married to 14-year-old Kasturba. When Mohandas was 15 years old, his first child was born but she lived only a few days. His father Karamchand Gandhi also passed away in the same year (1885). Later Mohandas and Kasturba had four children - Harilal Gandhi (1888), Manilal Gandhi (1892), Ramdas Gandhi (1897) and Devdas Gandhi (1900).
He did his middle school education in Porbandar and high school education in Rajkot.Mohandas remained an average student at the academic level. In 1887, he passed the matriculation examination from Ahmedabad. After this Mohandas enrolled in Shamaldas College in Bhavnagar but due to poor health and home disconnection he remained unhappy and left college and went back to Porbandar.
Mohandas was the most educated in his family, so his family believed that he could become the heir (Diwan) of his father and uncle. One of his family friends, Mavji Dave, suggested that once Mohandas became a barrister from London, he could easily get the title of Diwan. His mother Putlibai and other family members opposed the idea of going abroad, but agreed to Mohandas's assurance. In the year 1888, Mohandas went to England to study law and become a barrister at University College , London. According to the promise given to his mother, he spent his time in London. There they had a lot of difficulty related to eating vegetarian and had to stay hungry many times during the initial days. Gradually, they found out about restaurants with vegetarian food. After this, he also joined the membership of the Vegetarian Society. Some members of this Society were also members of the Theosophical Society and suggested Mohandas to read the Gita.
Gandhi returned to India in June 1891 and came to know about his mother's death. He started advocating in Bombay but did not achieve much success. After this he went to Rajkot where he started writing the applications for the cases for the needy but after some time he had to leave this job too.
Eventually, in 1893, an Indian firm accepted the work of advocacy on a one-year contract with Natal (South Africa).
Gandhiji in South Africa (1893–1914)
Gandhi reached South Africa at the age of 24. He went there as a judicial advisor to some Indian businessmen based in Pretoria. He spent 21 years of his life in South Africa where his political ideas and leadership skills developed. They faced severe racial discrimination in South Africa. Once the first class coach in the train had a valid ticket, he was thrown out of the train for refusing to enter the third class compartment. All these events became a turning point in his life and led to awareness of the prevailing social and political injustice. In view of the injustice being done to Indians in South Africa, questions began to arise in their minds regarding the honor of Indians and their own identity under the British Empire.
In South Africa, Gandhiji inspired Indians to fight for their political and social rights. He also raised the issue of citizenship of Indians to the South African government and actively inspired the British authorities to recruit Indians in the 1906 Zulu War. According to Gandhi, in order to make his citizenship claims legal, Indians should cooperate in the British war effort.
The struggle of Indian Freedom Struggle (1916–1945)
Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1914. By this time Gandhi had become distinguished as a nationalist leader and convenor. He came to India at the behest of moderate Congress leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale and in the initial stages Gandhi's thoughts were influenced to a great extent by Gokhale's ideas. Initially Gandhi visited different parts of the country and tried to understand political, economic and social issues.
Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha
Movements in Champaran in Bihar and Kheda in Gujarat gave Gandhi the first political success in India. The British zamindars in Champaran forced the farmers to cultivate indigo instead of food crops and buy crops at cheaper prices, which worsened the situation of the farmers. Due to this they were surrounded by extreme poverty. After a devastating famine, the British government imposed oppressive taxes, whose burden kept increasing day by day. Overall the situation was very disappointing. Gandhiji led the protests and strikes against the landlords after which the demands of the poor and the farmers were accepted.
In 1918, Kheda in Gujarat was hit by floods and drought, due to which the situation of farmers and poor changed and people started demanding tax apologies. In Kheda, under the guidance of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel led the farmers to discuss this problem with the British. After this, the British released all the prisoners by releasing revenue collection. Thus, after Champaran and Kheda, Gandhi's fame spread throughout the country and he emerged as an important leader of the freedom movement.
Gandhiji got the opportunity to increase his popularity within the Congress and among the Muslims through the Khilafat Movement. The Khilafat was a worldwide movement by which the declining dominance of the Caliphate was being opposed by Muslims all over the world. The Ottoman Empire was disbanded after being defeated in the First World War, causing Muslims to worry about the safety of their religion and shrines. In India, the Khilafat was being led by the All India Muslim Conference. Gradually Gandhi became its chief spokesperson. He returned the honor and medal given by the British to express solidarity with the Indian Muslims. After this, Gandhi became not only the Congress but also the only leader of the country whose influence was on the people of different communities.
Non cooperation Movement
Gandhiji believed that the British rule in India was possible only with the cooperation of Indians and if we all together cooperate on everything against the British, freedom is possible. Gandhi's growing popularity made him the greatest leader of the Congress and he was now in a position to use weapons like non-cooperation, non-violence and peaceful retaliation against the British. Meanwhile, the Jallianwala massacre caused great shock to the country, causing a flame of anger and violence in the public.
Gandhiji called for a Swadeshi policy which was to boycott foreign goods, especially English goods. He said that all Indians should wear handmade khadi by our own people, rather than the clothes made by the British. He asked men and women to spin yarn daily. Apart from this, Mahatma Gandhi also requested to boycott the educational institutions and courts of Britain, quit government jobs and return the honors and honors received from the British Government.
The non-cooperation movement was getting immense success, which increased the enthusiasm and participation among all sections of the society, but in February 1922, it ended with the Chauri-Chaura scandal. After this violent incident Gandhiji withdrew the non-cooperation movement. He was arrested and tried for treason in which he was sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was released by the government in February 1924 due to poor health.
Swaraj and Salt Satyagraha
Gandhi was released in February 1924 after his arrest during the Non-Cooperation Movement and remained away from active politics till 1928. During this time he continued to reduce the estrangement between the Swaraj Party and the Congress and in addition to fighting against untouchability, alcoholism, ignorance and poverty.
At the same time, the British government created a new Statutory Reform Commission for India under the leadership of Sir John Simon, but none of its members were Indians, due to which Indian political parties boycotted it. After this, in the Calcutta session of December 1928, Gandhiji asked the British government to give power to the Indian Empire and to do so, be prepared to face the non-cooperation movement for the independence of the country. The Indian flag was hoisted in Lahore on 31 December 1929 after the British received no response and the Congress celebrated 26 January 1930 as Indian Independence Day. After this, Gandhiji launched the Salt Satyagraha in protest against the government's imposition of tax on salt, under which he traveled about 388 km from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat from 12 March to 6 April. The purpose of this trip was to generate salt by itself. Thousands of Indians participated in this journey and were successful in distracting the English government. During this time, the government arrested more than 60 thousand people and sent them to jail.
After this, the government, represented by Lord Irwin, decided to consult Gandhiji as a result of which the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931. Under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, the British government agreed to release all political prisoners. As a result of this agreement, Gandhi attended the Round Table Conference held in London as the sole representative of the Congress but this conference was extremely disappointing for the Congress and other nationalists. After this, Gandhi was arrested again and the government tried to crush the nationalist movement.
Gandhi resigned from Congress membership in 1934. Instead of political activities, he shifted his focus to building the nation 'from the lowest level' through 'constructive programs'. He started the work of educating rural India, continuing the movement against untouchability, promoting spinning, weaving and other cottage industries and creating an education system suited to the needs of the people.
As a result of the efforts of Dalit leader BR Ambedkar, the British government approved a separate election for untouchables under a new constitution. Gandhiji, who was in Yerwada jail, fasted for six days in September 1932 in protest against this and forced the government to adopt a uniform system (PoonaPact). This was the beginning of a campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables. On 8 May 1933, Gandhiji undertook a 21-day fast for self-purification and started a one-year campaign to further the Harijan movement. Dalit leaders like Ambedkar were not pleased with this movement and condemned Gandhi ji to use the word Harijan for Dalits.
World War II and 'Quit India Movement'
At the beginning of World War II, Gandhiji was in favor of giving 'non-violent moral support' to the British, but many Congress leaders were unhappy that the government had thrown the country into war without consulting the representatives of the people. Gandhi declared that India was being denied independence on the one hand, and on the other, India was being included in the war to win the democratic powers. As the war progressed Gandhiji and Congress intensified the demand for 'Quit India' movement.
'Quit India' became the most powerful movement in the struggle for freedom movement which led to widespread violence and arrest. Thousands of freedom fighters were either killed or injured in this struggle and thousands were arrested. Gandhiji made it clear that he would not support the British war effort unless India was granted immediate independence. He also said that this movement will not stop despite personal violence. He believed that the government chaos prevailing in the country is more dangerous than the real chaos. Gandhiji asked all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline with non-violence, do or die (do or die).
As everyone had anticipated, the British government arrested Gandhiji and all the members of the Congress Working Committee on 9 August 1942 in Mumbai and Gandhiji was taken to Aga Khan Mahal in Pune where he was held captive for two years. Meanwhile, his wife Kasturba Gandhi died after 22 February 1944 and after some time Gandhiji also suffered from malaria. The British could not release him in j ail in this condition, so he was released on 6 May 1944 for necessary treatment. Despite the partial success, the Quit India movement mobilized India and by the end of World War II, the British government had given a clear indication that power would soon be handed over to the Indians. Gandhiji ended the Quit India movement and the government released about 1 lakh political prisoners.
Partition and Independence
As stated earlier, by the end of World War II, the British government had indicated to liberate the country. Along with the Indian independence movement, the demand for a 'separate Muslim majority country' (Pakistan) under the leadership of Jinnah also intensified and in the 40s these forces made the demand for a separate nation 'Pakistan' in reality Had changed. Gandhiji did not want the partition of the country because it was completely different from his doctrine of religious unity but it did not happen and the British divided the country into two pieces - India and Pakistan.
Assassination of Gandhiji On January 30, 1948, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in the Birla House in Delhi at 5:17 pm. Gandhiji was going to address a prayer meeting when his killer Nathuram Godse fired 3 bullets into his chest. It is believed that 'Hey Ram' was the last word from his mouth. Nathuram Godse and his associate were prosecuted and sentenced to death in 1949. Today, the power of Gandhi's words still inspire us to change the world by changing ourselves. Here are some of his most famous quotes: “Live As If You Were To Die Tomorrow. Learn As If You Were To Live Forever.” “The Greatness Of Humanity Is Not In Being Human, But In Being Humane.” “In A Gentle Way, You Can Shake The World" For further information or planning a visit to India , please contact us on E–mail : firstname.lastname@example.org