Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a prominent leader in India’s struggle for independence. He dedicated his entire life to promoting self-reliance and achieving independence for his people through unique means of non-violent resistance, also known as Satyagraha. His life story is not just about the life of a leader but also about the struggle of a society.
Born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, India, Gandhi was the youngest of his parents’ children. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, was a prominent figure in the local administration while his mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious woman who had a significant impact on Gandhi’s spiritual development.
Gandhi was sent to England to study law and became a barrister in 1891. But after a few unsuccessful years of practicing law in India, he left for South Africa in 1893 to represent a Muslim businessman. Gandhi soon became aware of the racism and discrimination faced by Indians in South Africa, which became the starting point of his lifelong mission to fight for justice.
In South Africa, Gandhi faced many difficulties, including racial segregation and discrimination. He soon became the leader of the Indian community and began using his legal expertise to fight for the rights of his people. He founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894, which became the voice of the Indian community in South Africa.
Gandhi began his experimentation with Satyagraha in South Africa. He was arrested several times for protesting against unjust laws and discrimination, but his peaceful protests eventually led to the Indian community being granted more rights and freedoms.
Return to India:
In 1915, Gandhi returned to India and became actively involved in the Indian National Congress. He quickly became a prominent figure in the struggle for independence from British rule.
Gandhi was a firm believer in non-violent resistance and used it as a means to achieve independence. He believed that Satyagraha, which involved peaceful civil disobedience, was the only way to achieve freedom without resorting to violence.
Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha:
In 1917, Gandhi initiated his first Satyagraha in India in Champaran, Bihar. The farmers there were forced to grow indigo instead of food crops by the British, which led to severe famine and poverty. Gandhi used his non-violent tactics to force the British to abolish the indigo farming system.
In 1918, Gandhi began another Satyagraha in Kheda, Gujarat. The British had imposed a tax on the farmers, which the farmers could not afford due to crop failure. Gandhi organized a non-violent protest that forced the British to suspend the tax.
In 1920, Gandhi launched the Non-cooperation Movement, calling for Indians to boycott British goods and institutions. He urged people to stop using foreign goods and adopt Swadeshi (local) goods instead. The movement spread like wildfire, and people from all over India participated in it.
However, the movement turned violent in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, where a group of protestors set fire to a police station, killing 22 policemen. Gandhi was devastated by the violence and immediately called off the movement. He was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison for sedition.
The Salt Satyagraha, also known as the Salt March, was a significant event in India’s struggle for independence from British rule. The British had imposed a tax on salt, making it illegal for Indians to produce or sell it. The Salt Satyagraha was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi on 12th March 1930, with the aim of challenging the British monopoly on salt.
The Salt March started from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and ended at Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat, covering a distance of 240 miles. Gandhi, along with 78 of his followers, walked for 24 days, stopping at villages and towns along the way to speak to people about the injustice of the salt tax.
The Salt March was a peaceful protest, and Gandhi’s followers were instructed to remain calm and non-violent, even if provoked. They were also instructed to pick up a handful of salt from the sea and break the law, which would lead to their arrest.
On 6th April 1930, Gandhi reached Dandi and broke the salt law, initiating a nationwide movement of civil disobedience against British rule. The Salt Satyagraha sparked protests all over India, with people making their own salt and selling it in defiance of the British laws.
The British authorities responded harshly, arresting over 60,000 people, including Gandhi. The jails were filled with Satyagrahis, and the British administration struggled to handle the situation. The Salt Satyagraha brought India to a standstill, and the British realized that they could no longer ignore the demands of the Indian people.
The Salt Satyagraha had a significant impact on India’s struggle for independence. It brought the issue of British oppression to the forefront and united people from all walks of life in their fight against colonial rule. It also demonstrated the power of non-violent resistance and inspired other movements around the world, including the civil rights movement in the United States.
Mahatma Gandhi was a who dedicated his entire life to the service of his people. He led India to independence from British rule through non-violent resistance, which is now recognized as a powerful tool for social and political change.
Gandhi’s life and teachings continue to inspire people all over the world, and his legacy remains relevant today. He believed in the power of love and compassion and taught that we should treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, religion, or social status.
Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha, which involves peaceful civil disobedience, continues to inspire activists and leaders in their struggles for justice and equality. His message of non-violence and unity is a reminder of the power of collective action and the potential for positive change in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi was not just a leader; he was a visionary whose message of peace and justice continues to resonate with people all over the world. His life is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the ability of one person to make a difference in the world.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, passed away on January 30th, 1948, in New Delhi, India. He was assassinated by a Hindu extremist, Nathuram Godse, who shot him three times at point-blank range during his evening prayers at Birla House.
The news of Gandhi’s assassination spread quickly, and the entire nation was plunged into mourning. People from all walks of life, including political leaders, activists, and ordinary citizens, paid tribute to Gandhi and expressed their grief at the loss of the beloved leader.
Gandhi’s death was a significant blow to the Indian independence movement, as he had been its leading figure for over two decades. However, his legacy lived on, and his teachings continued to inspire people in their struggle for justice and equality.
The government of India declared a national holiday on the day of Gandhi’s funeral, and millions of people from all over the country attended the funeral procession. The funeral was a solemn affair, with people from different communities and religions coming together to pay their respects to the Mahatma.
The assassination of Gandhi was widely condemned, and Nathuram Godse was arrested, put on trial, and ultimately sentenced to death. However, his actions and motivations remain controversial to this day, and some groups in India continue to celebrate Godse as a hero.
Despite his death, Gandhi’s message of non-violence and peaceful resistance continues to inspire people all over the world. His legacy lives on, and his teachings remain relevant and essential in today’s world. Gandhi’s death was a great loss to the world, but his life and teachings continue to inspire and guide people towards a more just and peaceful society.