Father Of Nation Mahatma Gandhi Biography

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    Mahatma Gandhi and Political Career

    Mahatma Gandhi was the primary leader of India's independence movement and also the architect of a formula for non-violent civil disobedience that influenced the world.

    Until Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, his life and teachings inspired activists including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

    Who was Mahatma Gandhi?

    Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the non-violent freedom movement in India against British rule and in South Africa who advocated the civil rights of Indians. Born in Porbandar, India, Gandhi studied law and organized boycotts against British institutions as peaceful forms of civil disobedience. He was killed by a Fundamentalist in 1948.

    Early Life and Education

    Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhifull name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar , India, which was then part of the British .

    Gandhi's father Karamchand Gandhi served as a chief minister of Porbandar and other states in western India. His mother Putlibai was a deeply religious woman, who fasted regularly.

    Young Gandhi was a shy, fearless man who was so cowardly that he slept with the light on even in his adolescence.

    Although Mahatma Gandhi was interested in becoming a doctor, his father expected him to also become a government minister and encouraged him to enter the legal profession. In 1888, 18-year-old Gandhi left for London, England to study law. Young Indians were struggling with the cultural transition of Western culture.

    Upon his return to India in 1891, Mahatma Gandhi learned that his mother had died a few weeks earlier. He had struggled a lot to establish his footing as a lawyer.

    Gandhi's Religion and Beliefs

    Mahatma Gandhi worshiped the Hindu god Vishnu and followed Jainism , a morally rigid ancient Indian religion.

    When Mahatma Gandhi visited London from 1888 to 1891, he became more committed to a non-vegetarian diet. 

    Joined the Executive Committee of the London Vegetarian Society, and Mahatma Ji started reading various sacred scriptures to learn more about world religions.

    While in South Africa, Gandhi continued to study world religions. “The religious feeling within me became a living force,” he wrote about himself.

    He completely immersed himself in the sacred Hindu spiritual texts and their simplicity, asceticism, and fasting and he completely adopted the life of celibacy, free from material objects.

    Gandhi in South Africa

    After much struggle to make it as a lawyer in India, Gandhiji obtained a one-year contract to provide legal services in South Africa. In April 1893, he left for Durban in the South African state of Natal.

    When Mahatma Gandhi reached South Africa to practice law, within a few days he witnessed the discrimination faced by Indian immigrants at the hands of White British and Boer officials. And faced racial segregation. 

    On his first appearance at the Durban court, Gandhiji was asked to take off his turban from his head. He flatly refused to take off his turban and instead left the court. The Natal Advertiser printed him as “An Untouched Visitor”.

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    Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

    On June 7, 1893, during a train journey in Pretoria, South Africa, a white man attacked Mahatma Gandhi in a first-class railway compartment. When he objected to his presence, Gandhiji was asked to go to the rear compartment. 

    When Gandhiji refused to go to the back of the train, Gandhiji was forcibly removed and pushed off the train at a station in Pietermaritzburg.

    Mahatma Gandhi‘s act of civil disobedience gave him a firm resolve to dedicate himself to fighting the “deep disease of color disease”  .

    Mahatma Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 to fight discrimination.

    As Gandhi prepared to return to India at the end of his year-long indenture, his fellow immigrants persuaded him to remain and lead them in the fight against the law. 

    Although Gandhi could not stop the passage of the law, he attracted international attention to the injustice.

    After a short visit to India in late 1896 and early 1897, Gandhi returned to South Africa with his wife and children.

    Mahatma Gandhi ran a prolific legal practice, and at the outbreak of the Boer War, he organized an All India Ambulance of 1,100 volunteers to support the British cause. Ambulance) parked the car.

    While giving this argument, Mahatma Gandhi said that if Indians hope to have the full right to obtain citizenship in the British Empire, then they also need to fulfill their responsibilities very well. Is.

    Satyagraha 

    In 1906, Mahatma Gandhi launched his first mass civil disobedience campaign.

    Which he called “Satyagraha”, which literally means – truth and perseverance, in reaction to new restrictions on the rights of Indians by the South African Transvaal Government. Which included refusal to recognize Hindu marriage.

    After several years of protest, the government imprisoned more than a hundred Indians, including Mahatma Gandhi, in 1913.

    Under pressure from all this , the South African Government accepted the Negotiation of settlement by Gandhi and General John Christian Smuts which included recognition of Hindu marriage and It also included completely eliminating one tax for Indians.

    Return to India

    When Mahatma Gandhi left South Africa to return home in 1914, General John Christian Smuts wrote, “The Saint has been given up and gone, I'm sure it's gone forever.” 

    At the outbreak of the First World War, Gandhiji spent several months in London.

    In 1915 Gandhi established an ashram in Ahmedabad , India, which was always open to all castes. He is known as “Mahatma”, which means “great soul”.

    Opposition to British Rule in India

    In 1919, with India under the tight control of the British, Mahatma Gandhi led a political reawakening when the newly enacted Rowlatt Act gave British authorities the freedom to execute any person without any trace of a trial. Gave permission to imprison people under suspicion. 

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    In response, Mahatma Gandhi started the Satyagraha campaign of peaceful protest and strike.

    Despite this, violence broke out, which culminated in the Amritsar Massacre on April 13, 1919. 

    Soldiers under the leadership of British Brigadier General Reginald Dyer started firing machine guns into the crowd of unarmed protesters and in this incident, about 400 innocent people were openly murdered.

    Now after seeing all this, Mahatma Gandhi became unable to remain loyal to the British government, Gandhiji returned all the medals he had received for his military service in South Africa. Gave and also opposed the compulsory military draft of Indians in Britain during the First World War.

    Gandhiji became a leading figure in the Indian Home Rule Movement. Gandhiji called for a mass boycott, forcing government officials to stop working for the Crown. Gandhiji requested everyone to stop buying any kind of British goods.

    Instead of buying cloth made by the British, they began using a portable spinning wheel to manufacture their own cloth. The charkha soon became a symbol of Indian independence and self-reliance.

    Gandhiji started leading the Indian National Congress and started advocating the policy of non-violence and non-cooperation to achieve home rule. .

    After the British authorities imprisoned Gandhiji in 1922, they convicted him on three counts of treason. Although Gandhiji was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, he was released in February 1924 after appendicitis surgery.

    When violence between the two religious groups resumed, Gandhiji began a three-week fast in the winter season of 1924 to urge unity. He stayed away from active politics during the late 1920s.

    Gandhi and the Salt March

    Gandhi returned to active politics in 1930 by protesting against Britain's Salt Acts, which forbade Indians to collect or sell salt and also imposed a heavy tax. Which killed many of the poorest people of the country without salt. 

    Gandhi planned a new Satyagraha campaign, the Salt March, which entailed a 390 km march across the  Arabian Sea , where he attacked the government's monopoly

    Wearing a homespun white shawl and sandals and carrying a walking stick, Gandhi set out from his religious retreat at  Sabarmati with a few dozen followers on March 12, 1930.

    By the time he reached the coastal city of Dandi 24 days later, the number of marchers had greatly increased, and Gandhi circumvented the law by making salt from evaporated seawater. .

    The Salt March led to similar protests, and large-scale civil disobedience across India. About 60,000 Indians were imprisoned for breaking the Salt Acts, including Gandhi, who was imprisoned in May 1930.

    Nevertheless, his opposition to the Salt Acts elevated Gandhi to a worldwide figure. He was named Time magazine ‘s “ Man of the Year” for 1930 .

    Mahatma Gandhi was released from prison in January 1931, and two months later he joined Lord Irwin in ending the Salt Satyagraha in exchange for concessions. A settlement was reached which included the release of thousands of political prisoners. 

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    However, the settlement largely left the Salt Acts intact. But it gave those who lived on the sea the right to harvest salt.

    Hoping that the compromise would be a very important step forward for Home Rule, Gandhi, as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress, proposed a resolution on Indian constitutional reform in August 1931. Participated in  London Round Table Conference .

    However, this conference proved to be completely useless.

    Protesting “Untouchables” Segregation

    In January 1932, Gandhi returned to India, finding himself imprisoned once again during an attack by the new Viceroy of India, Lord Willingdon.

    He began a six-day fast (Ansan) to protest the British decision to allot separate constituencies to the “untouchables,” who lived at the lowest rung of India's caste system. Public outcry forced the British to amend the proposal.

    After his final release, Gandhi left the Indian National Congress in 1934, and leadership passed to his protégé Jawaharlal Nehru. 

    Mahatma Gandhi again stepped away from politics to focus on education, poverty and the problems afflicting rural areas of India.

    India’s Independence from Great Britain

    As Great Britain found itself in the Second World War in 1942, Gandhi launched the “Quit India” movement, calling for immediate British withdrawal from the country. withdrawal) was called for. 

    In August 1942, the British arrested Gandhiji, his wife and other leaders of the Indian National Congress and imprisoned them in the Aga Khan Palace in present-day Pune.

    “I do not become the first Minister of the King to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire ,” Prime Minister Winston Churchill told Parliament in support of the crackdown.

    With his health failing, Gandhiji was released in 1944 after 19 months of detention.

    After the Labor Party defeated Churchill's Conservatives in the British general election of 1945, the Indian National Congress and Mohammed Ali Jinnah‘s Muslim Started negotiations for Indian independence with the Muslim League.

    Gandhiji played an active role in this conference, but he could not live up to his hope for  an integrated India .

    After this, only one final plan remained which was for the partition of the subcontinent into two independent states consisting of predominantly Hindu India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan .

    Before independence, on August 15, 1947, violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims. Later, the killings increased manifold. Gandhi visited riot-torn areas in appeals for peace and fasted in an effort to end the bloodshed. 

    However, some Hindus saw Gandhi as a traitor for expressing sympathy towards Muslims.

    Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

    On January 30, 1948, at the age of 78, Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse , a Hindu extremist who was angered by Gandhi's tolerance of Muslims.

    Godse took the life of a pacifist who spent his entire life for and propagated non-violence.

    Godse and a co-conspirator were hanged in November 1949. Additional conspirators were given prison sentences.

    Legacy 

    Satyagraha is one of the most powerful philosophies in the freedom struggle across the world today. Gandhi's works inspired future human rights movements around the world, including civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States of America and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Were. 

     

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