Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is called Mahatma. He was an astute politician, who fought to liberate India from British rule and raised his voice for the rights of poor Indians. The lesson of non-violent protest taught by him is still remembered with respect all over the world.
Let us know how this priest of non-violence and peace, who himself belonged to a rich family, became the representative of the poor of India, who was a rebel in his adolescence.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in the princely state of Porbandar in north-western India.
- His family was a rich family. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s father, Karamchand (pictured) was Diwan in the court of the king of the princely state of Porbandar.
- His mother was a religious woman, she taught Mohan solid lessons of Hindu traditions and morals.
1883: A Rebellious Youth
- With the intention of providing good upbringing to the children, Mohandas’s father brought his family from Porbandar to Rajkot to live. There were arrangements for good education here and Mohandas was taught English.
- At the age of 13, Mohandas Gandhi was married to Kasturba. She was a resident of Rajkot and at the time of marriage, Kasturba was one year older than Mohandas i.e. 14 years old. Mohandas Gandhi was a rebellious youth at that time.
1888-Study of law in London
- Mohandas Gandhi was studying in Bhavnagar College, Bombay but he was not happy there. Then he got an offer to study law at the famous Inner Temple in London.
- The elders of the family explained to Mohandas that if he went to study abroad, he would be thrown out of the caste. But, ignoring the objections of his elders, Gandhi went to London to study.
1893: Barrister leaves for South Africa
- After completing his law studies, Mohandas Gandhi returned to India and started practicing law. He lost his first case. During this time, he was thrown out of the house of a British officer.
- Mohandas Gandhi, deeply insulted by this incident, got an offer to work in South Africa, which he immediately accepted.
- When he was traveling in the first class compartment of a train in South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi was thrown out of the compartment along with his luggage by an Englishman.
- He founded the Indian Congress in South Africa against the step-motherly treatment and discrimination against non-resident Indians in South Africa. In Natal province, Gandhi started fighting against keeping Indians separate from the rest of the society.
- During this time, Gandhi took a vow of celibacy and started wearing white dhoti, which is considered a modesty garment in Hindu tradition.
1914: Success in South Africa
- In 1913, Mohandas Gandhi started a movement against the 3 pound tax imposed on Indians living in South Africa.
- This victory of Gandhi against British rule in South Africa was widely publicized by the newspapers of England. After this success, Gandhi became known internationally.
1915: Return to India
- After the success of his movement in South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi returned home as a winner. During this time, Gandhi announced his opposition to the Rowlatt Act, a black law brought by the British government.
- Under this law, the government had the power to arrest any citizen and put them in jail merely on suspicion of extremism.
- On the orders of Mohandas Gandhi, thousands of people across the country took to the streets against this Act. Protests took place in many cities.
1921: Struggle for India’s independence
- Started the non-cooperation movement of the people against British rule. On Gandhi’s appeal, the people of India started boycotting British goods.
1930: Salt March for Independence
- While preparing a handful of salt after the Salt Satyagraha, Gandhi had said, ‘With this one handful of salt I am shaking the roots of the British Empire.’
1947: India got Independence
- The demand for independence among Indians was becoming stronger day by day. Eventually, the British government was forced to start discussions for India’s independence.
- But, its result was not the one for which Gandhi was struggling for so long. Under the Mountbatten Plan, India was divided into two independent countries named India and Pakistan.
1948: Murder of a great soul
One day when he was going to a prayer meeting at Birla House in Delhi, he was attacked by a Hindu fundamentalist. Gandhi was shot three times in the chest. When Mahatma Gandhi’s last journey took place in Delhi, more than one million people participated in it. His last rites were performed on the banks of Yamuna. People all over the world mourned the passing of this man who was a devotee of non-violence and peace.