Remembering Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi, byname of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India—died January 30, 1948, Delhi), Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. He played an important role in India's freedom struggle.  He worked diligently using his concept of Satyagraha to end the British rule in India as well as to improve the lives of India’s poor people. Let us have a look about Mahatma Gandhi's life, movements, famous quotations written by him etc.  

Early Life and Family Background

He was born on 2 October, 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat. His father’s name was Karamchand Gandhi and mother’s name was Putlibai. At the age of 13 years, Mahatma Gandhi was married to Kasturba which is an arranged marriage. They had four sons namely Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas. She supported all the endeavors of her husband till her death in 1944.

His father was Dewan or Chief Minister of Porbandar, the capital of a small principality in Western British India (Now Gujarat State). Mahatma Gandhi was the son of his father's fourth wife Putlibai, who belonged to an affluent Vaishnava family. Let us tell you that in his earlier days, he was deeply influenced by the stories of Shravana and Harishchandra as they reflected the importance of truth.

Education

When Gandhi was 9 years old he went to a local school at Rajkot and studied the basics of arithmetic, history, geography and languages. At the age of 11, he went to a high school in Rajkot. Because of his wedding, atleast about one year his studies was disturbed and later he joined and completed his schooling. He joined Samaldas college in Bhavnagar in 1888 at Gujarat. Later, one of his family friend Mavji Dave Joshi to pursue further studies that is law in London. Gandhi ji was not satisfied with the studies at Samaldas College and so he became excited by the London proposaland managed to convince his mother and wife that he will not touch non-veg, wine or women.

Off to England


In the year 1888, Mahatma Gandhi left for London to study law. There, after 10 days of arrival, he joined the Inner Temple, one of the four London Law colleges and studied and practiced law. In London, he also joined a Vegetarian Society and introduced to Bhagavad Gita by some of his vegetarian friends. Later, Bhagavad Gita set an impressions and influence his life.

Gandhi took his studies seriously and tried to brush up on his English and Latin by taking the University of London matriculation examination. But, during the three years he spent in England, his main preoccupation was with personal and moral issues rather than with academic ambitions.

In the boardinghouses and vegetarian restaurants of England, Gandhi met not only food faddists but some earnest men and women to whom he owed his introduction to the Bible and, more important, the Bhagavadgita, which he read for the first time in its English translation by Sir Edwin Arnold. The Bhagavadgita (commonly known as the Gita) is part of the great epic the Mahabharata and, in the form of a philosophical poem, is the most-popular expression of Hinduism.

21 Years In South Africa

In May, 1893 he went to South Africa to work as a lawyer. There he had first-hand experience of racial discrimination when he was thrown out of the first class apartment of the train despite holding the first class ticket because it was reserved for white people only and no Indian or black was allowed to travel in the first class. This incident had serious effect on him and he decided to protest against racial discrimination. He further observed that this type of incidents is quite common against his fellow Indians who were derogatorily referred as coolies.

On 22 May, 1894 Gandhi established the National Indian Congress (NIC) and worked hard to improve rights of Indians in South Africa.  In a short period of time, Gandhi became a leader of the Indian community in South Africa. Tirukkural an ancient Indian literature, originally written in Tamil and later translated into various languages. Gandhi ji was also influenced by this ancient book. Actually, he was influenced by the idea of Satyagraha that is devotion of truth and in 1906 implemented non-voilent protests. He returned to India in 1915, after spending 21 years of his life in South Africa and  no doubt, there he fought for the civil rights and at this time he was transformed into a new person.

Role in Indian Independence Movement


In the year 1915, when Gandhi ji returned to India permanently and joined the Indian National Congress with Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his mentor.

Gandhi's first major achievements were in 1918 when he led the Champaran and Kheda agitations of Bihar and Gujarat. He also led Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Swaraj and Quit-India movement against the British government.

Mahatma Gandhi: Satyagraha

Gandhi identified his overall method of non-violent action as Satyagraha. Gandhi's Satyagraha has influenced eminent personalities such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King in their struggle for freedom, equality and social justice. Satyagraha is based on the truth principles and following non-violence at the same time.

Ahimsa and satyagraha

It is important to note the intrinsic connection between ahimsa and satyagraha. Satyagraha is sometimes used to refer to the whole principle of nonviolence, where it is essentially the same as ahimsa, and sometimes used in a “marked” meaning to refer specifically to direct action that is largely obstructive, for example in the form of civil disobedience.

Gandhi says:

It is perhaps clear from the foregoing, that without ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find Truth. Ahimsa and Truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them. They are like the two sides of a coin, or rather of a smooth unstamped metallic disk. Nevertheless, ahimsa is the means; Truth is the end. Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so ahimsa is our supreme duty.

Mahatma Gandhi: Death

At 5:17 pm on 30 January 1948, Gandhi was with his grandnieces in the garden of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), on his way to address a prayer meeting, when Nathuram Godse fired three bullets from a Beretta M1934 9mm Corto pistol into his chest at point-blank range. According to some accounts, Gandhi died instantly.In other accounts, such as one prepared by an eyewitness journalist, Gandhi was carried into the Birla House, into a bedroom. There he died about 30 minutes later as one of Gandhi's family members read verses from Hindu scriptures.

Gandhi's death was mourned nationwide. Over a million people joined the five-mile long funeral procession that took over five hours to reach Raj Ghat from Birla house, where he was assassinated, and another million watched the procession pass by. Gandhi's body was transported on a weapons carrier, whose chassis was dismantled overnight to allow a high-floor to be installed so that people could catch a glimpse of his body. The engine of the vehicle was not used; instead four drag-ropes manned by 50 people each pulled the vehicle.

The Birla House site where Gandhi was assassinated is now a memorial called Gandhi Smriti. The place near Yamuna river where he was cremated is the Rāj Ghāt memorial in New Delhi. A black marble platform, it bears the epigraph "Hey Raam". These are widely believed to be Gandhi's last words after he was shot, though the veracity of this statement has been disputed.

Literary works

Gandhi was a prolific writer. Some of his literary works are as following:

• Hind Swaraj, published in Gujarati in 1909.
• He edited several newspapers which included Harijan in Gujarati, in Hindi and in the English language; Indian Opinion, Young India, in English, and Navajivan, a Gujarati monthly.
• Gandhi also wrote his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
• His other autobiographies included: Satyagraha in South Africa, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule.

Awards


• In 1930, Gandhi was named the Man of the Year by the Time Magazine.
• In 2011, Time magazine named Gandhi as one of the top 25 political icons of all time.
• He did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize despite being nominated five times between 1937 and 1948.
• The Government of India institutionalized the annual Gandhi Peace Prize to distinguished social workers, world leaders and citizens. Nelson Mandela, the leader of South Africa's struggle against apartheid was a recipient of the award.

Mahatma Gandhi: Film

Ben Kingsley portrayed Mahatma Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Therefore, Mahatma Gandhi would be remebered forever as he spread the message of non-voilence, truth, faith in God and also he fought for the India's Independence. His methods inspired various leaders, youth not only in India but also out of India. In Indian history, he is considered as a most prominent personality and as a simplest person who wear dhoti. He spread the message of swaraj and taught Indian how to become an independent.

Mahatma Gandhi: Important Quotes

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi

"The future depends on what we do in the present" - Mahatma Gandhi

"Where there is love there is life" - Mahatma Gandhi

"No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into."  - Mahatma Gandhi

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." - Mahatma Gandhi

"You must be the change you wish to see in the World." - Mahatma Gandhi


 
 

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