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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Hindi: मोहनदास करमचन्द गांधी; Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was a leader of nationalism in British-ruled India. He is more commonly called Mahatma Gandhi; mahatma is an honorific meaning "high-souled" or "venerable" in Sanskrit. He was first called this in 1914 in South Africa. He is also called Bapu in India (Gujarati endearment for "father", "papa").
Early life[edit | edit source]
Mohandas Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, India. Several members of his family worked for the government of the state. When Gandhi was 18 years old, he went to England to study law. After he became a lawyer, he went to the British colony of South Africa where he experienced laws that said people with dark skin had fewer rights than people with light skin. He decided then to become a political activist, so he could help change these unfair laws. He created a powerful, non-violent movement. During Gandhi's life, India was a colony of the United Kingdom, but wanted independence.
As an activist[edit | edit source]
In 1930, Gandhi led the Salt March.
When he returned to India, he helped cause India's independence from British rule, inspiring other colonial people to work for their own independence, break up the British Empire, and replace it with the Commonwealth.
People of many different religions and ethnic groups lived in British India. Many people thought that the country should break into separate countries so that different groups could have their own countries. In particular, many people thought that Hindus and Muslims should have separate countries. Gandhi was a Hindu, but he liked ideas from many religions including Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and he thought that people of all religions should have the same rights, and could live together peacefully in the same country.
In 1938, Gandhi resigned from Congress. He said that he was no longer able to work through Congress to unite the divisions in caste and religion. He also felt that he had little to offer to the political process.
In 1947, British Indian Empire became independent, and broke into two different countries, India and Pakistan. Gandhi wanted independence, but did not want the split into two different countries. Instead of celebrating on independence day, he was mourning the division of India.
Gandhi's principle of satyagraha, often translated as "way of truth" or "pursuit of truth", has inspired other democratic and anti-racist activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Gandhi often said that his values were simple, based upon traditional Hindu beliefs: truth (satya), and non-violence (ahimsa).
Death[edit | edit source]
On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by an extremist Hindu activist, Nathuram Godse, who was angry because he felt that Gandhi was too lenient towards Muslims. Godse was hanged as punishment for this.
References[edit | edit source]
- Chakrabarty, Bid Social and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi Routledge 2006 page 1
- Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi (1997). The Mahatma and the Poet. New Delhi: National Book Trust, India. p. 1.
- Hook, Sue van der Mahatma Gandhi: Proponent of Peace ABDO 2011 page 14
- Agarwal, Satya P. Social Message of the Gita Motilal Banarsidass; 1st edition 1995 page 114
- Adams, Jad. Gandhi: The True Man Behind Modern India. Pegasus Books, 2011: New York. Page 217.
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