Ghandi, it's a name everyone knows. How much do people know about the man behind the name? Mahatama Ghandi is the former leader of India's independence movement. He has been hailed as the primary example for non-violent civil disobedience.
In the Beginning
Ghandi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India. He went to school in Rajkot. At the time his father was serving as the prime minister or adviser for the local ruler. His father, Karamchand Ghandi, passed away before Ghandi finished his schooling. His mother was Putilabi. She was deeply religious and fasted on a regular basis. He grew up following Jainism, the Indian religion that supports vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, and fasting. At the age of thirteen he did marry Kasturba, who was the same age as Ghandi himself. He decided to sail to England in 1888 to study law. As a young Indian he had a rough time adjusting to Western culture. He stayed in London for three years where he became even more dedicated to making sure his diet remained free of meat. Even joining the London Vegetarian Society. Ghandi returned to India in 1891. Where he received the unfortunate news his mother had passed away a few weeks earlier before his return. Ghandi struggled as a lawyer. During his first courtroom case he came to a blank when he had to cross examine a witness. Ghandi left the courtroom, but later reimbursed his client for the legal fees. Ghandi managed to obtain a one year contract for performing legal services in South Africa. It was not until South Africa Ghandi began to show signs of his true calling. He was shocked by the racial segregation and discrimination of his country men at the hands of white Boer and British authorities. During first time in a Durban courtroom, Ghandi was asked to take off his turban. He refused and exited the courtroom. Later The Natal Advertiser made a mockery of Ghandi's refusal in print by labeling Ghandi as “an unwelcome visitor.”
Most Known For
Ghandi returned to his homeland, India, in 1914 while it was still under British control. At this time he founded the ashram known as Ahmedabad which was open to all castes. He wore a shawl and loincloth. Living a strict life devoted to meditation, prayer, and fasting. It was during this time he soon became known as “Mahatama” or “the great souled one.” He soon became a leader for the Indian independence movement. He called for people to stop purchasing and paying taxes for British goods, mass boycotts, students to stop attending the government schools, and more. During the Salt Acts set in in place by Britain in 1930. Ghandi planned another Satyagraha campaign that involved a 240 mile trek to the Arabian Sea. There he would collect the salt as a symbol of defiance for the government's monopoly on salt. He was imprisoned, but later released in May of the same year. Time magazine named Ghandi “Man of the Year” in 1930. In August 1931, he was the only representative of the Indian National Congress at the London Round Table Conference.
Where Are They Now
Despite his death on January 20, 1948 Ghandi's legacy of non-violence lives on. His belief for simple living for eating a vegetarian diet, making his own clothes, and the self-purification he used to protest. Have continued to be a symbol of hope for people around the world. Satyagraha continues to remain a potent philosophy about freedom struggles even to this day. Ghandi's actions inspired a few human rights movements around the world too. Including Nelson Madela in South Africa and Martin Luthor King Jr. in the United States.
On June 7, 1893 on a trip to Pretoria. There was a white man who objected to Ghandi's presence in the first class railway compartment. Despite the fact Ghandi had his ticket. He refused to move to the back of the train. Ghandi was forcibly taken from the train and tossed out of the station in Pietermaritzburg. In 1894, he formed the Natal Indian Congress in his fight against discrimination. During the Boer War he was able to raise an all Indian ambulance corps which consisted of 1,100 volunteers who supported the British cause.