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Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar,
India, it was one of the many tiny states in Kathiawar. He was born on October
2, 1869. He was born in middle class family of Vaishya caste. His grandfather was
the Dewan or Prime Minister of Porbandar and was eventually taken over by his
son Karamchand who was Gandhi’s father. Putlibai, Mohandas’s mother, was a
great woman, she was gentle, caring, and she taught her sons very useful
lessons and it stuck with them through their whole life. Mohandas went to an
elementary school in Porbandar as well. Even though he was very intelligent, as
a kid he struggled with his multiplication table. Growing up, Gandhi developed
strong beliefs. What Gandhi is mostly known for however, is that he was the
primary leader of India’s independence movement. He also had a major impact in
the non-violent civil disobedience that he called Satyagraha which greatly
influenced the world. India’s non-violent independence movement was against the
British and it took place in South Africa where they were fighting for India’s
independence. Mahatma studied law and organized protests against British
Institutions. He did it in peaceful ways, but it was still considered civil
disobedience; this was illegal so all of it ended up causing Gandhi to get
arrested a total of 13 times through this whole movement. Gandhi was very well
educated and had a degree in a couple of things, everything started though
after he got his degree in law. After completing his degree in Law, Gandhi returned
to India, where he was sent to South Africa to practice more law. In South
Africa, Gandhi was struck by the level of racial discrimination and unfairness that
most Indians have to go through. It was in South Africa that Gandhi first tried
with campaigns of civil disobedience and protest. Although Gandhi was in prison
for short periods of time, he also supported the British under certain
conditions. He was rewarded by getting decorated by the British for his efforts
during the Boer War and Zulu rebellion. A major part of leading this whole
movement for Gandhi was the non-violent actions and protests, Gandhi frequently
called off strikes and non-violent protest if he heard people were rioting or
violence was involved. Gandhi successfully led a series of non-violent protest.
Gandhi also encouraged his followers to practice inner discipline to get ready
for independence. Gandhi said the Indians had to prove they were deserving of
independence. He said this to argue against the beliefs of other independence
leaders such as Aurobindo Ghose, who argued that Indian independence was not
about whether India would offer better or worse government, but that it was the
right for India to have self-government. Later on in his life in 1930, Gandhi
led a famous march to the sea in protest at the new Salt Acts. In the sea, they
made their own salt, in violation of British regulations. Hundreds were
arrested and Indian jails were full of Indian independence followers. However,
while the campaign was working at its greatest potential some Indian protesters
killed some British civilians, and as a result, Gandhi called off the
independence movement saying that India was not ready. This broke the heart of
many Indians committed to independence. It led to members of the political
party like Bhagat Singh carrying on the campaign for independence, which was
pretty strong in Bengal. After the war,
Britain finally said that they would give India independence. However, with the
support of the Muslims led by Jinnah, the British planned to divide India into
two: India and Pakistan. Although Gandhi was opposed to this agreement, he
worked really hard to show that Muslims and Hindus could live together
peacefully. At his prayer meetings, Muslim prayers were read out alongside
Hindu and Christian prayers. However, Gandhi agreed to the whole plan and spent
the day of Independence in prayer hating the separation. Even Gandhi’s appeals
were not very successful to prevent the wave of violence and killing that
followed the sharing of land between India and Pakistan. There was a lot of
people that didn’t like what Gandhi did and stood for during India’s
independence movement. Gandhi went through six known assassination attempts
during the course of his life. The first attempt came on June 25, 1934, when he
was in Pune giving a speech with his wife, Kasturba. Since Gandhi was an
important person he was escorted in a motorcade of two cars, they were in the
second car, which fell behind because of an oncoming train at a railway
crossing, the other car got past, causing the two vehicles to separate. When
the first vehicle arrived at the speech venue, a bomb was thrown at the car,
which exploded and injured several people. No investigations were carried out
at the time, and no arrests were made. There was one very unfortunate event
that happened and many things led to the attack from Nathuram Godse, a Hindu
fundamentalist that was against Gandhi’s non-violent acceptance and tolerance
of all religions, he felt the need to settle the fight of the supremacy of the
Hindu religion. Godse was the person responsible for the eventual assassination
of Gandhi. On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram
Vinayak Godse’s bullets during an evening prayer ceremony at Birla House in
Delhi. Standing at the top of the top gate of the Birla House, Prime Minister
Jawaharlal Nehru announced to the world the “light has gone out of our lives”.
Eight men were convicted in the murder trial inside Red Fort by a special
court, ordered by an order of the central government. During court Nathuram
Godse said, “I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and
action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to millions of Hindus,” He
also added, “I bear no ill will towards anyone individually, but I do say that
I had no respect for the present government owing to their policy, which was
unfairly favorable towards the Muslims. But at the same time, I could clearly
see that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhi.” Eventually, Godse
and co-conspirator Narayan Apte were hanged for the murder of Mahatma Mohandas
Gandhi on November 15, 1949. Godse had been an active member of the RSS and the
Hindu Mahasabha and ran a nationalist newspaper called Hindu Rashtra. There was
even a political psychologist and social theorist Ashis Nandy that wrote in his
book “At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture” that Godse did
not find the RSS militant enough, and in the Hindu Mahasabha “he found a more
legitimate expression of the Hindu search for political potency”. He did a very
bad thing to a person known as Mahatma, or who a lot of people even called,
“the great soul”. During his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of
civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the
world, even making a big mark on Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.


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