Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar,India, it was one of the many tiny states in Kathiawar.
He was born on October2, 1869. He was born in middle class family of Vaishya caste. His grandfather wasthe Dewan or Prime Minister of Porbandar and was eventually taken over by hisson Karamchand who was Gandhi’s father. Putlibai, Mohandas’s mother, was agreat woman, she was gentle, caring, and she taught her sons very usefullessons and it stuck with them through their whole life. Mohandas went to anelementary school in Porbandar as well.
Even though he was very intelligent, asa kid he struggled with his multiplication table. Growing up, Gandhi developedstrong beliefs. What Gandhi is mostly known for however, is that he was theprimary leader of India’s independence movement. He also had a major impact inthe non-violent civil disobedience that he called Satyagraha which greatlyinfluenced the world. India’s non-violent independence movement was against theBritish and it took place in South Africa where they were fighting for India’sindependence. Mahatma studied law and organized protests against BritishInstitutions. He did it in peaceful ways, but it was still considered civildisobedience; this was illegal so all of it ended up causing Gandhi to getarrested a total of 13 times through this whole movement.
Gandhi was very welleducated and had a degree in a couple of things, everything started thoughafter he got his degree in law. After completing his degree in Law, Gandhi returnedto India, where he was sent to South Africa to practice more law. In SouthAfrica, Gandhi was struck by the level of racial discrimination and unfairness thatmost Indians have to go through.
It was in South Africa that Gandhi first triedwith campaigns of civil disobedience and protest. Although Gandhi was in prisonfor short periods of time, he also supported the British under certainconditions. He was rewarded by getting decorated by the British for his effortsduring the Boer War and Zulu rebellion. A major part of leading this wholemovement for Gandhi was the non-violent actions and protests, Gandhi frequentlycalled off strikes and non-violent protest if he heard people were rioting orviolence was involved. Gandhi successfully led a series of non-violent protest.Gandhi also encouraged his followers to practice inner discipline to get readyfor independence. Gandhi said the Indians had to prove they were deserving ofindependence.
He said this to argue against the beliefs of other independenceleaders such as Aurobindo Ghose, who argued that Indian independence was notabout whether India would offer better or worse government, but that it was theright for India to have self-government. Later on in his life in 1930, Gandhiled a famous march to the sea in protest at the new Salt Acts. In the sea, theymade their own salt, in violation of British regulations. Hundreds werearrested and Indian jails were full of Indian independence followers. However,while the campaign was working at its greatest potential some Indian protesterskilled some British civilians, and as a result, Gandhi called off theindependence movement saying that India was not ready. This broke the heart ofmany Indians committed to independence. It led to members of the politicalparty like Bhagat Singh carrying on the campaign for independence, which waspretty strong in Bengal.
After the war,Britain finally said that they would give India independence. However, with thesupport of the Muslims led by Jinnah, the British planned to divide India intotwo: India and Pakistan. Although Gandhi was opposed to this agreement, heworked really hard to show that Muslims and Hindus could live togetherpeacefully. At his prayer meetings, Muslim prayers were read out alongsideHindu and Christian prayers. However, Gandhi agreed to the whole plan and spentthe day of Independence in prayer hating the separation. Even Gandhi’s appealswere not very successful to prevent the wave of violence and killing thatfollowed the sharing of land between India and Pakistan.
There was a lot ofpeople that didn’t like what Gandhi did and stood for during India’sindependence movement. Gandhi went through six known assassination attemptsduring the course of his life. The first attempt came on June 25, 1934, when hewas in Pune giving a speech with his wife, Kasturba. Since Gandhi was animportant person he was escorted in a motorcade of two cars, they were in thesecond car, which fell behind because of an oncoming train at a railwaycrossing, the other car got past, causing the two vehicles to separate. Whenthe first vehicle arrived at the speech venue, a bomb was thrown at the car,which exploded and injured several people. No investigations were carried outat the time, and no arrests were made. There was one very unfortunate eventthat happened and many things led to the attack from Nathuram Godse, a Hindufundamentalist that was against Gandhi’s non-violent acceptance and toleranceof all religions, he felt the need to settle the fight of the supremacy of theHindu religion.
Godse was the person responsible for the eventual assassinationof Gandhi. On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by NathuramVinayak Godse’s bullets during an evening prayer ceremony at Birla House inDelhi. Standing at the top of the top gate of the Birla House, Prime MinisterJawaharlal 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 specialcourt, ordered by an order of the central government. During court NathuramGodse said, “I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy andaction had brought rack and ruin and destruction to millions of Hindus,” Healso added, “I bear no ill will towards anyone individually, but I do say thatI had no respect for the present government owing to their policy, which wasunfairly favorable towards the Muslims. But at the same time, I could clearlysee that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhi.” Eventually, Godseand co-conspirator Narayan Apte were hanged for the murder of Mahatma MohandasGandhi on November 15, 1949.
Godse had been an active member of the RSS and theHindu Mahasabha and ran a nationalist newspaper called Hindu Rashtra. There waseven a political psychologist and social theorist Ashis Nandy that wrote in hisbook “At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture” that Godse didnot find the RSS militant enough, and in the Hindu Mahasabha “he found a morelegitimate expression of the Hindu search for political potency”. He did a verybad 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 ofcivil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around theworld, even making a big mark on Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.