Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi,

Born: October 2, 1869, Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency (now Gujarat)

Died: 30 January 1948, Delhi

Work/Achievements: Played the most important role in the freedom movement

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a prominent political leader of the Indian independence movement. By following the principles of Satyagraha and non-violence, he played an important role in getting India’s independence. These principles of his inspired people all over the world for civil rights and freedom movement. He is also called the Father of the Nation of India. In 1944, Subhash Chandra Bose addressed him as ‘Father of the Nation’ in the broadcast in the name of Gandhiji from Rangoon Radio.

Story of Jawaharlal Nehru

Mahatma Gandhi is an example for the entire human race. He followed non-violence and truth in every situation and asked people to follow them also. He lived his life in virtue. He always used to wear traditional Indian dress dhoti and shawl made of cotton. This great man, who always eats vegetarian food, also kept long fasts for self-purification many times.

Before coming back to India in 1915, Gandhi fought for the civil rights of the Indian community in South Africa as an expatriate lawyer. Coming to India, he toured the whole country and united farmers, laborers and workers to fight against heavy land tax and discrimination. In 1921, he took over the reins of the Indian National Congress and influenced the political, social and economic scenario of the country through his actions. He gained a lot of fame with the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and then the ‘Quit India’ movement in 1942. Gandhiji also imprisoned him for many years on several occasions during India’s freedom struggle. Go to home page

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Gandhi returned to India in June 1891 and came to know about his mother’s death there. He started advocacy in Bombay but did not get much success. After this he went to Rajkot where he started writing cases for the needy, but after some time he had to leave this work too.

Finally, in 1893, he accepted the work of advocacy from an Indian firm in Natal (South Africa) on a one-year contract.

Gandhi in South Africa (1893–1914)

Gandhi reached South Africa at the age of 24. He had gone there as a judicial advisor to some Indian businessmen based in Pretoria. He spent 21 years of his life in South Africa where his political thought and leadership skills developed. He faced severe racial discrimination in South Africa. Once he was thrown out of the train for refusing to go into the third class compartment once the train had a valid ticket for the first class coach.

All these events became a turning point in his life and became a cause of awareness about the prevailing social and political injustice. In view of the injustice being done to Indians in South Africa, questions related to the respect of Indians under the British Empire and their own identity began to arise in their mind.

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In South Africa, Gandhiji inspired Indians to fight for their political and social rights. He also raised the issue of citizenship of Indians with the South African government and actively motivated the British authorities to recruit Indians in the Zulu War of 1906. According to Gandhi, Indians should cooperate in the British war effort in order to legalize their citizenship claims.

As everyone anticipated, the British government arrested Gandhiji

and all the members of the Congress Working Committee in Mumbai on 9 August 1942 and Gandhiji was taken to the Aanga Khan Palace in Pune where he was imprisoned for two years. Meanwhile, his wife Kasturba Gandhi died on 22 February 1944 and after some time Gandhiji also suffered from malaria.

The British could not leave him in jail in this condition, so he was released on 6 May 1944 for necessary treatment. Despite partial success, the Quit India movement organized India and by the end of World War II, the British government had given a clear indication that power would soon be handed over to the Indians. Gandhiji ended the Quit India Movement and the government released about 1 lakh political prisoners.

In 1918, Kheda in Gujarat was hit by floods and drought, due to which the condition of farmers and poor became worse and people started demanding tax waiver. In Kheda, under the guidance of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel led the farmers to discuss this problem with the British. After this, the British released all the prisoners by giving them freedom from revenue collection. Thus after Champaran and Kheda, Gandhi’s fame spread across the country and he emerged as an important leader of the freedom movement.

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Khilafat Movement

Gandhiji got an opportunity to increase his popularity within the Congress and among the Muslims through the Khilafat movement. The Khilafat was a worldwide movement by which Muslims from all over the world were protesting the falling dominance of the Caliphate. The Ottoman Empire was fragmented after its defeat in World War I, due to which Muslims were concerned about the security of their religion and religious places.

The Khilafat in India was being led by the ‘All India Muslim Conference’. Gradually Gandhi became its chief spokesperson. He returned the honors and medals given by the British to express solidarity with the Indian Muslims. After this Gandhi became the only leader of not only the Congress but the country whose influence was on the people of different communities.

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Partition and independence of the country

As stated earlier, by the end of the Second World War, the British Government had signaled the independence of the country. Along with the freedom movement of India, the demand for a ‘separate Muslim majority country’ (Pakistan) under Jinnah’s leadership also intensified and in the 40s these forces made the demand for a separate nation ‘Pakistan’ in reality.

had changed. Gandhiji did not want the partition of the country because it was completely different from his principle of religious unity, but this did not happen and the British divided the country into two pieces – India and Pakistan.

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Gandhi’s assassination

On 30 January 1948, the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 pm at Birla House in Delhi. Gandhiji was on his way to address a prayer meeting when his assassin Nathuram Godse fired three bullets into his chest. It is believed that ‘Hey Ram’ was the last word that came out of his mouth. Nathuram Godse and his associate were tried and sentenced to death in 1949. Go to home page

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