Introduction: Gandhiji was one of the greatest Indian of all time. He is called the “Father of the Indian Nation”. His original name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was given the title of “Mahatma“, which implies “Great Soul“. People also call him “Bapu” affectionately.Early life: The birth of Mahatma Gandhi took place on 2nd day of October in 1869 at Porbandar (Gujarat). His father, Karamchand Gandhi, was a noble and pious man. Mr. Karamchand was the chief Dewan of the State of Rajkot.
His mother, Putlibai, was a simple and religious lady. In his early age, Gandhiji was deeply influenced by the religious and pious behaviour of her mother.
Gandhiji received his early education and training from such pious parents. He grew up to be deeply religious, truthful, honest, and fearless from his very boyhood. He was married to Kasturba Gandhi in 1983. The wedding took place according to traditional custom.
As a child, he was a brilliant student. He completed his matriculation examination in 1887. After a brief study, he traveled to England to study barrister-in-law. In 1991, he became a barrister and returned back to home country.
South Africa: At the age of 24, Mahatma Gandhi went to South Africa as a lawyer. He had spent twenty-one years at South Africa from 1893 to 1914. As a lawyer, he was mainly employed by Indians staying at South Africa. He found that Indians and other dark skinned people were the oppressed section of the society. He himself faced discrimination on several occasions. He was once disallowed to travel on first-class and thrown out of the train. He was moved by the poor condition of Indians and decided to fight against the injustice. In 1894, he formed the Indian Natal Congress to fight for the civil rights of the Indian community in South Africa.
While at South Africa, he fought for the civil rights and privileges of the Indians living in South Africa. Throughout his struggle, he taught people to fight for their rights through non-violence. Hence, he made his mark as a great political leader in South Africa.
India: He returned to India in 1915. Later, he was the president of Indian National Congress. He protested against the mis-rule of the British Government. He had been associated with several national movements during India’s struggle for independence such as Non-cooperation Movement in 1920, Satyagraha, Quit India Movement in 1942, etc. On several occasions, he was sent to prison. There was wide participation of women in the freedom movements led by Gandhi.
Non-cooperation was his great weapon. The Non-cooperation Movement as a non-violent protest against the use of the British made goods by Indians. It was a movement of the masses of India.
Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March was a protest against the tax regime of British in India. Gandhiji produced salt at Dandi without paying the salt tax. The Civil Disobediance Movement movement got support of millions of common people.
Also read: Causes, Effects and Significance of Civil Disobedience Movement in India
In 1942, Gandhi raised the ‘Quit India’ slogan. Gandhiji asked the British Government to “Quit India”. The Quit India Movement was the most powerful movement launched by Gandhi to end the British rule in India. He gave the famous slogan of “Do or die” for the freedom of mother country.
Principles: He followed the principles of non-violence, truth and peace throughout his life. He guided his fellow citizens to struggle for freedom, not by using weapons, but by following ahimsa (non-violence), peace (Shanti) and truth (Sayta). He proved that Ahimsa (non-violence) is more powerful than the sword. He adopted the principles of satyagraha in the Indian Independence movements.
Gandhian era in Indian History: His remained the most influential leader of India’s freedom movement during the period from 1919 to 1948 and thus the period is called the ‘Gandhian Era’in Indian history.
Importance: He is a well-known world personality. He shook off the British imperialism. The British were compelled to quit India. He secured freedom for our country following the principles of truth and non-violence. He was, thus, a saintly leader. Finally, India won its independence on 15th day of August in 1947.
Gandhi Jayanti: In India, Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every-year on the day of his birth-anniversary. It is a national holiday. The world celebrates 2nd October as the International day of non-violence.
Death: Unfortunately, the great saint was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30th January, 1948.
Conclusion: Thus, Mahatma Gandhi was both a saint and a practical leader of his compatriots. He was a simple, pure, unselfish and religious person. He did most of his personal jobs of his own. He fought for the freedom of India through non-violent and peaceful methods. He tried hard to raise the distressed sections of the society. He fought against illiteracy. He dreamt of providing mass employment through Charka and Khaddar. He always felt for the poor and untouchables people. He wanted to abolish untouchability from Indian society.
The life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi were so glorious that people around the world still pay homage to him. We will always remember his in our hearts.