“In a gentle way you can shake the world”- MAHATMA GANDHI
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd of October in 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat, India. He is also famous in India as ‘Bapu’ or Rashtrapita’ for his contributions towards the independence of our country. He is known as ‘Mahatma’ because of the great deeds done by him throughout his life. He was a great freedom fighter and a noble activist. He followed as well as advocated nonviolence throughout his life.
Born to a Hindu merchant class family, he completed his schooling in India and went to England for further study of law. After studying law, he went to South Africa where he raised his voice against the discrimination against Indians and other dark people. While doing so he always adopted peaceful means. He supported a large number of Indians in South Africa and started his agitation for racial equality. In course of this struggle, he evolved his own form of struggle known as Non-Cooperation whereby, masses were asked not to cooperate with exploitative authority to get demands accepted. This form of struggle was further developed as Civil Disobedience whereby, masses were asked not to obey with established system and practices to achieve their objective.
Mahatma Gandhi was a moral revolutionary. He kept morality in actions as to be the expression of truth. He believed that truth never damages a cause that is just.
Mahatma Gandhi also evolved his own technique of struggle known as Satyagraha that was based on two important principles of truth and nonviolence (ahimsa). He used these techniques in the Indian Independence movement and also in South Africa for rights of Indians there.
Mahatma Gandhi arrived in India in 1915 and since then began his struggle for independence of our nation. He assisted farmers of Champaran, Kheda, and Ahmedabad in their crisis and advocated the principles of arbitration and trusteeship for the same. It is due to his support and effective leadership in these instances that he began to be followed by masses readily.
He has been an integral part of several national movements during India’s freedom struggle like the Non-cooperation Movement (1920), Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement in 1942 etc. As a great freedom fighter, he had to face prison from time to time. These agitations by Gandhi saw a widespread participation of women because of his huge influence on the common masses.
The tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh urged him to start the Non-cooperation Movement. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s first mass movement whereby he urged the masses to boycott British made goods and institutions established by the British.
In 1930, Gandhi led the second and most organized mass movement that took the form the Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March. Along with his followers, Mahatma Gandhi started this historic march from his ashram to the coast of Dandi where he declared submission before British authority as crime.
In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement whereby Mahatma Gandhi asked the British to leave India. It was during this struggle that he gave the slogan ‘Do or Die’. He believed that in this movement the masses would either liberate India or die peacefully.
After his long struggle along with other Indians, he finally succeeded in making India an independent nation. Unfortunately, this great personality was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30th of January in 1948. Mahatma Gandhi has been given the name of “Martyr of the Nation” by Rabindranath Tagore.
Mahatma Gandhi was always concerned for the oppressed and untouchable people. He wanted to free India from untouchability and unjust society and bring about social justice. He gave untouchables a new name, Harijan. Moreover, he traveled across India agitating for their cause and for the upliftment of the distressed and backward classes in our country.
Gandhi launched Swadeshi movement to get over poverty and unemployment in India. He promoted village industries and khadi. He advocated that industrialism should be replaced by small-scale production and indigenous industry.
Mahatma Gandhi was a notable and an exceptional personality who is still inspiring the people of his country and even worldwide. He was the man who became “one with the people”. He rightly understood the power of unity in people irrespective of their religion, castes, gender, community, age or race. He was both a preacher and a follower. He fought for the country and at the same time tried his best to encourage and support the distressed sections of the society. He is rightly called ‘The Father of Our Nation’. His struggle shows that anything can be achieved with unity and nonviolence. A leader like him will always be revered and admired even by the generations to come.