Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but we know him better as Mahatma Gandhi or Father of Nation. He was born on 2nd oct. 1869. Every year 2nd Oct. is celebrated as Gandhi jayanti a national holiday, and worldwide as a International Day of Non- Violence.
He was born in Porbandar, the state of Gujarat. He got married at the age of 13. He studied law in England from 1888 to 1891. He started his carrier as a lawyer, but unfortunately lost his first case. He stood ineptly tongue tied in court. Then he started part time job as a high school teacher, then went to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petition for litigants a business he was forced to close when to ran afoul of british officer. In April 1893, he accepted a year long contract from Dada Abdulla & Co., an Indian firm to a post in the Coloby of Natal, South Africa, then part of British Empire.
In South Africa, Gandhi faced discrimination directed at Indians. He was thrown off a train after refusing to move to third class from first class, in spite of holding a valid first class ticket. Travelling further on by a stage coach he was beaten by the driver on refusing to travel on foot board to make room for European passengers. He suffered other hardship on the journey as well, including being bared from several hotels. In another incident , magistrate of Durban court ordered him to remove this turban which he refused to do. These incidents were the turning point in his life. He worked towards uniting South African Indians to protest against the discrimination and racial bias. After a few brief spells in prison, he succeeded in getting the local governace to relax its law for the first time in 1908 then again in 1914. He stayed there for 20 years.
He finally returned to India in 1915. He established Sabarmati ashram in Ahmadabad, which became platform for introducing long needed social reforms like Harijan welfare, small scale industries, rehabilitation of lepers. His quintessential need to see world at peace spearheaded him into the whirlpool of politics, after which there was no looking back. Once a tongue tied lawyer would kindle a nation’s imagination and shape its history.
He protested against Rowlett Bill and started a non- violent non- co operation movement in India against the tyrant British Rule. He violated salt law by marching to Dandi in March 1930 and making salt. And in 1932, he started Civil Disobedience Movement.
In 1942, he nailed the final nail in the grave of British India Government with his Quit India movement. Freedom came but at a price, nation was partitioned. Hindu dominated India and muslim
dominated Pakistan. Gandhi opposed partition, he dreamt of a free and self reliant India where Christian, Hindu, Muslim would live in harmony and work towards better world.
On Jan. 30th 1948, Gandhi was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse. At that time Gandhi was having his public walk on the grounds of Birla House in New Delhi.
Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth or satya. He tried to achieve this from his own mistake and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography ”The Story of My Experiments with Truth”. Truth or satya in Gandhi’s philosophy is God.
Gandhi was the first to apply the principle of Non- violence in the political field on huge scale. He believed that war leads one to dictatorship but non- violence leads one to pure democracy. He says power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment. A society organized and run on basis of complete non- violence would be the purest anarchy.
He believed that a person involved in social service should lead a simple life. His simplicity began by renouncing the western life style he was leading in South Africa. He wear khadi a loin cloth and shawl which he woven himself.
Gandhi spent one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace. On such day he communicate with others by writing on paper.
Gandhi refused to read news paper claiming that the tumultuous state of world affair caused him more confusion than his own inner unrest. He was a prolific writer and edited several news paper in gujrati, hindi and english. He has written many books including his autobiography, An Autobiography of My Experiments with truth, Satyagrah in South Africa about his struggles and also Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, a political pamphlet and a para phase in Gujrati of John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. He also wrote extensively on vegetarianism, diet, health,religion and social reform.
He led his life that confirms his preaching and his doctrine on non-violence have became a beacon of light for the world.
The above photo is of Raj ghat, Delhi, place where Gandhi was cremated. Though Gandhi is not with us but his principles will always be there in the heart of people.
In every year on 2nd October, We celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in remembrance of him and this is a National Holiday alongwith Independence Day
and Republic Day.