Our today’s Motivator is someone who has not only made his folks proud by living there dream but made the dream of 1.2 billion Indians a reality. His journey is far-fetching and wondrous. From once been thrown out of the train for being black in the white’s world to the honor of to bronze sculptured towering statue in the British Parliament Square London, standing face to face against the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who once called him as India’s Half Naked Beggar. He is non-other than the architect of Indian freedom ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ who once shook the most powerful empire of his time.
Mahatma referring to as Great Soul, the title bearer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian National Civil Rights leader and a Lawyer by profession. Gandhi is also referred as Bapu in India and highly eulogize as the Father of the Nation of the world’s biggest democracy. He is an inspiration and mentor for many worlds’ generations. Gandhi not only fought for the people rights in India but also for the rights of Indians and blacks in South Africa during the British rule. The King Martin Luther Jr referring Gandhi as “The little brown saint” once said, “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.”
Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 to a Hindu Indian political family. His father Karamchand Gandhi was serving as the Chief Minister of Porbandar, Gujarat, British ruled India and his mother was a pious housewife inculcating values of truth and love in little Gandhi. During his school and college days, Mohandas was an average student with the guts of fighting against the false.
In May 1883, the 13 years old Mohandas got married to Kasturba in an arranged child marriage as per the customs of that time. Gandhi was best educated amongst his brothers. In 1887 he got Matric securing 40% and enrolled himself at Samaldas College in Bhavnagar for higher education. During his very first semester, Gandhi felt strong homesickness and did very poor in exams. Thus returned back home. Though Gandhi was mediocre but was the only well-educated brother amongst his siblings. Thus Gandhi was seen as the best candidate in the family to succeed his father’s position and to pursue that, Gandhi was sent to London to study Law.
In 1888 London, Gandhi enrolled himself at Inner Temple to studied law and jurisprudence with an intention to become a barrister. Young Gandhi got intimidated and compelled by English lifestyle. This was a complete cultural shock for Gandhi. He started adopting English customs by taking dance classes, violin lessons, and even French tuitions. Gandhi even used to sing British National Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’. He started to read sacred texts to learn more about world religion. After completing the degree Gandhi left London for India in June 1891 to practice law.
Gandhi’s very first case of his life was in Bombay and He was simply not able to open his mouth in front of the judge. He was frizzed. Even after obtaining a law degree he doubted his ability to practice. Humiliated Gandhi came back home and was searching for an escape. Luckily his search came to an end when he got a call from South Africa, which was ruled by the British then, asking to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders in the city of Pretoria.
On his way to South Africa, Gandhi was literally thrown out of the train at Pietermaritzburg station as he was told to move to third class compartment even after having a first class ticket because he was black, which he refused. Humiliated Gandhi spends his whole night sitting on the platform wondering how to get justice. Gandhi considered going back to India and rejected as it was coward ness, he even considered staying and accepting the discrimination but that was submitting, he considering physically attacking his oppressors but that was impractical. There was only one choice left and that was to stay and resist. Twenty-four years old Gandhi boarded another train next morning. Later he was even once beaten up in a stagecoach where he refused to make way for an English passenger. Even getting a room was a hardship for being a brown amongst the white at that time. All these events marked a turning point in his life. He saw that Indians were not allowed to walk on the public footpath in South Africa. Gandhi began to question his place in society and his people standing in the British Empire. Thus he spends his next 21 years of life practicing law and fighting for the people of color. In 1894, Gandhi founded Natal Indian Congress to fight for the rights of Indians in South Africa.
In 1906, Gandhi organized his first mass civil disobedience campaign called “Satyagraha” to fight for the rights of Indians. The government even refused to recognize Hindu Marriages. In 1910, Gandhi established a community called ‘Tolstoy Farm’ in Johannesburg where he nurtured the peaceful protest. In the year after black South Africans gained the right to vote in South Africa. Gandhi was proclaimed a national hero with numerous monuments.
Gandhi, India and its Independence
In 1915, at the request of an Indian leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale Gandhi returned to India, which was still under the British rule. Till then Gandhi had become a leading International Indian nationalist. At that time British had fully drained India, its wealth, and its resources. British had brought India from being the largest producer of textiles in the world to a condition where it was not even capable of producing a safety pin. Gandhi took the leadership of Indian National Congress in 1920, demanding, protesting and compelling British to leave India.
Initially, Gandhi tried to work independence in cooperation with the British government but British failed to show any desired to leave its biggest cash cow. Then on 13 April 1919, over 379 civilians got killed and thousands of them were injured at Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre. The Colonel Reginald Dyer commanded the British Indian army to open fire on the crowd for at least ten minutes, who had assembled to celebrate the annual Baisakhi festival. This brutality stunned entire nation. Thus this lead to the launched of Non-Cooperation movement led by Gandhi in 1920 which was a peaceful nonviolent resist against the British Raj.
The Salt Satyagraha
British had imposed Salt Act which prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt, a staple in Indian Diets. Citizens were forced to buy the vital mineral at a very high price from British, who had taken the Monopoly of manufacturing salt. Indians required salt and till now they had suffered a lot. So Gandhi on 12th March 1930 set out from his ashram in Sabarmati with several dozen followers on a trek of 240 miles to the coastal town of Dandi situated on the Arabian Sea. Gandhi and his supporters were to deny British Policy by making salt from sea water. By each passing day, increasing number of people joins the March. Finally, the Gandhi and a crowd of tens of thousands people reached Dandi on April 5, 1930. Next morning after prayers Gandhi walked down the sea making and cruised down a lump of salt, thus breaking the British Salt Act. This march resulted in the arrest of nearly 60,000 peoples including Gandhi himself.
Finally, the government agreed to release all political prisoners in March 1931, in return for the suspension of civil disobedience movement. Later 1942 Gandhi got arrested again and was put in prison for starting a movement called ‘Quit India’ against the British with a slogan of ‘Do or Die’ demanding a complete freedom from the British rule. The moment had turned violent while Gandhi was in prison. Later when Gandhi came out of prison Muslim league led by ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah’ had gained a political center and wanted a separate nation of Muslim majority called Pakistan. Gandhi tried with his all possible efforts to stop the partition. Gandhi believed that we Indians irrespective of religion, caste or color can unite and live together after the independence. But that lead to severe riots across the country and several Indians nearly 10–12 millions of Hindus, Muslims and Christians were killed while crossing the borders during the Partition.
Finally, on 14 August 1947 British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten announced India Independent partitioning into two nations India and Islamic Pakistan.
A year after later on 30th Jan 1948 at Birla House garden around 5:17 pm. Nathuram Godse a Hindu Nationalist, held Gandhi guilty for favoring Pakistan and fired three bullets from a pistol into his chest at a point-blank range. Leaving the entire nation to mourn for rest years.
Gandhi was a revolutionary man with strong spiritual and modern beliefs.
- Mahatma Gandhi thought us the most effortless common sense. ‘Do what you are taught’ which sounds easy but difficult to endeavor. In the process of growing up, we often forget to master the most basic principle of Love and Truth which are taught us from the childhood and are very much needed to deal with mankind.
- Gandhi never availed luxury. With an opinion of using just essentials, Gandhi had a treasure of wisdom rather than material valuable. Being simple may be boring but that’s the thing which will make you best among the better.
- Gandhi thought us to be strongly patriotic with respecting every religion, every nation, and every human being. “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi.
PS: Rare Footage of the Legend!
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