Among all the noblest sons of India, the name of Mahatma Gandhi stands in the forefront. He was the man who faced one of the world’s biggest superpowers, the British Raj with daunting courage and perseverance through his principle of non-violence, was indeed a force to reckon with. Even after his death, he is considered to be a role model for countless people of India and abroad.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar, a small town on the Western Coast of India, which was then a tiny state in Kathiawar. He was born in a middle class family of Vaishya caste. His father Karamchand was and his mother was Putlibai. Mohandas Gandhi went to an elementary school in Porbandar, where he found it difficult to master the multiplication tables. He had two brothers and a sister and was the youngest of all. He was excessively shy and timid. While he was still in school, he was married, at the age of 13, to Kasturba who was also of the same age. Mohandas went to England to study law and returned as a lawyer in 1890.
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Soon after his arrival in India, he was given an offer from Dada Abdulla and Co. to go to South Africa on their behalf in connection with a lawsuit. He found that Indians and the African faced discrimination and were the oppressed section of the society. The turning point came into Gandhi’s life when he was not allowed to board a first class compartment in the train because he was not white. That incident made Mohandas Gandhi to come out of his timidity and stand for his rights. He extended his stay in South Africa and protested against the bill that denied Indians the right to vote. Gandhi lived for twenty-one years in South Africa. He started the Satyagraha movement in South Africa against the unjust treatment meted out to the Indians there by the British. His great efforts forced the British to give more freedom to the Indians residing there. He emerged as a great political leader there.
In January 1914 Gandhi returned to India with only one ambition to serve his people and bring freedom in his country. After much wandering for a year, he finally settled down on the banks of the river Sabarmati on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where he founded an Ashram in 1915. He named it Satyagraha Ashram. There he dedicated himself to the service of the people and preached the vows of truth, ahimsa, celibacy, non-stealing. When the Rowlatt Act was passed that denied the civil liberties of the Indians, Gandhi finally got into active Indian politics. He became the forefront of the freedom struggle and within a few years he became the undisputed leader of the national movement for freedom.
He became the President of Indian National Congress. He protested against the British rule and in order to free India from the foreign yoke, Gandhi launched three mass movements, namely Non-cooperation movement in 1920, Civil Disobedience movement in 1939 with his famous ‘Dandi March’ to break the salt law and Quit India movement in 1942. Those three movements shook the foundation of British Empire in India and brought millions of Indians together into the freedom struggle movement.
Gandhi advocated non-violence and Satyagraha as his chief weapons to achieve freedom. Gandhi’s guidance and influence also empowered and encouraged many women to be a part of the freedom movement.
Many times he was arrested and was put behind the jail. But nothing could sway him from his quest for national freedom. Under his leadership Indians irrespective all barriers took up the cry for freedom. The British realized that they could no longer stay in India and were forced to grant independence to our country on 15th August 1947.
Gandhi’s legacy remains his greatest contributions to our country and to the world. He brought spirituality into politics and made it nobler and more humane devoid of hatred and violence. He was a great leader and a social reformer. He was pious, truthful and religious. He influenced many great leaders across the globe to fight for their independence without violence. His stress on Hindu-Muslim unity, removal of untouchability, upliftment of backward classes, development of village as centre of social development, emphasis on social freedom, use of Swadeshi goods, etc. have been his lasting legacies, which have changed the face of our land. India’s freedom movement is also called the Gandhian era. He believed in simple living and high thinking. He was the champion of democracy and highly opposed to dictatorial rule.
Gandhi did not live long to enjoy the freedom of a free nation. On January 30, 1948, he was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, when he was on his way to an evening prayer meeting. Thus, it ended the life of the ‘Great Mahatma’, who lived and died for his motherland and millions.
Today Mahatma Gandhi is known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ because he laid the true foundation of independent India with his noble ideals and supreme sacrifice. He was fondly called ‘Bapu’. His birthday on 2nd October is celebrated as a National Holiday across the country and his image appears on the Indian currency notes.
Q1. What were the different movements that Gandhi started in order to bring Independence to India?
Ans. In order to bring freedom, Gandhi started the Satyagraha movement in 1919, the non-cooperation movement in 1921, and Civil Disobedience movement in 1930 and Quit India movement in 1942.
Q2. Who killed Mahatma Gandhi?
Ans. A young man named Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi when he was going to attend an evening prayer meeting.
Q3. Why is Gandhi known as the ‘Father of the Nation’?
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi is known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ because he laid the true foundation of independent India with his noble ideals and supreme sacrifice.
Q4. How do we commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution for our Nation?
Ans. His birthday on 2nd October is celebrated as a National Holiday across the nation in order to commemorate his great contributions and sacrifices for the country’s independence.