Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2nd October 1869. He was the most popular as well as the most influential political and spiritual leaders of India. His contribution to the freedom struggle of India is priceless and the country owes its independence, partly, to this great man. The Satyagraha movement, which led to India's independence, was founded by Mahatma Gandhi only. In India, Gandhi is known as the 'Father of the Nation' and his birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. Read on to explore the life history, story and biography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the Porbandar city of Gujarat,
to Karamchand Gandhi, the diwan of Porbandar, and his wife, Putlibai.
Since his mother was a Hindu of the Pranami Vaishnava order, Gandhi
learned the tenets of non-injury to living beings, vegetarianism,
fasting, mutual tolerance, etc, at a very tender age. Mohandas was
married at the age of 13 to Kasturba Makhanji and had four sons. He
passed the matriculation exam at Samaldas College of Bhavanagar. In the
year 1888, Gandhi went to University College of London to study as a
He came back to India after being called to the bar of England and
Wales by Inner Temple. In 1893, he accepted a yearlong contract from an
Indian firm to a post in Natal, South Africa. There, he faced racial
discrimination directed at blacks and Indians. Such incidents provoked
him to work towards social activism.
Participation in Indian Independence Movement
Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a leader of the Congress Party, introduced
Mahatma Gandhi to the Indian issues, Indian politics and the Indian
people. Gandhi participated in the following movements related to
India's freedom struggle:
Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha
The Champaran Agitation and Kheda Satyagraha of 1918 was the first
major success of Mahatma Gandhi in his struggle towards India's freedom.
The reason for the agitation was the levy of an oppressive tax by the
British, which they insisted on increasing further. He organized his
supporters as well as volunteers to protest against this atrocity and
also began leading the clean up of villages, building of schools and
hospitals as well as encouraging the village leadership to condemn the
numerous social evils affecting the society. Mahatma Gandhi was
successful in signing an agreement with the British, wherein the poor
farmers were granted more compensation and control over farming.
Non-cooperation Movement and Swaraj
Non-cooperation Movement of Mahatma Gandhi was one of his prime fights
against the British. The massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh of Punjab was
what instigated him to take this step. After the gruesome incident, he
focused himself entirely on obtaining complete autonomy for the country
as well as the control of all Indian government institutions. Soon, this
movement turned into Swaraj (complete individual, spiritual and
political independence). His association with the Indian National
Congress (INC) was further strengthened in December 1921, when he was
made the executive authority of the party.
Under Mahatma Gandhi, INC was restructured, accepting the goal of
Swaraj, having open membership, forming a hierarchy of committees, and
so on. He urged Indian citizens to boycott imported goods, British
educational institutions, law courts, government employment, and the
like. Non-cooperation became very popular and started spreading through
the length and breadth of India. However, the violent clash in Chauri
Chaura town of Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922, led to a sudden end of
this movement. Gandhi was arrested on 10th March 1922 and was tried for
sedition. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but served for
only two years in prison.
Problems in the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress began to fall apart without the inspiring
leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The party split up into two groups, one
led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru and the other led by
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Even the basis
of the non-violence campaign, the cooperation amongst Hindus and
Muslims, began to break down.
Salt Satyagraha and Dandi March
During the period of 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi concentrated on resolving
the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress.
Around 1928, Gandhi again started focusing on Indian freedom struggle.
In 1927, British had appointed Sir John Simon as the head of a new
constitutional reform commission. There was not even a single Indian in
the commission. Agitated by this, Gandhi passed a resolution at the
Calcutta Congress in December 1928, calling on the British government to
grant India dominion status. In case of non-compliance with this demand,
the British were to face a new campaign of non-violence, having its goal
as complete independence for the country. The resolution was rejected by
The flag of India was unfurled in Lahore by the members of the INC on
31st December 1929. January 26, 1930 was celebrated as the Independence
Day of India. Soon, British government levied a tax on salt and Salt
Satyagraha was launched in March 1930, as an opposition to this move.
Mahatma Gandhi started the Dandi March with his followers in March,
going from Ahmedabad to Dandi on foot, to make salt himself. The
campaign became so successful that British ended up arresting over
60,000 people who participated in the March. Gandhi-Irwin Pact was
signed in March 1931, where the British Government set all political
prisoners free as an exchange for the suspension of the civil
Quit India Movement
As the World War II progressed, Mahatma Gandhi intensified his protests
for the complete independence of the Indian subcontinent. He drafted a
resolution calling for the British to Quit India. The 'Quit India
Movement' or the 'Bharat Chhodo Andolan' was the most aggressive revolt
of the INC, with the aim of gaining complete exit of the British from
India. Gandhi was arrested on 9th August 1942 and held for two years in
the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. There, he lost his secretary, Mahadev Desai
and his wife, Kasturba. The Quit India Movement came to an end by the
end of 1943, when the British gave hints that complete power would be
transferred to the people of India.
Freedom and Partition of India
The independence cum partition proposal offered by the British Cabinet
Mission in 1946 was accepted by the Congress, inspite of being advised
otherwise by Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel convinced Gandhi that it was
the only way to avoid civil war and he reluctantly gave his consent.
After India's independence, Gandhi focused on peace and unity of Hindus
and Muslims. He launched his last fast-unto-death in Delhi, asking for
all communal violence to be stopped and the payment of Rs. 55 crores, as
per the Partition Council agreement, to be made to Pakistan. Ultimately,
all the political leaders conceded to his wishes and he broke his fast
by sipping orange juice.
The inspiring life of Mahatma Gandhi came to an end on 30th January
1948, when he was shot by Nathuram Godse. Nathuram was a Hindu radical,
who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by ensuring the
partition payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator, Narayan
Apte, were later tried and convicted. They were executed on 15th
Mahatma followed as well as preached the following principles
throughout his life: