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Mahatma Gandhi Ji

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Mahatma Gandhi is known as Father of Nation. He played a very important role in India’s freedom struggle. He was born in a Bania family in Kathiawar. Mahatma Gandhi’s real name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Before Gandhi Ji’s arrival on the Indian political scene, freedom struggle was limited only to the intelligentsia.

Birth and Parents:-

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, at Porbandar. Gandhi Ji was born in middle class family of Vaishya caste. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, was a Dewan or Chief Minister of Porbandar. His mother was Putlibai. She was a very religious lady. She left a deep impression on Gandhi Ji’s mind. Mahatma ji was a mediocre student. He was excessively shy and timid.

Personal life and schooling:-

Gandhi Ji was married at the age of thirteen to Kasturbai. He was in high school at that time. Later on in his life, Gandhi Ji denounced the custom of child marriage and termed it as cruel. After matriculating from the high school, Gandhi Ji joined the Samaldas College in Bhavnagar.

In England and south Africa:-

 After the death of Gandhi Ji’s father in 1885, a family suggested that if Gandhi Ji hoped to take his father’s place in the state service he had better become a barrister which he could do in England in three years. Gandhi welcomed the idea but his mother was objected to the idea of going abroad. To win his mother’s approval Gandhi Ji took a solemn vow not to touch wine, women and meat and remained true to it throughout his stay in England.

Gandhi Ji sailed for England on September 4, 1888. Initially he had difficulty in adjusting to English customs and weather but soon he overcame it. Gandhi Ji completed his Law degree in 1891 and returned to India. He thinks to set up legal practice in Bombay. But couldn’t establish him. Gandhi Ji back to Rajkot but here also he could not make much headway. At this time Gandhi Ji received an offer from Dada Abdulla & Co. to proceed to South Africa on their behalf to instruct their counsel in a lawsuit. Gandhi Ji jumped at the idea and sailed for South Africa in April 1893.

Gandhi Ji landed at Durban and he realized the oppressive atmosphere of racial snobbishness against Indians who were settled in South Africa in large numbers. After a week’s stay in Durban Gandhi Ji left for Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, in connection with a lawsuit. When the train reached Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, at about 9 p.m. a white passenger who boarded the train objected to the presence of a “coloured” man in the compartment and Gandhji was ordered by a railway official to shift to a third class. When he refused to do so, a constable pushed him out and his luggage was taken away by the railway authorities. It was winter and bitterly cold. This incident changed Gandhi Ji’s life forever. He decided to fight for the rights of Indians. Gandhi Ji setup the Indian community in South Africa. He includes all distinctions of religion and caste. He gave advice the formation of an association to look the Indian settlers and offered his free time and services.

During his stay in South Africa, Gandhi Ji’s life underwent a change and he developed most of his political ideas. Gandhi Ji decided to dedicate himself completely to the service of humanity. He realized complete continence or brahmacharya was indispensable for the purpose as one could not live both after the flesh and the spirit. In 1906, Gandhi Ji took a vow of absolute continence. In his struggle in South Africa, Gandhi Ji, developed the concepts of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyagraha (holding fast to truth or firmness in a righteous cause). Gandhi Ji’s struggle bore fruit and in 1914 in an agreement between Gandhi Ji and South African Government, the main Indian demands were conceded. Gandhi Ji returned to India in 1915.

                                                     school-chalao-mahatmagandhi image

Sabarmati Ashram and satyagrah:-

After a year of wandering, Gandhi Ji settled down on the bank of the river Sabarmati, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where he founded an ashram called Satyagraha Ashram. Gandhi Ji’s first satyagraha in India was in Champaran, where Mahatma ji went in 1917 on the request of a poor peasants to inquire into the grievances of the much exploited peasants of that district, who were compelled by British indigo planters to grow indigo on 15 present of their land and part with the whole crop for rent. Gandhi Ji’s Satyagraha forced British government to set up an inquiry into the condition of tenant farmers. The success of satyagraha movement in India greatly enhanced Gandhi Ji’s reputation in the India.

Gandhi Ji was sentenced to six years imprisonment but was released in 1924 on medical grounds. For the next five years Gandhi seemingly retired from active agitational politics and devoted himself to the propagation of what he regarded as the namely, basic national needs, removal of untouchability, Hindu-Muslim unity, equality of women, popularization of hand-spinning and the reconstruction of village economy.

Dandi march:-

Gandhi Ji started the historic Dandi March to break the law which had deprived the poor man of his right to make his own salt on March 12, 1930. Gandhi Ji broke the Salt law at the sea beach at Dandi on April 6, 1930. This act was stickily followed by a nation-wide defiance of the law. This movement galvanized the whole nation and came to be known as “Civil Disobedience Movement”. In a few weeks about a thousand people were in jail, throwing mighty machinery of the British Government out of gear. This forced the then Viceroy Lord Irwin to call Gandhi Ji for talks. On March 5, 1931 Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed. Soon after signing the pact Gandhi Ji went to England to attend the First Round Table Conference. After return from England Gandhi Ji was arrested without trial.

After the outbreak of Second World War in 1939, Gandhi Ji again became active in the political arena. British Government wanted India’s help in the war and India in return wanted a clear-cut promise of independence from British. But British government dithered in its response and Gandhi Ji gave the call for Quit India Movement on August 8, 1942. Gandhi Ji and other top leaders of Congress arrested by British government. Disorders broke out immediately all over India and many violent demonstrations took place. While Gandhi Ji was in jail his wife Kasturbai passed away. Gandhi Ji too had a severe attack of Malaria. In view of his deteriorating health he was released from the jail in May 1944. Second World War ended in 1945 and Britain emerged victorious. In the general elections held in Britain in 1945, Labour Party came to power, and Atlee became the Prime Minister. He promised an early realization of self-Government in India. A Cabinet Mission arrived from England to discuss with Indian leaders the future shape of a free and united India, but failed to bring the Congress and Muslims together. India attained independence but Jinnah’s intransigence resulted in the partition of the country. Communal riots between Hindus and Muslims broke out in the country in the aftermath of partition. Tales of atrocities on Hindus in Pakistan provoked Hindus in India and they targeted Muslims.

Death:-

Gandhi Ji worked continuous to promote unity between Hindus and Muslims. This angered some Hindu fundamentalists. Gandhi Ji was shot dead by one such Nathu Ram Godse when he was going for his evening prayers on January 30, 1948. The last word Gandhi Ji says Hey Ram.

Famous slogan of Mahatma Gandhi ji:-

                                              “DO OR DIE”

Famous song of Mahatma Gandhi ji :-

                         “Raghupati raghav raja ram… patita pavan sitaram…”

 

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