Mahatma Gandhi: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is known as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma means “great soul” in Sanskrit (Sanskrit is a classical language of South Asia). Mahatma Gandhi was the most famous leader in India’s independence movement. And he was also the leader of India’s non-violent independence movement against British rule. Gandhi is commonly considered the father of the nation of India. He is called “Bapu”. Bapu means “Father” in the Gujarati language.
Born: 2 October 1869 AD. Porbandar, Kathiawar, British India.
Death: 30 January 1948 AD. New Delhi, India.
Father’s Name: Karamchand Gandhi.
Mother’s Name: Putlibai Gandhi.
Wife’s Name: Kasturba Gandhi.
Children: Harilal Gandhi, Manilal Gandhi, Ramdas Gandhi, Devdas Gandhi.
Political Party: Indian National Congress.
First Life And Education: Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 AD in Porbandar, Kathiawar, British India. Gandhi’s birthday is celebrated by the Indian government as Gandhi Jayanti and as a day of international Non-violence around the world. This day is a National Holiday in India. His father Karamchand Gandhi served as the Diwan (Chief Minister) of Porbander state. His mother Putlibai was the 4th wife of Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi was the last child of his mother. Gandhi’s mother was pious. Gandhi was deeply influenced by his mother.
In 1874, Gandhi’s father left Porbandar and he went to the state of Rajkot. When his father comes to Rajkot Gandhi was admitted to the local school in Rajkot. This school was near his home. At the age of 11, he was joined at Alfred High School. In his student life, he was an average student. In May 1883, Mahatma Gandhi was married to Kasturbai Gandhi. At that time Gandhi’s age only 13 years old and his wife’s age only 14 years old.
In the 1885s, Gandhi’s father Karamchand died. In November 1887, Gandhi graduated from high school in Ahmedabad. In 1888, he was admitted to Samaldas College in Bhavnagar State. But he dropped out and returned to his family. On 4 September 1888, Gandhi went to University College London (UCL) to study barrister. At UCL, he studied law and jurisprudence.
Gandhi’s South African Political Career: In April 1893, Gandhi comes South Africa to perform legal services. when he comes to South Africa, he developed his political views, ethics, and politics. He almost spent 21 years in South Africa. He was the victim of the common discrimination against Indians and blacks. He was forced to move from the first-class compartment of a train in Peter Marijberg to the third-class compartment despite having a valid first-class ticket. He set in the train station spent the whole night. He was thinking about inequality, maybe he should go to India or start a movement for rights. He chose to protest.
Indians did not have the right to vote in South Africa. Gandhi worked for the realization of this right. In 1894, Gandhi founded the Natal Indian Congress. Through this organization, he organized the Indians there politically. In 1906, the Transvaal government passed a law to force the registration of Indians in the colony.
At a protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi declared his methodology of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth) or nonviolent protest for the first time. Gandhi said at that protest meeting, they would accept the torture that would be inflicted on them for disobeying the law, but would not obey the law. Gandhi announces for Indians to deny the new law. As a result, this movement was run for about 7 years. Many Indians were taken prisoner and many were injured or killed. Later, the general peoples in South Africa have joined this movement against the government. As a result, Gandhi’s ideology was established and Satyagraha began to take its original form.
Gandhi’s Indian political career: Gandhi returned to India on January 9, 1915, was requested by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Gokhale was a key leader of the Congress Party. Gokhale was a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi joined the Indian National Congress. Gandhi took charge as a leader of the Indian National Congress in 1920.
Champaran Satyagraha: In 1917, Gandhi started the Champaran protests in Bihar. Gandhi’s first achievement came through this Champaran Satyagraha. This protest against British landlords. Because the British landlords were charged a huge tax to the local farmers. Before this Protest, in the midst of the famine, the British tried to raise taxes. The situation became very unstable. At that time, Gujarat was in a similar situation. In this situation, Gandhi established an Ashram in Bihar. He conducted a survey and collected data on the death rate and famine situation in the village.
Gandhi established schools and hospitals in the village. He was arrested on charges of causing instability. Thousands of people started a protest outside the prison. They came to the Police Station and Court. They started protests demanding Gandhi’s release. The Court released him. The British boycotted tax increases and suspended collection until the end of the famine. As a result, Gandhi’s reputation spread all over the country.
Kheda Satyagraha: In 1918, Kheda was hit by floods and famine. For these reasons, the Kheda’s farmers were demanding relief from taxes. Gandhi moved his head office to Nadiad. Gandi took his supporters and volunteers. Notable among them is Vallabhbhai Patel. Gandhi using Non-co-operation as a technique. He started a campaign to gain signature. Gandhi worked head to gain public support for the protest across the country. The administration refused for five months. At the end of May 1918, the Government declared stop tax collection until the famine ended. Vallabhbhai Patel represented the farmers in negotiations with the British.
Khilafat Movement: In 1919, after the end of World War I, Gandi wanted political cooperation from Muslims against British imperialism by supporting the Ottoman Empire. Gandhi felt that Hindu-Muslim co-operation was necessary for political progress against the British. He leveraged the Khilafat movement. In 1922, the Khilafat movement had collapsed. Because the Ottoman Empire had ended.
Non-co-operation Movement: Hind Swaraj (Self-rule) is a book written by Gandhi in 1909. Gandhi declared that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of Indians. If Indians stop cooperate, the British rule would collapse and Swaraj come. In the month of February 1919, Gandhi alerts the Viceroy of India. If the British pass Rowlatt Act, he will apply to start civil disobedience to Indians. But the British government ignored him and passed the law. The people of Delhi gather in one place to protest the Rowlatt Act. On 30 March 1919, the British law officers opened fire on that assembly in Delhi.
The peoples of Delhi also fired to the British. On 6 April 1919, Gandhi declared on a Hindu festival day, the Indian people cannot injure or kill the British people. But Indians will be able to protest against the British in peace. Even if the other side used violence. He said every Indian needs to boycott British products. Gandhi used non-violence against the British. The government alerts him to don’t enter Delhi. But Gandhi ignores the order. On 9 April Gandhi was arrested.
On 13 April 1919, people gathered in an Amritsar park and protest against the British for Gandhi’s arrest. The British officer ordered his troops to fire on the protesting peoples. The hundreds of Sikh and Hindu civilians were killed by the British troops. Gandhi did not criticize the British government. Gandhi demanded that people stop all violence and stop property destruction. Gandhi realizes that Indians will never get justice under British rule. Gandhi has selected the way of Swaraj (Self-rule) and Political independence for India. As a result, Gandhi became the executive of the Indian National Congress in 1921. He restructured Congress with the Muslim’s support.
Gandhi’s non-violent ideology inspired many Indians. But some Sikhs and Hindus upset about Gandhi’s. Because Gandhi did not criticize the British government. Gandhi taking some steps to establish his non-violent movement. Such as, boycotting British products. Gandhi requested all the Indians to spend time each day spinning Khadi in support of the independence movement. Gandhi said the Indians people to boycott British institutions and law courts. And resign from government jobs. In this way, Gandhi tries to destroy the British Indian government economically and politically.
On 10 March 1922, Gandhi arrested to tried for sedition. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment. After Gandhi was prisoned, the Indian National Congress was divided into two parts. One part led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru as favoring party. And the other part led by Chakravarti Rajagopala Chari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as opposing. The Muslim leaders left the Congress. They were forming Muslim organizations. Gandhi was released in February 1924 for an appendicitis operation.
Salt Satyagraha In December 1928, Gandhi demanded in Calcutta to the British government to grant India dominion status. Otherwise, he will give some new policies to the non-violent movement and he will work for the full independence of India. Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh questioned Gandhi’s values and non-violent approach. And many Hindu leaders demand immediate independence. The British government did not respond to Gandhi’s proposal. British political leaders like Lord Birkenhead and Winston Churchill were not sympathetic to Indian demands.
On 31 December 1929, the flag of India was unfurled in Lahore. On 26 January 1930, India’s Independence Day celebration in Lahore, Gandhi led Congress in this celebration. Almost every other Indian organization was celebrated on this day. In March 1930, Gandhi launched a new Satyagraha against the tax on salt. On 2 March 1930, Gandhi sent a letter to Lord Irwin who the viceroy of India. Gandhi walks 240 miles from Allahabad to Dandi from March 12 to April 6 to make salt with his own hands. The march took 25 days. Thousands of Indians walked with him to the shore. This was one of his most successful attempts against British rule. The British arrested 60,000 people. Among them was one of Gandhi’s favorite Jawaharlal Nehru. The British government appointed Lord Edward Irwin as a representative to negotiate with Gandhi.
Partition and Indian Independence Movement: Gandhi did not agree about the partition of the Indian subcontinent along religious lines. Gandhi called for the British to Quit India. On the other hand, the Muslim League demanded: “Divide and Quit India”. Gandhi gave a proposal to sign an agreement, the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League to co-operate and attain independence under a provisional government.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah rejected Gandhi’s proposal and called for Direct Action Day. On 16 August 1946, the people of Muslim were to gather in cities and support Jinnah’s proposal for the partition of the Indian Subcontinent into a Muslim State and a non-Muslim State. Husayn Shaheed Suhrawardy who the Muslim League Chief Minister of Bengal gave Calcutta’s Police a special holiday to celebrate Direct Action Day. On this day a mass murder of Calcutta Hindus and destruction of their properties.
The British government did not order its army to move in to stop the violence. Followed days started a cycle of violence. Thousands of Hindus and Muslims were murdered, and thousands were injured in the cycle of violence. Archibald Wavell who the Viceroy and Governor-General of British India had worked with Gandhi and Jinnah to find a common ground.
In September 1944, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Gandhi met at Malabar Hill in Bombay. They talked for two weeks but did not reach a decision. Jinnah was of the view that Pakistan should be established before the departure of the British. On the other hand, Gandhi wanted a decision on the partition after India became independent. The British government agreed to grant independence to the people of the Indian Subcontinent. But British accepted Jinnah’s proposal of partitioning the land into Pakistan and India.
Death: Gandhi was shot dead on 30 January 1948. At that time he was holding a night street rally in the middle of Birla Bhavan (Birla House) in New Delhi. His killer Nathuram Godse was a Hindu fundamentalist. They were hanged on 14 November 1949.