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Mahatma Gandhi

 Mahatma Gandhi: Leader of the Indian independence movement and advocate of non-violence.

Mahatma Gandhi

### Mahatma Gandhi: A Comprehensive Biography


**Early Life and Education**


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, universally known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, India. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, was the dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar, and his mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious woman. Gandhi was heavily influenced by his mother's devoutness and the values of Jainism, which emphasized non-violence and compassion.


Gandhi married Kasturba Makhanji at the age of 13 in an arranged marriage. He completed his primary education in Porbandar and Rajkot and later moved to London in 1888 to study law at University College London. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1891 and returned to India to practice law, but struggled to establish a successful legal career.


**Struggles in South Africa**


In 1893, Gandhi accepted a one-year contract to work for an Indian firm in Natal, South Africa. It was in South Africa that he first encountered the harsh realities of racial discrimination. Gandhi faced numerous instances of injustice, such as being thrown off a train for refusing to move from the first-class compartment reserved for white passengers.


These experiences galvanized Gandhi to fight for the rights of the Indian community in South Africa. He organized the Indian community to resist discriminatory laws, using non-violent civil disobedience as a tool. This period marked the development of his philosophy of Satyagraha (truth-force), which emphasized non-violent resistance and civil disobedience.


**Return to India and the Freedom Struggle**


Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and quickly became a prominent leader in the Indian National Congress. He embarked on several initiatives to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indians, including the promotion of khadi (hand-spun cloth) and self-reliance.


**Key Movements and Campaigns**


1. **Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha (1917-1918):**

- Gandhi led successful campaigns against oppressive plantation practices in Champaran and tax collection policies during a famine in Kheda, demonstrating the power of non-violent resistance.


2. **Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922):**

- In response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and other repressive measures, Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, urging Indians to boycott British goods, institutions, and honors.


3. **Salt March (1930):**

- One of Gandhi’s most famous acts of civil disobedience, the Salt March, was a 240-mile march to the Arabian Sea to make salt, defying British salt laws. This act mobilized millions of Indians and drew international attention to the independence movement.


4. **Quit India Movement (1942):**

- During World War II, Gandhi initiated the Quit India Movement, demanding an end to British rule in India. This movement led to mass protests, widespread arrests, and significant unrest.


**Principles and Philosophy**


Gandhi's philosophy was deeply rooted in non-violence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), and self-discipline. He believed in simple living, wearing khadi, and promoting self-reliance through the Swadeshi movement. Gandhi's concept of Swaraj (self-rule) was not just about political independence but also about social and economic self-sufficiency and moral governance.


**Personal Life and Legacy**


Throughout his life, Gandhi remained a humble and ascetic figure, often fasting to protest against injustice and promote harmony. His commitment to non-violence and his ability to mobilize millions made him a symbol of peace and resistance worldwide.


On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who opposed his efforts to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi's death was a significant loss to India and the world, but his legacy continues to inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the globe.


**Conclusion**


Mahatma Gandhi’s life was a testament to the power of non-violent resistance and moral integrity. His leadership in India’s independence movement, his dedication to social reform, and his unwavering principles left an indelible mark on history. Gandhi's legacy endures, reminding the world of the enduring power of truth and non-violence in the pursuit of justice.



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