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Mahatma Gandhi BIOGRAPHY

Mahatma Gandhi BIOGRAPHY

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi known as mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar. He was the youngest son of Kaba Gandhi, Dewan of Rajkot, by his fourth wife. At the age of 13 he was married to Kasturba. They had four sons. Gandhi at the age of 18 went to London to study law. A strict vegetarian he MAHATMA GANDHIfound it hard at first to adjust to the robust London lifestyle. This was quite in contrast with his unorthodox conventional upbringing.
To correct matters he decided to turn a ‘gentleman’ He bought western clothes to suit his new lifestyle. But his inner Indian self continued to remain at odds with his new outward appearance. In an illuminating moment he realized his juvenile ambition and declared. If my character makes a gentleman of me, so much the better - otherwise l should forgo the ambition. “He remained in England for three years and in ‘1891 he was called to the Bar. He remained a vegetarian throughout his stay. His refuse to join the bandwagon and retain his individuality were traits that strengthened with years and made a Mahatma of him finally.

return to India

On his return to India he found the market for lawyers low. Getting a job was tough. After much wait he received a call from a law firm in South Africa. It was on the South African soil that Gandhi’s social conscience began to take shape. The unjust Indian laws that were thoroughly against the Indian 'Sammy' (Swami) were biting. The racism was acute and Gandhi’s experience in the South African soil made him sympathetic to the problems of Indian workers. On a train from Durban to Pretoria although he was holding a first class ticket he was physically thrown out of the compartment, which was only for the privileged whites. In another instance while traveling in a coach he was beaten up by the conductor because he refused to move to the back seat. While attending the magistrate’s court at Durban, Gandhi was humiliated as he was ordered by the magistrate to take off his turban. Gandhi preferred to leave the court rather than be insulted.
Apart from working at the case that Gandhi had come for he found himself racist situation in South Africa. In Pretoria he made a study of the wrongs of the Indian community and addressed meetings on the subject. He was already recognized as a leader of sorts when he decided to leave South Africa for his homeland.
On the eve of his departure someone handed him a Natal newspaper, which read a report that the Natal government was about to take away the Indian franchise. At the urgent instance of friends Gandhi decided to stay on and fight for the Indian cause. A petition was worked out and presented to the Natal Legislative Assembly. It was the first parliamentary petition ever presented by the Indians in South Africa. Evoking a huge response a memorial of 10, 000 signatures were sent to Lord Ripon, the colonial secretary.
In May 1894, Mahatma Gandhi founded the Natal Indian Congress. He campaigned at raising the standard of cleanliness, sanitation, housing and education among Indians of Natal. Gandhi even began to advocate dependence on soil rather than machinery. In 1896 he returned to India for six months where he gave a number of speeches on Indian condition in Natal. He wrote a pamphlet with the aim of public awareness. On his return to South Africa, Gandhi had to face severe opposition from Natal Europeans. They tried to prevent Gandhi's boat and another steamer from setting foot on Natal soil. For twenty three days the Government held the streamers in quarantine. When at last they were allowed to disembark, Gandhi was mobbed and beaten and only the intervention of the superintendents wife saved him.
During the Boer War Gandhi implored his fellow Indians to support the British, since they still owed allegiance to the British Empire? He organized an ambulance unit and worked heroically at the front.
Gandhi returned to India only to be recalled back to South Africa by friends who needed his assistance and help. In the aftermath of the Boer War under the British administration of Transvaal the position of Indians worsened. Strict colour-bar regulations and immigration laws were put into practice. A system of permits and regulations was enforced that made Indian life quite drudgery. Gandhi started a newspaper voicing the grievances of the Indians called Indian opinion at Phoenix near Durban.
In 1906 during the Zulu Rebellion, Gandhi recruited himself as a volunteer of an Indian company of stretcher bearers for the Natal forces. He nursed the wounded Zulu’s the royalists and the rebels.
mahatma Gandhi controversy with subhash chandra bose
In Transvaal the Government proposed to pass stringent laws to control the movements of Indians in Transvaal. The law proposed amongst other things compulsory registration of the fingerprints of every Indian adult. In September 1906, in a mass meeting at the Johannesburg, the Indians decided to resist the “Black Act" by non violent means. Thus the Satyagraha movement was born. Gandhi, along with a deputation went to England to appeal against the Black Act to the Secretary of State for India and the Secretary of State for colonies. The Black Act was disallowed but when they reached Cape Town they realized that on granting responsible government in Transvaal, it gave Transvaal the power to pass what measures they desired. The Act was passed and many Indians including Gandhi were arrested for not registering. Gandhi reached a compromise with Smuts, by which if a majority of Indians registered voluntarily, the act would be re-appealed. General Smuts did not carry out his part of the agreement and a new act was passed prohibiting “Asiatic” from entering Transvaal. Another statement issued by the Supreme Court ruled only Christian marriages registered by the registrar legally valid in South Africa. As a form of protest under Gandhi’s leadership scores of Indians got themselves arrested.
Gandhi aided and supported the Natal coalminers who were on a strike against the three pound tax which they were forced to pay at the end of their term of indenture. Gandhi led them into Transvaal and every one of the protesters was arrested. The miners were taken back to Natal and were flogged. They were forced to resume work. Gandhi was taken to a separate prison at Bloemfontein. The Indian Viceroy was outraged and General Smuts stepped down. Following an inquiry Gandhi and his followers were released from jail. It resulted in the Indian Relief Act, which abolished the Indian grievances. Gandhi's initiation into public life had begun. He was an acclaimed leader and there was no turning back.
Gandhi returned to India and in 1916-17 led an agitation for the abolition of immigration of indentured India labour to other parts of the empire. He studied an All India agitation and the government was forced to abolish the indentured system. The oppressed peasants of the Champaran were released from the bonded labour with Gandhi’s help. Satyagraha agitation made it possible. As Gandhi said, "Hence it was that an age long abuse came to an end in a few months."
Gandhi’s attention was occupied with poverty and backwardness of the Indian villages. At Khaira he organized a revolt against the government assessment of their crops after a bad harvest. He met with hardly any success in this venture.
The passing of the Rowlett Act started an agitation nationwide that turned violent after the Amritsar massacre. Though disapproving of the violence Gandhi’s loyalty to the British Raj came to an end. He now desired to obtain Swaraj for India with or without the British help. He began to work at bridging the rift between the Hindus and the Muslims that the divide and rule policy of the British had encashed on. He supported the Khilafat campaign and started the Khadi movement. In April 1920 he launched the non-co­operation movement. He strove for reforms, boycott of foreign goods and removal of untouchability. These became his prime concerns. The mass burning of foreign goods on the arrival of Prince of Wales in Bombay led to violence at the Chauri Chora. Gandhi was much disturbed at the violation of the spirit of Satyagragha. He bore the guilt of the bloodshed and retired to his ashram at Sabarmati wherehe was arrested. He was fasting in penance at that time. mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Till 1924 he was at the Yervada jail at Poona and later due to illness was taken to the Poona hospital. On discharge and barely having recovered he once again took to a fast, this time on to death. He was protesting against the growing Hindu-Muslim riots.
In 1930 mahatma Gandhi started the Dandi March a non cooperation civil disobedience movement. Gandhi and his followers marched to Dandi to make salt from the sea. It was amovement to defy the prevailing salt laws and Gandhi achieved much success. On May 5th Gandhi was arrested under the Bombay State Prisoners Regulation Act 1827, under which a person might be imprisoned for indefinite periods without atrial. His arrest brought about a nationwide agitation whichresulted in the famous Irwin-Gandhi agreement. Irwin promised to withdraw repressive measures if Gandhi’s Congress would suspend direct action against the British government. But soon with the issue of the rule of Ordinances Gandhi once again began to seek negotiations with Lord Wellington. He was arrested once again and this in turn resulted in a nationwide resistance.
Mahatma Gandhi did commendable work in the upliftment of the untouchables. He took a fast unto death to undo Mr. Ramsay MacDonald’s Communal Award` The fast was a great success and as a result of which the Poona Pact came into being. Gandhi was arrested time and again but his Satyagragha spirit never flagged.
         In 1934 mahatma Gandhi resigned from the Congress as his ethical position was at odds with some of the members. But he continued to work undeterred in spirit of the Congress. He began to work tirelessly to achieve India’s freedom. On August 1942 Gandhi and his followers were arrested after the upsurge of the Quit India movement. He was kept in the Aga Khan Palace in Poona. In 1943 Gandhi once again kept a fast. His deteriorating condition caused anxiety and consequently the resignation of the three members of the Viceroy Council. Gandhi continued to correspond with the viceroy from the prison camp, protesting against the government’s repressive measures. The talks with Jinnah broke down once again, as Gandhi could not convince him that his demand for a separate Muslim state was not in keeping with the true spirit of absolute freedom.

Mahatma Gandhi daeth

The British government under Mr. Attlee sent a mission to India to help frame a new Constitution. The Viceroy invited Pundit Nehru to form the government. Though the League representatives were included in the Cabinet, there were riots in East Bengal, Bihar, Punjab and New Frontier Province. Gandhi went on a village to village tour to restore confidence and to spread the message of brotherhood. During the Indo-Pak discussions, Gandhi continued to visit the riot affected areas and tried to instill confidence and goodwill amongst the people. In 1948 Gandhi took another fast as a peace offering to the people of Pakistan. He was 78. The fast ended after 5 days. India rejoiced. But a small section of Indians felt that Gandhi’s softening to the Muslims was a breach, treason. Two attempts were made on his life. On January 30, 1948 the Mahatma was shot dead by Nathu Ram Godse.
The nation was plunged in sorrow at the snatching away of an apostle of peace who died as he lived-a Mahatma in spirit.

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