Life of Mahatma Gandhi, the most respected political and spiritual leaders of the 1900's, has always been part of history-book stuff. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India. He got married to Kasturba at the early age of 13. He studied law in London and returned to India in 1891 to practice. In 1893 he took on a one-year contract for legal work in South Africa.
It was through witnessing the racism, prejudice and injustice against himself and other Indians in South Africa that Gandhi started to fight for his people's status and his own place in society. Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 21 years working to secure rights for Indian people. He employed a method of action called Satyagraha based upon the principles of courage, nonviolence and truth. He promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals. In 1915 Gandhi returned to India at the end of his contract.
In May 1915, Gandhi founded an ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and called it Satyagrah Ashram which is also known as the Sabarmati Ashram. There lodged twenty five men and women who took vows of truth, celibacy, ahimsa, non-possession, control of the palate and service of the Indian people. Gandhi's first major achievements came in 1918 when he started the Champaran agitation and the Kheda Satyagraha.
Using the principles of Satyagraha he led the campaign for Indian independence from the British Government. Gandhi was arrested several times by the British for his political activities. He taught the Indians the need of unity among the different religions, languages and classes of society and used several fasts in order to advocate the principle of non-violence. It was the Rowlatt Bill with its denial of civil liberties which finally brought Gandhi into active Indian politics. From 1919 to his death in 1948, he occupied the centre of the Indian political arena and changed the entire character of the political scene in India.
On August 15, 1947, India was partitioned and became independent. Gandhi refused to attend the celebrations in the capital and went to Calcutta where communal riots were still raging. On January 13, 1948, at the age of 78, he began a fast with the purpose of stopping the bloodshed. After 5 days, the opposing leaders promised to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later, a Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse assassinated him.
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