Mohandas Gandhi, one of the most well known Indian people to have ever lived, is more commonly called Mahatma, meaning ‘great soul’. Gandhi was born in 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, on the west coast of India where his father was the chief minister. There were differing religious influences in the Gandhi home, his mother was a member of the Jain faith, which heavily influenced his vegetarian diet, and pacifist way of life, “in a gentle way you can shake the world”.

At the age of 13 Gandhi was made to marry another child, Kasturba Makhanji. They were together until her death in 1944. They had five children, the first died not long after being born. Gandhi held bitterness about his child marriage; seeing no reason as to why a child should be married.

Gandhi was not especially gifted at school; there was pressure on him to become a barrister so as to follow in his father’s footsteps. He took the opportunity to study abroad in London at the age of 18. He passed his bar exam, but found deep passion in the philosophical study of religion. Upon his return to India, Gandhi accepted a position at an Indian firm in South Africa, where he lived for 21 years, and spent a lot of that time fighting against racial segregation. Witnessing the way he and his fellow countrymen were treated was the spark that ignited his future activism. Gandhi founded his first political movement in South Africa and developed his belief in non-violent civil protest.

Gandhi photo and quote

Gandhi returned to India in 1916 where he raised awareness of oppression and encouraged people to improve their lives. By 1921 Gandhi was running the Indian National Congress, his political influence was expanding at a huge rate. Gandhi was pushing for complete independence from Britain.

Gandhi’s campaign brought many great things: alleviation of poverty, rights for women, status for the ‘untouchable’ caste, and political independence from Britain. During the Second World War Gandhi pushed for further independence, which led to the worst civil uprisings yet and Gandhi’s second arrest. Britain wanted to partition British-ruled India in to Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Gandhi was against this partition, but eventually gave in to pressure. India celebrated Independence Day on the 15th August 1947.

Sadly, Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. While on his way to a prayer meeting, he was shot in the chest three times. His murderer, Nathuram Godse, was a Hindu nationalist, who thought that Gandhi’s actions were not good for the nation. Godse was executed along with a co-conspirator.

The nation wept over the loss of Gandhi, the father of their nation, the breaker of their manacles and the freer of their minds. Gandhi changed India forever and has influenced and encouraged millions of people the world over. If you would like to know more about this amazing land, come and join us on one of our wonderful authentic journeys.

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