Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi was better known asMahatma Gandhi. He was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar into the middle class Vaishya family. He was a son of Karamchand and Putlibai. He studied at the elementary school in porbandar till the age of seven and later at Rajkot. He was married to Kasturba at the age of thirteen while still in high school. During his school days he did not show any extraordinary trait, was a bit shy. He matriculated and went to England in 1888 for the study of law. Though his mother opposed this trip but the opposition was overcome by Gandhi's strict vow of not touching women, wine and meat in the foreign land. He passed his examination in 1891 and on 12th June 1891 sailed back to India. He remained in India for almost two years but could not establish himself as a successful lawyer. In 1893 he went to South Africa to fight a lawsuit on behalf of Dada Abdullah & Company. It was the place, which changed the course of Gandhi's life and the history of India. While traveling in a first class rail compartment, Gandhi was thrown out by railway officials just because a white man objected to his presence in the first class compartment. This and some other such incidents made Gandhi feel that being quiet will not do any good. He stood up for the cause of all the Indians residing there who were suffering humiliation daily. After fighting for the cause of the Indian people in South Africa. He returned to India in 1915. But he was not the same man who left India. He was much transformed - now he had nothing but one resolve - to serve the masses of his country. He was in the battlefield to fight for the independence of his own country, but his ways were totally different. He did not ever use any weapon. 'Satyagraha', 'Asahyog Andolan' and 'Savinay Avagya Andolan' were his weapons. His first Satyagraha was in Champaran in 1917 for the cause of peasants of Champaran. The harsh Rowlatt Act introduced by the British government brought him actively into Indian politics and he remained at its centerstage till his death in 1948. With his Non Cooperation Movement, the struggle for independence became the struggle of the masses. He got enormous support in his campaign. He was arrested by the British government and was sentenced to six years of imprisonment. On his release, he undertook the famous 'Dandi March' in 1930, to break the salt law of the British and he was again arrested but later released unconditionally. On 29th August 1931 he sailed to England for the second round table conference as a delegate of the Congress but returned empty handed. In 1942 he organized Quit India movement and gave the slogan of 'Do or Die'. He prepared to organize a Satyagraha but along with other freedom fighters was arrested. Unable to deal with the increasing unrest in India, the British government invited Jawaharlal Nehru to form an Interim government. All this annoyed the Muslim league and Jinnah and resulted in the outbreak of violenceMahatma Gandhi was against the partition of India. But he could not make the leaders of Indian National Congress and Muslim League understand his stand. On 15th August 1947 India finally got independence but Gandhi refused to join the celebrations, mourning for the loss of unity of his countrymen. On his birthday i.e. on 2nd October 1947, when everyone was greeting him, he asked: " Where do congratulations come in? Would it be not appropriate to send condolences? There is nothing but anguish in my heart." Some people did not like his message of love and brotherhood. A bomb was thrown at him while he was in prayer meeting but it missed its mark. Ten days later on January 30th 1948, when Gandhi was going for the evening prayers in Birla House, a young Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse, from Poona forced his way to Gandhi and fired three shots at him. Gandhi fell to the ground and breathed his last. He died with the words of God on his lips. With his death India lost his Father. The loss felt by the people of India on the death of Mahatma Gandhi can be summarized in the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, when he addressed the nation after Gandhiji's death: "The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere and I do not quite know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we call him, the father of our nation, is no more... The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many years, and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts. For that light represented the living truth, and the eternal man was with us with his eternal truth reminding us of the right path, drawing us from error, taking this ancient country to freedom..." Get to know about some more Historical Figures:Kanishka Harshvardhana Ashoka Chandragupta Maurya Babar Sher Shah Suri Prithviraj Chauhan AkbarHumayun Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Aruna Asaf Ali Mahatma Gandhi Bal Gangadhar TilakMaulana Abul Kalam Azad Mangal Pandey

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