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Mahatma

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mahatma-Gandhi, studio, 1931.jpg
Studio photograph of Gandhi, 1931
Born
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

(1869-10-02)2 October 1869
Died30 January 1948(1948-01-30) (aged 78)
Cause of deathAssassination
MonumentsRaj Ghat,
Gandhi Smriti
CitizenshipBritish Raj (1869–1947)
Dominion of India (1947–1948)
Alma materAlfred High School, Rajkot (1880 – November 1887)
Samaldas Arts College, Bhavnagar (January 1880 – July 1888)
Inner Temple, London (September 1888–1891)
(Informal auditing student at University College, London between 1888 and 1891)
Occupation
  • Lawyer
  • Anti-Colonial Nationalist
  • Political Ethicist
Years active1893–1948
EraBritish Raj
Known forLeadership of the campaign for India's independence from British rule,
Nonviolent resistance
Notable work
The Story of My Experiments with Truth
Political partyIndian National Congress
MovementIndian independence movement
Spouse(s)
(m. 1883; died 1944)
Children
Parents
Signature
Signature of Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (/ˈɡɑːndi, ˈɡændi/;[1] 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer,[2] anti-colonial nationalist,[3] and political ethicist,[4] who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British rule,[5] and in turn inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: "great-souled", "venerable"), first applied to him in 1914 in South Africa, is now used throughout the world.[6][7]

Born and raised in a Hindu family in coastal Gujarat, western India, Gandhi trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, and was called to the bar at age 22 in June 1891. After two uncertain years in India, where he was unable to start a successful law practice, he moved to South Africa in 1893, to represent an Indian merchant in a lawsuit. He went on to live in South Africa for 21 years. It was in South Africa that Gandhi raised a family, and first employed nonviolent resistance in a campaign for civil rights. In 1915, aged 45, he returned to India. He set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.[8]

The same year Gandhi adopted the Indian loincloth, or short dhoti and, in the winter, a shawl, both woven with yarn hand-spun on a traditional Indian spinning wheel, or charkha, as a mark of identification with India's rural poor. Thereafter, he lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community, ate simple vegetarian food, and undertook long fasts as a means of self-purification and political protest. Bringing anti-colonial nationalism to the common Indians, Gandhi led them in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India.

Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India.[9] In August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire[9] was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.[10] As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78,[11] also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan.[11] Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating.[11][12] Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest.[12]

Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence. Gandhi is commonly, though not formally, considered the Father of the Nation in India,[13][14] and was commonly called Bapu[15] (Gujarati: endearment for father,[16] papa[16][17]).

  1. ^ "Gandhi". Archived 14 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ B. R. Nanda (2019), "Mahatma Gandhi", Encyclopædia Britannica Quote: "Mahatma Gandhi, byname of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India – died January 30, 1948, Delhi), Indian lawyer, politician, ..."
  3. ^ Ganguly, Debjani; Docker, John (2008), Rethinking Gandhi and Nonviolent Relationality: Global Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 4–, ISBN 978-1-134-07431-0 Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the twentieth-century in ways that neither indigenous nor westernized Indian nationalists could."
  4. ^ Parel, Anthony J (2016), Pax Gandhiana: The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Oxford University Press, pp. 202–, ISBN 978-0-19-049146-8 Quote: "Gandhi staked his reputation as an original political thinker on this specific issue. Hitherto, violence had been used in the name of political rights, such as in street riots, regicide, or armed revolutions. Gandhi believes there is a better way of securing political rights, that of nonviolence, and that this new way marks an advance in political ethics."
  5. ^ Stein, Burton (2010), A History of India, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 289–, ISBN 978-1-4443-2351-1, Gandhi was the leading genius of the later, and ultimately successful, campaign for India's independence.
  6. ^ McGregor, Ronald Stuart (1993). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 799. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: (mahā- (S. "great, mighty, large, ..., eminent") + ātmā (S. "1. soul, spirit; the self, the individual; the mind, the heart; 2. the ultimate being."): "high-souled, of noble nature; a noble or venerable man."
  7. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006). Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-520-25570-8. ...Kasturba would accompany Gandhi on his departure from Cape Town for England in July 1914 en route to India. ... In different South African towns (Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and the Natal cities of Durban and Verulam), the struggle's martyrs were honoured and the Gandhi's bade farewell. Addresses in Durban and Verulam referred to Gandhi as a 'Mahatma', 'great soul'. He was seen as a great soul because he had taken up the poor's cause. The whites too said good things about Gandhi, who predicted a future for the Empire if it respected justice.
  8. ^ Maeleine Slade, Mirabehn. Gleanings Gathered at Bapu's Feet. Ahmedabad: Navjivan publications. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Retrieved 1 September 2013. Quote: "the Muslim League had only caught on among South Asian Muslims during the Second World War. ... By the late 1940s, the League and the Congress had impressed in the British their own visions of a free future for Indian people. ... one, articulated by the Congress, rested on the idea of a united, plural India as a home for all Indians and the other, spelt out by the League, rested on the foundation of Muslim nationalism and the carving out of a separate Muslim homeland." (p. 18)
  10. ^ Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Retrieved 1 September 2013. Quote: "South Asians learned that the British Indian Empire would be partitioned on 3 June 1947. They heard about it on the radio, from relations and friends, by reading newspapers and, later, through government pamphlets. Among a population of almost four hundred million, where the vast majority lived in the countryside, ..., it is hardly surprising that many ... did not hear the news for many weeks afterwards. For some, the butchery and forced relocation of the summer months of 1947 may have been the first they know about the creation of the two new states rising from the fragmentary and terminally weakened British empire in India." (p. 1)
  11. ^ a b c Brown (1991), p. 380: "Despite and indeed because of his sense of helplessness Delhi was to be the scene of what he called his greatest fast. ... His decision was made suddenly, though after considerable thought – he gave no hint of it even to Nehru and Patel who were with him shortly before he announced his intention at a prayer-meeting on 12 January 1948. He said he would fast until communal peace was restored, real peace rather than the calm of a dead city imposed by police and troops. Patel and the government took the fast partly as condemnation of their decision to withhold a considerable cash sum still outstanding to Pakistan as a result of the allocation of undivided India's assets because the hostilities that had broken out in Kashmir; ... But even when the government agreed to pay out the cash, Gandhi would not break his fast: that he would only do after a large number of important politicians and leaders of communal bodies agreed to a joint plan for restoration of normal life in the city."
  12. ^ a b Cush, Denise; Robinson, Catherine; York, Michael (2008). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Taylor & Francis. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-7007-1267-0. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: "The apotheosis of this contrast is the assassination of Gandhi in 1948 by a militant Nathuram Godse, on the basis of his 'weak' accommodationist approach towards the new state of Pakistan." (p. 544)
  13. ^ "Gandhi not formally conferred 'Father of the Nation' title: Govt". The Indian Express. 11 July 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Constitution doesn't permit 'Father of the Nation' title: Government". The Times of India. 26 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017.
  15. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal. An Autobiography. Bodley Head.
  16. ^ a b McAllister, Pam (1982). Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence. New Society Publishers. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-86571-017-7. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: "With love, Yours, Bapu (You closed with the term of endearment used by your close friends, the term you used with all the movement leaders, roughly meaning 'Papa'." Another letter written in 1940 shows similar tenderness and caring.
  17. ^ Eck, Diana L. (2003). Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras. Beacon Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8070-7301-8. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: "... his niece Manu, who, like others called this immortal Gandhi 'Bapu,' meaning not 'father,' but the familiar, 'daddy'." (p. 210)
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