Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi- Why he is Called "Father of Nation."- His lifestyle, Principles, Philosophy and Contribution to Humanities.

 A Short Biography of a Civil Rights Activist for Indian Freedom Fighting, Mahatma Gandhi ( So Called Bapuji)-His Passion for immense Love & Truth.


                        Mother India had given birth of many more noble children who had won the hearts of whole world. They are unique for their calibers and qualities. Some of them are exceptional either
in Science-technology or in humanities. This short essay is about one such noble son of India-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who is more familiar with the name of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma means "the great soul." He sacrificed himself with great contribution to India and it's people through out his life until the last breath. People respect him by calling," Bapuji" that means the father of nation. He came to the lap of mother India to shower the sprinkle of love and truth. He was an angel of unbelievable love and affection to humanities for not only to Indian but also to the whole world. Every sphere of the globe, Mahatma is alive in the heart.

His Early life, Childhood and Education:

      Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came to lap of Putlibai, the fourth wife of Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi. On 2nd October, 1869 Putlibai gave birth her last child, Mohandas in a dark windowless ground floor room of Gandhi family in Porbandar, a coastal town of Kathiawar agency of Indian Empire. His sister, Raliat described some of his childhood aspects. According to her statement, Gandhi was restless as mercury either in playing or roaming. He was very happy while playing with dog twisting  their ears. He looked shy but very witty enough. In 1874, Karamchand shifted to Rajkot from Porbandar to join as Diwan (Chief Minister) of Rajkot. At the age of 9 years, Mohandas was admitted to a local school in Rajkot where he studied the rudiment of Arithmetic, History, Geography and Gujrati language. At the age of 11 years, in the year 1880, he was admitted to Rajkot high school. Gandhi was an average student but he was bookish. He had no interest in playing. His best companion was book. From very early ages, he was highly impressed with Indian classic story like Shraavana and king Harishchandra. He confessed that all these story impacted him greatly. He wrote later, "It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number." These story made him the follower of truth and love passionate.

                 In may 1883, at the age of 13, Mohandas was married to one year elder girl, Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia in an arranged marriage. Kasturbai was short named as Kasturba and affectionately "Ba". Marriage was exercised as per custom of the region. He was recalling the day of their marriage. He once said, "As we didn't know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives." According to prevailing tradition, adolescent brides had to spend much time at her parent's home and away from husband. Mohandas had described his lustful feelings for his newly bride," Even at school I used to think of her, and our subsequent meeting was ever hunting me." He later recalled feeling jealous and possessive of her." He even thought that she would visit a temple with his girl friend, Kasturba and lustfully he met her. 

                              The marriage proceedings was over but he lost one year in his school. Later he accelerated his study and managed to promote himself in the next class. In the year 1885,Gandhi's father, Karamchand died. Gandhi was 16 years old then. Kasturba gave birth her first baby at the age of seventeen. But the new born baby died after two days. Later Kasturbai and Mohandas had four more Children alive. In November, 1887 at the age of 18, Gandhi was graduated from school of Ahmedabad. In January, 1888 he joined at Samaldas college in Bhavnagar that was the only sole degree graduating institute at that time. Since Gandhi was from the poor family and it was the cheapest institute that his family would afford. But he dropped out from this college as he was aspirants of high quality study. Mavji Dave, the priest and his family friend advised him that he should consider law studies in London. Gandhiji's uncle, Tulsidas also tried to dissuade his nephew. Meanwhile, in July,1988 Kasturbai had given birth of her first live child, Harilal. In this situation, Gandhi's mother, Putlibai was not comfortable about Gandhi's leaving of his wife and family. But Gandhi wanted to go. To persuade his mother and his wife, Gandhi made a vow in front of his mother that he would abstain away from meat, alcohol and wife. Gandhi's brother, Laxmidas was also a lawyer. He also cheered Mohandas's London study planning and assured him to support as need. Putlibai gave him permission with blessing.

     On August, 1988 Gandhi left Porbandar for Bombay (now it is renamed as Mumbai). While staying with local Modh Bania community in Mumbai, the elder community member warned him about induction to western culture in England. They awfully anxious that western culture would temp him to compromise his religion, eat and drink habit in western way. Gandhi ignored all as he  promised to her mother and family. Finally on 4th September, 1888, he sailed from Mumbai to London. Reaching to London, Gandhi joined to university college of London that is a constituent college of University of London.

     At UCL Gandhi studied law and Jurisprudence. He was then called for enrollment at inner temple as a barrister. Gandhi was shy, introvert and self withdrawal in nature from his childhood up to enter to London. However he overcame this handicap by joining a public speaking practicing group. At the age of 22 years, Gandhi called to Bar. He then left London & returned to India. He came to know that her mother had already expired and his family did not give him the sad news as it could hamper his study in London. He managed his bereavement and thought practicing law.


Professional Career Evolution-Lawyer to Civil Right Activist.

    Returning to India, in the year 1891, Gandhi attempted to establish his law practice in Bombay court. He failed to achieve success because he psychologically unable to cross-interrogation of the witness. He returned to Rajkot & started to do moderate legal activities like drafting petition for litigants. He also had to stop such types of activities as Sam Sunny of British Raj restricted him. He was very helpless to initiate his law career. After two years of professional disappointment, he got an opportunity to work in South Africa.

                     In 1893, a Muslim merchant called Dada Abdullah contacted Gandhi. Abdullah had a large shipping business in south Africa. His nephew had business in Johannesburg. He needed a law consult. They preferred someone from Kathiawar region. So Abdullah called Gandhi. They offered a lucrative pay package. Gandhi agreed to join with their farm in South Africa. He was partly happy knowing that it was at least one year commitment in the Natal colony in South Africa. It would help him to exercise the law clauses in British colonial empire. The Abdullah cases that brought him to South Africa concluded in May, 1894. So he planned to return back to India. The Indian people resided in South Africa arranged a farewell party to see off Gandhi. Meantime, a new natal government discriminatory proposal changed his decision to leave south Africa. Gandhi realised that the Indian resided in South Arica are compressed and deprived in different issues imposed by British colonial regime. He felt to eradicate the menaces judiciously. He devoted himself to help the suppressed residents through his unique and strategic methodology of "Ahimsa" means "non-violence" and  "Satyagraha" means "devotion to truth". Till 1914, he continued his movement against denial voting rights of Indian residents, racial and social discrimination, untouchability, depriving of civil rights of native south Africans and NRI Indians. Gradually he transformed himself as the civil right activist from his law profession. Thus he became an international political leader with his ideas of protest, persuasion skill and public relation. He determined to imply his leadership to get free his motherland, India from the dictatorial British ruling. So he returned back to India in 1915.

Political leadership in India -His contribution to Indian Freedom Fighting.

              Gandhi returned to India with an international reputation as a leading Indian nationalist, theorist, and community organiser. Indian freedom fighting movement was organised by Indian National Congress. Gokhale was key figure in Indian National Congress at that time. Gandhiji was impressed by Gokhale's liberal approaches. Gandhi joined in Indian National Congress as general member. Subsequently he started to gear up strategic planning for national freedom movement. Gandhi planned to make a breeze between British and Indian nationalist. Meantime first world war started, Gandhi convinced INC to cooperate British in lieu of swaraj that means self ruling. But world war over, British Empire denied to grant independence to India. Gandhi was failed to negotiate with British. Gandhi accelerated his non resistance movement against Raj-the British imperialism. 

His active Participation in Kheda Movement(1918).


             In the year,1918, Kheda, a village in Gujrat was hit by flood. The crops were washed out. The peasant was demanding tax relief but government did not respond to their demand sympathy in urgency. Gandhi stretched his hands to initiate Satyagraha-non violence movement against British. He raised his campaign collecting signature in support of their demand. He made an agitation through non cooperation to revenue officer. He insisted all the victim to boycott the governmental tax collector. Through the continual struggle, he managed to get approval of tax relief for the Kheda flood Victim.

                
                     In the year 1920, he took leadership of Indian National Congress for stiff movement attitude. He began to escalate demands for Indian independence. Most importantly, he started his unique non violent strategy-Swadeshi Movement that means usages of Indian domestic products (Khadi or Khaddar) by boycotting of British products. British government passed stringent oppressive rule, Rowlett Act (1919). According to this law, any agitation lead by any freedom fighting group may be shot on instance. In response to this brutal rules, Gandhi declared Asahayog that means Non-Cooperation Movement using non violence method of civil disobedience to British administration. Peoples of India actively responded to Gandhi's call of participation in satyagraha. On 4th February, 1922 in the village of Chauri Chaura, People started Picketing in front of foreign wine shop. Police started open fire in the air to disperse mob. The mob reciprocated on Police and ignited fire in Chauri Chaura police station. The situation was out of control. In this situation police fired on agitator. As a consequence thousand of common people died on police firing. Gandhi commanded to stop non cooperation movement on 12th February. In 1930, Indian National Congress declared and celebrated Independence day on 26th January, 1930. British didn't recognise but negotiation initiated. 

Mahatma Gandhi- Salt Satyagraha Movement:

             Indian coastal is the most lucrative place for Salt production. British collected salt from the sea sore. Indian salt were refined and packed. Indian peoples were forced to buy Indian products with higher prices. British government imposed salt tax on Indian salt producers. Gandhi wrote Lord Irwin to withdraw tax on salt. Otherwise civil disobedience movement would be propagated. No response was noticed. Gandhi decided for salt satyagraha or salt march. On 12 March, 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram Gandhi started his march with 78 satyagrahis. These represented a cross section of the people from all over the country. Peoples from all religion and caste responded to the call of Gandhiji. Huge crowd followed the satyagrahis, the roads for miles and miles had been decorated with arches, flags and bouquet of flowers. The long 241 mile trek finally ended on 5th April, 1930. On the next day the atmosphere at Dandy was both tense and solemn. Gandhi thought that he might be arrested. So he nominated Abbas Tyabji and Smt. Sarojini Naidu to lead the satyagraha. After prayers, Gandhiji with his followers took bath in the sea water. Then at 8.30 AM, he defied the salt law by picking up a lump of salt. The whole nation defied salt law. Gandhi declared, " Now that technical and ceremonial breach of the salt has been committed, it is now open to anyone who would take the risk of persecution under the salt law to manufacture salt wherever he wishes and wherever it is convenient". Millions broke salt law and started to produce salt. The government replied by unleashing a reign of terror. By March 31 more than 95000 law breakers were imprisoned. Gandhiji was arrested on 4th May. However, the outcome of the movement, it was the biggest milestone for Indian freedom movement. This was great emblem of the civil disobedience to the British colonial regime. This was the great war against "Black Regime".

       Due to world war-II, the process of independence was halted. On the eve of war, Gandhi was called in Delhi in round table conference regarding support to British against Germany. Gandhiji was upset over the betrayal in first world war-I, Gandhi was against support of British in second world war. In this issue congress leadership was divided in two pole-Left & Right. One is in favour of support to British in World war another is in favour of support to Germany against British. Now question came how Indian Congress would be leaded. Voting was decided between left and right wings. The left nominated Netaji Subhas Chandra as president and right wings with Gandhi follower nominated Pattabhi Sitaramayya  as presidential candidate. As per final polling Sitaramayya was defeated by Subhas Chandra Bose. Gandhi admitted the defeat of Sitaramayya was defeat of himself. Gandhi along with his follower started his movement with his individual leadership. He declared Quit India movement on august, 1942.  By his contiguous non violent movement and agitation, the European Empire considered to grant Indian independence. But with paying a gratitude to Muslim league demand for a separate state as their support to Britain in war against Germany. Britain approved Indian independence with two part India. Thus Pakistan and India got their sovereignty in the year 1947 on 14th &15th August respectively on compromisation of religious harmony. Gandhi was not happy with such division of a nation rather he was in favour of communal harmony and wished to be happy to his liberal and peaceful attitude, "love to all". The partition of the subcontinent into Pakistan and India in 1947 resulted in communal riots. Gandhi deeply mourned for demolition of his principle, "Ahimsa". Hindu nationalist backed by Hindu Mahasabha was furious with Gandhi's shyness in depriving of allocation of a solely Hindu state.


                   On 30th January in the year 1948 while Gandhi was attending a prayer meeting in his Birla house resident in Delhi, suddenly three bullet stroke to his chest. Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist shot him by his pistol. Gandhi died on spot saying his last word, "Hey Ram" that means "Oh! my God."

Philosophical Aspects of Gandhi: His Principles, Idealism, Morality and Socialism.

                  According to Gandhi's Statements, letters & narratives, he was reflected to a philosopher, social aggregator and a unique socio-economic reviver. Though some historian and writer represent him as more complex, contradictory and revolving character. Gandhi introduced his principles and moral values complied with ancient Indian ethics to the modern global theology in religious, sociology and economics. He was from a Hindu & Jain family background. So he emphasised on Hinduism and Jainism in his lifestyle, culture and principles. He was a vegetarian through out his life. He argued in favour of vegetarian habits that it makes human non violence by it's ingredients and energy level. It also helps to maintain Brambhacharya. Returning to India from South Africa, Gandhi wore loin cloth as half necked to express his solidarity with poor and helpless native Indian. He expressed his indifference with  common brotherhood. He maintain this dress code until his death. Earlier it is mentioned, he was disciple of Hinduism and Jainism but he was impressed by other religion like Advaita, Dvaita,  Buddhist, Christ, Islam, Sufism and social thinker like Leo Tolstoy, Ruskin. According to his comparative studies and interaction with scholars of different cast and religion, he read Bhagwat Gita, Bible Quran and various scripture on religious prophecy. He expressed his idea on religious principles that every religion has incompleteness and misinterpretation. In 1957 Gandhi declared himself as follower of Advaita Hindu. But he respected all religions and was in favour of Religious plurality in independence India. More over his philosophy and idea were based on non-violence, truth telling, cleanliness, and upliftment of the masses. Gandhiji had liberal mentalities. He was against untouchability which he remarked as great evil of Hindu but not unique in Hinduism. He later tried to bring untouchables or Harijan to main stream of Indian secularism. 


             The lifestyle, thoughts and philosophy that are followed in daily life is termed as Gandhism. But Gandhi had wrote he had not inventor of any new principles or systems. He confessed," I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truth to our daily life and problem. I have nothing new to teach world. Truth and nonviolence are as old as hills."

Gandhi and His Literary Works:


         Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a prolific writer. One of his earliest write up was, "Hind Swaraj" published in Gujrati languages in 1909. It was published in English version. Later this became the "Intellectual Blueprint for India's independence." His other legend publications were, "Harijan" and "Indian Opinion." He was several times nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Last time in 1948, he was selected for Nobel winner but he was assassinated before the final approval of the Nobel committee. So the proposal was dismissed as there was no living heir. For his non stop devotion for waving need of  self-ruling, accumulating public involvement in Indian freedom movement and driving the nation towards independence, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose truly designated him first as "Father of Nation" in a speech in Singapore in 1943. Later Sarojini Naidu emphasised to recall him with the same title. 

             At the last of this topic, we deeply express our grief on his premature demise in the newly independent India which we got in lieu of his rigorous hardship and self sacrifice throughout his life. We really lost the "Father of Nation".   
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