BORN ON: October 2, 1869
Martyrdom: January 30, 1948
Place of birth: Porbandar, Gujarat, India
Place of Death: New Delhi India
Mohandas Gandhi was born to a Hindu family on 2 October 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat, India. He was the last child of Karamchand Gandhi, his father, and his father’s fourth wife Putlibai.
He belonged to the caste of the merchant. His early schooling was done in nearby Rajkot, where his father served as the adviser or prime minister to the local ruler.
India was then under British rule. His father died before Gandhi could finish his schooling. At thirteen, the young Gandhi was married to Kasturba or known as Kasturbai, who was of the same age as Gandhi. from her he had four sons.
In September 1888 Gandhi went to England, to pursue a degree in law.
Gandhi left behind his son Harilal, then a few months old. He spent three years stay in London being a serious student, living a very simple lifestyle.
He became deeply interested in vegetarianism and study of different religions. His stay in England provided opportunities for widening horizons and the better understanding of religions and cultures.
Gandhi successfully completed his degree at the Inner Temple and was called to the Bar on 10 June 1891. He enrolled in the High Court of London, but later that year he left for India.
For the next two years, Gandhi attempted to practice law in India, establishing himself in the legal profession in Bombay. but he found that he lacked both knowledges of Indian law and self-confidence at trial. His practice collapsed and he returned home to Porbandar.
He remained in India for almost two years. and 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.
gandhi felt very hurt by this incident and some other such incidents made him 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 this 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 nation. He was on the battlefield to fight for the independence of his own country, but the way Gandhi chose was totally different.
His policies and agendas were non-violent and his words were the source of inspiration for millions. Gandhi carried out various movements in India. some of the biggest movements also known as satyagraha are listed below:-
1. CHAMPARAN SATYAGRAHA
In 1917 Champaran Satyagraha was the first Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi when he learned about the abuses suffered by farmers, who were forced into growing indigo by British planters/estate owners. ‘The Champaran tenant’, passed the information to Gandhi, ‘was bound by law to plant three out of every twenty parts of his land with indigo for his landlord’. This system was called Tinkathia.
Gandhi was initially reluctant to commit himself to the task but he was so thoroughly persuaded by indigo cultivator Rajkumar Shukla that he decided to investigate the matter.
Gandhi’s plan was to carry out an extensive inquiry into the district and demand action based on its findings. The local authorities did not find Gandhi’s visit welcoming and they unsuccessfully tried to dissuade him from undertaking his inquiry. But Gandhi began his work from the house of Babu Gorakh Prasad in Motihari, headquarters of the district.
During this time, Gandhi was served with a court summon while he was making a spot visit to a village on an elephant back. Gandhi was charged with violating Section 144 of CrPC but he refused to leave Champaran. The announcement of his inquiry had already captivated the imagination of the peasants and his popularity skyrocketed as the news of his prosecution broke.
On April 18, 1917, when Gandhi appeared in Motihari Court, nearly 2000 local people accompanied him to the court. The magistrate wanted to defer the trial and as a result, the Motihari trial collapsed. The then Lieutenant Governor of Bihar had ordered the withdrawal of case against Gandhi, and the Collector wrote to Gandhi saying he was free to conduct the inquiry. This small step was a giant leap forward in the history of freedom struggle and heralded the advent of the Gandhian era.
Gandhi’s method of inquiry was based on surveys by the volunteers. The respondents who willingly gave statements should sign the papers or give thumb impressions. For those unwilling to participate, the reasons must be recorded by the volunteers.
The principal volunteers in this survey were mostly lawyers like Babu Rajendra Prasad, Dharnidhar Prasad, Gorakh Prasad, Ramnawami Prasad, Sambhusaran and Anugraha Narain Sinha. Within a month, nearly 4,000 statements were taken.
In the meantime, the Bihar administration grew anxious at Gandhi’s prolonged stay in Champaran. Thus on June 4, 1917, Sir Edward Gait, the Lieutenant Governor of Bihar, declared the formation of a formal inquiry committee with Gandhi aboard. But Gait had to concede that Gandhi and volunteers could remain in the district and Gandhi would not cease to be an advocate of the ryats (tenants).
On July 11, 1917, the Champaran Inquiry Committee began its preliminary meeting and after several sittings and spot visits, it submitted its final report on October 4. The government accepted almost all its recommendations to the benefit of the ryats. The principal recommendation accepted was the complete abolition of Tinkathia system.
On November 29, the Champaran Agrarian bill was submitted in the Bihar Legislative Council. On March 4, 1919, with the formal signature of the Governor General, this bill turned into a law. Almost a year after Gandhi’s arrival, the exploitative tinkathia system had finally been abolished.
The victory at Champaran established Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in India’s struggle against the British Raj.
2. KHEDA SATYAGRAHA
kheda district of Gujrat experienced heavy rainfall in the year 1917. the agriculture production was completely destroyed. but still, the British government instead of haiving tax tried to collect tax from farmers. under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi farmers started satyagraha in front of British rulers.
gandhi told the farmers “we will not pay tax until the government accepts our demands ” paying respect to the protest waged by Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai left his advocacy and joined him on the satyagraha. gandhi wrote a letter to the commissioner that if the tax of the farmers who are in very poor condition, will be waived off, then the prosperous one will pay the tax, at the end the British government passed an order for the same in 1918 and the movement was successful with no violence.
The movement of kheda was not important from the result point of view but it was important from the viewpoint of principles. there was a new awakening among the farmers. the fear from the British rulers become less. and the nation recognized Gandhi as a devoted and committed leader.
3. NON CO-OPERATION MOVEMENT :
In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909), he said that the British rule could be established in India due to the cooperation of Indians and it ran with their support only. if the Indians would withdraw the support and cooperation, the British rule would end within a year and Swaraj would be established.
he started the non-cooperation movement with the mere thought of not supporting the Britishers. it had two main aspects- the first was the complete boycott of government jobs, legislative meetings, government educational institutions, honors, foreign clothes, and goods. the other creative aspect included removal of untouchability, Hindu Muslim unity, saying no to alcohol and propagation of swadeshi and national education.
Gandhi started the non-cooperation movement by returning the honor of “Kesar e hind “. the movement became more widespread in 1921-22. students left the schools and colleges. advocates left their advocacy, many elected legislative members and local self-government institutions resigned from their jobs. the foreign clothes were littled at various places. the charkha started taking its place in every home. swadeshi was propagated. Many national institutions like Kashi vidyapith, Jamia Millia Islamia, Gujarat vidyapith, Bihar vidyapith etc. were established. Mahatma Gandhi was against any type of violent movement. a group of farmers of Gorakhpur district attacked a police station in the Uttar Pradesh in the year 1922. the group lit up the police station in which 22 policemen burnt got alive and died.
due to that incident, Gandhi withdraws the non-cooperative movement immediately.
4. SALT SATYAGRAH MOVEMENT (DANDI -MARCH)
On the year1930 the British government controlled the making and selling of salt and put a law for everyone had to pay Tax for using salt. from poor to rich everyone needed salt. Gandhi felt that such type of tax was totally unfair and commented that the government would next put a tax on water. which was more important was that even the poorest, illiterate peasant understood the unfairness of the Salt Tax.
The laws were so strict that if people living near the sea picks sea salt lying on the sand, a fine would be imposed on them.
Gandhi picked up the salt from the seashore at Dandi and started the Dandi March
On 12 March 1930, Gandhi along with 80 satyagrahis, set out on foot for the coastal village of Dandi, (Gujarat). over 390 kilometers from their starting point at Sabarmati Ashram.
The first day‟s march of 21kilometers ended in the village of Asali, where Gandhi addressed to a crowd of about 4,000 Pepple.
the other villages that the march passed through, volunteers were collecting donations, registering new Satyagrahis, and receiving resignations from village officials who chose to end cooperation on with British rule.
Thousands of Satyagrahis and leaders like Sarojini Naidu joined the march Every day, more and more people joined the march until the procession of marchers became at least two miles long.
The marchers was used to sing the Hindu Bhajan “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” while walking.
Near the end of the march, Gandhi declared, “ I want world sympathy in this battle of Right against Might.
Upon arriving at the seashore on 5th April, Gandhi was interviewed by an Associated Press Reporter. he stated:
“I cannot withhold my compliments from the government for the policy of complete non-interference adopted by them throughout the march”.
I wish I could believe this non-interference was due to any real change of heart or policy,”
The following morning, after a prayer, Gandhiji raised a lump of Salty mud and declared, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.
The long 241 miles trek finally ended on April 5, 1930.
Along the way, Gandhiji and companions had broken the journey for the night at 22 places.
Salt Satyagraha succeeded in drawing the attention of the world. Millions saw the newsreels showing the march.
Time Magazine declared Gandhiji its “1930 Man of the Year.”
5. QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT
in the year 1939, when the British Governor-General of India, Lord Linlithgow brought India into the second world war without its consultation. To secure full Indian co-operation and support for their efforts in the World War II.
in return for distribution of power from the Viceroy, the British government sent a mission called the Cripps mission to India.
The mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps.
The talks between Cripps and Indian nationals failed. After the failure of Cripps mission, Gandhi
called for the Quit India Movement.
On July 14, 1942, a resolution was passed demanding complete independence.
The resolution also proposed civil disobedience, if the British did not
agree to the demands.
British was not ready to accept the demands of Gandhi and his non-violence
theory was rejected.
The policy of violence was adopted by Lord Linlithgow.
Soon the movement was launched by Gandhi Ji, on August 8, 1942, at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai where he made an ultimate call to ‘Karo ya maro’ to free the nation from colonial clutches.
Prominent leaders from Indian National Congress like Abdul Kalam Azad, Vallabhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru got arrested by 9th August.
Almost all other leaders of Indian national congress were arrested and jailed within a week.
Quit India movement was a spontaneous movement in which people of different class and caste expressed their readiness and courage to fight against the British, though they lacked veteran leadership.
The British had the support of the Viceroy’s Council (which had a majority of Indians), the All India Muslim League, the princely states, the British Indian Army and the other loyalists in service.
During the movement, for several weeks there was widespread rioting and the British lost control
in some parts of the country. – Further, the communists had opposed this movement and it
virtually damaged the labor movement also.
Labour Unions under the Communist influence had apparently decided against participation in the movement even machine guns and aerial bombings were used by British officials to restore their rule. By the end of the year, the movement had been suppressed due to ruthless use of force. For next two and half years, there was no large political movement.
During the movement, government buildings, municipal houses and post offices were raided and
railway stations were set on fire. In this movement, Gandhi had urged the Indians to act as an independent nation and not to follow the orders of the British.
Even after Gandhi was arrested, large-scale protests and demonstrations were held all over the country Over 100,000 people were arrested for conducting peaceful protests and demonstrations.
The British had refused to grant India its independence for the fear of loss. They later promised that independence to India will be granted after the end of WW II.