” Truth and nonviolence will never be destroyed” those words spoken by Mahatma Gandhi describe the true essence of his character. He was a man who unlike others decided to use nonviolence as a means of getting what he wanted. His different approach is what ultimately led to his rising popularity and strong success. Not only did Gandhi almost single-handedly free India and its five hundred million people from their long subjection to the British Empire, but he did so without raising an army, without firing a gun or taking a hostage, and without ever holding a political office. Mohandas Karamch and Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, near Bombay. Gandhi’s family belonged to the merchant class called Vaisya.
His father had been the Prime Minister of several small native states. At the young age of 13 Gandhi was married. The marriage was arranged with Kasturbai Makanji. At age 19 Gandhi set out to study abroad. He studied law at the University College in London.
He found that there he was often looked down upon for being Indian. In 1981 Gandhi returned to India. At Natal he was the first so-called “colored” lawyer admitted to the Supreme Court. He then built a large practice. Gandhi soon became interested in the problems faced by fellow Indians who came to South Africa as laborers.
He noticed how they were treated as inferiors. In 1894 he founded the Natal Indian Congress to agitate for Indian rights. In 1899, during the Boer War, he raised an ambulance corps and served the South African government. In 1906 Gandhi began his peaceful revolution. He announced that he would go to jail or even face death before he would obey an anti-Asian law.
He never wavered in his unshakable belief in nonviolent protest and religious tolerance. Thousands of Indians joined him in the civil disobedience campaign. Twice Gandhi was imprisoned. He worked to reconcile all classes and religious sects, especially Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi became the international symbol of a free India. He lived a spiritual and ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and meditation. His union with his wife became, as he himself stated, that of brother and sister.
Refusing earthly possessions, he wore the loincloth and shawl of the lowliest Indian and subsisted on vegetables, fruit juices, and goat’s milk. Indians revered him as a saint and began tocall him Mahatma (great-souled), a title reserved for the greatest sages. Gandhi’s advocacy of nonviolence, known as ahimsa (non-violence), was the expression of a way of life implicit in the Hindu religion. By the Indian practice of nonviolence, Gandhi held,Great Britain too would eventually consider violence useless and would leave India. When Muslim and Hindu compatriots committed acts of violence, whether against the British who ruled India, or against each other, he fasted until the fighting ceased. In 1919 he became a leader in the newly formed Indian National Congress political party.
In 1920 he launched a noncooperation campaign against Britain, urging Indians to spin their own cotton and to boycott British goods, courts, and government. This led to his imprisonment from 1922 to 1924. In 1930, in protest of a salt tax Gandhi led thousands of Indians on a 200-mile march to the sea to make their own salt. he was then jailed again . This was called the “Salt March.” In 1934 he retired as head of the party but remained its actual leader.
Slowly Gandhi became to realize that that India would receive no real freedom as long as it remained in the British Empire. Gandhi’s victory came in 1947 when India won independence. The victory was not a military victory, but a triumph of human will. The subcontinent split into two countries Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. The last two months of his life were spent trying to end the appalling violence which ensued, leading him to fast to the brink of death, an act which finally quieted the riots. On Jan.
30, 1948, while on his way to prayer in Delhi, a Hindu, Nathuram Godse killed Gandhi. He had been maddened by Gandhi’s efforts to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. Three shots from a small automatic pistol were which led to his final demise. As the first bullet struck Gandhi’s foot, which was in motion, he descended to the ground, but he remained standing. The second bullet struck; blood began to stain Gandhi’s white clothes.
His face turned pale. His hands, which had been in the touch-palm position, descended slowly, Gandhi murmured. “Hey, Rama (Oh, God).” A third shot rang out. The limp body settled to the ground. His spectacles dropped to the earth.
The leather sandals slipped from his feet. Mahatma Gandhi was 79 years old. Mahatma Gandhi is a man unlike any other. His determination and unique ways inspired many to lead a non-violent life. In the past the idea was that violence was used as the main means of getting what was desired.
Gandhi broke that myth and surpassed conventional beliefs. He showed people that violence wasn’t the only way and that there were “peaceful” ways to deal with things. I believe that Gandhi is a man that will always be very admirable and respectable. His non violent ways came to inspire elsewhere in the united states, under the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. If more people were to follow the ways of Gandhi then we would have a more peaceful world today.
Mahatma Gandhi can definitely be titled The “father of nonviolence”.