Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869 - 1948
Born: 2 October 1869, Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India
Died: 30 January 1948, New Delhi, Union of India
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar, Kathiawad, India on this day in 1869, his father was the prime minister of the principality of Porbandar and his mother taught him the Jain traditions of the area. At thirteen he was married to a fourteen-year-old bride Kasturbai under an arranged marriage. He was a mediocre student at middle school at Porbandar and high school at Rajkot, passing the entrance exams for Samaldas College with difficulty. He was unhappy that he was pushed to study law but in 1888 he moved to England to study law at University College London. He found it difficult to be a vegetarian there, his landlady's offerings were bland. He found one vegetarian restaurant and joined the Vegetarian Society where he met a number of members of the Theosophical Society. With this group he seriously studied the Hindu and Christian religious texts. He was called to the bar in 1891 and immediately left for India only to find that his mother had died while he was at London. He was unable to establish a practice at Mumbai and after a run-in with an important British officer he took an assignment in the Colony of Natal, South Africa in 1893.
Faced with severe discrimination in travel and accommodation he conceived satyagraha, literally "devotion to the truth", a practice of non-violent refusal to accept official acts that discriminated against Indians. Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and devoted himself to lifting the oppressive rule of the British. He was called "Mahatma", meaning "Great Soul". Although devoted to non-violence himself he did call on Indians to join the British Army in World War I. He campaigned for changes that would improve the lot of natives, such as limiting the power of landlords, getting higher prices for crops, and agitating for and helping build schools and clinics. He specifically called for dominion status starting in 1928 and in 1930 launched the Salt March, in which he walked 288 kilometers (241 miles) to Dandi to make salt for himself, salt which would include no tax to the British. An unknown number joined him, but over 60,000 of them were jailed. He opposed the partition of India into two states and worked bring peace when it occurred, creating India and Pakistan as sovereign states in 1947. On 12 January 1948 he began a fast at Delhi, pledging to not take nourishment as long as the violence between Muslim and Hindu communities continued. He was walking to a dais to speak at a prayer meeting when a Hindu nationalist shot him.
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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi quotes:
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- A convert's enthusiasm for his new religion is greater than that of a person who is born in it. permalink
An Autobiography (1927)
- A man is but a product of his thoughts; what he thinks, that he becomes. permalink
- A man of truth must also be a man of care. permalink
An Autobiography (1927)
- A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. permalink
- Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. permalink
- All crime is a kind of disease and should be treated as such. permalink
- All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul. permalink
- Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn. permalink
An Autobiography (1927)
- An error can never become true however many times you repeat it. The truth can never be wrong, even if no one hears it. permalink
- An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained. permalink
Young India (1927)
- An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind. permalink
- An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. permalink
- Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. permalink
- As the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence. permalink
- Be the change you want to see in the world. permalink
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