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May 03, 2017

Essay : Mahatma Gandhi - An Apostle of Peace

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Mahatma Gandhi - An Apostle of Peace

  • Early childhood and family background of Gandhiji
  • Educational background of Gandhiji. 
  • His fight for the civil rights of Indian in South Africa. 
  • Emerging as the President of Indian National Congress and started several movements viz.
    • Satyagraha movement. 
    • Non-Cooperation - Khilafat movement 
    • Civil Disobedience movement.
    • Quit India movement. 
  • His principles of non-violence, truth and peace.
  • A great leader and social reformer. 
  • His ideals inspired many leaders and movements.
"An Eye for an Eye only ends up making the whole world blind". Mahatma Gandhi
In India the growth of modern nationalism is intimately connected to anti-colonial movement. Each class and group felt the effect of British colonialism differently. To unite all the groups, a new leader appeared in Indian politics with his noble idea of satyagrah who was none other than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as '13apu'. His emergence as the undisputed leader of Indian freedom movement is an interesting story by itself. 

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October, 1869 to a Hindu Baniya family in Porbandar, Gujarat, on the Western coast of India . His father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi served as the dewan (Chief Minister) of Porbandar State. His mother, Putlibai's religious and pious behaviour left a deep impression on him. Gandhiji received his early education and training from his parents. He grew up to be deeply religious, honest and truthful. He always distanced himself from any form of vices. Gandhiji was married to Kasturba Gandhi in 1883.

He passed his matriculation examination in November 1887 from Ahmedabad. After that, he joined Samaldas College in Bhavnagar state but withdrew immediately at the end of the first term and returned to Porbandar. For his higher studies, he enrolled at the Inner Temple, London to study law and jurisprudence with the intention of becoming a barrister.

During his stay in London, he tried to adopt English customs. After returning to India, Gandhi tried to establish his career in law in Mumbai but did not succeed. 

At the age of twenty-four, Mahatma Gandhi flew to South Africa in connection to a lawsuit. He spent twenty-one years at South Africa. He found that Indians and other dark skinned people faced discriminations and were the oppressed section of the society. 

In response to the mistreatment meted out against Indians and others, he formed the Indian National Congress to fight for the civil rights of the Indian community in South Africa. While fighting for the rights and priviledges of Indians, he taught people to fight through non-violence and emerged as a great political leader. 

After staying for long in South Africa Gandhiji returned to India in 1915. He became the President of Indian National Congress. He protested against the British rule. He started several movements for India's Independence such as Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, Civil Disobedience Movement (1930), Satyagraha Movement (1919), Quit India Movement in 1942 etc. 

After arriving in India, Gandhiji successfully organised Satyagraha movements in various places, viz Champaran (1916), Kheda (1971) and Ahmedabad (1918). These experiments of Satyagraha movements brought Gandhiji into close touch with the masses, both the peasants in the rural area and the workers in the urban areas. 

The British passed the Rowlatt Act in 1919 to deal with the revolutionaries. This act gave unbridled powers to the government to arrest and imprison suspects without trial for two years maximum. 

Gandhi made the Rowlett Act an issue and appealed to the people to observe peaceful demonstration against the Act on 6th April, 1919. Gandhiji's call for peaceful demonstration met with tremendous response. It led to mass demonstrations in Punjab and Delhi. 

The Jallianwala massacre (1919) was a sequel of this agitation. The Indian people were shocked by the way the British conducted the brutal mass killing. Gandhiji then launched a Non-Cooperation Khilaft movement in 1921 against the British rule. 

The Muslims of India decided to force Britain to change their Turkish policy as after the First World War a harsh treaty was imposed on the Ottoman empire who the Khalifa or spiritual head of the Islamic world. Young Muslim leaders discussed with Gandhiji about the possibility of a united mass action and Mahatma saw this as 'an opportunity of uniting Hindus and Mohammedans, as would not arise in a hundred years.' 

Thus the Non-Cooperation Khilafat Movement began in January 1921. 4.) Various social groups participated in this movement and the effects of this movement on economic front were tremendous. On 12th March, 1930, Gandhi started his Civil Disobedience movement with his famous Dandi March' to break the salt laws. 

Gandhiji found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite the nation. On 6th April Gandhiji reached Dandi and ceremonially violated the Salt Law, manufacturing salt by boiling sea water. Many leaders and about 1 lakh people were arrested. Then followed the Gandhi-Irwin Pact for the participation of the Congress in the Second Round Table Conference in 1931. 

In 1939, with the outbreak of Second World War, India involved with the war for being a constituent component of the British Empire. On 1942 the British Government sent a delegation to India under Stafford Cripps. The purpose of the mission was to negotiate with the Indian National Congress, a deal to obtain total cooperation during the war, in return distribution of power to an elected Indian legislature. 

The talks failed as the proposal of limited 'dominion-status' was wholly unacceptable to Indian leaders. The failure of the Cripps Mission led to unprecedented disappointment. 

The Congress Working Committee met at Wardha, Maharashtra and passed a resolution demanding complete independence from the British government. The British were asked to leave India immediately. 

The moving spirit behind the resolution was Gandhiji. The Quit India Movement was the greatest challenge to the British empire. The sole purpose behind the launch of several movement such as Non-cooperation Movement, Satyagraha Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement was to dethrone the Britishers from the ruling chair of India, Gandhiji detested violence. 

He followed the principles of non-violence, truth and peace throughout his life. He proved that Ahimsa (non-violence) is stronger and more powerful than sword. Gandhiji's guidance and influence also empowered and encouraged women to be a part of the journey to freedom. 

India's freedom movement is also called as Gandhian era. Mahatma Gandhi is a well known personality around the globe. He was determined to make the end of the British imperialism and securing freedom for India. 

Gandhiji was a great leader, a saint and a great social reformer. He was pious, truthful and religious. He believed in simple living and high thinking. He was a champion of democracy and was deadly opposed to dictatorial rule. Gandhi showed India and the world the path of truth and non-violence. 

He believed that it was truth alone that prevailed in the end. According to him India's real emancipation depended on Swadeshi i.e. boycott of foreign goods, use of khadi, encouragement to village and cottage industries. 

At last his noble efforts bore fruit and on 15th August, 1947, India became VA free and independent. Gandhi defeated the mighty British empire not with swords or guns, but by means of strange and utterly new weapons of truth kr) and non-violence (ahimsa).

Gandhiji was assassinated at the Birla House (new Gandhi Smriti) in New Delhi on January 1948. Gandhiji was outside on the steps where a prayer meeting was going to take place. 

At same time Nathuram Godse emerged from the admiring crowed, bowed to him and shoot him three times at point-blank range in the stomach and chest. Gandhiji was taken back inside the Birla House, where he died. He worked all through his life for Hindu-Muslim unity and the abolition of untouchability. 

Gandhi worked hard for the upliftment of the Harijans, the name given by him to the untouchables. Gandhi declared untouchability a sin against God and man. Gandhi wrote his famous autobiography under the title 'My Experiments with Truth'. 

His philosophy influenced important leaders and political movements throughout the world. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Khi were deeply influenced by his ideas. Indians widely describe him as the 'Father of the Nation'. Although his village-dominated economy was not accepted by modern India, but his ideas of truth and non-violence made India's political identity as a tolerant and secular democracy. 

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Apostle - someone who has a strong belief in an idea and tries to get other people to support it
  • Vices immoral behaviour
  • Jurisprudence a scientific study of law
  • Oppressed people treated in cruel and unfair way and not given same freedom right etc as others
  • Meted out to give somebody a punishment or to make somebody suffer bad treatment
  • Unbridled uncontrolled, unconstrained
  • Massacre killing of large number of people in a cruel way
  • Agitation a state of anxiety
  • Unprecedented that has never happened, been done or been known before
  • Detested to hate somebody/something very much
  • Prevailed prove more powerful or superior
  • Emancipation to free somebody especially from legal, political or social restrictions.
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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