Who was Mahatma Gandhi? A Life for Peace

Mahatma Gandhi was a freedom fighter during Indian independence struggle against the British. His name today is synonymous with the nonviolent fight for freedom.

On October 2, 1869, Gandhi was born in Gujarat, India. He grew up in India with his three brothers in Porbandar, a small harbor town. He came from a wealthy family. Gandhi's family belonged to the social and political upper class. Both his parents were pious Hindus.

At the age of thirteen, he got married to Kasturba Makthaji. In the course of their marriage, the two have four children. After his family moved to Rajkot in 1876, the father worked as a judge.

Gandhi studies in London


Because Gandhi was studying in London in 1888, he got expelled from his caste. He was also fascinated with fashion, the relaxed lifestyle and freedom of the country. Life was there considered too secular and was so regarded as reprehensible. During his stay in England, Gandhi studied Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. His Hindu faith became important to him. In 1891, Gandhi graduated. He works as a lawyer.

Gandhi goes to South Africa


When Gandhi returned to India with his graduation, only a part of the caste took him back. He was still excluded. A rich merchant offered him a position as an adviser to his company in South Africa. He immediately accepted it. Mahatma Gandhi went to South Africa as a lawyer in 1893.

Gandhi returns to India


Gandhi found in his country got oppressed by the British. Unfair and discriminatory laws restricted the inhabitants. For the first time, he called for a boycott, that is, a nonviolent resistance. So all Indians withdrew from the public: They no longer went to school, to court, and did no more work. Often, Gandhi broke the laws and had to go to jail. But since he never exercised violence, he could not get held for long. There was a peaceful resistance. This movement got the name Satyagraha.



The Spinning Wheel Campaign


The spinning wheel campaign caught great attention. It got directed against the import of English fabrics. Gandhi called for the production of materials at home. Gandhi made the spinning wheel a symbol of Indian independence. In this campaign, he had succeeded in leading many Indian people to a peaceful path of resistance. Even today a spinning wheel decorates the Indian flag.

The Salt March


With the famous Salt March, Gandhi walked with a group of supporters to the sea. He protested against the British who controlled the sea salt production. Poor people could hardly afford salt. The British had placed soldiers before the salt deposits. The soldiers beat each one with their batons. No one resisted it. Thus, the British were under international pressure. How could they fight an enemy who does not use violence but is still so resolute?

In 1947, India became independent. The Great Britain, weakened by the Second World War, finally made a retreat.

The death of Gandhi


On 30 January 1948 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi got shot dead in Delhi.