Mahatma Gandhi was a prominent Indian political leader who campaigned for Indian independence. He employed non-violent principles and peaceful disobedience. He was assassinated in 1948, shortly after achieving his life goal of Indian independence. In India, he is known as ‘Father of the Nation’.
Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in 1869, in Porbandar, India. Mohandas was from the social cast of tradesmen. His mother was illiterate, but her common sense and religious devotion had a lasting impact on Gandhi’s character. As a youngster, Mohandas was a good student, but the shy young boy displayed no signs of leadership. On the death of his father, Mohandas travelled to England to gain a degree in law. He became involved with the Vegetarian Society and was once asked to translate the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. This classic of Hindu literature awakened in Gandhi a sense of pride in the Indian scriptures, of which the Gita was the pearl.
After 21 years in South Africa, In July 1914, Gandhi left South Africa to return to India. He supported the British war effort in World War 1 but remained critical of colonial authorities for measures he felt were unjust. In 1919, Gandhi launched an organized campaign of passive resistance in response to Parliament’s passage of the Rowlatt Acts, which gave colonial authorities emergency powers to suppress subversive activities. He backed off after violence broke out–including the massacre by British-led soldiers of some 400 Indians attending a meeting at Amritsar–but only temporarily, and by 1920 he was the most visible figure in the movement for Indian independence.
He went from village to village and advised the people that for the good of the country it was necessary for everyone to work together in unity and harmony. Equal opportunities and equal status was what he wanted. Although Gandhiji strived so hard for unity, there were some people who were under the misconception that Gandhiji favoured the Muslims. On 30th January 1948, in Delhi, when Gandhiji set out to attend a prayer meeting, he was shot dead by an assailant. His last words were `Hey Ram'. People all over the world paid rich tribute to Gandhiji. The great Mahatma's life had come to an end! The news shocked everyone. Not only India, but the whole world mourned the death of the great man — a real Mahatma, who had dedicated his entire life to the service of humanity, and had taught the importance of truth, brotherhood, peace, non-violence, equality and simplicity. The most befitting tribute that we can pay him, is to follow the path he has shown us.