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Person
Mahatma Gandhi
Portrait Gandhi
Date of birth (1869-10-02)2 October 1869
Place of birth Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India
(now in Gujarat, India)
Date of death 30 January 1948(1948-01-30) (aged 78)
Place of death New Delhi, Delhi, India
Cause of death Assassination by shooting
Resting place Cremated at Rajghat, Delhi
Resting place coordinates Template:Coord
Other names Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu, Gandhiji
Ethnicity Gujarati
Education barrister-at-law
Alma mater Alfred High School, Rajkot,
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar,
University College, London
Known for Leadership of Indian independence movement,
philosophy of Satyagraha, Ahimsa or nonviolence,
pacifism
Movement Indian National Congress
Religion Hinduism, with Jain influences
Spouse(s) Kasturba Gandhi
Children Harilal
Manilal
Ramdas
Devdas
Parents Putlibai Gandhi (Mother)
Karamchand Gandhi (Father)
Signature Mohandas K. Gandhi signature

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Template:IPAc-en; Template:IPA-hns; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable")—applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa,—is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for "father", "papa" in India. In common parlance in India he is often called Gandhiji. He is unofficially called the Father of the Nation.

Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat, western India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

Gandhi famously led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the Template:Convert Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India. Gandhi attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand-spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.

Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan. As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to promote religious harmony. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 at age 78, also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan. Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest at point-blank range.

His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Nonviolence.

Early life and background

Young Gandhi.jpg

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in his earliest known photo, aged 7, c. 1876

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 to a Hindu Modh Baniya family in Porbandar (also known as Sudamapuri), a coastal town on the Kathiawar Peninsula and then part of the small princely state of Porbandar in the Kathiawar Agency of the Indian Empire. His father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), served as the diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar state.

The Gandhi family originated from the village of Kutiana in what was then Junagadh State. In the late 17th or early 18th century, one Lalji Gandhi moved to Porbandar and entered the service of its ruler, the Rana. Successive generations of the family served as civil servants in the state administration before Uttamchand, Mohandas's grandfather, became diwan in the early 19th century under the then Rana of Porbandar, Khimojiraji. In 1831, Rana Khimojiraji died suddenly and was succeeded by his 12-year-old only son, Vikmatji. As a result, Rana Khimojirajji's widow, Rani Rupaliba, became regent for her son. She soon fell out with Uttamchand and forced him to return to his ancestral village in Junagadh. While in Junagadh, Uttamchand appeared before its Nawab and saluted him with his left hand instead of his right, replying that his right hand was pledged to Porbandar's service. In 1841, Vikmatji assumed the throne and reinstated Uttamchand as his diwan.

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