Mohandas Gandhi Oct. 2, 1869–Jan. 30, 1948


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in India while it was still a part of the British Empire. After a rebellious childhood, Gandhi left India for Britain to study law at Inner Temple in London. It was his family wishes him to become a lawyer.

After failing to succeed in practice in London, Ghandi took a job at a firm in South Africa in 1893; there, he experienced extreme prejudice due to his race. He was once forced off of a train for refusing to give up his seat. His experiences in South Africa led to Gandhi losing faith in the empire and his passion for working for equal rights for the Indian race.

After moving back to India in 1915, Gandhi began to lead the movement for Indian independence for Great Britain. He used non-violent methods to protest British rule in an effort to force Britain to give up India organizing peaceful boycotts, marches, gatherings, fastings, and other forms of civil disobedience. He went to jail 5 times for his role in the protests; during his last imprisonment, he watched his wife die.

In the end, Gandhi's mission was accomplished; India and Pakistan were granted freedom on August 15, 1947. Less than half a year later, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist while on his way to a prayer meeting. He was 78.


Satya-Graha: "Grasping on to Truth"- Gandhi believed that the truth would always overcome violence and injustice. It was one of the central tenets for his nonviolent protests.

Ahimsa: "nonviolence/love"- Being Hindu, Gandhi was instilled with a respect for all life. This respect was a major cause for his peaceful rebellion; he was nonviolent because he believed that violence perpetuates hate. Gandhi also taught to love indiscriminately because if you love someone, then you would not willingly injure them.

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Where there is love there is life.

Gandhi refused to change himself for others or to give up his religion. He once was thrown out of a courtroom for refusing to remove his turban. He was appalled by the discrimination shown to people of his race and his religion and set about to make a change. He also tried to promote peace between different religions; his assassin killed him because he was angry that Gandhi was promoting peace and acceptance among Hindus and Muslims.

Gandhi worked with the "untouchables," the lowest class in the Hindu caste system. He promoted equal rights for all people and the end of the caste system; he also created monasteries where people could come and be free of their caste. He adopted their poverty and simplicity to show their humanity.

Gandhi called for equalization of women in society, seeing them equals and recruiting them to participate in his protests. He wrote that "the wife is not the husband's slave but his companion and his help-mate and an equal partner in all his joys and sorrows - as free as the husband to choose her own path." He called for the abolition of temple prostitutes and brothels. He also taught of the importance of women's education.

Gandhi tried to end child marriage and the oppression of widows. He also taught that life should be focused on our morals and how to live rather than what possessions you can accumulate.

Works Cited:'s_philosophy_of_nonviolence.htm

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