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Remembering the Mahatma on the International day of Non-Violence

Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence, truth, and, simple living have inspired many for generations. These ideals are needed today for peace.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Remembering the Mahatma

On October 2nd every year we remember Gandhi, also called the Mahatma meaning ‘the great soul’ for his contribution to Indian Independence. He is also fondly called Bapu or Father of the Nation by the people of India. He was an apostle of non-violence, an epitome of simplicity and humility.

There is so much to learn from his life, his noble ideals and principles of non-violence, truth, integrity, and respect for all. His movement of non-violence and peaceful resistance and its success in gaining freedom to India from the British Raj has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. His birthday is also marked as the International Day of Non-violence.

Life of Gandhi

On his 151st birthday, we remember Mahatma Gandhi for the struggles and sacrifices he made and his fearless fight for the rights and dignity of all people in the face of severe oppression. A quick recap of the life and legacy of the great leader.

Gandhi sacrificed four decades of his life for his country and spent many years of his life in British jails. During the freedom movement, he often went on fast unto death and achieved successful results. But in this, he had the support of other heroes. There were numerous freedom fighters, both sung and unsung, who devoted their whole life to the cause of Indian freedom.

Gandhiji’s innovative methods of non-violence and non-cooperation, examples, salt satyagraha, swadeshi movement, quit India movement, set a precedent of peaceful protest against injustice and oppression.

Gandhi played a significant role in achieving and preserving the independence of India. Gandhi’s contribution to Indian independence is invaluable. His was a mass-based movement. Though the struggle for independence started before the arrival of Gandhi (1857 sepoy mutiny), the non-cooperation movement started by Gandhi united people from the grass-root level. Communal harmony was crucial as India is a country of diverse religions and cultures.

Gandhi brought unity in the Indian National Congress and set the stage for the relentless struggle for freedom. His peaceful protests were a source of inspiration for many subsequent world leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and former President Barack Obama.

Early Life

Gandhi was born as the youngest of the three siblings in Porbandar, Gujarat, India. His father Karamchand Gandhi served as the diwan (Chief Minister) of Porbandar. His mother Putalibai was an extremely devout lady who greatly influenced the young Gandhi.

The Indian classics, particularly the stories of Shravana and King Harischandra impacted him, and his tryst with truth and love for all beings began from there. As a child, he was shy and introverted and not interested in games. His best companions were books.

Married at an early age of 13 to Kasturba who was 14-year-old. She mostly stayed at her parents’ home as was prevalent at the time. Gandhi subsequently had four sons. In 1888 Gandhi traveled to England to pursue his study in Law and joined the University College, London. He was invited to enroll at Inner Temple to become a barrister.

In London, he was introduced to the members of the Theosophical Society, a group devoted to the study of Buddhist and Hindu religions, and became very interested in religion.

After an unsuccessful law practice in Bombay, he moved to South Africa on a contract from an Indian firm in South Africa. There he faced severe discrimination due to the color of his skin and turban. He was beaten by drivers, kicked off buses, and barred from hotels. This set the stage for his campaign against the weak and oppressed.

There he started the ‘Satyagrah’ (truth and firmness) movement to help the oppressed Indians living in South Africa. During this movement, hundreds of Indians, including women were jailed and striking Indian miners were imprisoned, flogged, and even shot.

Finally, the government of South Africa accepted a compromise which included important concessions like the recognition of Indian Marriages and the abolition of the existing poll tax for the Indians.

Start of the Independence Movement

In 1914 Gandhi left South Africa and returned to India. He supported the British during World War I. In 1919 he launched a passive resistance against the Rowlatt Act which gave colonial authorities emergency powers to suppress rebellious activities.

By 1920 he was an important figure in the movement for Indian Independence. In 1930 the civil disobedience movement was launched against the colonial government’s tax on salt which greatly affected India’s poorest citizens. During the outbreak of World War II, Gandhi demanded the British withdrawals from India in return for Indian cooperation in the war.

An epitome of simplicity and humility

An epitome of simplicity and humility

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Independence, Partition and Death of Gandhi

The concept of Indian Nationalism had not taken a concrete shape before the emergence of Gandhi as a national leader. It was because of Gandhi – that for the first time, mass mobilization on such a wide scale occurred in India in the 1920s and 1930s. He organized the masses by fighting for their social issues like peasant problems, tax matters, labor issues, etc. He was able to encourage the masses to go for Swadeshi made goods and reject Britain made goods.

America greatly appreciated Gandhi’s principle of non-violence and advocated the grant of independence to India from British rule. After the Labor Party took power in Britain, negotiations began for Indian home rule. Later that year, Britain granted India its independence but split India into two dominions, India and Pakistan.

Amidst the massive riots that followed partition, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death, to bring peace within the country. On January 30, a few days after Gandhi ended his fast and when he was on his way to an evening prayer meeting in Delhi, he was shot dead by a fanatic Hindu, enraged by his efforts to negotiate with Jinnah and other Muslim leaders.

Nearly 2 million people attended the procession as his body was carried through the streets of the city and cremated on the banks of the holy Yamuna River. It marked the end of an era of sacrifice, struggle, and non-violence.

Gandhiji's Favorite Song

Gandhi and Music

Gandhiji was an ardent lover of music, poetry and arts. They were an integral part of the ‘Swaraj movement’ that he felt could bring together people of various religions, beliefs and traditions in his nationalist efforts, in a holistic manner, during the time of the struggle for independence.

He introduced devotional music in congress meetings and musical renditions became an integral part of every gathering that he addressed. In Sabarmati Ashram, Ramdhun was added in the daily prayer. He was in constant touch with Rabindranath Tagore, with whom he discussed the introduction of both Hindustani music and western music at Shantiniketan along with Bengali music.

After India’s independence and partition, the riots that ensued caused him a lot of pain and helplessness. During this time, he immersed himself in music seeking solace and guidance during the darkest days of the country after partition. Bhajans became an integral part of the prayer meetings which he attended regularly. In his quest for truth, Gandhiji was often lonely and sought relief in music.

International Day of Nonviolence.

In a country like India with such diversity, and with so many different religions, languages, tribes, to emerge as one leader, uniting the people, and working towards the common goal of independence from one of the most powerful empires of all time was a feat, no ordinary leader could achieve.

India was immensely blessed to have as its leader a person who strove to bring to the highest levels of public life, ethical and moral conduct, and lead through example. Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence, truth, and, simple living have inspired many for generations.

The fact that Gandhi led three hundred million people to freedom through nonviolence, peaceful methods will forever be engraved in the pages of history, to be followed by great leaders throughout the world. He has been rightfully called a Mahatma and his birthday declared as the International Day of Nonviolence.

Famous quotes of Mahatma Gandhi

‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever’

‘Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’

‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world’

‘Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it’

‘Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love’

‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’

‘The future depends on what you do today’

‘Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence’

‘To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer’

‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed’

‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will’

‘You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them’

‘You must not lose faith in humanity’

‘Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty’

'You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results'

'I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect'

'Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world, but to change ourselves'

'Nobody can hurt me without my permission'

'Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong'

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.



VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 18, 2020:

Hi Maheshwari, Thanks for the visit and your wonderful comments. It is true that there are many aspects of the life of the Father of our Nation which I could not include in this article. I will surely share these aspects in another write-up on Bapu as you have mentioned.

SANJOG MAHESHWARI from NEW DELHI, INDIA on October 06, 2020:

Dear Madam, Only a day before I returned to HubPages after about nine years, and chanced upon reading your expertly marshalled thoughts in your brilliant write-up on the father of the nation. I left the platform horridly after dropping a line by way of comment on it. I am led to presume that you must be having a treasure-trove of material on the life, deeds and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi. Will you please make it convenient to share that with the likes of I who know so little about him?" Thanks and Regards.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 05, 2020:

Thanks, Maheshwari for the visit and the kind comments. I appreciate your recognition of my efforts in putting up interesting facts about the Mahatma.

SANJOG MAHESHWARI from NEW DELHI, INDIA on October 05, 2020:

Well-chosen quotes of Mahatma Gandhi. I congratulate the author for her efforts.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Thanks Anoop, I appreciate your visit and comments. Yes I spent quite a lot of time researching and came across very interesting facts about this great leader. He was not only the pioneer of nonviolence and peaceful resistance, but a humane leader who fought for the and rights and dignity of all people and is a source of inspiration for future world leaders.

Anoop Kashyap on October 04, 2020:

Very nice article and informative. It really takes a lot of time to collate all the information by doing research and publishing it and it’s not an easy work too. Great work!!! :)

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Dear Leena, thanks so much for the visit and the appreciative comments. It was really a wonderful experience researching and revisiting Bapu's life. He continues to inspire and uplift generations in the struggle for their rights and dignity. The importance of resilience and unity in adversity is much needed at insecure times such as these.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Dear Sridhar, thanks for the visit and the appreciative comments. I did do a lot of research. Bapu's life story is so huge, his accomplishments so many, it was difficult to put it all in one article. I only tried to brifely outline his life story with emphasis on his principles and ideals which he lived by till the very end. His quotes are so relevant even today. Reading his quotes is so uplifting. The fact that he loved music was an interesting fact that came to light during the research. We have been listening to Gandhi's favorite bhajans from childhood but did not give much thought to it. So it was nice to learn about it and listen to it again. I could totally connect with it as music is my getaway too when I am stressed or sad.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Dear Geeta, thanks for the visit and the nice comments. I appreciate it. Gandhiji had so many interesting and inspiring aspects of his personality which are valuable and worth imbibing by the leaders of today. It will be a better world with leaders like Gandhi today who can unite people towards the common goal of a better, happier, and an emancipated world. His quotes will continue to inspire us always.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Thanks Lora for the visit and the wonderful comments. Gandhiji's ideals are much needed in today's times riled by violence and untruth. More so the leaders. Exemplary leaders like Gandhi who lived by their ideals are the ones that take a country forward and whose memories are etched in the minds of generations even after they pass on. Great leaders continue to inspire people and bring hope and calm even during times of uncertainty and disaster.

Leena Sagar on October 04, 2020:

Excellent article Vidya. Guess its difficult to collate events of the past . So hats off.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 04, 2020:

Thanks Pramod for the visit and for the kind comments. Bapu's life is great in the fact that he lived a life of the Noble ideals that he stood for. 'My life is my message' he said. The simplicity, the austerity, the truth and non-violence he practiced were an example for people to follow for generations to come.

Shridhar Kaikini on October 04, 2020:

Excellent write-up on the Mahatma, the Father of the Nation, and an apt and fitting tribute to him on his 151st birthday. An article that made me a revisit to Mahatma's Life, his childhood, the struggle for Independence, the values he so resolutely stood for and the so many facets of his noble life! You have truly brought out the spirit of his life as he so aptly epitomized his own maxim "You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing, there will be no results., and we are all enjoying the fruits and results of his fight and struggle for freedom. Your article also gives us a good insight on the Mahatma's love for music! All in all, a very holistic write-up, as the historic nostalgia made my eyes moist with pride for the Mahatma. Must confess, lot of R & D on your part has made it possible to give us a superb insight in Mahatma's life!!

It is no easy task to revisit the archives of such pre-Indepenence era, and so nicely collate the facts, and come out with such a detailed, yet lucid article. By writing this so beautifully, you have done a yeoman service to humanity, and lived up to the Mahatma's quote "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others", as you have come out as such a wonderful gifted writer of meaningful blog. Hats off to you Mrs. Vidya Sagar.... Pray continue doing such exemplary work. Best wishes to you, Vidya

Geeta Pandit on October 04, 2020:

Superbly written article on Mahatma.Read during school days now understood best of him and feel so proud of of Gandhiji and his famous quotes listed by you.

Great job Vidya. Thank you

Lora Hollings on October 04, 2020:

This is an extraordinary article on Mahatma Gandhi. He was probably one of the most influential men that ever graced our planet. His ideals and quotes will continue to live on inspiring many. He was truly a man for all seasons and generations. Your article about this man and his quest to bring peace to the world is so needed in our world today. It is too bad that our president here in the US doesn’t lead or live by these quotes that would make such a difference in our country now! I love this quote in particular, “permanent truth can never be the outcome of untruth or violence.” Thanks for sharing this timely article, Vidya, on such an important day!

Pramod Savur on October 03, 2020:

Superb write up on Mahatma Gandhi in a lucid style. Learnt some new facts about our Bapu.

His quotes listed herein are a collector's item.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 03, 2020:

Thanks Jyotsna, for the visit and for your encouraging comments. The Noble ideals of the Mahatma are much needed in the present situation in the world. His quotes are relevant and continue to inspire us even today.

Jyotsna Nadkarni on October 03, 2020:

Thank you for giving a refreshing glimpse of Gandiji's life & contriburion to India & the World too. Reading the quotes by him was cream of the article. Thank you !

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 03, 2020:

Dear Sowrabha, thanks for the visit and the kind comments. Actually I tried to be brief because there is so much about Gandhiji like his fight to abolish the caste system in India, his experiments with truth, his inventing the charaka and spinning his own clothes but that would be a long read, so maybe in another article next time. That bhajan is my favorite too. His quotes are relevant even today.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 03, 2020:

Dear Danny, I appreciate your visit and comments. Gandhiji was truly large-hearted. He cared for all people alike. During the freedom struggle he travelled all over India, comforting and caring for the poorest and downtrodden. The reason why he is loved and revered and remembered the world over.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 03, 2020:

Thanks Pamela for your visit and the kind comments. Bapuji showed the world the power of truth and nonviolence in his fight for the dignity and rights of the oppressed. His quotes continue to inspire us even today. We need more leaders like him during these times.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on October 03, 2020:

Hi Vidya, what a detailed and beautiful article on beloved Bapuji. Love that song that you included and the section on quotes. My favourite quote is ‘our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world but change ourselves.

Danny from India on October 03, 2020:

Mahatma Gandhi was called Mahatma due to his large-heartedness, simple inspired living, and humane connect.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

This is a wonderful review of the life of Mahatma Gandi. He sure loved peace and did so much for India. I really like his quotes also. I wish more world leaders worked so hard for peace.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on October 03, 2020:

Thank you so much Lorna for the visit and for your kind comments. Mahatma Gandhi's values of non-violence, truth, compassion and love are much needed in today's world riddled with so much of strife and tension. We need more leaders like him in the world for a peaceful and safe future.

Lorna Lamon on October 03, 2020:

Mahatma Gandi changed the lives of so many people and his gentle demeanor can only be applauded. His ideals were inspirational and serve to remind us of the need for peace today. I particularly enjoyed the quote "In a gentle way you can shake the world", which he did, creating a lasting legacy which we all can learn from. An excellent and enjoyable read Vidya.

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