“Where their is love, their is life.” This is what a famous protester said as he fought for his nation’s freedom. Mahatma Gandhi’s life was unique and his achievements were extraordinary! There is a lot of things that you can learn about him and from him. This is an autobiography about Gandhi in his perspective.
Imagine how you would feel in his shoes. Early YearsHi I am Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and I was born on October 2nd, 1869, in Porbandar, on the western coast of India. My grandfather Uttamchand Gandhi and father Karamchand Gandhi were the ministers of Porbandar. I grew up worshipping the hindu god Vishnu, but I also followed Jainism. Jainism is an ancient indian religion that included non-violence, fasting, meditation, and vegetarianism.
My mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious person who fasted regularly. Her life was a endless chain of both fasts and vows. My mother was the person at home that had the strongest influence on me. I have two brother and three sisters. Overall, we were an big family. When I was young, I was a shy student. I didn’t shine in the classroom or the playground. I was proud of the fact that I never told a single lie to my teachers or my classmates though.
As an teenager, I was against meat eating and smoking. Once my friend told me that eating meat would make you grow big and strong. In secret both of us tried a meat dish. But I didn’t like the tough meat that they gave me.
And few minutes I realized that I had just gone against my religion. I promised myself that I would never again do something that goes against my religion. I kept my promise to myself since then.
At the age of 13, I wedded Kasturbai Makhanji, a merchant’s daughter, in an arranged marriage in May of 1883. In 1885, when I was 15, our first child was born, but survived only a few days. My father, had died earlier that year. We had four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900. Education in LondonIn 1888, I sailed to London, England to study law. I was only 18 years of age and I had trouble adapting to the western culture. Muriel Lester sent me an invitation to stay at the in Kingsley Hall in the East End and I accepted. Their I could be among the “same sort of people”.
Studying for my examinations to qualify as a lawyer was hard. I made a big effort and it soon paid off. On June 10, 1891, I passed my law exams. Now I could work as an lawyer in Britain or anywhere else in the British Empire. Every morning around four in the morning, there was a light in my room for the morning prayer.
I had my morning walk in the main streets of the East End. I was getting to know the people of England. I always visited my neighbours and made friends with the children. “Uncle Gandhi” became popular among the children.
The children there were really curious. I explained to then why I had chosen to stay in the East End and why I always wore my animal skin dress. I advised them to return good for evil. Once the father of a four-year-old girl told me … “Well my little Jane comes every morning to me, hits me and wakes me up and says: Now, don’t you hit back, for Gandhi told us not to hit back”. I have to say that I was pretty happy that she actually listen to me! On October 2, my birthday, the children presented me with two woolly dogs, three pink birthday candles, a tin plate, a blue pencil and some jelly sweets.
I loved the gifts and I treasured them when I returned to India.South AfricaIt was really hard to find work as a lawyer in India. I received a one-year contract to work in South Africa. So, in April 1893, I sailed for Durban in the South African state of Natal. When I arrived in South Africa, I was quickly shocked by the and racial segregation faced by Indian immigrants at the hands of white British and Boer authorities. My first appearance in a Durban courtroom was not the greatest. I was asked to remove my turban.
Furious, I refused and left the court instead. The Natal Advertiser said that’s was “an unwelcome visitor.” A few days later on June 7, 1893, I was on a train trip to Pretoria, South Africa. A white man didn’t want the presence of me in the first-class railway compartment, even though I had a ticket. Refusing to move to the back of the train, I was forcibly removed and thrown off the train at a station in Pietermaritzburg. This made me realise that this was unacceptable! I vowed that night to “try, if possible, to root out the disease and suffer hardships in the process.” I formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 to fight discrimination.
At the end of my year-long contract, I prepared to return to India until I learned, at my farewell party, that there was a bill before the Natal Legislative Assembly that would not let Indians have the right to vote. My fellow immigrants convinced me to stay and lead the fight against the legislation. Although I couldn’t prevent the law, I drew attention to the injustice. After a brief 1 year trip to India I returned to South Africa with my wife and children. We nearly stayed there for about 20 years.The Salt MarchIn 1930, I returned to protest against Britain’s Salt Acts, which not only prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt, but they also put a heavy tax that hit the country’s poorest hard. I planned a new Satyagraha protest… On March 12, 1930, I set out from my ashram, or religious retreat, at Sabermanti near Ahmedabad with several dozen followers.
We were all on hike of 240 miles to the coastal town of Dandi on the Arabian Sea. Their, we would all defy British policy by making salt from seawater. All along the way, I addressed large crowds, and with each passing day an increasing number of people joined the salt satyagraha. By the time they reached Dandi on April 5, I was at the head of a crowd of tens of thousands. I spoke and led prayers and early the next morning walked down to the sea to make salt. I had planned to work the salt flats on the beach, encrusted with crystallized sea salt at every high tide, but the police had forestalled him by crushing the salt deposits into the mud. Still, I reached down and picked up a small lump of natural salt out of the mud–and British law had been defied.
At Dandi, thousands more followed my lead, and in the coastal cities of Bombay (now called Mumbai) and Karachi, Indian nationalists led crowds of citizens in making salt. Civil disobedience broke out all across India, soon involving millions of Indians, and British authorities arrested more than 60,000 people. I was also arrested on May 5, but the satyagraha continued without me. On May 21, the poet Sarojini Naidu led 2,500 marchers on the Dharasana Salt Works, some 150 miles north of Bombay. Several hundred British-led Indian policemen met them and viciously beat the peaceful protesters.
In January 1931, I was released from prison.Quit IndiaOn 8th August 1942, I launched the Quit India Movement for freedom from British rule in Mumbai. The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement was a Civil Disobedience Movement launched for independence. Through my passionate speeches, I moved people by proclaiming “every Indian who desires freedom and strives for it must be his own guide.” “Let every Indian consider himself to be a free man”, I declared in my fiery “Do or Die” speech the day the Quit India Movement was declared.
The British were prepared for this massive uprising and within a few hours of my speech most of the Indian National Congress leaders were swiftly arrested; most of whom had to spend the next three years in jail, until World War II ended. The only support we got from outside the country was from the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who asked the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to agree to the demands of the Indians. But the British refused to do so and said that this would only be possible when World War II ended.
The reason why it was so easy for the British to crush the Quit India Movement was because of a weak coordination and no clear cut plan of action. Though despite of its flaws, the Quit India Movement remains significant because it was during this movement that the British realized that they would not be able to govern India successfully in the long run and began to think of ways they could exit the country in a peaceful and dignified manner. The British responded to this by mass arrests and public flogging. Hundreds of innocent people died in this violence and the Congress leadership was cut off from the rest of the world till the war was over. Despite my failing health and the recent loss of my wife, I took on a 21 day fast and continued with my resolution.
The British released me due to my ill health, but I continued my opposition and asked for the release of the Congress leaders who were in prison. By 1944, even though the Congress leaders had not been released, peace was restored to India. Many nationalists were disappointed that the Quit India Movement had failed though.
In my opinion it didn’t. The End … AccomplishmentsIn the late afternoon of January 30, 1948 I was 78 and I was weakened from repeated gun shots. I clung to my two grandnieces. Hindu extremist , upset at my tolerance of Muslims, knelt before the me before pulling out a semiautomatic pistol. He shot me three times at point-blank range.
Godse and a co-conspirator were executed by hanging in November 1949, while additional conspirators were sentenced to life in prison.I had achieved many things in my life. For example: I fought against racial discrimination in South AfricaI led the famous Salt March to DandiI launched the Quit India Movement in 1942 demanding end of British ruleI was the leading figure responsible for India achieving independenceI fought against social evils in society like UntouchabilityFun Facts About MeI was actually interested in becoming an doctor — not a lawyerI often dressed in only loincloth and a shawlI became known as “Mahatma,” which means “great soul” in 1914My wife, Kasturba, was an year older than I wasI served in the army during the Boer war The most important thing about Mahatma Gandhi was that he fought for his country’s freedom without violence. If he did it than couldn’t you do it too? Thinking about the future, I challenge you to make a change in the world in nonviolent ways.
It’s not that hard … Good luck!