Fondly, popularly, and reverentially called "Father of the Nation", Mahatma Gandhi aka M.K.
Gandhi aka Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a universal icon par excellence of truth,
integrity, non-violence, love and compassion. His love for humanity knew no limits.
An anti-colonial nationalist, M.K. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar,
Gujarat, into a well-known, influential Gujarati Hindu family. His father Karamchand Gandhi
was the dewan (chief minister) of the then principality of Porbandar. After his schooling,
giving up studying at the Samaldas College in Bhavnagar, he set out to become a barrister
and joined the Inner Temple College, London, to study law. During his stay in England, along
with his studies, he was deeply concerned with many personal and moral issues. It was in
England that he read the Bible and the Bhagavadgita for the first time. These books were a
solution to his many personal and moral problems. The Bhagavatgita influenced him so
much that it became his life force guiding him all through his life. Its teaching on karma-yoga
enlightened the hidden spirit in him and thus the Bhagavatgita became his personal guide
Upon becoming a barrister, Gandhi returned to India in 1891. His aspiration to become a
legal professional could not fructify. In addition, the legal profession was overcrowded. This
made Gandhi to take up a legal job in Natal, South Africa, in 1893. This new domain gave
him more challenges and opportunities alike. In Natal, he had to meet the worst face of
apartheid being assaulted and thrown out of a train compartment meant only for the While
despite him having a first-class ticket. It was here that Gandhi realized his inner strength and
charted out strategies against racial discrimination and bonded labor. His reading of Unto
This Last of John Ruskin and the "Sermon on the Mount" gave a new social perspective to
him. Now he was determined to defend his dignity as an Indian and as an individual.
The pitiable condition of the South Asians as indented labor and the apartheid against the
local Africans ignited his inner spirit of a karma-yogin. He organized the marginalized
sections of the society and it was here he first put to use the non-violent civil disobedience as
an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil
rights. It was an on-going up-down struggle for almost seven years. His relentless efforts with
the support of South Asians, people of different walks and faiths, finally made the South
African government to change its policies. Gandhi left South Africa in 1914 and reached
India in 1915. He was a persona par excellence by this time.
Now in India, the "realized" Gandhi set out to organize peasants, farmers, and urban
laborers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination at the hands of the colonial
rulers. The prevailing caste system pained him. However, he knew that a sudden change in
the society's attitude was impossible. So he called those afflicted people Harijan (children of
God). He was moved by the poverty and unhygienic living conditions prevailed all through
the country. He found that India had lost her inner spirit, virtues and moral values at the
hands of foreign rule.
Gandhi assumed the leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921. At the outset, he
had multiple challenges to address freedom for self-governance, well-being of India's
common people, and their spiritual, educational and social emancipation. India had almost
lost its age-old culture, educational system, its village economy structure, self-reliance, etc.
He led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for achieving swaraj (self-rule).
Gandhi led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 miles)
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.
He believed in village economy and its self-reliance. Charkha was its mascot. He led a
modest life 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
undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political protest. Whenever
there were social crises, he lived among the people and gave strength to people at times
even making his close people uncomfortable. He hated greed and fought against it with tooth
He was a Hindu in letter and spirit. However, that did not stop him from loving and caring
others. He absorbed everything good from other religions and societies and assimilated
them to his core strength. He was very secular in approach and attitude. He donned different
caps, of a politician, a social reformer, an economist, an educationalist, and a spiritual guide,
above all a true human being. He believed in soul-force than in physical force.
His vision of a clean, hygienic, and healthy India was the prelude to our Prime Minister
Narendra Modi's well-acknowledged Swatch Bharat program. We have achieved
spectacular progress in this mission while we are celebrating the 150 Birth Anniversary of
What makes Mahatma Gandhi stand tall among other leaders of modern times? First, he
was not power hungry. Two, he lived among people as a common man. Three, truth and
simplicity were his virtues. Four, non-violence was his weapon. Fifth, he was ready to review
his decisions and make changes as and when required. Sixth, he was well aware of his
More importantly, he could address or even support issues intelligently and sensibly. For
example, he supported the British administration in the Boer War of South Africa and in the
two world wars, though he was totally against the colonial rule. Our modern-day politicians
do not have this quintessential character in addressing many an issue of
That is why he found followers among towering personalities of the world such as Martin
Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, and Barrack
Non-violence, communal harmony, self-discipline, and self-reliance are some of the core
values the present world should adapt from the Mahatma, and his teachings and
philosophies are the only remedy for the burning issues we face every day nationally and
All these make him a mahatma (a great soul), indeed!
This pictorial volume, brought out on the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, takes
one through the inspiring life journey of a great, noble soul. Happy reading!
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend