Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 into a Gujrati Hindu Baniya family. His fatherKaramchand who was serving as the Chief Minister at Porbandar state and mother Putlibai was kind in nature. His childhood had a great influence of Indian classics, stories such as King Harishchandra and Shravankumar. He used to read lot of books rather than playing with his friends. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi comes into the world to change the history of India.At the early age of 13 he got married to Kasturbai. He learnt the lesson of non-violence from his wife. He went to England in the year 1888 to study Law. Gandhi arrived in South Africa on a temporary assignment to act on behalf of a local Indian trader in a commercial dispute. While travelling on a first class compartment, Gandhi experienced a racial discrimination. He has ordered to move to third class and on refusing to do so he has taken off the train. He spent a freezing night in the waiting room thinking on what had happened and whether he should return India. This incident became the turning point of his life. This triggers the spark that later become the essential guiding force through Satyagraha movement in South Africa. He is arrested after the great march, a part of movement to protest laws that discriminated against Indians. Gandhi came back to India at the time when the fight for independence had already started to grow.
Non-cooperation movement was led by Gandhi which was remarkable part of the Indian independence movement. The movement began after the JallianwalaBagh massacre in April 13, 1990. He got arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for 6 years. Then the Salt Satyagraha launched which started from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad and reached destination Dandi. He broke the British Salt Law by picking up salt from the beach at Dandi. Gandhi got arrested and imprisoned again and again.Gandhi signed a political agreement on 5th March 1931 with Lord Irwin which is known as Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The Satyagraha had generated worldwide publicity in which thousands of Indians were in Jail. Gandhi was authorized by then Congress to negotiate with Irwin. He promised to give up the Satyagraha movement and Irwin agreed to release those Indians who were imprisoned. It was marked as the end of a period of civil disobedience in India. In the year 1942 Quit India Movement which also known as Bharat ChodoAndolan was led by Gandhi. Finally, after lot of struggle, India got freedom in 1947 releasing Indians from British Rule.
One of the oft-repeated biographies of the world, Gandhi's life went beyond a series of very interesting events and episodes to becoming a series of complex principles that helped India win its Independence. The key to understanding the complex Gandhi would then be to first find a simple gateway of a biography told playfully as a story, which also highlights the turning points of his life that eventually made Gandhi more than a mere human hero. He became an idea itself.
Starting from his birth to death, through all his travels and events, this section marks the milestones of Gandhi's life to carve a picture of the essential Gandhi
On 2 October 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat, India.
Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in the city of Porbandar in Gujarat. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822-1885), who belonged to Hindu Modh-Baniya community, was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of the state of Porbandar, which was a small princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of British India. His mother's name was Putlibai, who belonged to the Hindu Pranami Vaishnava community. She was the fourth wife of Karamchand, the earlier three having died during childbirth. Gandhi was the fourth child of the couple.The influence of his devout mother at home and the Jain traditions which were followed in the region helped inculcate in Gandhi, quite early in his childhood, those values which he carried forward in his adult life. Some of these values were compassion for sentient beings, mutual tolerance between people belonging to different creeds, keeping fasts for self-purification and vegetarianism. He was also deeply inspired by the stories of Indian icons such as the truthful king, Harishchandra, and the dutiful son Sharavan Kumar, which left indelible impressions on his mind.
Gandhi attended schools in Rajkot in his early years, during which he studied various subjects such as arithmetic, history, geography, and Gujarati.
Gandhi's father moved to Rajkot in 1874. In 1879 Gandhiwas admitted to the Taluk School, which was at a short distance from his house. Besides learning subjects such as arithmetic, history, geography, and Gujarati, he also had to learn easy mental arithmetic, memorize poetry and take dictation. In the beginning his attendance at school was low which affected his performance in exams. Later it improved and in the year 1880 he was able to pass an exam to get admission in the Kattywar High School. It was here that for the first time he learnt English. In 1887 he passed the matriculation exam and in 1888 he took admission at the Samaldas College in Bhavnagar for a B.A. degree. Throughout his school days, he was academically a very average student. However, his schoolyears helped him come in contact with boys belonging to various communities and he became good friends with them. Also during these years be wasexposed to Guajarati literature and he read works of writers such as Narmad and Govardhanram Tripathi.
Gandhi, aged 13 was married to 14-year old Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia in a customary child marriage, in May 1883. Gandhi got married at the young age of 13, as in those times child marriage was customary in that region. His wife Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia(her name shortened to Kasturba and later Ba out of affection) was only 14, with a difference of 6 months in their age. She was a daughter of a rich merchant. The ceremony was held at Gandhi's old home in Porbandar. Gandhi later recalled that for the young couple the day of marriage only meant a day of enjoyment, which was spent wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives. Kasturba, being an adolescent bride, spent much of her early marital time at her parent's home, as was customary in those days. The couple had their first child in 1885 when Gandhi was 15, but the baby survived for just a few days. Gandhi also suffered the loss of his father earlier in the same year. Later Gandhi and Kasturba went on to have four children who were all sons - Harilal, who was born in 1888, Manilal, born in 1892, Ramdas, born in 1897 and Devdas, born in 1900.
Gandhi left for London on 4 September 1888, less than a month before he turned 19, to study law and train as a barrister.
Gandhi had just taken admission in Samaldas College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, for a B.A. degree when a family friend, Mavji Dave advised Gandhi's mother to send him to London to study law and train as a barrister. Although his mother was not too keen, Gandhi made up his mind to go. To gain his mother's consent,Gandhi took a vow under the guidance of a Jain monk Becharji Swami that he would abstain from meat, liquor, and promiscuity while he lived abroad. To arrange funds for the education he first applied to the state of Porbandar, but his request was turned down. Then his elder brother Laxmidas agreed to help and the shortfall was made up by pawning family jewellery. However, the Modh-Bania community, to which Gandhi belonged, ex-communicated him for his decision to travel overseas. This did not in any way deter him and on 4 September 1888 Gandhi sailed for London aboard SS Clyde. He reached London on 19 September and put up at Victoria Hotel. He registered himself at Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court in London, to begin his legal studies.
Gandhi joined the London Vegetarian Society and went on to be elected to its executive committee.
Gandhi remained a strict vegetarian during his stay in London, as per vow taken by him before leaving India. As hedid not like the rather bland food served by his landlady, he started eating at vegetarian restaurants. He discovered Henry Salt's book, Plea for Vegetarianism, and on reading it he was all the more convinced to stay a vegetarian, now as a matter of choice rather than by the force of custom. Gandhijoined the London Vegetarian Society, and subscribed to its weekly journal. Soon he became a member of the society's Executive Committee. Although he attended all the meetings, yet due to his shyness he never participated much in the discussions. However, Gandhi decided to break his silence, when the President of the Society, Mr. Hills, wanted to remove one of the members, Dr. Allinson, for hisanti-puritan views on birth control. Gandhimustered up the courage to say that any vegetarian could be a member of the society irrespective of his views on other matters. Gandhi also started achapter of this societyat Bayswater where he lived. Since many of his vegetarian friends were members of the Theosophical Society, Gandhi was inspired by them to read religious texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita. He also went on to read other texts of other religions, although he was not much religiously inclined till then.
On finishing his education in London, Gandhi returned to India and was received at Bombay by his brother, Laxmidas.
On passing the Bar examination and London Matriculation, Gandhi was formally called to the bar on 10 July 1891 and the next day he was enrolled at the High Court in England. With his education in London completed, he decided to return to India. He arrived at Bombay on 5 July 1891 and was received by his brother Laxmidas. They proceeded from the docks to stay at Gandhi's friend, Pranjivan Mehta's house. En route Laxmidas broke the sad news about the death of their mother who had passed away while Gandhi was still in London. Gandhi was severely shocked as he had been pining to see his mother all these years. On reaching his home in Porbandar he started his law practice but soon realized that his barrister's degree from England could not automatically put him on the top. He found that the home-educated lawyers were well-versed than him in Indian law and charged fees that was lower than what he was charging. So, on the advice of his friends, Gandhi decided to go to Bombay to study Indian law and to try to get whatever cases he could.
Gandhi, a young man of 24, arrived in South Africa in 1893, to attend to the legal matters of a Gujarati client.
Gandhi came to South Africa in 1893 to see to the legal matters of a rich Gujarati merchant's company called Abdulla and Sons in Durban. Soon after he reached, he had some unpleasant experiences of racial discrimination. A magistrate in a Durban court, asked him to remove the traditional Kathiawari turban that he was wearing and to bow before him. He was thrown out of a train at the Pietermartizburg station in the night when he refused to move from the first class to a third class coach, even when he had a valid first class ticket. On his further journey by stagecoach, he suffered other discriminations and at the end of his journey, he found that he was denied accommodation in hotels due to his skin colour. These incidents had a deep impact on him. He had not faced racial discrimination at the hands of white men earlier and was contemplating to return to India as soon as the legal matters were settled. However, he decided to stay on in South Africa and fight for the rights of the coloured people. He ended up staying there till 1914. His struggles in South Africa helped him evolve his unique method of nonviolent resistance or Satyagraha.
Gandhi was forcibly removed from a train at Pietermartizburg Railway Station in South Africa.
In May 1893 Gandhi had to travel to Pretoria for the further hearing of Dada Abdulla's case. He boarded a train, for which he had a valid first class ticket. A white co-passenger objected to his presence in the first class carriage. Gandhi was ordered to move to the van compartment at the end of the train. When Gandhi refused, he was physically removed from the train at the Pietermartizburg railway station and his luggage was thrown out on the platform. Gandhi spent the whole night sitting shivering in the cold and dark waiting room. His overcoat was locked in his luggage, which was now in the custody of the station master and Gandhi did not have the courage to ask him for that, lest he should be insulted again. However, sitting there he deliberated whether to return to India or to stay back. He took the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination against Indians there. Next morning he sent two telegrams, one to the railway authorities and the other to Dada Abdulla. The latter informed the Indian merchants of Pietermartizburg, who came to help Gandhi to continue his journey.
Gandhi helped in establishing the Natal Indian Congress as a permanent organization to look after the interests of Indians in South Africa
The government of Natal brought out a legislation that disenfranchised Indians. To help the Indians resist this, Gandhi helped establishthe Natal Indian Congress in 1894. The name was inspired by the Indian National Congress, about which Gandhi was familiar through his acquaintance with Dadabhai Naoroji. However, as Gandhi was not familiar with the constitution and functions of the Indian National Congress, he fashioned the new organization in a way which suited the needs of the Indians in South Africa. It functioned throughout the year and looked after the political as well as the moral and social needs of its members. The Indian community in South Africa had very little political experience, but Gandhi did not let the organization become a one-man show. He became the secretary and tried all kinds of methods to enlist members and collect subscriptions, for which he even exerted pressureat times. Once he sat hungry the whole night at his host's house till the latter, an Indian merchant, agreed to raise his contribution for the Natal Congress from three to six pounds.
Gandhi established the Indian Ambulance Corp in support of England during the Boer War. When the Boer War started in South Africa, Gandhi felt that the Indians living there, should help in the war efforts as loyal citizens of the British Empire. Towards this end, he set up the Indian Ambulance Corps and by early 1900 it had 300 free Indians and 800 indentured labourers serving in it. It was one of the few medical units that served wounded black South Africans. The volunteers were sent into the battle fields where they had to carry the wounded to shelters. Some were told to dismantle Boer telegraph lines while others had to collect arms and ammunition left by the enemies. Gandhi himself served as a stretcher-bearer at the Battle of Spion Kop and was decorated for that by the Empire. Through this effort, Gandhi had hoped to give momentum to the demand for full citizenship for the Indian community in South Africa. However, at the conclusion of the war, this hope was dashed. The condition of Indians further worsened when in 1906, the Transvaal government brought in a new Act, which made registration of the colony's Indian population mandatory.
Gandhi established the weekly Indian Opinion, on 6 June 1903, to get his message across in writing. Gandhi established a weekly paper called Indian Opinion, with the help of Mansukhlal Nazar and Madanjit Vyavaharik, both active members of the Natal Indian Congress. The latter owned a printing press in Durban. He arranged for the new paper to be published in four languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, and English). Nazar helped with the planning, editing, the arranging for articles and translations. It soon became an important mouthpiece for the Indian community in South Africa and Gandhi himself contributed many articles to it. He later declared that without this publication, Satyagraha would not have been possible. In fact, it was this newspaper that helped coin the word Satyagraha, through a competition inviting readers to suggest a name for the Gandhi's passive resistance campaigns. In 1904, the publishing office was relocated to Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement. Gandhi's second son, Manilal, was the longest-serving editor of the Indian Opinion from 1920 to 1956.
Gandhi established the Phoenix Settlement near Mount Edgecombe in 1904, as an experiment in community living.
Gandhi, inspired by John Ruskin's book Unto This Last, decided to establish a settlement based on the tenets of community living. He bought a farm in Phoenix, near Mount Edgecombe, and remodeled it based on the book. In this farm, all inhabitants got an equal amount of pay irrespective of their social status and occupation. Each one had to contribute to the common good and the welfare of the settlement. The farm housed Gandhi's house, homes of the settlers, and a clinic. There was a printing press as well, which was operated by the residents in their free time. The fruit trees and the crops grown in the farm were for the use of the entire community. Gandhi's home was later converted into a museum until it was destroyed during the Inanda Riots of 1985.
On 20 July 1906, Gandhi took the vow of celibacy which he never broke throughout the rest of his life.
In 1906 Gandhi took the vow of celibacy. He had been contemplating it for some time and had been much influenced by the Jain teacher Raychandbhai and Leo Tolstoy in this matter. Gandhi felt that his household duties and taking care of four children were interfering in his public work. Thus after taking his wife Kasturba into confidence, he undertook the vow of celibacy on 20 July 1906, in Phoenix. He was in his thirties at this time and thought that he was a bit late in taking this step. For Gandhi celibacy or Brahmacharya was the search for Brahma or the truth. To achieve this it entailed the control of the mind and all the senses. Thus there had to the control in thought, word, and action, at all times and in all places. Gandhi considered the control of the palate to be an aid in celibacy and thus he advocated strict vegetarianism and regular fasting. From the year 1944, when he lost his wife, he undertook various experiments to test his celibacy. These were not looked upon favourably by his associates, although the women who participated in them never complained of any coercion or abuse.
Gandhi initiated the technique of Satyagraha as a means of political resistance for the first time in South Africa in 1906.
The South African government had brought in the Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance, which required all Asians in Transvaal to carry fingerprinted identification at all times as proof of their presence in Transvaal. This was a discriminatory move and Gandhi decided to oppose it. For this he adopted a unique method for the first time, which later came to be known as Satyagraha. At a mass protest meeting held at the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg on 11 September 1906, Gandhiasked the Indians to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means. The methodology was adopted by the Indians and this was the start of a seven-year-long struggle in which thousands of peaceful Indian protesters suffered the repression unleashed by the British regime. The huge public outcry which followed from this finally forced the South African General, Jan Christiaan Smuts, to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Satyagraha was later employed by Gandhi on a large scale in India against the British Empire.
On 10 January 1908, Gandhi was arrested for the first time for the breach of the South African registration law and put behind bars.
In the year 1906 the government of South Africa had promulgated an act which forced the colony's Indian population to register themselves and carry an identification card, known as the 'pass' at all times. The law was discriminatory and South Africa's Indian populationdecided to adopt Gandhi's idea of Satyagraha or a non-violent protest against it. On 10 January 1908, Gandhi was arrested for not carrying the pass. This was his first time in jail. Gandhi was released after a month, when an understanding was reached with the government that the Indians will do voluntary registrations. This was, however, seen as an act of betrayal by some Indians, especially by the Pathan community, who had been defying the Act and, in the process,bravely facing the brutality of the government. Gandhi was even attacked by a Pathan known as Meer Allam Khan, who managed to severely injure him.
Gandhi established the Tolstoy Farm, which became a laboratory for his dietary and educational experiments.
Gandhi established the Tolstoy Farm on 30 May 1910 in South Africa. This occupied an area of 1,100 acres and was located 21 miles from Johannesburg. It remained as the base of his operations for four years. There were various reasons for Gandhi to establish this farm. Since 1906 the political struggle had shifted to Transvaal and he wanted to live near Johannesburg. He also wanted a place to re-train his Satyagrahis, who had been moving away from the fold. Such a place could solve the problems of the adult male Satyagrahis who could bring their families to live with them. Gandhi was also keen to begin his experiments in communal living, education, agriculture, nature therapy, and diet. On getting to know of Gandhi's desire to set up a community living, Herman Kallenbach, an architect, and Gandhi's ardent follower bought a piece of land from the Town Councillor, Partridge, and gave it to Gandhi. Thus the farm was established and was run according to the rules and regulations made by Gandhi.
Gandhi decided to return to India via England, and on his way formed anIndian Ambulance Corps to help the British during the First World War.
On the conclusion of the struggle in South Africa in 1914, Gandhi decided to return to India. Gandhi wanted to meet the senior Congress leader, Gopalkrishna Gokhale, before he landed in India. Since Gokhale was going to be in London, Gandhi decided to first go to London and then travel to India. On 18th July 1914 Gandhi, along with Kasturba and Kallenbach, sailed for England from Cape Town, aboard the S.S. Kinfauns Castle. As they entered the English Channel on 4th August, they heard of the outbreak of the First World War. On 6th August Gandhi reached London and put up at a friend's place in Bayswater. Gokhalewas stranded in Paris due to the war. While in London,Gandhi decided to help in the war effort. He raised an Indian Volunteer Corps and all its members underwent first aid training and military drills. The Corps rendered valuable service by tending to the wounded. On Dec 19, 1914, Gandhi and Kasturba sailed for India. Kallenbach could not accompany them, as being German he was unable to get permission to travel to India. They crossed the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, and Aden, before reaching Bombay, where they received a warm welcome.
Gandhi was called the Mahatma(the great soul) in public for the first time by Jivram Kalidas Shastri.
One of the titles of veneration given to Gandhi was 'Mahatma' which means 'a great soul' in English. It is an honorific which was given to Gandhi as he was considered a man of great spiritual powers and moral piety. Although the word had been used earlier by his friends and associates such as C.F. Andrews and Pranjivan Mehta, yet the first public occasion on which it was used was in the town of Gondal, which is in the Kathiawar region of Gujarat. Shortly after his return to India Gandhi, along with Kasturba visited this place. In a reception organised by the citizens of Gondal on 27 January, 1915, a well-respected local priest, Jivram Kalidas Shastri presented to Gandhi a scroll which referred to him as a 'Mahatma'. Soon the term gained popularity and by the time of the Rowlatt Satyagraha in 1919 it was used widely across India.
Gandhi established an Ashram in Kochrab, which later shifted to the banks of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat. On his return to India Gandhi was looking for an appropriate place to establish an Ashram. He had considered places such as Hardwar, Calcutta, and Rajkot. On 25 May, 1915 he established an ashram in a bungalow in Kochrab, near Ahmedabad, which belonged toMr. Jivanlal Desai a barrister in Ahmedabad. However, in 1917 he had to abandon the place because of plague infestation. Moreover he needed a bigger area for his experiments in agriculture, diet, education and nature therapy. Thus he shifted his Ashram to the banks of the Sabarmati River near Ahmedabad. He named it as Sabarmati Ashram. He formulated a code of rules and observances that were to be followed in the Ashram. People belonging to different castes and creeds had to live as one family and eat meals that were cooked in a common kitchen. Gandhi also established a school which stressed on agriculture and manual labour, along with formal literacy. Gandhi continued to occupy the Ashram till 1930, when he left for the Dandi march, taking a vow to return only when India achieved independence. On 22 July 1933 a decision was taken by Gandhi to desert the Ashram. It was preserved by the local people thereafter.
Gandhi organised a Satyagraha for the first time in India in support of the indigofarmers of Champaran.
In the year 1917 Gandhi undertook a campaign in Champaran, in which he used Satyagraha for the first time in India. He had been persuaded by Mr. Raj Kumar Shukla, a farmer from Champaran, Bihar, to take up the cause of the indigo farmers who were suffering because of the conditions imposed on them by the British planters. Gandhi arrived in the district of Motihari to meet the farmers. The British government served a notice on him, asking him to leave the place. When Gandhi refused, he was arrested and produced before a magistrate. In his statement before the magistrate Gandhi said that it was his moral duty to help the farmers and the government may decide to impose whatever punishment it though fit for his defiance of the order to leave Champaran. After Gandhi's statement in the court, the notice was withdrawn and an inquiry was set up to look into the grievances of the indigo farmers. Gandhi, being officially part of the inquiry, toured the area and personally met and heard the peasants. The inquiry submitted a report, based on which the Champaran Agrarian Bill was passed, which alleviated the conditions of the farmers to a large extent.
Gandhi undertook a Satyagraha to support the peasants of Kheda, in Gujarat, to get relief from taxation in lieu of crop failure.
In the year 1918, the peasants of Kheda were facing great hardship due to crop failure and a plague epidemic.They were unable to pay the high taxes levied by the British and had appealed for tax relief for that year. The Bombay government rejected the petition and issued a warning that non-payment of tax would result in confiscation of land and property of the defaulters. Since the villagers could not pay up, the government seized property and cattle. Gandhi along with his associates such as Sardar Patel, Mahadev Desai, Shankarlal Banker, and Indulal Yagnik organised a Satyagraha in Kheda. The farmers were told not to resist arrest, and nor retaliate with violence. Instead, the farmers donated their cash and valuables to the Gujarat Sabha which was officially organising the protest.Other sympathisers helped to shelter the relatives and property of the protesting peasants. Those Indians who sought to buy the confiscated lands were excluded from society.The Government finally made an agreement with the farmers under which the tax for the year in question, and the next was suspended, and the increase in rate reduced, while all the confiscated property was returned to the rightful owners.
Gandhi launched a nation wide hartal to protest against the Rowlatt Act.
The Rowlatt Act was passed by the British government in early 1919, which gave it powers of indefinite detention, speedy trials of suspects without juries, restricted liberties and press censorship. Gandhi decided to oppose the Act by organising a nation-wide Hartal on 6 April, 1919. He asked the people to observe a day-long fast, and hold public meetings in which they should demand the repealing of the Act. Gandhi decided to lead the hartal from Bombay and came to the Chowpatty beach at 6.30 a.m. The rest of the country too witnessed a day of hartal. People belonging to different creeds and communities participated with full enthusiasm. Shopkeepers downed their shutters and people assembled for mass meetings. Besides Bombay, cities such as Patna, Madras, Tanjore, and Dacca reported a complete shutdown.
Gandhi visited Punjab as part of an inquiry instituted by the Congress to find out about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and other atrocities that were inflicted on the people of Punjab.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919 in Amritsar in which Indians were fired upon by the British army under General Dyer. The news of this reached the press only in June 1919 as there was strict press censorship. On hearing about the massacre the nation was filled with horror and anger. While the government appointed the Hunter Commission to institute an inquiry, the Punjab Sub-committee of the Congress set up its own inquiry commission. Gandhi was a part of the Congress inquiry and was allowed to enter Punjab in October, 1919. He toured the state along with his associates and recorded evidences. He then proceeded to Banaras with the massive amount of information that he had collected and made the first draft of the report. The final version was published on March 25, 1920. While the official figures of the dead at Jallianwala were onlyaround 350, the Congress reported a figure of more than 1000. The report also went into the other excesses of the Punjab government and the atrocities faced by the Indians under the martial law. As a mark of protest Gandhi returned the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal, the Zulu War medal and the Boer War medal,which had been awarded to him by the British government for his services to the Empire.
Gandhi launched the first non-violent mass movement in India called the Non-Cooperation Movement.
The years of the First World War had led to widespread political and economic distress in India. The passing of the Rowlatt Act, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the exoneration of those guilty of it, and the imposition of martial law in Punjab further incited the people. The Muslims were also upset by the overthrow of the Caliphate during the war. The post-war constitutional reforms held out by the British government satisfied very few. In such a situation Gandhi decided to launch a nationwide Non-Cooperation movementon August 1 1920.It was agreed to by the Congress in itssessionat Calcutta in September 1920 and was formally launched in December. This was the first mass movement led by Gandhi and was based on his twin philosophies of truth and non-violence. The movement involved the surrender of titles and honours, boycott of government-affiliated schools and colleges, law courts, and foreign cloth, resignation from government service and later on the non-payment of taxes. It also included constructive programmes such as the setting up of national schools, colleges, and panchayats, making Khadi, maintaining Hindu-Muslim unity, giving up untouchability and observing strict non-violence.
Gandhi changed his attire for the short dhoti, called the loincloth, made of Khadi which he wore for the rest of his life.
Gandhi had been contemplating for some time to change his attire to help him identify with the poor masses of India. It was on 22nd September 1921, that he took the final plunge. On this day he was in Madurai and was staying in the upper portion of a follower's house, which was located atDoor No. 251, West Masi Street. There he shed his traditional Gujarati attire and dressed in a simple khadi dhoti, four inches wide and four feet long, which was the traditional dress of the poor farmers of India.It was termed as a loincloth due to its short length. He added a khadi shawl to cover his upper body and wore a pair of sandals as his footwear. Then he came out in public and proceeded to Ramand (Ramanathapuram) and further down to Tirunelveli. Presently that house has been converted into a shop, known as Khadi Emporium and the place where he appeared for first in public in his new attire is called 'Gandhi Pottal' (open ground), where his statue has been installed.Gandhi's decision hadalso been motivated by his desire to make the poor boycott foreign cloth by showing them how to dress as meagrely as possiblein Khadi, which was rather expensiveat that time. Gandhi continued wearing this dhoti for the rest of his life, even when he travelled abroad.
After the Chauri-Chaura incident happened in Gorakhpur in which 22 policemen were killed by a mob, Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement.
The Non-Cooperation movement was in full swing. Students had left government schools and colleges and people had resigned from government jobs. Gandhi had given instructions to people to remain non-violent at all times. However, an incident occurred at Chauri-Chaura in Gorakhpur, in the United Province, which made Gandhi call off the movement. On 2 February 1922, a group of volunteers was picketing the local market against liquor sales and high food prices in Chauri-Chaura. The local police beat up the volunteer leader, an army pensioner named Bhagwan Ahir, and locked him and several other volunteers in the local chowki. On 5 February, approximately 2,000 - 2,500 protesters gathered in front of the local police station demanding the release of their leader. In an attempt to disperse the crowd, the police fired warning shots into the air. This agitated the crowd who began to throw stones at the police. The Indian sub-inspector in charge ordered the police to open fire on the advancing crowd, in which three volunteers were killed andseveral others were wounded. The angry mob however, kept on moving ahead. The police, who were heavily outnumbered, ran inside the police chowki to take shelter. The crowd set the chowki ablaze, killing all 22 people trapped inside. Those who tried to escape were killed by the crowd at the entrance of the chowki and their bodies were thrown back into the fire. On hearing of this incident, Gandhi decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation movement which formally ended on 12 February, 1922.
Gandhi was arrested on charges of inciting sedition through his writings in the Young India and was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment.
While the Non-Cooperation movement had been going on the British government had wanted to arrest Gandhi. However with the charged atmosphere in the country the government had held back so that Gandhi may not become a martyr and further inspire the people. However, with Gandhi ending the Movement, the government made its move and on 10 March 1922 Gandhi and Mr. Shankerlal Banker were arrested by the DSP of Ahmedabad at Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad. Gandhi was charged with sedition, while Banker, who was the publisher of Young India, was charged with publishing Gandhi's seditious articles. The trial was held on 18 March at the Circuit house, Ahmedabad, where both the accused pleaded guilty. During the trial, Gandhi read out his statement in which he explained how he had turned from a staunch loyalist to a bitter opponent of the British government in India. He talked of the Rowlatt Act and the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs, which had led him to undertake the Non-Cooperation movement, because for him to not cooperate with the evil was as much a duty as to cooperate with the good. Judge Broomfield awarded a sentence of 6 years of imprisonment for Gandhi and a term of one and half years for Banker. They were taken to the Yerawada jail in Pune the next day. Gandhi was, however, released after two years on grounds of health.
Gandhi undertook a 21-day fast to restore Hindu-Muslim peace in face of the ongoing communal violence at Kohat, in the NWFP.
Gandhi had to undergo a surgery for appendicitiswhile he was in jail. The government decided to release him and on 5 February 1924 Gandhi was out of jail after serving only two years of his six-year imprisonment. He spent a few months recuperating. However he was soon disturbed by the news of deteriorating Hindu-Muslim relations. In the summer of 1924 there were a series of communal riots in North India. In the second week of September a particularly bitter clash broke out in Kohat, a town in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Refugees had to flee to as far as Rawalpindi. Gandhi was not allowed to go to Kohat. So he decided to go on a 21-day fast in the house of his friend Mohammad Ali in Delhi. The fast was a prayer to both the communities to stop the violence and restore peace and unity. In response to the fast a Unity Conference was held in Delhi on 26-27 September. Gandhi's close friends and family advised him to break the fast and doctors kept a strict vigil on his health. Gandhi broke the fast only on completing 21 days, when news reached him that the situation was under control. This was one of the many such fasts that Gandhi undertook to maintain peace between the two communities, in his bid to put up a united fight against the British.
Gandhi brought an end to the conflict between the Swarajist and the no-changers, thereby avoiding a split in the Congress.
While Gandhi had been in jailin 1922, a part of the Congress under C.R.Das and Motilal Nehru had decided to end the boycott of the legislative councils, enter them but with the aim of exposing them as sham parliaments. Since this was opposed by the Congress, the faction under Das and Motilal formed the Congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party. They were also called the Swarajists or the pro-changers as opposed to the rest of the Congress, who came to be known as the no-changers. Although, in principle, Gandhi supported the no-changers but to avoid a split in the Congress he moved to make an accommodation with the Swarajists. On 6 November 1924 Gandhi as the leader of the no-changers signed a joint statement with Das and Motilal Nehru. It stipulated that the latter would carry on the work in the legislatures on behalf of the Congress and remain an integral part of the Congress. This decision was endorsed by the Congress in its Belgaum session in December 1924, which was presided over by Gandhi. Thus a major breakup within the Congress was averted, which could not happen in 1907 when the organisation had split between the moderates and the extremists.
Gandhi established an All India Spinners Association to work for the development of khadi and the promotion of hand spinning.
On 24 September 1925, the All India Spinners Association was established by Gandhi. Its constitution was finalized at the meeting of the All-India Congress Committee held at Patna on this date. The Association was to function as an expert organization for the development of hand-spinning and khadi. Gandhi felt that there was a need for a permanent organization, unaffected and uncontrolled by politics, political changes or political bodies, that would be an integral part of the Congress organization, but with independent existence and powers. Its functions were to include giving financial assistance to organizations that made khadi by way of loans, or gifts, establishing schools or institutions which would teach hand-spinning t, opening khadi stores and acting as an agency on behalf of the Congress to receive the self-spun yarn. The central office of the Association was to be at the Sabarmati Ashram. The Association was to have members, associates, and donors and an Executive Council which was to hold office for five years. Some important members of the first Executive Council were Gandhi, MaulanaShaukat Ali, Rajendra Prasad, Maganlal K. Gandhi, Seth Jamnalal Bajaj, and Jawaharlal Nehru.
The first volume of the English version of Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of my Experiments with Truth, was published in 1927.
Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of my Experiments with Truth, covers his life from early childhood till 1921. It was originally written in Gujarati and was called SatyanaPrayogoAthavaAtmakatha. Gandhi wrote it on the insistence and encouragement of Swami Anand, a Gandhian activist and a Gujarati writer, and other close co-workers. Gandhi had begun writing it but was soon imprisoned in 1922. He resumed writing it in Yerawada jail on the insistence of a fellow prisoner named Jeramdas. It first appeared in installments in the weekly Gujarati magazine Navjivan, which were published from Ahmedabad, from 29 November 1925 to 3 February 1929. Its English translation, which was done by Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal, also appeared nearly simultaneously asinstallments in his other weeklyYoung Indiafrom 3 December 1925 to 7 February 1929. The publication as installments underwent revisions by Gandhi. Finally, it was published as a book, in two volumes, both in Gujarati and English by the Navjivan Publishing House, based in the Sabarmati Ashram. The Gujarati version appeared in 1926 and 1928, while the English version appeared in 1927 and 1929. The English version was printed at the Karnataka Press in Bombay and was bound in Khadi cloth. As per Gandhi's will, which he executed in 1926, the royalties from all his books go to the Navjivan Trust. The autobiography has been continuously in print, has undergone many editions and has been translated in many languages.
Gandhi moved the resolution for Purna Swaraj (complete independence) in the Lahore session of the Congress, which was adopted as the goal of the Congress.
The Lahore session of the Congress was inaugurated on 29th December 1929. Jawaharlal Nehru was the president and, he addressed a crowd of 50,000 people in his inaugural address. He said that the days of European domination were soon going to end and in its struggle for freedom India was at par with countries such as China, Turkey and Egypt. On 31 December Gandhi moved a resolution which proposed Purna Swaraj or complete independence as the goal of the Congress. This was a departure from the earlier demand of Dominion Status. The Congress members were asked to boycott legislatures and engage in constructive work. The AICC was authorised to start a programme of civil disobedience, which would include non-payment of taxes, at a place and time that it deemed appropriate.
Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience movement by breaking the Salt law at Dandi, a small seaside village in Gujarat.
The Lahore session of the Indian National Congress had authorised the AICC to start a civil disobedience movement. The AICC passed on the task to Gandhi, who decided to launch the movement by breaking the Salt Law. He decided to march from his Ashram at Sabarmati to Dandi, a seaside village in Gujarat. Before starting he explained his programme, and nominated leaders in case he was arrested.On the eve of the salt march, after the evening prayers were over, Gandhi addressed a crowd of over 10,000 peopleand said that the defiance of salt tax should be done with complete non-violence. The march started from Sabarmati at 6.30 a.m. on March 12, 1930. Gandhi, a frail man with a staff in hand, but full of energy even at the age of 61, led a band of 78 Satyagrahis. He was greeted by people on the way where he stopped to give speeches. He reached Dandi on 5 April. On April 6, after prayers and a bath in the sea, at 8.30 a.m. he broke the Salt Law by picking up a lump of salt on the beach. Thus the civil disobedience movement was inaugurated by him, and soon laws were broken all over the country.
Gandhi signed a pact with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, on behalf of the Congress to discontinue the Civil Disobedience movement and participate in the second Round Table Conference.
Once Gandhi had broken the salt law at Dandi, the Civil Disobedience Movement started out in full swing throughout the country. After waiting for a few months, the Government arrested Gandhi and other leaders and started repressing the movement. However, by early 1930 the government held out a possibility of further constitutional reforms and wanted the Congress, which had boycotted the first Round Table Conference, to participate in the second that was to be held soon. For this Gandhi was released and he travelled to Delhi on behalf of the Congress to have discussions with the Viceroy. On 5 March 1931, the Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed. As per its terms, all political prisoners were released and civil liberties were restored. The government also conceded the right to make salt to the people living along the coasts. The Congress on its part agreed to discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement and participate in the Second Round Table Conference. The pact is of significance because for the first time it had placed the Congress on an equal footing with the British government.
Gandhi travelled to London to participate in the Second Round Table Conference as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress to discuss constitutional reforms for India.
As per the terms of the Gandhi-Irwin pact, Gandhi set sail for England on 29 August 1931 to attend the Second Round Table Conference as the representative of the Indian National Congress. Aboard the SS Rajputana, there were with him his secretaries, Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal, his son Devdas and his disciple Mira. They reached London on 12 September and put up in Kingsley Hall, a Quaker settlement in East End. He attended the sessions of the Conference and spoke at various committees. However, the British had invited handpicked representatives from India belonging to the Sikh community, the Depressed Classes, the European Community in India, the princely states and the Muslim League. This meant that Congress alone was not the representative of all Indians. Also the British were not willing to concede to the demands of the self –government of the Congress. The question of separate electorates for the depressed classes and the Hindu-Muslim issue remained unresolved. Thus Gandhi was not able to achieve much and returned to India empty-handed.
Gandhi signed the Poona Pact with B.R. Ambedkar, to avoid separate electorates for the Depressed classes and instead agreed to have reserved seats for them.
The British government brought in the Communal Award in August 1932 according to which different communities of India were to be given separate electorates. Besides the ongoing electorates for the Muslim, Sikh and the Christian communities, the award now declared the Depressed Classes as a community separate from the rest of the Hindus, and thus entitled to separate electorates. Gandhi, who was in the Yerawada jail in Poona, saw this as a move of the British government to sow a further wedge amongst the Indians. He also felt that it did not provide any relief to the depressed classes as far as the discriminations they faced and would do great harm to the ongoing efforts for the abolition of untouchability. He went on a fast unto death on 20 September 1932 to press against separate electorates for the depressed classes. After discussions with B.R. Ambedkar, the leader of the depressed classes, Gandhi signed the Poona Pact with him on 24 September 1932in the Yerawada jail. According to this separate electorates for the depressed classes was replaced by the reservation of seats for them in the legislatures, which were more in number than what was being contemplated under the Award.
From November 1933 till July 1934 Gandhi worked for the upliftment of the depressed classes under the newly formed HarijanSevakSangh, staying away from politics.
After having reached a compromise with Ambedkar over separate electorates, Gandhi decided to work exclusively for the betterment of the depressed classes, staying away from active politics. On being released from jail, he now went on a country-wide tour, travelling nearly 20,000 km by train, car, and bullock cart and on foot. He collected money for the newly founded HarijanSevakSangh, propagated the removal of untouchability, and asked social workers to shift base to villages for the uplift of the Harijans, or the Children of God, a new name used by him for the depressed classes. He undertook a fast on 16 August 1933 for the removal of untouchability and the social discriminations against the Harijans. Through his new weekly publication, named Harijan, he made people aware of the injustices faced by the community and worked for throwing open the temple doors for them. He even asked the upper castes to do penance and make reparations for the centuries of hardships inflicted by them on the Harijans. .
Gandhi announced his retirement from the Congress and his desire to concentrate of his socio-economic programmes.
Having concluded his Harijan tour, Gandhi returned to Wardha and in early September he wrote a private letter to the Congress leader Sardar Patel. In this, he said that he was well aware of the difference of outlook between Congress and him and that in the best interests of the nation he would like to completely severe all official connection with the Congress. These differences had come up due to a growing socialist trend within the Congress spearheaded by young leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi disagreed with them on the handling of economic and political matters. He added that by the moral force that he exerted within the Congress he could continue to dominate, but this would be tantamount to violence. Sardar Patel requested Gandhi to postpone his decision till October when the next session of the Congress was to be held. However, word of this exchange leaked out to the press and Gandhi had to issue a statement confirming his desire to leave the Congress. He added that now he would like to concentrate on other issues such as the revival of village economy, Hindu Muslim unity, the abolition of untouchability and promotion of Khadi. The Congress in its session at Bombay urged Gandhi not to leave but he officially resigned on 30 October 1934. Gandhi, however, continued to be consulted by the Congress at each step till his death and he even led movements when authorised to do so by the party.
Gandhi set up a new Ashram at Seogaon, near Wardha, which was named Sevagram.
When Gandhi had left Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad for the Dandi March on 12 March 1930, he had taken a vow that he would only return to that place when India would gain independence. He was soon arrested and was in jail after this. On 26 July 1933 Gandhi wrote to the government of Bombay saying that he was disbanding the Sabarmati Ashram and wanted to hand it over to the government. On being released from prison Gandhi decided to set up a new Ashram, which would be more centrally located than Ahmedabad. On 5 August 1934 Gandhi came to Wardha, Maharashtra (then located in the Central Provinces) and stayed in the large house that belonged to his follower Jamnalal Bajaj. Meanwhile Gandhi's disciple Mira found a small hamlet named Segaon near Wardha as a place suitable for building a new Ashram. A 300-acre property, which was also owned by Jamnalal Bajaj, was given by him for this purpose and a hut was built for Gandhi. On 30 April 1936 Gandhi shifted there. This was named as Sevagram later on 5 March 1940. Many new structures were built on it later and it soon became a center of Gandhi's activities. Many important national and international leaders visited him and several decisions of national importance were taken here.
Gandhi starts the individual Satyagraha to oppose the August offer made by the government.
The Second World War broke out in 1939 and India was made party to it without its consent.As Germany advanced into Europe, it became important for the British government to garner Indian support. Viceroy Linlithgow offered dominion status to India, subject to the resolution of the questions of the minorities, the princelystates and British commercial rights. The Congress rejected this as they fell short of complete independence. Also the war time press censorship and unjust exactions made by the British officials to collect funds for the war further angered the people. Gandhi decided to start a civil disobedience movement but at an individual level so as to not cause a major upheaval during the War. The first person who was chosen to offer Satyagraha was VinobaBhave, who starting on 17 October 1940, went from village to village preaching against the war and demanding freedom of speech. On his arrest it was the turn of Jawaharlal Nehru to offer Satyagraha. Thus the movement proceeded and by 15 May 1941 more than 25,000 Satyagrahis were in jail. In the meanwhile the War intensified as Germany invaded Russia and Japan, which had joined the axis powers, came too close to the eastern borders of the Empire. Thus the government, under pressure from the Home government, presented the Cripps proposal and released all prisoners by December 1941.
Gandhi launched the Quit India movement from Bombay which lead to a mass upsurge against the British rule in India.
The proposals of the Cripps Mission in 1942 made it clear that England did not want to concede any real constitutional advance to India in return for its cooperation in the war. It offered only dominion status, a Constituent Assembly and also accommodated the demand for a separate state for Muslims. The offer was rejected by the Congress as it would effectively mean a partition the country along communal lines. Moreover, the rising prices and shortages due to the war was leading to great popular discontent. There was also a fear of an imminent British collapse and a Japanese invasion. The Congress, under the leadership of Gandhi decided to launch a mass movement, leaving aside all considerations of the ongoing War. The historic AICC meeting at Gowalia Tank, Bombay, heldon 8 August 1942, passed the Quit India resolution. Gandhi gave the slogan of 'Do or Die' to the people to achieve complete independence. Hetold the people that now that the resolution had been passed he would meet and present the demands of the people to Viceroy. The actual struggle would commence only if the demands were to be rejected. Hence no special instructions were issued to the people on that day.
A day after the passing of the quit India resolution by the AICC, Gandhi along with all the other important leaders of the Congress, were arrested and jailed.
Before Gandhi could meet the Viceroy and place the demands of the Congress of complete independence, the British government took pre-emptive steps to crush the Quit India movement. Gandhi, along with other important leaders of the Congress were arrested in the early hours on 9 August and taken to jail. Gandhi was shifted to Aga Khan Palace in Poona along with Mahadev Desai, Sarojini Naidu and Mira. When the news of the arrests broke out there was a huge mass upsurge in the country. The leadership of the movement passed on to second rung leaders. People expressed their anger in a variety of ways, many of which were violent. Government property was attacked, strikes were organised and the national flag was forcibly hoisted on public buildings. This continued for the next 6 to 7 weeks, till the government unleashed its brutal suppression. It was then that the movement went underground and the struggle saw wide scale participation of people, including women. Parallel governments were formed and messages were conveyed through an underground radio station.
Gandhi lost his wife Kasturba, who died while they were jailed in the Aga Khan Palace in Poona. He had earlier lost his secretary Mahadev Desai who had been cremated in the same Palace.
The government had allowed Kasturba and Pyarelal to join Gandhi at the Aga Khan Palace in Poona, where he had been jailed. In December 1943 Kasturba suffered two mild heart attacks. She had difficulty breathing and was confined to bed. The government rejected her son Devdas' plea to release her but allowed close relatives to visit her. Later Gandhi's grandnephew Kanu Gandhi was allowed to stay in the palace and attend to her. In March 1944 Kasturba came down with pneumonia and the government made arrangement for penicillin to be sent for her at the request of her son Devdas. It arrived at 5 p.m. on 22 February but the same evening around 7.30 she passed away. The penicillin was not given to her due to her condition which had worsened by then. Gandhi was by her side and she leaned against him in her final moments. She was cremated on 24 February in the grounds of the Aga Khan Palace and her ashes were immersed in the Ganga River in Allahabad by her son Devdas. Gandhi was very saddened with the loss of his companion of more than 60 years. Earlier he had lost his secretary Mahadev Desai on 15 August 1943 who too had been cremated inside the Aga Khan Palace, where he had been interred along with Gandhi.
Gandhi went to Shimla to attend a conference convened by Viceroy Wavell to discuss constitutional proposals for India.
On 5 May 1944 Gandhi was released from the Aga Khan Palace. In the following months he held talks with Jinnah to break the political impasse but could not achieve any success. Now the government came up with a new plan for the future course of action. In June 1945 the members of the Congress Working Committee, who had been in jail since 1942, were released and Viceroy Wavell convened a conference of Indian leaders at Shimla. Gandhi went to attend this conference and participated in discussions, both formal and private. However, the conference failed mainly on the question on Muslim representation, with the Muslim League claiming to be the sole representative of the Muslims. The Congress could not agree to the demand of the League.
Gandhi travelled to Noakhali to quell the communal violence that had erupted in the wake of the impending partition of India.
On 16 August 1946 the Muslim League had declared the Direct Action Day, to press for its demand for Pakistan. It led to massive communal riots in Calcutta. On 10 October riots broke out in Noakhali region of Bengal. Gandhi left for Bengal and reached Calcutta on 29 October. He was stopped from going to Noakhali by the chief minister H.S. Suhrawardy. It was only 7 November that he reached Noakhali and set up his base in the village of Srirampur, where he stayed until 1 January. He soon set out on his bare foot tour of the region. In the course of the next seven weeks he visited 47 villages, where he gave speeches, organised prayer meetings, met local Muslim leaders and tried to win their confidence. After spending about 4 months in Bengal, Gandhi reached Bihar on 5 March 1947 to quieten the communal flare up there.
Gandhi met the new Viceroy Lord Mountbatten in Delhi, who came after the announcement of Independence for India was made by the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
On 20 February 1947 the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced in the House of Commons that the British would leave India not later than June 1948. Lord Mountbatten was named the new Viceroy who arrived in in India on 22 March 1947 to oversee the transfer of power. On the same day he wrote to Gandhi about his wish to meet him at the earliest. Gandhi left Bihar and reached Delhi on 31 March and put up in the sweepers colony. The next day he went to meet the Viceroy. When asked about the future course to be taken, Gandhi made a suggestion that the Viceroy invite Jinnah to form a government at the centre to which the Congress would give its full support. Gandhi, in his bid to restore Hindu-Muslim harmony and to save the nation from partition, was ready to pursue this rather unusual and strange course of action. The plan was rejected by the Congress.
Gandhi addressed the Inter-Asian Relations Conference in Delhi, where he was given an ovation by more than 20,000 delegates.
Gandhi addressed the delegates at the Inter-Asian Relations Conference in Delhi. In a speech at its closing session, he told the visitors that the soul of India does not reside in the big cities, but in its villages. He said that India had seven lakhs villages, inhabited by at least 38 crore people. These villages have lost their earlier prosperity and are now steeped in poverty and squalor. India has undergone a cultural conquest, along with a political and economic one, since Indians read their history in English language written by the foreigners. The fountain of real knowledge lay in the East and is to be found in the teachings of the great masters such as Zoroaster, and Buddha. Knowledge cannot be acquired by blindly imitating the West. The secret is to understand the message of the wise men of the East and convey it to the West.
On the day that India got independence, Gandhi did not join the celebrations in Delhi but spent the day in fasting and prayer in Calcutta.
On 15 August 1947 India became independent. There were celebrations throughout the country. Gandhi was not in Delhi to be part of the formal ceremony of transfer of power. He was in Calcutta to restore communal harmony and decided to spend the day in fasting, prayer and spinning. He did not see this day as a day of victory and was sad that freedom had been achieved at the cost of the partition of the country into two. Moreover his years of struggle to forge Hindu-Muslim unity had come to naught as the country had been divided on communal lines. However, on the day of independence the city of Calcutta was calm and there were no reports of violence. People together hoisted the tricolour and sang patriotic songs.
Gandhi went on a fast to end communal violence in Delhi, during which he put up 7 conditions to be fulfilled by the people before he would end it.
Gandhi had accepted the reality of partition with a heavy heart and was now set to stop the communal violence and bloodbath that followed it. There was a steady stream of refugees pouring into India from Pakistan and vice versa. There were massacres and communal riots. Gandhi came to Delhi in September 1947 and put up at Birla House. He visited refugee camps and tried to restore peace between the communities. On 13 January 1948 Gandhi commenced a fast to restore communal harmony. Politicians and members of civil society urged the people to maintain peace. Gandhi laid down 7 conditions for breaking his fast. On 18 January Gandhi broke his fast when leaders of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities agreed to the conditions. Gandhi himself termed this as his greatest fast.
Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse at Birla House in Delhi when he was walking up the garden for the evening prayer meeting.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 in the garden of Birla House, in Delhi. He had escaped an earlier attempt on his life when a bomb had exploded in the same house during his evening prayer meeting on 20 January. On 30 January Gandhi, who was late for the evening prayer, was walking up to the raised platform in the garden along with his companions Abha and Manu. Just then his assassin Nathuram Vinayak Godse stepped out from the crowd, bent down to touch his feet and then stood up to fire three bullets at point-blank range at Gandhi. Gandhi instantly fell to the ground, uttering the words He Ram. He was carried back to his room in Birla House but could not be revived. A little later he was pronounced dead. Godse was immediately overpowered and arrested, and after being sentenced in a trial, he and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were hanged in the Ambala jail on 15 November 1949.
Gandhi was cremated on the banks of River Yamuna by his third son, Ramdas.
The cortege bearing Gandhi's mortal remains was placed on an army vehicle, a dodge belonging to the 8th Company of the army's electrical and mechanical engineers. The last journey of the Mahatma started out from Birla House around 11.45 a.m. It went through the streets of Delhi in 4-mile route to the banks of the Yamuna River. Hundreds of thousands of mourners followed in a procession. It reached the river bank at 4.20 p.m., which too was packed with people. Gandhi's body was placed on an elevated wooden platform which had been built overnight. It was covered with sandalwood and ghee. Then his third son Ramdas lit the pyre and consigned his body to flames, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras. Later the ashes were collected and placed in several dozen urns which were sent to different parts of the country for the people to pay their homage. On 14 February, the ashes were immersed in rivers and seas across India, in a country-wide coordinated ceremony. One of the urns was taken by Gandhi's sons to Allahabad where the ashes were immersed in the Sangam, the confluence of the holy Ganga and the Yamuna rivers. Later, a black marble platform was built on the spot of Gandhi's cremation as his memorial, called the Rajghat.
" Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep. "
" The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. "
" Hatred is not essential for nationalism. Race hatred will kill the real national spirit. "
" Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. "
" Education is the basic tool for the development of consciousness and the reconstitution of society. "