Learn English Online- Free Language Lessons

Gandhi

Nonviolent Leader - Beginner




M ohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in present-day Gujarat, India and became known worldwide for his nonviolent protests against colonialism, racism, and violence. He is called Mahatma which means the one with a great soul in Sanskrit and lived a life of simplicity, prayer, and meditation following Hindu traditions. Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 into a business class family, at a time when India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were all one country under British rule. Gandhi started school at the age of 9 and had an arranged marriage at the age of 13.  

In 1888, Gandhi left India to study law in London. There he joined the Vegetarian Society and read religious texts in his spare time, one of which being the Bhagavad Gita, an important Hindu epic. After four years of studying law, Gandhi returned to India but was without success as a lawyer. After two years of struggle, he accepted a job as a lawyer in South Africa.  

It was here, in South Africa that Gandhi experienced discrimination and was even beaten because of his skin color. This ill-treatment was what lead to Gandhi becoming an activist for equal rights and peace. In 1894, just a year after arriving in Natal, South Africa, the local government decided to take away voting rights from the people of India. In response, Gandhi founded the Natal India Congress which empowered the Indian people in the community and petitioned the local government for equal rights.  

Again in 1906, a part of the South African government made a law unfair to Indian people, requiring them to register themselves to the government. There were massive protests. Gandhi told his supporters to disobey the law peacefully. Many were beaten or taken to prison for refusing to cooperate. Some were killed.  

After nearly 20 years in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India and joined the National Congress to fight against British colonialism. In April 1919 Gandhi was arrested for entering Delhi after he was told not to. A few days later nearly 400 peaceful protesters were killed by British soldiers. The event is now known as the Massacre of Amritsar. Gandhi told his followers to remain peaceful despite the violence against them and went on a fast in the name of peace. He used the idea of nonviolent noncooperation to ask Indians to stop using British goods and institutions.  

Gandhi was arrested several more times for his outspoken views against British rule in India, yet he never stopped. In 1930, he led a 388-kilometer walk in protest of a salt tax which became known as the Salt March. Over 60,000 were sent to jail for joining the march. Gandhi continued to campaign for India’s freedom supporting worker strikes and fasting for peace and equality. In 1947 India gained independence from Britain but was divided into two countries, Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. This division created great conflict which Gandhi worked to resolve peacefully. Less than a year later Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu man who was angry at Gandhi for promoting peace with Muslims. Gandhi died on Jan 30th, 1948. His birthday is the International Day of Nonviolence. 

Add a Comment





Please donate

Each week of the year, I have poured tremendous time, thought and resources into FirstManKnows which remains free and is made possible by patronage. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider supporting my labor with a donation. If you have already donated, then from the bottom of my heart thank you.