Essay on Mahatma Gandhi (800 Words)
One of the most important dates of Indian history is 2nd October, 1869. On this day, Putli Bai gave birth to a child, who was to become the father of the nation. His father Karam Chand Gandhi was the Diwan of Rajkot in Gujarat.
Mohan Das went to school at the age of seven. Though he was an average student, he was regular and punctual in attending the classes. When still a child, he was married to Kasturba. After completion of matriculation and college studies, he went to England to study law. On becoming a barrister in England, he returned to India. He began his practice in law in Mumbai (then called Bombay). He was not successful in his practice. He then returned to Rajkot. But even there he could not excel as a lawyer. He always took up the cases that were genuine and true. He always stood for truth and spurned cases that were not truthful.
It was a chance that took him to South Africa. He went there to fight a law suit for his client based in South Africa. Circumstances made him stay there for over two decades. The pathetic condition of Indians living there moved him so much that he decided to fight for their cause. This brought him in direct conflict with the authorities. He was once thrown out of a train just because he was travelling in the first class, a facility that was denied to Indians. This did not put him off. Instead, it made him resolute to fight things out.
He acquired Tolstoy Farm there and created an Ashram, from where he launched his movement against the atrocities of the White on the Indians. He founded the Indian Congress. It was largely due to his efforts that the government was forced to pass Indian Relief Act in 1914 which improved the quality of Indians’ life to a great extent.
After achieving success in South Africa, he returned to India in 1915, joined Congress Party and began to take active part in India’s movement for freedom. The Satyagraha Movement was his brainchild. The mighty English empire became helpless against this movement based on the principle of non-violence. It was an unheard of thing. Non-violent movement coupled with non-cooperation almost crippled the British Empire. The Empire was at a loss. It simply did not have any clue on how to deal with this. Tackling a violent mob or violent movement is always easy and tried out methods are easily resorted to achieve desired results. But here was a movement where no one was resorting to any kind of violence. It was a new instrument and the English were not trained to tackle this. The historic Dandi March breaking the Salt Law unsettled the British Government. The Quit India Movement of 1942 proved almost decisive for the English. It fully dawned on the British Empire that it was no longer possible to rule India. Finally, in 1947, India secured its independence.
Even though India had achieved the objective of freeing it from the clutches of the English, Gandhi was not quite happy with the turn of events. First, he was firmly against division of the country on the basis of religion. He had even declared publicly that India could be divided only on his dead body. Second, he wanted the Congress to wind up as a political party. None of these two pious wishes was fulfilled. India was divided and caused havoc as Hindus and Muslims resorted to looting and killing. Gandhi was dismayed and hopelessly left alone to nurse his wound. The leaders who were with him in the struggle for independence were with the government and relishing the use of power and that went with it. Gandhi had clearly not bargained for it. There was no one to buy his suggestion to disband the Congress. Thus disillusioned, he withdrew himself to seclusion and prayers. He had said that India could be divided only on his dead body. But he was forced by the circumstances to preside over the division of India. This angered some and he was done to death on 30th January, 1948. India celebrates this day as Martyr’s Day.
Irrespective of what one might think of Gandhi after over six decades of India’s journey post-independence, the fact remains that there has not been another personality in the world that has stirred up so much emotion of the question of non-violence. Gandhi continues to be one of the most celebrated personalities in the world who influenced the course of events not just in India but in other parts of the world as well. He is the ‘Father of Nation‘ of India.
A Hollywood film made on him drew acclaim from all over the world and is one of the recipients of maximum number of awards. Even though times have changed and old values have taken a tumble, there is no denying the fact that Gandhi continues to be relevant and there is no dearth of people in any walk of life swearing by his name.
Essay on Mahatma Gandhi (1000 Words)
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is the greatest leader that India has ever produced. He was born at Porbandar, a small coastal town in Kathiawar, Gujarat, on 02 October, 1869. He was the fourth and last child of his father’s fourth and last marriage. His father was the devan for about twenty-eight years in the states of Rajkot, Porbandar and Wankaner and was a renowned figure. His mother, Putlibai, was a good-natured, patient and saintly lady. He was sent to school at the age of seven. He was married to Kasturba at the age of twelve. He completed his matriculation in 1888 and went to England to become a barrister. He scrupulously observed the three vows he had given to his mother regarding abstinence from wine, women and meat. He found it difficult to practise law when he returned to Bombay (now Mumbai) as he had not studied the Indian law. At this time, he went to South Africa to take part in a civil suit in 1893. He had gone there for one year only, but continued to stay there for another 21 years (1893-1914) with intermittent breaks in between. It was in South Africa that he at first tried his ideas of Satyagraha, though without much success.
Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in 1915. He was then initiated into politics by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He established a Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of River Sabarmati. He wanted to take part in the Indian Independence Movement, so he travelled extensively to understand the Indian people. He successfully led small, but important, movements in Champaran, Ahmedabad and Kheda to beget the poor workers their due. Now he was fully active in politics.
In the First World War, Mahatma Gandhi genuinely believed that self-government would be granted to India at the end of the war, so he cooperated with the British, but his hopes were belied. Rather, the Rowlatt Bill, 1919 was imposed. A great tension was created and the things came to a tragic culmination at the Jallianwalah Bagh.
Mahatma Gandhi thought out the idea of complete break up from the British if the Rowlatt Act was not repealed. The idea of non-cooperation was simple, so it appealed to the masses. He promised to the masses if they non-cooperated with the British non-violently, the self-government would come within twelve months. He so emphatically conveyed the idea of non-cooperation to them that people took it on their personal level. In January, 1922, he gave a week’s notice to Lord Reading of mass civil disobedience if government’s policy of repression was not changed. The Civil Disobedience Movement finally started on 1 February, 1922 in Bardoli. The movement gained momentum, but an unfortunate incident took place in Chauri Chaura where 22 policemen were burnt alive following their repressive measures. Gandhiji called off the movement as it was to be a non-violent movement, despite opposition from the leaders. He was sent to jail.
Along side the independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi advocated and started constructive programmes of spinning and weaving khadi, prohibition, working for eradication of untouchability and unity of the Hindus and the Muslims, so that social conditions could be improved.
In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi formulated an 11-point programme for Government’s acceptance, failing which the civil disobedience movement was to be launched. It included total prohibition, reduction in revenue, amendment to the Arms Act, protection of textiles, reservation of coastal shipping for Indians, and abolition of salt tax. It was the last item on which he based his entire Civil Disobedience Movement.
The Salt Satyagraha started on 12 March, 1930 when Gandhi started from his Sabarmati Ashram with 79 co-workers for Dandi on the coast of the Arabian Sea. This was the historic Dandi March and the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement. As he treaded his path, hundreds and thousands of people joined him. He broke the Salt Law by making salt from seawater on 06 April. Therefrom he proceeded to Dharsana to take possession of the salt warehouse, but he was arrested on 5 May. The movement went on non-violently. He was released in 1931 and took part in negotiations with Lord Irwin. Later he sailed to England to take part in the Second Round Table Conference, but he came back a disappointed man. He resumed his movement again, but was arrested and kept in the Yarvada Prison.
The Communal Award was published by the British Government in 1932. It made Mahatma Gandhi take a fast unto death. It culminated into the Poona Pact in which the depressed classes were to get reserved seats. He took another fast for 21 days for purification, at this he was released from prison. Since the Civil Disobedience Movement had been officially withdrawn, he engaged himself in social uplift and constructive programmes.
The Second World War broke out in 1939. The British Government declared India a party to the war without the consent of the Congress. The Cripps Mission was sent from Britain, but it failed to meet the aspirations of the people since it did not promise self-government at the end of the war. On the other hand, Japan was nearing. Gandhiji felt that the British should quit India to its fate even if it meant anarchy here.
On 08 August, 1942, the AICC met at Bombay and passed the Quit India Resolution which proposed the commencement of a massive non-violent struggle under Gandhiji’s leadership. He boldly declared, “We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetration of our slavery.” He and several other leaders were arrested. Protests and violence erupted. He toured the riot-hit areas from November, 1946 to March, 1947 facing danger to his life from religious fanatics. He undertook fast unto death at the age of 78 years on 2 October to save Calcutta (now Kolkata) to pacify communal hatred. He broke his fast three days later when the leaders of different communities assured him in writing that Calcutta would remain riot-free. India gained freedom on 15 August, 1947 amidst news of communal violence and anarchy besides bifurcation of the country into India and Pakistan. It made him spend Independence Day, fasting and spinning.
This great son of India, entitled Father of the Nation and Bapu, was shot dead on 30 January, 1948 by a fanatic called Nathuram Godse at Birla House. He fell to the ground with the words ‘Hey Ram’. Thus came the end of the glorious life of Mahatma Gandhi.
Essay on Mahatma Gandhi (1500 Words)
It wouldn’t be difficult for anyone to identify the great yet humble personality of Mahatma Gandhi. The man who faced one of the world’s biggest superpowers, the British Raj with daunting courage and perseverance through his principle of non-violence, was indeed a force to reckon with.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October, 1869, at Porbandar, a small town on the Western coast of India, which was then one of the many tiny states in Kathiawar. He was born in a middle class family of Vaishya caste. His grandfather had risen to become the Prime Minister of Porbandar and was succeeded by his son Karamchand who was the father of Mohandas. Putlibai, Mohandas’s mother was a saintly character, gentle and devout and left a deep impression on her son’s mind. She was Karam Chand’s fourth wife, the first three having died in childbirth. Mohandas went to an elementary school in Porbandar, where he found it difficult to master the multiplication tables. He had two brothers and a sister and was youngest of all.
He was seven when his family moved to Rajkot. There he attended a primary school and later joined a high school. Though conscientious, he was a ‘mediocre student’ and was excessively shy and timid. The stories of Shravan and Raja Harishchandra had a great impact on him. While he was still in high school, he was married, at the age of 13, to Kasturba who was also of the same age. A friend of the family suggested that if the young Gandhi hoped to take his father’s place in the state service, he had better become a barrister, which he could do in England in 3 years. Gandhi jumped at the idea. The mother’s objection to his going abroad was overcome by the son’s solemn vow not to touch wine, women and meat.
Gandhi went to Bombay to take the ship for England. In Bombay, the people of his caste, who looked upon crossing the ocean as contamination, threatened to excommunicate him if he persisted in going abroad. But Gandhi was adamant and was thus, formally excommunicated by his caste. Undeterred, he sailed on 4th September, 1888, for Southampton at the age of 18.
Having passed his examination, Gandhi was called to the Bar on 10th June, 1891 and sailed for India two days later. When he reached Bombay, he learnt to his profound sorrow that his mother had died. The news had been deliberately kept back from him to spare him from the shock in a distant land.
An offer from Dada Abdulla and Co. to proceed to South Africa on their behalf to instruct their counsel in a lawsuit, was a God-sent opportunity to young Gandhi, Gandhi jumped at it and sailed for South Africa in April 1893. It was in South Africa that this shy timid youth of 24, inexperienced, unaided, alone, came into clash with forces that obliged him to tap his hidden moral resources and turn misfortunes into creative spiritual experiences. After about a week’s stay in Durban, Gandhi left for Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, where his presence was needed in connection with a lawsuit.
A first class ticket was purchased for him by his client. When the train reached Maritzburg, the capital of Natal, at about 9 pm, a white passenger who boarded the train objected to the presence of a coloured man in the compartment and Gandhi was ordered by a railway official to shift to a third class. When he refused to do so, a constable pushed him out and his luggage was taken away by the railway authorities. It was winter and bitterly cold. This was the turning point in Gandhi’s life.
He extended his stay in South Africa to protest against the bill that denied Indians the right to vote. In 1910s, he established the Tolstoy farm for peaceful resistance. After the rights of the blacks were restored, Gandhi was hailed as a hero.
In January 1915, he finally returned to India, Mahatma, with no possessions and with only one ambition to serve his people.
At the end of his year’s wanderings, Gandhi settled down on the bank of the river Sabarmati, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where he founded an Ashram in May 1915. He called it the ‘Satyagraha Ashram.’ The inmates, about 25 men and women, took the vows of truth, ahimsa, celibacy, non-stealing, non-possession and control of the palate and dedicated themselves to the service of the people.
It was the Rowlatt Act with its denial of civil liberties which finally brought Gandhi into active Indian politics. From 1919 to his death in 1948 he occupied the centre stage of the Indian politics and was the hero of the great historical drama which culminated in the independence of our country. Like a magician, Gandhi roused a storm of enthusiasm in the country with his call for non-cooperation. He began the campaign by returning to the Viceroy, the medals and decorations he had received from the government for his war services and humanitarian works.
The anti-climax came suddenly in February 1922. An outbreak of mob violence in Chauri-Chaura shocked and pained Gandhi that he refused to continue the campaign and undertook a fast for five days to atone for a crime committed by others in a state of mob hysteria.
On 12th March, 1930, after having duly informed the Viceroy, Gandhi, followed by 78 members of his ashram, both men and women, began his historic 24 day march to the sea beach at Dandi to break the law which had deprived the poor man of his right to make his own salt. The rest is history how a single man shook the foundations of the British Empire and how at his single call the entire nation rose from slumbers to fight for their rights unanimously, forgetting all their differences. In 1942, he launched the Quit India Movement with the slogan ‘Do or Die’.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Gandhiji
On 15th August, 1947, India was partitioned and became free. Gandhi declined to attend the celebrations in the capital and went to Calcutta where communal riots were still raging. And then, on the day of independence, a miracle happened. A year old riot stopped as if by magic and Hindus and Muslims began to fraternise with one another. Gandhi spent the day in fast and prayer.
Unfortunately the communal frenzy broke loose again on 31st August, and while he was staying in a Muslim house, the safety of his own life was threatened. On the following day, he went on a fast which was ‘to end if and only if sanity returns to Calcutta’. The effect was magical. Those who had indulged in loot, arson and murder amidst shouts of glee, came and knelt beside him and begged for forgiveness.
On 4th September, the leaders of all communities in the city brought him a signed pledge that Calcutta would see no more of such outrages. Then, Gandhi broke the fast. Calcutta kept the pledge even when many other cities were plunged in violence in the wake of partition. On 30th January 1948, ten days after the bomb incident, Gandhi hurriedly went up the few steps of the prayer ground in the large park of the Birla House. He had been delayed due to a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and was late by a few minutes.
He loved punctuality and was worried that he had kept the congregation waiting. ‘I am late by ten minutes, he murmured. ‘I should have been here at the stroke of five’. He raised his hands and touched the palms together to greet the crowd that was waiting. Everyone returned the greeting. Many came forward wanting to touch his feet.
They were not allowed to do so, as Gandhi was already late. But a young Hindu from Poona forced his way forward and while seeming to do obeisance fired three point blank shots from a small automatic pistol aimed at the heart. Gandhi fell, his lips uttering the name of God (Hey Ram). Before medical aid could arrive the heart had ceased to beat-the heart that had beat only in love for humanity had ‘stopped’. Thus, died the Mahatma, at the hands of one of his own people, to the eternal glory of what he had lived for and to the eternal shame of those who failed to understand that he was the best representative of the religion for which he suffered martyrdom.
The nation’s feeling was best expressed by Prime Minister Nehru when with a trembling voice and a heart full of grief, he gave the news to the people on the radio.
“The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere”.
He was fondly called ‘Bapu’ and is the Father of the Nation. His birthday is a national holiday. His image appears on Indian currency notes. His death day is observed as Martyr’s day. For some, he was a saint or ‘fakir’, some called him a ‘leader’ and some a politician. But, he was in reality an extraordinary soul in an ordinary mortal’s body. That’s why he was called ‘Mahatma’.