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Mahatma Gandhi

### Mahatma Gandhi: An Overview

#### Early Life

- **Birth**: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, India.

- **Family**: He was born into a Hindu merchant caste family. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, served as the diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar, and his mother, Putlibai, was deeply religious.

- **Education**: Gandhi studied law at University College London from 1888 to 1891. After being called to the bar, he returned to India to practice law but struggled to find work.

#### Time in South Africa

- **Civil Rights Activism**: Gandhi moved to South Africa in 1893 to work as a legal representative for an Indian trading firm. Here, he experienced racial discrimination firsthand, which spurred his involvement in civil rights activism.

- **Satyagraha**: He developed the concept of "satyagraha" (truth-force or soul-force), a method of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. He led campaigns for civil rights for the Indian community in South Africa, achieving significant reforms.

#### Role in India's Independence Movement

- **Return to India**: Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and became a leader in the Indian National Congress, advocating for India's independence from British rule.

- **Nonviolent Protests**: He organized and led several nonviolent campaigns, including:

- **Champaran and Kheda**: Fought for farmers' rights against oppressive taxation.

- **Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922)**: Urged Indians to boycott British institutions and goods.

- **Salt March (1930)**: Protested the British monopoly on salt production by marching 240 miles to the Arabian Sea to produce salt.

- **Quit India Movement (1942)**: Called for an end to British rule in India.

#### Philosophy and Principles

- **Ahimsa (Nonviolence)**: Central to Gandhi's philosophy was the principle of nonviolence. He believed in resolving conflicts without violence.

- **Self-reliance (Swadeshi)**: He encouraged the use of Indian-made goods and self-reliance as a means to achieve economic independence from Britain.

- **Truth (Satya)**: Gandhi held that truth and morality were paramount and should guide all actions.

- **Simple Living**: He advocated for a simple, modest lifestyle and manual labor as a way to connect with and support the poor.

#### Assassination

- **Death**: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, in New Delhi by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who opposed Gandhi's vision of religious tolerance and his efforts to achieve peace between Hindus and Muslims.

#### Legacy

- **Global Influence**: Gandhi's principles of nonviolence and civil disobedience influenced global movements for civil rights and freedom, including the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela's anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

- **Modern India**: He is considered the "Father of the Nation" in India and remains a symbol of peace, nonviolence, and social justice. His birthday, October 2, is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India, and is also observed as the International Day of Non-Violence.

#### Key Quotes

- "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

- "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."

- "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

#### Impact on Society

- **Political Impact**: Gandhi's methods and philosophy played a crucial role in India's struggle for independence, laying the groundwork for the largest democracy in the world.

- **Social Reforms**: He advocated for the upliftment of the untouchables (whom he called Harijans, or children of God) and worked towards eradicating the social evils of caste discrimination and untouchability.

- **Economic Thought**: Gandhi's ideas on self-sufficiency and local industry influenced economic policies in India and beyond, promoting sustainable development practices.

In summary, Mahatma Gandhi was a transformative leader whose principles of nonviolence, truth, and social justice have left an indelible mark on the world. His life and legacy continue to inspire movements for peace, justice, and human rights globally.

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