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Mahatma Gandhi Biography: An Extraordinary Life of Non-Violence and Freedom

Mahatma Gandhi Biography

Mahatma Gandhi Biography: An Extraordinary Life of Non-Violence and Freedom


You know, when we talk about iconic figures who’ve shaped the course of history, Mahatma Gandhi’s name is right up there. His life’s story, from a small coastal town in Gujarat to becoming the guiding light of India’s fight for independence against the British, is nothing short of extraordinary. Let’s dive deep into the life, principles, and lasting legacy of Mahatma Gandhi in this biography.

Category Statistics
Full Name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Popularly Known As Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu
Date of Birth October 2, 1869
Date of Death January 30, 1948
Age at Death 78 years old
Place of Birth Porbandar, Gujarat, India
Place of Death New Delhi, India
Nationality Indian
Education – Bachelor of Laws from University College London
– Bar-at-Law from Inner Temple, London
Children Four children (Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas, and Devdas Gandhi)
Spouse Kasturba Gandhi
Political Affiliation Indian National Congress (INC)
Notable Achievements – Leader of India’s nonviolent civil disobedience movement
– Key figure in India’s struggle for independence from British rule
– Advocate of nonviolence, truth, and civil rights
– Promoted economic self-reliance and rural development
Legacy – Promoted economic self-reliance and rural development
– Revered as the Father of the Nation in India (Bapu)
– Inspiring figure for nonviolent resistance worldwide
– Influence on leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela
– Instrumental in achieving India’s independence in 1947


Mahatma Gandhi Biography
Mahatma Gandhi Biography

Early Life and Education: The Making of a Young Mind

On October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat, India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born. His parents, Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai, instilled in him the values of honesty, humility, and compassion from the get-go.

Education in Porbandar and Rajkot

Gandhi’s early education started in Porbandar, where he was, well, an average student. He continued his studies in Rajkot, where his commitment to self-discipline and truthfulness began to shine. These early lessons in ethics and morality would lay the foundation for his later principles of non-violence and civil disobedience.

Studying Law in London

At the age of 19, Gandhi sailed off to London to study law, following his father’s footsteps. Little did he know that this was just the beginning of a remarkable journey that would make him one of the most influential figures in history.

South Africa and the Awakening: An Unexpected Detour

In 1893, Gandhi took a job in South Africa as a legal representative. He probably had no idea that this decision would throw him into a battle against racial discrimination and injustice, eventually molding his destiny.

First Encounters with Discrimination

In South Africa, Gandhi and his fellow Indian immigrants faced brutal discrimination. He couldn’t stand by and watch. His experiences there became the catalyst for his activism, as he began organizing the Indian community to protest against the unjust laws and policies.

Return to India: The Return of the Prodigal Son

In 1915, after more than two decades in South Africa, Gandhi returned to his homeland, India. He brought back not just his legal skills but also the powerful concept of non-violent resistance, or “Satyagraha.” His timing couldn’t have been better because India was on the brink of a historic struggle for independence.

Role in the Indian National Congress: Guiding India to Freedom

Gandhi’s impact on the Indian National Congress (INC), the leading political party at the forefront of the independence movement, was profound from the start.

Advocating Non-Violent Resistance

Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance, or “Satyagraha,” became the guiding principle for the INC and millions of Indians who rallied behind him. While his call for non-violence matched the INC’s ideals, he sometimes clashed with more radical members who favored a more militant approach. Still, everyone acknowledged his influence, often referring to him as the “Mahatma,” or “Great Soul.”

Launch of Non-Cooperation Movement

Under Gandhi’s leadership, the INC launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920. This movement aimed to boycott British goods and institutions, marking a significant turning point in India’s struggle for independence. Millions of Indians joined in, piling immense pressure on British authorities.

Imprisonment and Sacrifices: The Price of Non-Violence

Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence led to numerous imprisonments throughout his life. He saw jail time as a way to draw attention to British injustices and inspire others to join the struggle.

Hunger Strikes for Justice

During his time in prison, he often engaged in hunger strikes to protest against various policies and injustices. His willingness to suffer for his beliefs further solidified his status as a symbol of resistance and sacrifice.

Salt March and Dandi Satyagraha: The Turning Point

One of the most iconic moments in Gandhi’s life was the Salt March, or Dandi Satyagraha. In 1930, Gandhi and a group of followers embarked on a 240-mile march to the Arabian Sea coast. Their goal was to protest the British monopoly on salt by making their own salt from seawater, defying the Salt Laws imposed by the British.

The Salt March as Symbolism

The Salt March captured the nation’s and the world’s imagination, showing the immense power of non-violent protest. It triggered widespread civil disobedience and mass arrests, putting intense pressure on the British government to negotiate with Gandhi and the INC.

Role in the Indian National Congress: Unwavering Leadership

Gandhi’s pivotal role in the Indian National Congress, the vanguard of the struggle for independence, cannot be overstated.

Launch of Quit India Movement

In 1942, Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement, demanding an immediate end to British colonial rule. The movement resulted in mass arrests and a brutal crackdown by the British, but it brought the issue of Indian independence to the forefront of international attention.

Partition and Independence: The Dawn of Freedom Marred by Division

The struggle for Indian independence finally bore fruit in 1947 when the British agreed to grant India independence. But this momentous occasion was marred by the tragic partition of India into two separate nations, India and Pakistan. Gandhi vehemently opposed the partition and went on a hunger strike to end the violence and communal riots that erupted during this tumultuous period.

The Cost of Partition

His efforts led to a ceasefire and negotiations between the newly formed governments of India and Pakistan. Although he couldn’t prevent the partition, his commitment to peace and communal harmony left a lasting mark on the subcontinent.

Assassination and Legacy: The Tragic End of a Hero

Tragically, Mahatma Gandhi’s life was cut short on January 30, 1948, when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who disagreed with Gandhi’s stance on communal issues. His death was a shock to the nation and the world, but his legacy lived on.

Remembering the Mahatma

Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and his unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and equality continue to inspire people around the globe. His birthday, October 2nd, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti in India and is recognized as the International Day of Non-Violence worldwide.

Conclusion: The Legacy of a Great Soul

Mahatma Gandhi’s life was a testament to the power of conviction, non-violence, and the relentless pursuit of justice. His journey from a young boy in Porbandar to a global icon of peace and freedom remains an unparalleled inspiration. Gandhi’s biography, written by himself and numerous other scholars, continues to enlighten and educate new generations about his profound impact on the world.

Gandhi’s philosophy is a timeless reminder that change can be achieved through peaceful means, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. As we celebrate his life and legacy, we are reminded that the pursuit of truth and non-violence remains as relevant and vital today as it was during the turbulent years of India’s struggle for independence.

15 Best quotes of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is known for his wisdom and profound quotes that continue to inspire people around the world. Here are some of his best quotes:

1. “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

2. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

3. “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

4. “The future depends on what you do today.”

5. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

6. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

7. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

8. “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

9. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

10. “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

11. “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

12. “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”

13. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

14. “First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

15. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

These quotes reflect Gandhi’s deep insights into life, truth, non-violence, and the pursuit of a better world through peaceful means. His words continue to resonate with people seeking inspiration and positive change.

Best books for Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi wrote extensively, and there are also many books about him written by various authors. Here are some of the best books by and about Mahatma Gandhi:

Books by Mahatma Gandhi:

1. “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” (Autobiography) – Gandhi’s own autobiography offers a personal account of his life, his beliefs, and his experiments with truth and non-violence.

2. “Hind Swaraj” (Indian Home Rule)- In this influential work, Gandhi outlines his vision for self-rule and his critique of modern civilization.

3. “Satyagraha in South Africa” – Gandhi’s account of his experiences and struggles for civil rights in South Africa, where he first developed the concept of Satyagraha (truth-force).

Books about Mahatma Gandhi:

1. “Gandhi: An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth” (Annotated) – This version of Gandhi’s autobiography includes annotations and commentary, providing deeper insights into his life and philosophy.


2. “Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World” by Louis Fischer- A comprehensive biography that explores Gandhi’s life, philosophy, and his role in India’s struggle for independence.

3. “Gandhi: A Life” by Yogesh Chadha – An accessible biography that delves into Gandhi’s life, his relationships, and his impact on the world.

4. “The Gandhi Reader: A Sourcebook of His Life and Writings” edited by Homer A. Jack – This book compiles Gandhi’s writings, letters, and speeches, offering a comprehensive overview of his thoughts and ideas.

5. “Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire” by Rajmohan Gandhi – Written by Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, this biography provides a personal perspective on Gandhi’s life and his interactions with people and the British Empire.

6. “Gandhi Before India” by Ramachandra Guha- This book focuses on Gandhi’s early life and experiences before he became the Mahatma, shedding light on his formative years.

7. “Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life” by Kathryn Tidrick – This biography explores both Gandhi’s political journey and his spiritual beliefs, offering a well-rounded portrait of the man.

These books offer various perspectives on Mahatma Gandhi’s life, philosophy, and impact on the world. Whether you’re interested in his own writings or biographies written by others, these titles provide valuable insights into the life and legacy of this iconic figure.

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