Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Indian born after Shankaracharya, is universally known as the father of Indian Nation. His name is immortal in the history of India and the world. Not only India but also the whole mankind is proud of him. We may hesitate to consider him a superman but we all most willingly accept him as a superior man. It is almost impossible for an ordinary human being to describe what he was and what he did for India and mankind. He was many things in one a leader, a politician, a diplomat, a social reformer, a religious preacher and a author.
Birth, parentage and education
Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi was born in the small State of Porbander on October 2, 1869. His father, Kaba Gandhi, was Diwan of Rajkot State. His mother, a devout Hindu lady and the fourth wife of his father was an ideal woman. Her name was Putlibai. He was brought up in a very religious atmosphere. He was married to Kasturba at the age of 13. Kasturba was six months older than he. When he was at school, he was shy and timid and avoided company of boys. In 1887, he passed his High School and sailed for England in 1888 for Bar-at-Law. In 1891, he returned to India after being a fall fledged barrister.
Trip to South Africa and his stay there
Mahatma Gandhi sailed for South Africa to represent a business firm as a lawyer after failing utterly as a lawyer at the Bombay High Court. He was deeply shocked to see the sorry plight of the Indians living there. He started his Satyagrah Movement’ with a view to reforming the miserable condition of Indians and achieved a remarkable success in his venture. In 1914, he came back to India and entered Indian politics.
Participation in Indian politics
Mahatma Gandhi was received with open arms everywhere in India after his entry into Indian politics. He supported the British Government in the First World War whole-heartedly. In 1917, he went to Bihar and made the Champaran district a centre of his social activities. By now, he had achieved India-wide fame and was known as ‘Mahatma’. In 1920, he launched upon Non-Cooperation Movement but soon he had to stop it under the fear that it might develop into a violent movement. In 1930, he started his second campaign known as Civil Disobedience Movement and was again imprisoned. During this period, he participated in the London Round Table Conference. In 1942, he launched upon the ‘Quit India’ movement for national independence and detained in prison till 1944.
In the negotiations which ended. with the attainment of Indian Independence, he played an immortal and active part. India became free from the foreign yoke on August 15, 1947 and the Mahatma’s dreams materialized. With the dawn of Independence, we lost balance of mind. In consequence of this imbalance, the Mahatma was shot dead on January 30, 1948 in the capital of India in broad daylight by a Hindu fanatic named Nathu Ram Godse. Thus, came to an abrupt end the moral frame of the greatest man of our times. At his death, he was given the most splendid funeral by the nation which is incomparable in human history. This is the short life-story of one who was not a man but a Divine Man.
Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to India and the world
What did Mahatma Gandhi do for India and the world? He made India free after a noon-violent struggle and never fell a victim to violence, meanness, cowardice and untruth in the course of that long struggle. The means justify the end, not the vice versa. If this is true, then Mahatma Gandhi is the greatest man whom the world has ever seen or produced. No threats-communal riots, physical tortures, bitter criticism and violet opposition could deter him from the noble path of Truth and Non violence. He was not only a liberator of India but also of humanity. He worked hard throughout life for the uplift of the backward and the downtrodden. He fought against social evils like untouchability in Hindu society.
Mahatma Gandhi as an author
Mahatma Gandhi was an author of eminence. His autobiography, My Experiments with Truth’ is an endless fountain of holiness, truth, non-violence, sacrifice and service. The people of India and the world failed to understand him.
In the words of Pearl Buck, “No figure in the world is so incomprehensible to the men of West as this man of India, Gandhiji”. At his death, George Bernard Shaw very aptly remarked, “It is dangerous to be too good’. He embodied in his person the following lines with all implications:
“Love rules the court, the comp, the grave, And men below and saints above.
For love is heaven and heaven is love.”
India will remember Mahatma Gandhi with devotion, the foreigners with surprise, the friends with faith, the fanatics with jealousy and the critics with helplessness.