Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian independence activist who was the leader of the Indian National Congress and is considered to be the father of his country. He was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India. Gandhi’s father, Karamchand Gandhi, served as the chief minister of Porbandar and other princely states in western India. His mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious woman who fasted regularly and taught Gandhi the importance of nonviolence and truth.
Gandhi received his early education in Porbandar and later attended schools in Rajkot and Ahmedabad. He studied law in London and was called to the bar in 1891. After returning to India, Gandhi set up a law practice in Bombay (now Mumbai) but struggled to find clients. In 1893, he accepted a one-year contract to serve as a legal representative for an Indian firm in South Africa.
While in South Africa, Gandhi was deeply affected by the discrimination and racism he faced as a person of color. He became involved in the Indian community’s struggle for civil rights and eventually became a leader in the movement. Gandhi developed his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, or satyagraha, during this time. He believed that the best way to fight injustice was through nonviolence and civil disobedience, rather than through violence and aggression.
Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and quickly became involved in the Indian independence movement. He organized boycotts and strikes, and worked to unite Hindus and Muslims in the struggle for independence. Gandhi also advocated for the rights of the poor and for social justice.
Gandhi’s tactics were successful, and in 1947, India gained independence from British rule. However, the country was divided into two separate states: India and Pakistan. Gandhi opposed the partition and worked to bring about peace between the two countries. He was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist on January 30, 1948.
Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and civil disobedience has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world, including the civil rights movement in the United States led by Martin Luther King Jr. His birthday, October 2, is celebrated as International Day of Nonviolence.