Ghandi


Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India, on October 2, 1869. Although his father was a chief minister for the maharaja of Porbandar, the family came from the traditional caste of grocers (the name Gandhi means grocer). His mother's religion was Jainism, a Hindu religion which ideas of nonviolence and vegetarianism are very important. Gandhi said that he was most influenced by his mother, whose life was an endless chain of fasts and vows. When, in the company of boyhood friends, he secretly smoked, ate meat, told lies, or wore Western clothing, he had an intense feeling of guilt. These feelings forced him to make resolutions about his moral behaviour that were to stay with him for the rest of his life.
Ghandi married at the age of 13. When he was 18, he went to London to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and for a while he was attorney in Bombay. From 1893 to 1914 he worked for an Indian firm in South Africa. During these years Gandhi's humiliating experiences of open, official racial discrimination and aphartheid propelled him into agitation on behalf of the Indian community of South Africa.
He started protest campaigns and organized provocating demonstrations, but never used violence. His philosophy was to never fight back against the atrocities, but still never retreat. This, he said, would decrease the hate against him and his fellow believers, and increase the respect felt towards him. Gandhi's one aim was that everybody - hindues, muslims, sikhs, jews, christians, black and white - could live together in peace and harmony.
Under the banner We are citizens of the empire he gathered Indians from all over South Africa to a march for freedom.
He gradually developed his techniques and tenets of nonviolent resistance, and when he returned to India in January 1915, he was celebrated as a national hero.
He was soon asked to participate in and organize India's fight for freedom, as he fought aphatheid in South Africa.
Then he started his journey to discover the real India, the life in the 700.000 small villages and the countryside with all the hardworking men and women.
These were the ones he was going to represent in his fight for justice.
As time passed, more and more people got to know about Gandhi and his controversial views, and Gandhi's popularity grew incredibly fast, something the English Vice-king and government didn't approve of at all. Armed only with honesty and a bamboo stick, Gandhi got through demands like a rebait on rent pay to the English land-owners, freedom for the Indians to grow crops of their own choice and the establishment of a part- Indian commission to hear grievances from the Indians.
The Englishmen allowed these demands without questions, just to see the back of him.
But Gandhi had greater aims.
They sent Gandhi to jail several times, but they always had to release him, because he never used or indirectly caused violence or crime. He convinced almost everyone that nonviolence increases respect and decreases hate, but terror-actions and violence justifies the atrocities.
Now, the Englishmen were getting afraid of this little, big man. And fright made them dangerous.
In the town of Amritsar in 1919, English soliders, armed with guns, attacked and shot to kill hundreds of nationalist demonstrators, demonstrators who's goal was, ironically enough, nonviolence. 1516 demonstrators were killed or wounded.
The general said that he wanted to give the Indians a lesson that would have an impact throughout all of India.
The English people and government reputiated this terrible action and the attitude that prompted it.
The massacre of Amritsar turned Gandhi to direct political protest, and made it possible for him to propose that maybe it was time for the Englishmen to go home for good. Within a year he was the dominant figure in the Indian National Congress, where Gandhi challenged the Brits: 100.000 Englishmen cannot control 350 million Indians if these Indians won't cooperate.
That was what Gandhi wanted to achieve when he launched on a policy of noncooperation with the British. Nonviolence and noncooperation would make India independent of the British Empire, and the Indians would see the Englishmen off as friends.
The first action of this noncooperation policy was to make the indians realize that to buy and use cotton clothing made in England made the Indian people