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Mahatma Gandhi: The Indian people called Gandhiji ‘Mahatma’, meaning Great Soul. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born onOctober 2, 1869 in Porbandar,India. At the age of 13 Gandhi married Kasturba, a girl the same age. Their parents arranged the marriage. The Gandhis had four children. Gandhi studied law inLondon and returned toIndia in 1891 to practice. In 1893 he took on a one-year contract to do legal work inSouth Africa.
At the time the British controlledSouth Africa. When he attempted to claim his rights as a British subject he was abused, and soon saw that all Indians suffered similar treatment. Gandhi stayed inSouth Africafor 21 years working to secure rights for Indian people.
He developed a method of action based upon the principles of courage, nonviolence and truth called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. Satyagraha promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals. In 1915 Gandhi returned toIndia. Within 15 years he became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement.
Using the principles of Satyagraha he led the campaign for Indian independence fromBritain. He became one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders of the 1900’s. GandhiJi helped free the Indian people from British rule through nonviolent resistance, and is honored by Indians as the father of the Indian Nation.
Gandhi was arrested many times by the British for his activities inSouth AfricaandIndia. He believed it was honorable to go to jail for a just cause. Altogether he spent seven years in prison for his political activities.
More than once Gandhi used fasting to impress upon others the need to be nonviolent.Indiawas granted independence in 1947, and partitioned intoIndiaandPakistan. Rioting between Hindus and Muslims followed. Gandhi had been an advocate for a unitedIndiawhere Hindus and Muslims lived together in peace.
OnJanuary 13, 1948, at the age of 78, he began a fast with the purpose of stopping the bloodshed. After 5 days the opposing leaders pledged to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later a Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse who opposed his program of tolerance for all creeds and religion assassinated him.
Nobel Peace Prize “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”