It is an unimpressive boulder that is transformed into a stunning monolith with the inspired consistent effort of a man. And the same stands true for the development of a person – it is persistence and dedication that leads to the creation of a legend who remains etched in history by virtue of his actions. No man is born great. The tale of Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian leader whose steadfast beliefs and near-miraculous achievements make him an internationally respected person, is yet another testimony to this fact.
Mahatma Gandhi Life Story
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, thus named on his birth in Porbandar on October2, 1869, was presented with the title Mahatma (literally translating to “great soul”) when it was observed that the man harbored within him iron-strong will and legions of love that allowed him to propagate non-violence even though he was at the receiving end of oodles of violence and injustice.
A cursory glance at the life of Mahatma Gandhi sure paints a surreal picture of a flawless man who seemed to be on the path of righteousness and justice all his life, but a closer examination of his life reveals that Gandhi committed his share of mistakes and his personality is flawed as every man’s is. And it is this aspect that inspires millions of his admirers around the world today – the possibility of rectifying one’s mistakes and turning over a new leaf so as to lead a fulfilling life by emulating the actions of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi’s childhood was by no means a smooth journey. He was a timid young boy who was academically moderate. In fact, there is no achievement bejeweling his childhood, and the only note-worthy element of this period of his life is that he displayed great integrity of character even as a child. Not only was he disciplined, but he had admirable moral values. It is chronicled that he refused to copy from his class mate even though the student voluntarily revealed an answer to Gandhi, and opted to score low marks over cheating in a test. It may also be noted that the young Gandhi has great stage fear and could never deliver a public speech.
It was with the death of his father in 1885. Married and soon to be a father, Gandhi was faced with poverty and chose to travel to England to complete his education. At this juncture, he encountered the adverse effects of the restrictiveness of his caste members when they threatened to ostracize him if he went abroad as it was believe to contaminate a man. Gandhi, however, stood his ground in an age when caste was the base of a community.
It was his stint as a barrister in South Africa after he completed his studies that changed the course of his life. Gandhi was traveling in the first class compartment of a train to meet a client when a white man entered the compartment. In Africa, racism was thriving and a white man looked down upon colored men as slaves, irrespective of the qualifications of the latter. The white man ordered that Gandhi leave that section of the train, and when he refused to comply, Gandhi was evicted from the train. Soon after this, he was forced to sit beside the driver of a coach on a cold night though he paid the fare of the ride in full, for the sole reason that he was a colored man and the coach was filled with white folks. A few years later, Gandhi was also manhandled brutally by a policeman in the night simply because he was belonged to the “lower” section of the society. Mahatma Gandhi transformed from a timid young man to leader who would lead the oppressed Indians in Africa into securing their rights.
Enriched with the experiences of South Africa, and having been introduced to the concept of “sadagraha” which called for holding on to truth and righteousness. It is from this concept that Gandhi formulated Satyagraha (insistence on truth), a virtue he preached and practiced all his life, and it is through Satyagraha and ahimsa (non-violence) that Gandhi liberated India from the clutches of the British rule.
Taking a vow of celibacy (after siring 4 children with his wife), vegetarianism, non-violence and non-attachment, Gandhi passionately launched his mission of spreading love among the people of India and worked relentlessly for the welfare of the neglected, suffering section of the populations. Untouchability, discrimination along religious and economical lines and violence were a few things he strove to eradicate.
What is truly amazing about the life of Gandhi is that he became a person who elicited unexplained worship from people who never saw him in their lives. Gandhi had threatened to fast unto death at certain points in history when people were becoming restless and were resorting to violence to achieve national freedom, and magically, violence did stop for this man.
Gandhi was a self-made legend. He sure did make mistakes – he consumed non-vegetarian food though his religion forbade it and he aped the English man for years before realizing the importance of his own identity. Some people may argue that he was a bad father and husband, but it was a sacrifice he made for greater good. His thoughts on dieting, dressing, spirituality and emotions that are popularly quoted by luminaries today were not whimsical, they were carefully and painstakingly studied over years.
Gandhi was thrown in jail a zillion times during his fight for justice, but that never broke his will. He believed in the love of man, and ventured into scenes of brutal crimes without any police protection. His actions and words were resented by many, but that did not persuade him to change. In fact, he was murdered by an angry Indian for his insistence on the maintenance brotherly relationship between Hindus and Muslims in the country. All the same, his life stands as a reminder than with belief in yourself, faith in God and relentless work, it is possible to make a change. “Be the change you wish to see” is an adage that seems to be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
Photo Credit: Soba
Who is Mahatma Gandhi? - Short Biography
Mahatma Gandhi, also known as "The Father of the Nation," was a political and spiritual leader in India who played a key role in the country's struggle for independence from British colonial rule. He was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India.
Gandhi trained as a lawyer in Britain and returned to India in 1915 to practice law. However, he soon became involved in the Indian independence movement and began using non-violent civil disobedience as a means of protest. He led several campaigns and boycotts against the British government, including the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920 and the Salt Satyagraha in 1930.
Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and civil disobedience inspired civil rights and freedom movements around the world, including the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1947, India finally gained independence from British rule, but Gandhi's efforts were not over yet. He continued to fight for the rights of the poor and untouchables and advocated for Hindu-Muslim unity.
Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, by a Hindu nationalist who opposed his philosophy of nonviolence and his efforts to improve the status of Muslims in India.
Mahatma Gandhi's legacy continues to inspire political and social activists around the world. His principles of nonviolence, civil disobedience, and interfaith harmony are still widely admired and studied today.
Mahatma Gandhi Fast Facts
* Mahatma Gandhi, also known as "The Father of the Nation," was a political and spiritual leader in India who played a key role in the country's struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
* He was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India.
* Gandhi trained as a lawyer in Britain and returned to India in 1915 to practice law.
* However, he soon became involved in the Indian independence movement and began using non-violent civil disobedience as a means of protest.
* He led several campaigns and boycotts against the British government, including the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920 and the Salt Satyagraha in 1930.
* Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and civil disobedience inspired civil rights and freedom movements around the world, including the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.
* In 1947, India finally gained independence from British rule, but Gandhi's efforts were not over yet. He continued to fight for the rights of the poor and untouchables and advocated for Hindu-Muslim unity.
* Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, by a Hindu nationalist who opposed his philosophy of nonviolence and his efforts to improve the status of Muslims in India.
* He was honored by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 on the occasion of his birthday by declaring it as the International Day of Nonviolence.
* He was also known as Bapu (meaning father in Hindi) and was an advocate of non-violent civil disobedience and religious unity.
* He was a key figure in the Indian independence movement and is considered the father of the nation in India.
* He is widely considered as one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
* He was also a spiritual leader and wrote several books on Hinduism, including his autobiography "The Story of My Experiments with Truth."
Mahatma Gandhi Best Quotes
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." (Meaning)
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." (Meaning)
"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." (Meaning)
"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory." (Meaning)
"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
"The good man is the friend of all living things." (Meaning)
"An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." (Meaning)
"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave." (Meaning)
"An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching." (Meaning)
"If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm."
"Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening." (Meaning)
"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people." (Meaning)
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." (Meaning)
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." (Meaning)
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." (Meaning)
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." (Meaning)
"There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts." (Meaning)
"In a gentle way, you can shake the world." (Meaning)
"There is more to life than increasing its speed." (Meaning)
"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth." (Meaning)
"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."
"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."
"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members."
"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." (Meaning)
"The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different." (Meaning)
"Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment." (Meaning)
"Action expresses priorities." (Meaning)
"To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." (Meaning)
"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." (Meaning)
"Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men." (Meaning)
"Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature." (Meaning)
"Nobody can hurt me without my permission." (Meaning)
"It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart." (Meaning)
"The real ornament of woman is her character, her purity." (Meaning)
"I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." (Meaning)
"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind." (Meaning)
"It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity." (Meaning)
"We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough if we did not run away from the battle." (Meaning)
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent." (Meaning)
"Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it." (Meaning)
"Truth never damages a cause that is just." (Meaning)
"My life is my message." (Meaning)
"To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest." (Meaning)
"It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?" (Meaning)
* The editor of this short biography made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any quotes, facts, or key life events. If you're looking to expand your personal development, I recommend exploring other people's life stories and gaining inspiration from my collection of inspiring quotes. Exposing yourself to different perspectives can broaden your worldview and help you with your personal growth.
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.