Mohandas Gandhi was born in Porbander, western India, on 2nd October, 1869. At school, he was introverted and lacked confidence. However, he was obedient and punctual. In those days, child marriage was in vogue. So, Gandhi married Kasturbai, when he was thirteen years old.
Study in England
In 1887, Gandhi went to England for studying law. He had a tough time surviving there, because he was a vegetarian. However, he managed by joining vegetarian clubs. In England, Gandhi became interested in religion, and read holy books such as the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. After his study, he returned to India and practiced at Rajkot.
Struggle Against Racism in South Africa
Gandhi got an offer to practice law in South Africa in 1893. Here, he experienced racial discrimination when he was forcefully removed from the first-class compartment of a train. Gandhi resolved to protest against racism and color prejudice. He championed peaceful and non-violent methods to this end. Gandhi founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894. In 1899, during the Boer war, Gandhi served actively as a member of the Indian Ambulance Corps.
Gandhiji’s non-violent and peaceful protests were highly successful in South Africa. The local Indian community was galvanized and backed him to the hilt. Gandhiji’s efforts against the prejudiced local laws bore fruit. This was an early instance of the success of Gandhiji’s “soul force”.
Struggle for India’s Independence
After his successful mission in South Africa, Gandhiji returned to India in 1915. He got involved in the freedom movement against the British and advocated peaceful means to gain independence. Gandhijis’s soul force had a magnetic effect on the masses. The British arrested him numerous times, but could never douse his passion for sacrifice.
Gandhiji’s moral force, indomitable will and ideal spiritual life inspired his countrymen. They began to call him “mahatma” or great soul. He was also affectionately addressed as “bapuji” or beloved father. Gandhiji’s inspiring efforts were rewarded when India gained independence on August 15th, 1947. However, a Hindu extremist assassinated Gandhiji the next year.
A Perfect Life
Gandhiji’s actions were inspired by studying Ramayana and the Gita. These works helped him lead an ideal life of moral rectitude, adherence to truth and unwavering righteousness. His unflinching, but peaceful, efforts against injustice reflect the victory of spirit over flesh. He inspired his fellow men to conquer their base nature and exhibit discipline and self-restraint, in the face of extreme provocation. The famous scientist Albert Einstein said about Gandhiji: “Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man in flesh and blood once trod upon this earth”.