“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind” said Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi never stopped fighting for India’s independence when it was dangerous or/and it would cost his own life. He used nonviolence instead of violence to protest/fight for India’s independence because he thought it would be a  faster and a kinder way to express the views.Childhood Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India on October 2, 1869. At this time, British was ruling India and had strong rules and regulations in the country which the people had to follow or they would sent to jail. Gandhi was born as a Hindu and the majority of Indians were Hindus. His father’s name was Karamchand Gandhi who was divian and his mother Putlibai was a homemaker.

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Gandhi had two step sisters, a sister, and two brothers. He was the favorite child of the family and was called ‘Moniya’. Gandhi and his family moved to Rajkot because his father found a better job there in the prince’s court and there he attended primary (elementary) school. School had been a painful experience for him. He was afraid that he would be teased because his ears had stuck out awkwardly from his head. At age 12, Gandhi entered high school. Gandhi liked geometry in high school because he thought it was interesting to learn.Teenage and Early Adulthood Then, Gandhi’s parents picked his life partner (Gandhi’s wife).

In Hindu religion, it’s common for parents to pick their son or daughter’s life partner. Back in that time, it was common for people to get married at a young age. Gandhi was married to his wife Kasturba at an early age of 13 on May 1883! Then, he continued high school and when he was 16 years old, and he had the responsibilities of a father. Kasturba was expecting their first child and Gandhi’s father was old and got sick. Next, his father died and their first child died shortly after birth. He was depressed by the huge losses.

In 1888, a family advisor recommended that Gandhi should go to England to become a barrister, or a lawyer. After he heard about that, he accepted and was excited to go to England. But their mom was concerned that Gandhi would make bad choices in England like drinking liquor. Next, Gandhi promised that he would not make that bad choices and he sailed for England.

  While in England, Gandhi was once again drawn towards his childhood values which he had renounced as a teenager. He became involved with the vegetarian movement and met members of the Theosophical Society who kindled/ignited his interest in religion. Gandhi completed his studies successfully and was called to the law exam in June 1891. Then, he returned to India.Life in AfricaOnce again, he had to support his family again.

He received a job offer from the law firm of Dada Abdulla and Company. The company had a big law case in South Africa and thought Gandhi would be a useful assistant there. Gandhi and Kasturba had another child, a son named Manilai during this time,  Next, he and his family sailed for Durban, in the South African state of Natal, in April 1893.

Once, Gandhi was asked to move from the first-class in a train where he had the ticket but he was told that because of his skin color, and another time he was asked to remove his turban. He refused both the times. Also, he was sent to jail few times for doing that and later came out. These incidents angered him and wanted to fight for Indians’ social justice.  Even though his original job contract with Dada Abdulla & Co.

was just for one year, he extended his stay in the country in order to fight for the rights of people of his Indian people. He spent over 20 years in the country during which he helped found the Natal Indian Congress which aimed at social justice for Indians.Gandhi Returns to India and Salt March Gandhi returned to India on January 9, 1915 and people from then on called him Mahatma, which means “Great Soul”. Then, he spent 1 year traveling all across India visiting people.

Mahatma Gandhi wore dhoti (loincloth) and a cap and took only third-class transportation while on the trip to visit people.  In 1917 was the first major success (event) of Gandhi after his arrival in India. The peasants (farmers) of the area were forced by the British landlords to grow Indigo, which was a cash crop, but its demand had been declining. To make the matters worse, they were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. The farmers turned to Gandhi for help. Using the strategy of nonviolent actions, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and was successful in getting allowance from the authorities. Mahatma Gandhi told everyone to give up their medals to the British and to make their own clothes using the spinning wheel.

  Then, some arguments and tensions happened between the Hindu and Muslim groups. Gandhi did not want that to happen. So, he fasted (he did not eat any food but only drank water) for 21 days until there were peace agreements between the two groups. While that was happening, British still said that they will make the rules regardless of India’s wishes. Salt was a major resource for India and British law stated that the sale and production of salt by anyone other than the British was criminal offense. There was a tax on the salt and Gandhi wrote a letter to Lord Irwin (who controlled that part of India) to stop forcing taxes on the salt but he did not care about Gandhi’s concerns. Mahatma Gandhi and 78 of his followers left on foot on April 1930 and walked to Dandi that was 240 miles away.

His group took rest and talked to the villagers while walking. Countless people joined the march including (children, men and women) while marching. On the evening of April 5, the marchers reached the coast and spent that night in prayer. At dawn on April 6, Gandhi bathed in the sea as a symbol of purification. On his way back to the beach, he bent down and picked up some salt that was brought in by the tide.

With that simple act, Gandhi had broken the law. The British put 50,000 people in jail! On May 4, around midnight, Gandhi was awakened by the police, arrested, and was taken to Yerwada Central Jail. After some time he was released from the jail because Gandhi fasted.   Independence for IndiaPeople in India wanted Independence.  Britain had control of the country and those in India didn’t like it including Gandhi.

  The Labor Party took over in the British government, and they were thinking about giving India its independence because Gandhi held a huge protest with 50,000 people (referring to the Salt March). On August 15 1947, India finally won its independence and this is what the people in India were waiting for a long time but the disappointing thing was that the British split India into two countries: India and Pakistan.  Mahatma Gandhi strongly denied the separation of the countries because he thinks that these people can live peacefully but he agreed to it in hopes that after independence Hindus and Muslims could achieve peace internally (through agreements).

Among the large fighting  that followed separation of the countries, Gandhi advised Hindus and Muslims to live peacefully together, and held a hunger strike until fighting in Calcutta, India ended.Death The inspiring life of Mahatma Gandhi came to an end on 30th January 1948, when Gandhi was on his way to an evening prayer meeting in Delhi was shot by Nathuram Godse, at point-blank range. Mahatma Gandhi died fifteen minutes later. Nathuram was a Hindu radical, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by ensuring the separation payment to Pakistan.

 Mahatma Gandhi would be remembered as an Indian civil rights leader who fought for independence non-violently. These methods inspired several other world leaders in their struggle against injustice. His statues are installed all over the world and he is considered the most prominent personality in Indian history. I will challenge you to make a world a better place using nonviolence like Mahatma Gandhi.


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