Today In History: Mahatma Gandhi Left Indelible Footprints On The Sands Of Time

In the midst of Death, Life persists! Mahatma Gandhi who was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement before he was assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic on this day, January 30. Gandhi was born to an Indian official in 1869 and was exposed to Jainism, a morally rigorous Indian religion that advocated nonviolence, by his mother. Although Gandhi wasn’t too impressive in his academic studies, he was opportune to study law in England. Upon his completion of studies, Gandhi returned to India in1891. On his return, he couldn’t get a regular legal work so, in 1893, he relocated to South Africa on a one-year contract. While in Natal, he faced several racist restrictions that affected Indian laborers. On one of such incidents, Gandhi was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off the train. That was the moment of truth for the world revered political leader as thereon he decided to fight racism and defend himself and his fellow Indian man. Oh, there really was no stopping him! He stayed on in South Africa and launched a campaign against the legislation that deprived Indians the right to vote. To achieve this, he created the Natal Indian Congress, after which he used the platform to call international attention to the plight Indians were facing in South Africa. Gandi organized his first campaign of mass civil disobedience in 1906 after the government continued to restrict Indians and sought for more ways to continue. He continued his protest until 1913 where he struck a new deal with the South African government. After he succeeded in leaving a noticeable impact in South Africa, the political leader in 1914, returned to India and lived a life of spirituality and abstinence. He participated in politics on the side and supported the British government in the First World War. Trouble, however, brew between the two parties when in 1919 Gandhi once again launched a mass civil disobedience campaign also called a satyagraha against the British. This he did as a protest over Britain’s mandatory military draft of Indians. This movement sparked the interest of Indians and ignited the fire in their hearts as hundreds of thousands of them answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he became the leader of the Indian movement for independence. One of his tactics against the British forces was his call for massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions, to which Indians heeded. However, things were getting out of end as the protest became violent and he had to call it off in 1922. Not satisfied with the protest he called off, the British authorities had him arrested for sedition a month later, to which he was found guilty and imprisoned. He was in prison for two years and was later released. Upon his release, he led extended fast in protest of Hindu-Muslim Violence and returned to politics in 1928. Gandhi launched a protest against the British salt tax and on that note marched his 60,000 followers to the Arabian sea to make their own salt. This protest earned him international respect but the British people were however not impressed as they had him and his followers arrested.  After his release, Indians were still in bondage and was suppressed by the British authorities. During World War II, Gandhi returned again to politics after quieting down for a while, and this time around he called for Indians to support the British war effort in exchange for Independence. Headstrong Britain however refused and launched a move to divide Indian with their support for conservative Hindu and Muslim groups. Furious about their move, Gandi responded with a groundbreaking “Quit India” campaign in 1942 and called for total removal of British forces in the country. Retaliating, Gandi and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned by the authorities up until 1944. A year later, Britain witnessed power change and they began negotiating India’s independence. Armed with this news, Gandhi strived for a unified India, but some obstinate Muslims disagreed, they grew power during the war. Due to this, on August 15, 1947, Britain agreed to have an Independent India and another country for the Muslims, which will be called Pakistan. Not impressed with the partition, Gandhi was depressed and afterward, Hindus and Muslims got into a bloody fight in India. Trying to curtail the violence, Gandhi fasted and visited troubled locations. On one such visit in New Delhi, the political leader was shot by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist. Long after his death, Mahatma Gandi meaning the great soul Gandhi has continued to influence many leaders around the world, notable of which is Martin Luther King. He may have been buried, but the hero’s footprints will continue to leave impacts in the sands of time. Photo Credit: Getty


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