M K Gandhi

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Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi is regarded the "father of nation" of India. He was a  leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule. In the eyes of millions of his countrymen, he was the Mahatma, the great soul. Internationally he is esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest to achieve political and social progress. Gandhi was indeed the greatest leader of the Indian nationalist movement. In fact, he can be regarded as a great leader of all the major revolutions of the 20th century: the revolutions against colonialism, racism, and violence. 

Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbander, Gujarat, India in a devout Hindu family. He was the youngest child of Karamchand Gandhi's fourth wife Putlibai. Karamchand, his father, was the chief minister of Porbandar, Gujarat, in western India, under the British rule. As a student Gandhi was not that brilliant. However, he had been religious and driven by a  sense of morality since his early school days. 

Gandhi's mother was thoroughly dedicated to her religion. And followed all rites strictly. Thus Gandhi was brought up in an environment where things, such as,  ahimsa (noninjury to all living beings), vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance had been taken for granted. 

After finishing school Gandhi had been to London to major in Law. He came back to India to be practice Law. However, he had to set sail for South Africa for a better professional career. This is where he got involved in political movements. Soon Gandhi took the lead in organizing protests against the injustices of the South African Government. When Gandhi finally came back to India he was already a popular political leader. He joined the Indian National Congress and led the nationalist movement. 

Gandhi devised certain disciplines in lifestyle to equip himself for service of the causes to which he was totally committed. And he observed them in his food habit, sleep, thought, prayer, and daily activities. 

Gandhi had been a die hard preacher for non-violent protests. He also followed certain dietary thoughts and ideas,  believed in nature cure, and prescribed moral austerity, a quest for truth, and a complete refusal of the pleasures of the flesh. Though many of his of his political colleagues accepted nonviolence as a creed, very few of them followed his other thoughts and ideas. 
 
Gandhi had been a great mediator and reconciler. And all through his political career he mediated to resolve the conflicts between the older moderate politicians and the young radicals, the political terrorists and the parliamentarians, the urban intelligentsia and the rural masses, the traditionalists and the modernists, the caste Hindus and the untouchables, the Hindus and the Muslims, and the Indians and the British.

He wrote copiously; the collected edition of his writings runs to more than 80 volumes.
Much of what he wrote was in response to the needs of his co-workers and disciples and the exigencies of the political situation, but on fundamentals, he maintained a remarkable consistency, as is evident from the Hind Swaraj ("Indian Home Rule") published in South Africa in 1909.  

Gandhi dreamt of having an independent India. And he had it. But not the way he, or most of the Indians, wanted. India gained Independence after compromising a division. And it was one of the greatest disappointments of Gandhi's life that Indian freedom was realized without Indian unity. Still he fought to the last for an independent united India. He even went on a fast when persuasion failed. But nothing materialized. And unfortunately Gandhi was held responsible for all the consequences.  He was shot down to death by a Hindu fanatic in Delhi,  on  January  30, 1948, just a few months after India achieved her independence.

In recent years Gandhi's name has been invoked by the organizers of numerous demonstrations and movements. Gandhi won the affection and loyalty of gifted men and women, old and young, with vastly dissimilar talents and temperaments; of Europeans of every religious persuasion; and of Indians of almost every political line. Great scientist, like Albert Einstein, great economist like Gunnar Myrdal, and the social activist like Martin Luther King, Jr. were all his admirers. In a time of deepening social disturbances and unrestness all over the world, Gandhi's ideas and techniques seems to be still vey relevant today.

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