was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of Indiaduring the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha. This is defined as resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence. This concept helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma Gandhi.
In India he is also called Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ, bāpu or "Father") and officially honored in India as the Father of the Nation. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist.
Gandhifirst employed civil disobedience while an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, during the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he organized protests by peasants, farmers, and urban laborers concerning excessive land-tax and discrimination. After assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to easepoverty, expand women's rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance. Above all, he aimed to achieve Swarajor the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led his followers in theNon-cooperation movement that protested the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (240 mi)Dandi Salt March in 1930. He launched the Quit IndiaMovement in 1942, demanding immediate independence for India. Gandhi spent a number of years in jail in both South Africa and India.
As a practitioner of ahimsa, Gandhi swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indiandhoti and shawl, woven from yarn that he had spun by hand himself. He atesimple vegetarian food, experimented for a time with a fruitarian diet, and undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.
"God is truth. The way to truth lies through ahimsa (non-violence)" – Sabarmati13 March 1927
Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes andconducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said "God is Truth". He would later change this statement to "Truth is God". Thus, Satya (Truth) in Gandhi's philosophy is "God".Nonviolence
Although Mahatama Gandhi was not the originator of the principle of non-violence, he was the first to apply it in the political field on a large scale. The concept of nonviolence (ahimsa) andnonresistance has a long history in Indian religious thought and has had many revivals in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish and Christian contexts. Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life inhis autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. He was quoted as saying:
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always."
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether themad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."
Gandhi nurses Parchure Shastri, asanskrit scholar afflicted by leprosy, atSabarmati Ashram, 1940
In applying these principles,...