Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the given birth name of Mahatma Gandhi. His later name, “Mahatma” means “Great Soul’’ –a title fit for the great personality that he was. Mahatma Gandhi is one of the Indian people who led a colourful, meaningful life despite the chaos as well as disarray around them and had great influence on India and the world.
Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British Indian Empire. As a child, Mahatma Gandhi loved Indian Classics and commented that they made an indelible impression on him.
Even at a young age, Mahatma Gandhi already treated truth and love as supreme values. When he reached 13 years old, Mahatma Gandhi got married to Kasturbai Makhanji, who was then 14 years old because of an arranged child marriage. At the age of 15, Mahatma Gandhi already had his first child who died later and then had four more surviving sons after that.
When he entered middle school, Gandhi was not a star student; rather a mediocre type both in academics and in sports. He wanted to become a doctor, however, his father forbade it and wanted him to study law and become a barrister instead, though Mahatma Gandhi was not happy about his studies.
Later in his life, he was able to accomplish his greatest achievement – driving away foreign rulers of his country without war or violence, through peaceful ways and Satyagrah. He believed in simplicity which was reflected in his attire, his vegetarian practices as well as long fasts which he undertook to purify himself and display social protests.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse and some accomplice in January 30, 1948. They shot him dead as they believed he weakened India by asserting on paying compensations to Pakistan. Hence a great life came to an end.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Influence on India
Mahatma Gandhi became a famed spiritual and pre-eminent political leader in India. In his quests later on in life, he grew to have many loyal followers whom he taught to not use war and violence, but instead, use peaceful protests. He led movements like Quit India Movement and Salt March against the rule of the British Empire.
He stood up many times for the Indian civil rights and made a big difference to all the people in India. His accomplishments and influence on the people of India cannot be contained in mere words. Mahatma Gandhi was a shining light to the people of India and this light grew stronger as it also shone throughout the world.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Influence on the World
Mahatma Gandhi’s influence was not limited to India alone. He was also able to influence political movements and important leaders around the world. These leaders include James Bevel, James Lawson, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Steve Biko, and Martin Luther King Jr. Many people have referred to Mahatma Gandhi as their mentor.
These people have followed his teachings and were inspired by his life. Many other leaders throughout time have been inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and also made great achievements in their nations. His non-violent teachings resonated not only in his birth country, but also all throughout the world.
Do you also believe in non-violent protests? How were you inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s life and teachings? Please do share your thoughts and ideas.
By Liya Das