Born 150 years ago on this day, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi continues to inspire generations across the globe with his internationally esteemed doctrine of nonviolent protest (satyagraha).
Hailed as the “Father of the Nation” Gandhi and his principle of non-violence has influenced a host of leaders and movement not just in India but across the world. Be it the civil rights movements in the United States and its pioneers including Martin Luther King Jr., former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela,
Born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, Gandhi an alumnus of the prestigious University College London pioneered India's independence movement. Best remembered for his employment of nonviolent means of civil disobedience, he led Indians in the Dandi Salt March to protest against the British-imposed salt tax and launched the Quit India Movement, a mass protest demanding British withdrawal from India.
Working as a lawyer in South Africa during the Apartheid era, he was deeply moved by the rampant acts of racism and discrimination. He led several social campaigns in the country and upon his return to India he became active in the Indian Independence Movement, ultimately leading to India’s independence from the British rule on August 15, 1947. He was also a social activist who campaigned for women’s rights, religious tolerance, and reduction of poverty.
During the Independence movement, Gandhi called for all Indians to unite irrespective of their religion, caste and creed. He advocated non co-operation with British rule, which included a boycott of British goods in favor of Indian made products.
Gandhi was accorded the title of “Mahatma” by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore while he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times between 1937 and 1948 though he was never awarded the prize. The Nobel Committee publicly declared its regret for the omission decades later.
Time magazine named Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930.
Gandhi was assassinated on 30th January 1948, at a prayer meeting at Birla House in Delhi, by Nathuram Godse who shot him three times in the chest, at point-blank range.
His birth anniversary is celebrated in India as Gandhi Jayanti and across the globe the day is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Besides a host of programmes to mark the day, the government has decided to release several hundred prisoners, who have not been convicted for murder, rape and corruption on October 2 to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi