Mahatma Gandhi

About Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable")—applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa,—is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for "father", "papa") in India.

Born and raised in a Hindu, merchant caste, family in coastal Gujarat, western India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

Gandhi famously led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India. Gandhi attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as means of both self-purification and social protest.

Gandhi's vision of a free India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan. As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to promote religious harmony. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 at age 78, also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan. Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest at point-blank range.

Gandhi is commonly, though not officially, considered the Father of the Nation in India. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Nonviolence.

Read More:

Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi

Where there is love, there is life.

See available posters »

Violence begins with the fork.

See available posters »

To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man.

See available posters »

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

See available posters »

The future depends on what we do in the present.

See available posters »

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.

See available posters »

Live life simply so that others may simply live.

See available posters »

It is very significant that some of the most thoughtful and cultured men are partisans of a pure vegetable diet.

See available posters »

It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.

See available posters »

In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.

See available posters »

I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man

See available posters »

I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live, I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species.

See available posters »

I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.

See available posters »

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

See available posters »

How You Can Help

1 Follow

The success of this project depends on you sharing the artwork we create. If you can, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (we need to do more on Pinterest!) and you'll find out as soon as we add new poster designs and new quotations from the world's greater thinkers.

2 Share

Then don't forget to share anything you like on your favourite social networks. The more people that see what's being said, the better.

Let's push the message further out there.

3 Print

Print, print and print out what you like. Add one to that space on the noticeboard at work. How about that billboard on the way to the café? If there's room and it's legal, print out a few posters and tape them to boards, lamp posts and bus shelters.

4 Give

Got a friend's birthday coming up? Or just want to treat your sister? It's pretty cost effective to print out your favourite posters (even at a professional printers), throw it in a suitable frame and wrap it up - gift sorted!


Quote Of The Day

Veganism is not about eating broccoli! It has become the biggest social justice movement of our time.

Eddie Mah