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Indian Leader Mohandas K. Gandhi

January 30, 2012 New York Post, CLASSROOM EXTRA Robin Wallace

Mahatma Gandhiji’s 1st Ever Interview

Mahatma Gandhi’s 1st ever exclusive interview video ……….. {Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar in Gujarat. After university, he went to London to train as a barrister. He returned to India in 1891 and in 1893 accepted a job at an Indian law firm in Durban, South Africa. Gandhi was appalled by the treatment of Indian immigrants there, and joined the struggle to obtain basic rights for them. During his 20 years in South Africa he was sent to prison many times. Influenced primarily by Hinduism, but also by elements of Jainism and Christianity as well as writers including Tolstoy and Thoreau, Gandhi developed the satyagraha (‘devotion to truth’), a new non-violent way to redress wrongs. In 1914, the South African government conceded to many of Gandhi’s demands. On 30 January 1948, he was assassinated in Delhi}.

Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, smiles in this 1947 photo

THE great Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in Western India on Oct. 2, 1869. Shy and quiet, he was an unimpressive student. He studied law in London, but was so terrified of public speaking he found it difficult to try cases. When he returned to India, he could barely find work, but was eventually sent to South Africa to work on a case there. South Africa at the time was governed half by England and half by the Dutch. Gandhi was appalled at the government discriminatory policies against Indians living in South Africa. He found his voice, and urged South Africa Indians to stand up to the government and refuse to comply with their discriminatory policies. He published a newspaper, the Indian Opinion, and spent the next twenty years fighting for the civil rights of South Africa Indians.

Gandhi was a believer, follower, and pioneer of satyagraha resistance to oppression through mass civil disobedience and peaceful protest having Indians in large numbers disobey the laws and refuse to comply with policies they opposed. This did not mean Gandhi did not experience violence. He was attacked, beaten and imprisoned many times for his political activity. Gandhi was deeply influenced by the teachings of the Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita and of the Christian Bible. He lived a very simple life, renouncing material possessions and earthly pleasures. He ate a strict, bland vegetarian diet, and traded in suits and ties for a loin cloth and shawl he made himself.

He also believed that all people were arrest any Indian they suspected of being against the government, and to imprison them indefinitely without a trial. He organized India peasant farmers and laborers to oppose Britain oppressive taxation. He urged India to become economically independent of Great Britain. He emerged as India political and spiritual leader, becoming head of the Indian National Congress and a leader of the Home Rule movement to win independence from Britain.

The struggle to reform India internally and achieve independence from Britain was long and complex. Violence often broke out, but Gandhi always stood his ground, calling off strikes or protests that had turned violent, condemning Indian violence even when it was done in response to British brutality. In 1930, he led thousands of Indians on a 240 mile march to the sea to protest British taxation of salt. Britain imprisoned 60,000 people for participating.

India finally achieved its independence from England in 1947, but the agreement granting India her sovereignty also partitioned the country, creating a Muslim state of Pakistan. Gandhi opposed partition, but his efforts to heal the often violent divisions between India Hindus and Muslims were unsuccessful.
On Jan. 30, 1948, Gandhi was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist who believed Gandhi was sympathetic to the Muslims. created equal. This was a difficult concept to champion in South Africa, where blacks and Indians faced severe discrimination from the white European government, and difficult to promote in India, where society was structured into a rigid social class system, and where the lower classes and the poor were treated terribly.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India a famous hero. The Indian people gave him the name of Mahatma, which means a great soul.  He went to work trying to help the poor, alleviate poverty, expand women rights, and dismantle India social caste system.

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