Sunday, March 07, 2010

The 78-year journey of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Gandhi's life began pleasantly in the home of a merchant caste family in Porbandar, India. This city on the Indian Ocean is also on the Arabian Sea. Thus Gandhi was exposed to sailors and merchants from Europe, SW Asia and Africa, he said.

As a resident in the most important of all the British colonies, he attended law school in London.

His first 20 years of life as a social activist were spent in Pretoria, South Africa. He learned the art of political protest and non-violent resistance by his efforts on behalf of Hindus and Muslim Indians who were in South Africa to work in the mines.

Gandhi returned to India to work in the Home Rule Movement in 1915. For the next 30 years he struggled to organize the masses of mostly-impoverished Indians. Wikipedia says, "Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women's rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance."

His protests took place in Delhi, in Champaran, in Amritsar, in the Salt march from Ahmedabad to Dandi, in Gujurat Province, in Bombay and - in his most famous imprisonment, Poona. He was assassinated in New Delhi in 1948.

The subcontinent gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, after being partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan.