Celebrating Gandhi Jayanti: International Day of Non-Violence

Every year, 2nd of October is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti to commemorate the birthday of “Father of the Nation”, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This day is also celebrated as International Day of Non-Violence as declared by United Nations General Assembly on 15 June 2007. Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated in the honour of the birthday of the Father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapuji.  Internationally, this day is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence as Gandhiji was the preacher of non-violence. He is a symbol of peace and truth. At Raj Ghat, New Delhi, and across India, people gather to observe Gandhi Jayanti in innovative ways that include offering flowers on Gandhi’s pictures, statues and singing his favourite devotional song Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram.

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Early Life and Works of M.K. Gandhi

  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 into a Gujarati Hindu Modh Baniya family in Porbandar.
  • His father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), served as the diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar state.
  • In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas was married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia. The Gandhi couple had four children, all sons: Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas, and Devdas.
  • He studied law in the U.K and practised law in South Africa. 
  • In April 1893, Gandhi aged 23, set sail for South Africa to be the lawyer for Abdullah’s cousin. In South Africa, he faced racial discrimination directed towards blacks and Indians. He faced humiliation on many occasions but made up his mind to fight for his rights.
  • Gandhi questioned this unfair treatment and eventually managed to establish an organization named ‘Natal Indian Congress’ in 1894.
  • Gandhi was influenced by the idea of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth) and implemented non-violent protests around 1906. His struggles in South Africa helped him gain familiarity and initial acceptance in India.
  • After spending 21 years in South Africa, where he fought for civil rights, he had transformed into a new person and he returned to India in 1915.
  • On the advice of Gopal Krishana Gokhale, Gandhi toured India to gain first hand self-experience.
  • His deeds in South Africa generated hopes with the common people to identify him as their Saviour.

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  • There were three incidents –Champaran in Bihar (1917), Kheda in Gujarat(1918) and also at Ahmedabad Mill Strike, 1918 – that identified Gandhi a political trend setter in India.
  • There is a common thread in these three events- Gandhi provided leadership to economically lower classes, Gandhi made a systematic study of the issues involved and made a decisive impact through his policy of civil disobedience and non-cooperation, For the first time in Indian politics, a politician had addressed the sufferings of marginalized Indians.
  • Gandhi gave leadership to all sections of the people of India, irrespective of caste, colour and creed, in the struggle for freedom.

Important Movements Started by Mahatma Gandhi

  • Non-Cooperation Movement: One of the first series of non-violent protests nationwide was the non-cooperation movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. This movement officially started the Gandhian era in India. In this freedom struggle, the non-cooperation movement was basically aimed at making the Indians aware of the fact that the British govt can be opposed and if done actively, it will keep a check on them. Thus, educational institutions were boycotted, foreign goods were boycotted. Indians awakened to the concept of going against the British.
  • Civil Disobedience Movement: Gandhi again took off with another non violent movement known as the civil disobedience movement. This movement was more active than the non-cooperation movement and brought about a revolution of sorts. This movement aimed at bringing the British administration to a stop by withdrawing support from everything. There was agitation against land revenue, abolition of salt tax, cutting down military expenditure, levying duty on foreign cloth, etc. A very important movement was that of Salt Satyagraha where Gandhi undertook the Dandi march as a protest against the Salt tax.
  • Quit India Movement: The Quit India Movement was launched under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in August 1942. The main aim for launching this movement was to bring the British to negotiate with the Indian leaders. It was a call for immediate independence of India and the slogan of “Do or Die” was adopted for the same. However the leaders were arrested soon after Gandhi’s speech and were put in jail by British officials. Gandhi went on a fast for 21 days demanding the release of the leaders despite his failing health. The British had to secure the release of the leaders.
  • India’s Independence: After the Quit India Movement the freedom struggle got even more intense and passionate. Entire India was united together in the movement for freedom. Everyone contributed what they could in the freedom struggle. The cry of Purna Swaraj or complete independence was raised. After much sacrifices and efforts, India gained its independence on August 15, 1947.

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Famous Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is revered the world over as one of history’s most transformative and inspirational figures. Throughout his life in South Africa and India, Gandhi was a fearless campaigner for the rights and dignity of all people, whose constant and unwavering promotion of non-violence as a tool to win over hearts and minds has forever left its mark on the world. Here are some of the most famous and popular quotes by Mahatma Gandhi.

  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
  • “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
  • “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
  • “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty.”
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When was Gandhiji born?

Ans. Mahatma Gandhi was born on 1869 October 2

2. When did Gandhiji went to South Africa to practice law?

Ans. Gandhiji went to South Africa to practice lawin 1893

3. Where did Gandhiji’s first Satyagraha experimented?

Ans. South Africa in 1906, September to protest against the Asiatic Ordinance issued against the Indians in Transval

4. Where was Gandhiji’s first satyagraha in India?

Ans. It was for the right of Indigo workers in Champaran in 1917

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