Gandhi

 

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”. Albert Einstein, spoke these words about Gandhi, one of many among the tributes to Gandhi upon his death in 1948.

 

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of the world’s most respected spiritual and political leaders of our time. His actions freed the Indian people from British rule through nonviolent resistance and is honored by Indians as being the father of India. It is there they christened him Mahatma, meaning great soul.

 

After studying law in London, in 1893, he accepted a one year contract to do legal work in South Africa. After attempting to claim his rights as a British subject, he was abused and found out all Indians suffered similarly. He stayed in South Africa for 21 years trying to secure rights for the oppressed.

 

It was here that he developed a method of direct social action based upon the principles of courage, nonviolence and truth called Satyagraha. The Satyagraha promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the only methods for obtaining political and social goals.

 

Gandhi returned to India in 1915, and within 15 years became leader of the Indian Nationalist movement. Using Satyagraha, he strode toward independence from British rule, having been arrested several times for his activities in South Africa and India. He believed it was honorable to go to jail for a just cause, spending seven years in prison for his activities.

 

India was granted independence in 1947, partitioning India and Pakistan. He died a year later, assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who opposed his program of tolerance for all creeds and religion.

 

“I claim to be no more than an average man with less than average abilities. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”

 

Nearly 60 years after his death, Gandhi is remembered among other spiritual leaders such as The Dalai Lama, The Prophet Muhammad, Jesus of Nazareth and Buddha as one who has enlightened millions, and freed his people