Mahatma: Life of Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869. His family was very involved in politics and had a strong belief in the purity of justice and the love of virtue over wealth.
His mother was very devoted to her religious beliefs and willingly took the strictest oaths. Her influence molded Mohandas’s character more than any other.
When Mohandas was sent to school at the age of 6, he proved to be a somewhat mediocre student, but he was always punctual. He was playful and gentle, while at the same time very obstinate.
When he was only 13, he was married to a bride who was the same age. A few years later, when he was 18, Mohandas decided to travel to England to study law. His wife agreed only after he took an oath not to touch wine, women, and meat. Still there was stiff resistance from caste elders, but he left anyway.
Once in London, Mohandas learned the customs quickly. On November 6, 1888, he joined the inner temple to qualify as a barrister. Soon after that he joined the London Vegetarian Society and began studies and experiments in dietetics. He described alcohol as an enemy of mankind and a curse to civilization.
Mohandas studied The Gita, which opened a new way of life to him. He learned that renunciation is the highest form of religion. He also read the Bible, encouraged by a friend. Mohandas enjoyed the New Testament and was particularly touched by the Sermon on the Mount. This led him to become curious about the world’s great religious leaders and so he began to study the main religions.
During this period he met the Grand Old Man of India— Dadabhai Naoroji, who became a great source of inspiration for him.
In 1893, Mohandas travelled to South Africa to appear at a lawsuit on behalf of an Indian firm. Once he landed a month later, he was startled by the depth of racial discrimination. He was ordered to remove his turban to appear in court and he was called the ‘Coolie Barrister’. During his stay in South Africa, he was periodically insulted and discriminated against. Yet Gandhi refused to sue his assailants. The Spiritual urge within him became a living force and he continued with his study of different faiths. The book The Kingdom of God is Within You written by Leo Tolstoy overwhelmed Gandhi.
When Gandhi learned of a South African law to marginalize all Indians, he decided to stay and defend the rights of his people. He tried to reason with his opponents and convince them that their treatment of Indians was not in conformity to justice and morality.
At the age of 26 he sailed back home carrying great responsibilities with him; he was determined to arouse consciousness by speaking against the injustice that was taking place in South Africa. Find out more now.