October 2 is the annual celebration of Gandhi Jayanti, which marks Mahatma Gandhi's 154th birth anniversary.
The United Nations General Assembly declared October 2 the International Day of Nonviolence in 2007 to honour Gandhi's principles. The United Nations encourages the dissemination of the message of nonviolence through education and public awareness. Gandhi Ji was a renowned freedom activist and a powerful political leader who played an essential role in India's struggle for independence against British rule. He is also considered the father of the country and improved the lives of India's poor people.
His ideology of truth and nonviolence influenced many, including Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela, in their struggle movement.
Theme of the International Day of Non -Violence 2023
The theme of the International Day of Non -Violence 2023 is : "When and Why is it Celebrated?"
On October 2, 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, a city in the Indian state of Gujarat. His father held the position of the chief minister, while his mother was a deeply religious woman who practised Vaishnavism.
- This Hindu religion was influenced by Jainism, which emphasizes self-discipline and nonviolence. When he was 19 years old, Gandhi left his home to study law at Inner Temple, one of the four law colleges in London.
- After returning to India in mid-1891, he opened a law practice in Bombay but was unsuccessful. Eventually, he accepted a position with an Indian company that sent him and his family to its office in South Africa, where they lived for almost two decades.
His journey to South Africa
In 1893, Gandhi went to South Africa to work as a lawyer. However, he was shocked by the discrimination he faced as an Indian immigrant in the country.
- On a train journey to Pretoria, he was thrown out of a first-class railway compartment and physically assaulted by a white stagecoach driver for not giving up his seat to a European passenger.
- This event marked a turning point for Gandhi, and he started developing and teaching the concept of Satyagraha, which means "truth and firmness," as a way of nonviolent resistance against authorities.
- On May 22, 1894, Gandhi established the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and worked tirelessly to improve the rights of Indians in South Africa. Within a short period, Gandhi emerged as a leader of the Indian community in the country.
- He was also influenced by Thirukkural, an ancient Indian literature originally written in Tamil and later translated into various languages.
- In 1906, the Transvaal government passed an ordinance requiring the registration of its Indian population. Gandhi led a campaign of civil disobedience against this law that lasted for the next eight years.
- During the campaign's final phase in 1913, hundreds of Indians, including women, were imprisoned, and thousands of striking Indian miners were subjected to flogging, imprisonment, and even gunfire.
- Eventually, the South African government accepted a compromise negotiated by Gandhi and General Jan Christian Smuts under pressure from the British and Indian governments.
- This compromise included important concessions such as the recognition of Indian marriages and the abolition of the poll tax for Indians.
- During his fight against the Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance, also known as the Black Law, Gandhi adopted a nonviolent form of protest called Satyagraha, which translates to Truth Force.
- However, some mistakenly refer to it as Passive Resistance. This involved breaking laws, resulting in the government arresting those who did so. In 1908, Gandhi was imprisoned for two months due to his involvement.
- Tolstoy Farm: In 1910, the provinces of Southern Africa merged to form the Union of South Africa, with Louis Botha as its prime minister.
- Inspired by Tolstoy's ideas, Gandhi established Tolstoy Farm near Johannesburg as a cooperative colony. This became the birthplace of Gandhi's Satyagraha activities.
- At Tolstoy Farm and Phoenix Farm, disciplined cadres were trained in peaceful violations of specific laws, mass courting of arrests, and occasional strikes.
Return to India
In July of 1914, Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. He supported the British war effort during World War I but criticized colonial authorities for their unjust measures.
- Gandhi's entry into national politics led to three victories in India at Champaran, Kheda, and Ahmedabad from 1917-1918, which boosted Indian confidence in their ability to fight for their freedom without modern arms and ammunition.
- In January of 1919, the British government passed the Rowlatt Act, which allowed them to imprison individuals without trial or conviction in a court of law.
- During the non-cooperation movement, people boycotted schools and colleges to represent the nation's interests. Gandhi led a nonviolent civil disobedience movement against the Britishers' injustice towards Indians, inculcating nationalist feelings among the people.
- Gandhi emphasized the importance of Hindu-Muslim unity, recognizing that India could not attain freedom without it. He viewed the Khilafat movement as a golden opportunity to unite Hindus and Muslims nationally.
- Gandhi declared a satyagraha campaign and formed a Satyagraha Sabha to protest this act non-violently.
- Gandhi mobilized people from all over India during the Civil Disobedience movement of 1930, known as the Salt Satyagraha.
- Mahatma Gandhi started the Salt Satyagraha as a nonviolent protest against the British government's salt tax in India.
- He led a group of people from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930, to Dandi, a village on the coast of Gujarat. The protestors broke the salt law by making salt from seawater.
- In 1909, Gandhi published Hind Swaraj in Gujarati.
- He was also an editor for various newspapers such as Harijan in Gujarati and Hindi, Indian Opinion and Young India in English, and Navajivan, a monthly publication in Gujarati.
- Additionally, Gandhi wrote his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and other autobiographies including Satyagraha in South Africa and Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule.
Seven social sins
In 1925, Mahatma Gandhi published a list in his newspaper Young India of seven social sins that can cause significant harm to society. These behaviors include:
- Wealth without Work: Acquiring wealth without putting in any effort or work.
- Pleasure without Conscience: Indulging in pleasure without considering the ethical implications.
- Knowledge without Character: Possessing knowledge without displaying good character.
- Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics): Conducting business without any regard for morality or ethics.
- Science without Humanity: Advancing science without taking into account the human consequences.
- Religion without Sacrifice: Practicing religion without making any sacrifices or commitments.
- Politics without Principle: Engaging in politics without adhering to any guiding principles.
Gandhi was recognized as the Man of the Year by Time Magazine in 1930. Additionally, Time magazine listed him as one of the top 25 political icons in 2011. Despite being nominated five times between 1937 and 1948, Gandhi was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- The Government of India established the annual Gandhi Peace Prize to honor outstanding social workers, world leaders, and citizens. One of the recipients of this prestigious award was Nelson Mandela, the leader of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement.
- According to Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale was his political mentor and a devoted servant of India. Gokhale's goal was to bring spirituality into public life, and he founded the Servants of India Society in 1905 to accomplish this noble dream.
- Gandhi considered Raychandbhai his guide and frequently corresponded with the renowned writer Tolstoy.
- Gandhi was deeply moved by Tolstoy's book, "The Kingdom of God is Within You," and he also found inspiration in John Ruskin's work "Unto this Last," which he adapted as "Sarvodaya" and used as a teaching tool.
- During his "Passive Resistance" protest against the new laws imposed by the apartheid regime, Gandhi studied Thoreau's article "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience."
- While incarcerated during the Transvaal movement in 1908, Gandhi discovered Socrates' "Apology," a literary adaptation of the philosopher's famous speech while on trial in 399 BC.
- He founded Harijan Sewak Sangh in 1932 to eradicate Untouchability and improve the social condition of the lower and backward classes.