It is needless to point out that Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is so familiar a name that an Indian student does not need any formal introduction on him. He is the Father of our Nation and fondly known as Bapuji. He is the greatest man of this Century not only of India but also the whole World. It is only for Mahatma Gandhi and his nonviolent struggle that we got our independence in 1947.
In the modern world he was the supreme worshipper of truth and nonviolence. Like the Buddha and Jesus Christ he preached the virtue of truth, love, sympathy and compassion. Though an India he loved all the human beings in the world. Though he fought against British imperialism in India he loved all English men. It is difficult to find out another personality in the whole of India’s history whom we can describe as his equal.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the full name of Mahatma Gandhi. He was born at a small town called Porbandar in the Kathiawar district, Gujarat on 2nd October, 1869. His father, Kaba Gandhi was the Dewan of Rajkot, then a princely state of Gujurat. His mother, Putuli Bai was a devourt Hindu Woman. Her influence on her son who later on happened to be one of the greatest of world personalities was significant and decisive. Gandhi was a politician saint and this was mostly due to his mother’s influence on him. Kaba Gandhi decided that his son would be a lawyer and on this completion of matriculation Mohandas sailed for England to study law. He was then 19 years old.
In 1891 Mohandas returned to India and set up practice as a barrister. In 1893 he sailed for South Africa as the lawyer of a big Indian business firm. Apart from his work as a lawyer, Gandhi got a taste of what is known as apartheid in South Africa. All the non Europeans and the black population of this country had no rights as citizens. Gandhi stayed in South Africa for twenty years and at last succeeded in restoring civil rights for the non Europeans living there. This achievement was the result of his nonviolent struggle known as Satyagraha.
Thereafter Gandhiji returned to India and for more than thirty years he led a nonviolent revolution against the British and finally India achieved her independence on August 15, 1974. On 30 January 1948 he was killed at his prayer meeting in Delhi by a Hindu Fanatic. Not only the people of India but peace-loving people all over the world mourned the loss of one of the greatest men that ever lived, and who nevertheless lived as the simplest and poorest.
Besides being the greatest statesmen of our country. Gandhi is also a good writer of non-fictional prose. His writings include his autobiography My Experiment with Truth and numerous contributions to newspapers and journals.
His literary style is a natural expression of his democratic and humanitarian temper. He always used the English language not so much for stylistic flourish as for practical purpose. We do not find in his writings conscious ornamentation. His style id a blend of the modern manner of an individual sharing his thoughts and experiences with his readers and the impersonal manner of the Indian tradition in which the ideas are more important than the person expanding them. The sense of equality with the common man is the distinctive mark of Gandhi’s style. Apart from this, his style is also marked by its simplicity and directness giving us the feeling of the “living warmth of the man behind the words”.