Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest Indian produced in the 20th Century. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was his name. He was born on 2nd October 1869, at Porbander in a family of traders of Gujarat.
He received both his school and college education in Gujarat and then proceeded to England to study law. As a lawyer, he practiced in Bombay, and his legal acumen led him to proceed to Africa to solve legal problems there.
The problems in South Africa mostly pertained- to the Indians who resided there. Most of the problems were regarding the oppression of Indians by the British rulers in South Africa.
With a close rapport with the Indian residents in South Africa, Gandhi managed to acquire some sort of a leadership of the Indian residents there. It was in Africa only that, he tried a new system of revolting against any sort of aggression.
This system was of nonviolence and noncooperation with the rulers. This twin philosophy as a movement proved to be very effective and successful there, and soon the Indians there found life becoming quite changed and comfortable. After years of life in Africa, Gandhi returned to India.
Once back in India, Gandhi joined the Indian National Congress for the single purpose of liberating Indians from the clutches of the British rulers in India. Here again Gandhi tried to use the same method of Satyagraha, and when it was so applied, the rulers did not find any other example °f the like, as this method of revolt was absolutely unique.
The formula had to be used as Gandhi knew that, for fighting the British, India was hardly sufficiently equipped. His call to Indians was a simple one just to boycott all that was British, whether it be their goods or their rule. However, as per his style, there was to be absolutely no violence in their activities.
The process was to be like a silent march against the rulers. British cloth was to be shunned and to be replaced by cotton cloth woven in India by the Indians themselves. The spinning wheel was to be used to weave cotton cloth for the Indians to wear.
Thousands of people accepted this and Gandhi led the way by, himself spinning course cloth called Khaki for the use of his family and himself. Soon this Khadi became the national dress of the Congress, and the wheel became the symbol of the national flag.
In the process of his non-violent struggle for the freedom of India, Gandhi went to jail several times, due to his disobedience to the British rulers and their regime.
As he disobeyed the orders of the British he was punished by being imprisoned. For example, he went to Dandi on the banks of the Indian Ocean and made salt from the sea water and, since this was prohibited by the British Government, he and his followers were beaten and imprisoned for the disobedience they showed to the British orders.
Being imprisoned very often even did not deter Gandhi from his track, and, in the year 1942 Gandhi started the ‘Quit India Movement’. With such anti British actions and movements off and on, Gandhi finally did succeed in making the masses of India rise against the mighty power of the British. He succeeded in mobilising the huge masses to such an extent that the irritant became so great that, finally, in the year 1947, the British decided to leave India to the Indians.
Gandhi began to be referred to as Mahatma Gandhi by the Indians when, a realisation came to the masses of how much that single man was ready to sacrifice for the nation. It was his earnest sacrifice which earned him the name of Mahatma. Mahatma Gandhi is also often called the father of the Nation. This is because, the nation as we see it in its free shape, a free sovereign republic, is the gift of Gandhiji to us Indians.
Thus, for this reason we refer and revere him as the father of the nation. The mahatma made a mark not only in India but throughout the world, and he can rightly be claimed to be the greatest human produced in the 20th Century. His name will never be obliterated from the annals of History of India and the world. He has left a rich legacy which will never lose its importance in the context of life at any time of the world’s existence. His legacy and lesson of non-vilence will always be relevant to man.