Happy Birthday, Mahatma Gandhi
Born on this day in 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became the political and spiritual leader of India during the India independence movement. He led his people to stand up to British rule—what might be called tyranny—through mass civil disobedience. But he made sure that the protests were also nonviolent.
Not only was Gandhi successful in helping India gain independence from Great Britain, he inspired other civil rights and freedom movements around the world. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr., was very influenced by Gandhi's philosophy and tactics as he led the African American civil rights movement, and Nelson Mandela continued the tradition as he worked to end apartheid in South Africa.
Many people think that Gandhi's first name was Mahatma, but Mahatma is a title that means “Great Soul.”
Gandhi was a Hindu and a vegetarian. For a while he was a fruitarian—which is someone who not only avoids meat, but also avoids dairy products, vegetables, and grains. That means that fruitarians only eat fruits and nuts! Gandhi famously used fasting—that is, not eating at all for hours or even days—to purify himself and to call attention to his political goals.
Mahatma Gandhi really was a great man—for Hindus, and Indians, and the whole world. It was a tragic day in 1948 when a Hindu extremist assassinated him.
Find out more...
- Here is a short biography on Gandhi.
- Here is an interesting article for older readers about the myths that have grown up around Gandhi and his work.
- Here is a jigsaw puzzle of Gandhi and his wife.
Powerful words...from Mohandas Gandhi