On October 2, 1869, Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as Father of Nation, was born at Porbandar, a small town in Kathiawar, Gujarat, India.
Mahatma Gandhi played a stellar role in India’s freedom struggle and is widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest political and spiritual leaders.
Paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his death, famous scientist Albert Einstein said,
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a man as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”.
Honored in India as the father of the nation, he pioneered and practiced the principle of Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass nonviolent civil disobedience.
While leading nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic harmony and eliminate the injustices of the caste system, Gandhi supremely applied the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience to free India from foreign domination.
He was often imprisoned for his actions, sometimes for years, but he accomplished his aim in 1947 when India gained its independence from Britain.
On 30th January 1948, whilst Gandhi was on his way to a prayer meeting at Birla House in Delhi, Nathuram Godse managed to get close enough to him in the crowd to be able to shoot him three times in the chest, at point-blank range.
Gandhi’s dying words were claimed to be “Hé Rām”, which translates as “Oh God”, although some witnesses claim he spoke no words at all.
When news of Gandhi’s death reached the various strongholds of Hindu radicalism, in Pune and other areas throughout India, there was reputedly celebration in the streets. Sweets were distributed publicly, as at a festival. The rest of the world was horrified by the death of a man nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Due to his stature, he is referred to as Mahatma, meaning “great soul.”
World civil rights leaders—from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Nelson Mandela—have credited Gandhi as a source of inspiration in their struggles to achieve equal rights for their people.