Mahatma Gandhi, a lawyer, activist, and humanitarian, played a pivotal role in the formation of modern India. He promoted principles of nonviolent protest which subsequently influenced Dr. Martin Luther King in the United States and other civil rights leaders around the world. Born “Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi” in 1869 in Porbandar in western India, Mahatma Gandhi remains an internationally acclaimed figure today, many years after his death.
Childhood And Early Career
Mahatma Gandhi’s father served as an administrative official in Gujarat when Britain ruled over India. The youngest son in the family, Mahatma Gandhi grew up in a devout Hindu household. He entered into an arranged marriage at the age of 13 in a ceremony conducted simultaneously as his brother and his cousin’s marriages.
Mahatma Gandhi studied in India. After graduating from the University of Bombay, he briefly attended Samaldas College. His family’s senior members persuaded him to travel to England to study law in 1888, hoping that he would enjoy a successful political career in India’s legal field.
He attended the University of London and returned to India in July 1891. Yet he found few job opportunities for barristers in Gujarat and struggled to earn a living. In 1893, he accepted a short-term job working as an attorney in Natal (in British-ruled South Africa).
Later Career And Death
Mahatma Gandhi quickly discovered Indians encountered racism and employment discrimination in Natal. He decided to remain in South Africa and assist the expatriate Indian community there as an attorney. He spent most of the next two decades maintaining law practices in Durban and later in Johannesburg. He briefly returned to India to escort his family to South Africa.
The Gandhis eventually had four children. During the Boer War, Mahatma Gandhi organized a volunteer ambulance crew staffed by Indian expatriates.
He returned to India in 1914 and helped organize the nationalist Congress Party. For three decades, he agitated peacefully for Indian independence. He endured several periods of imprisonment and gained international prominence. Finally, in 1947, the Mountbatten Plan created the nations of India and Pakistan. Tragically, a deranged young man assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi the following year.