Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as ‘Mahatma’ (meaning ‘Great Soul’) was born in Porbandar, Gujarat, in North West India, on October 2nd, 1869, into a Hindu Modh family. His father was the Chief Minister of Porbandar, and his mother’s religious beliefs meant that from a very early age, he was taught tolerance of others, non-injury to living beings and vegetarianism. He is so well known that he is mostly just referred to by the single names Gandhi or Bapu. He was one of the most famous freedom fighters in the history of mankind. He led India in its struggle for freedom against British rule.

Born into a privileged family, Gandhi was fortunate to receive a comprehensive education, but proved to be a mediocre student. In May 1883, aged 13, Gandhi was married to Kasturba Makhanji, a girl also aged 13, through the arrangement of their respective parents, as is customary in India.

His parents wanted him to become a barrister, which is a type of lawyer. As a result, when he was 19 years old, he went to London, England to study law at the University College in London. Three years later, he returned to India and tried to start his own law practice. He wasn't successful, so he took a job with an Indian Law firm and moved to South Africa to work out of a small law office. During train travel in this country and at the request of a white passenger, Gandhi was forcibly removed from a train, even though he had purchased a first class ticket. He then decided he would never tolerate racial discrimination at the hands of any human being ever again.

Gandhi returned to India and became involved in the India’s freedom struggle against British rulers. He always followed non-violent methods of protests like fasting and peaceful marches. His most famous march was the ‘Dandi March’ to protest against the British for making simple thing like ‘salt’ expensive.

Gandhi promoted ‘cottage industries’ which meant small groups of people working from home making their own clothes. He felt it was unfair on the part of British Government that they bought raw cotton at low prices from Indian farmers. Then they manufactured cotton clothes in their English factories, only to sell them back to Indians at very high prices.

Mahatma Gandhi later launched the ‘Quit India movement’ against the British. Finally, India received independence from Britain on August 15th, 1947.

Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. He was shot at a prayer meeting by a terrorist. He was shot at close range by Nathuram Godse. Gandhi was outside on the steps of a building where a prayer meeting was going to take place. He was surrounded by a part of his family and some followers when three gunshots killed him. Prior to his death, there had been five unsuccessful attempts to kill Gandhi, the first occurring in 1934.

Godse, who made no attempt to flee India following the assassination, and his co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, were both imprisoned until their trial on November 8th, 1949. They were convicted of Gandhi’s killing, and both were executed, a week later, at Ambala Jail, on 15th November 1949. Gandhi was cremated as per Hindu custom, and his ashes are interred at the Aga Khan’s palace in Pune, the site of his incarceration in 1942, and the place his wife had also died.

Fun Facts about Gandhi

  • The 1982 movie Gandhi won the Academy Award for best motion picture.

  • His birthday is a national holiday in India.

  • He was the 1930 Time Magazine Man of the Year. It is also the International Day of Non-Violence.

  • Gandhi loved to write! The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi have 50,000 pages!

  • He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times.

Mahatma Gandhi Summarise the text using complete and detailed sentences. Don’t forget to write in paragraphs.

Comprehension Questions.

Please answer the following literal questions in complete sentences.

Literal Questions Reading what is written on the lines. The answer is written or stated in the text – the author said it.

  1. What three important things did Gandhi’s mother teach him?

  1. What life changing event happened to Gandhi in South Africa?

  1. What is a cottage industry?

  1. Who were the two men involved in Gandhi’s assassination?

  1. Which fun fact reinforces the notion of Gandhi as a man of peace?

Inferential Questions Reading between the lines. The author meant to write them and they are true, but didn’t actually write them in the text.

  1. Describe five emotions Gandhi would have felt as was being forcibly removed from the train?

  1. What do you believe a non-violent method of protest is?

  1. Gandhi received a comprehensive education because of one simple fact. What was it?

  1. What does it mean when one country gains independence from another country?

  1. What was unfair about the cotton situation in the fifth paragraph?

Applied Questions Reading between the lines. The author would agree with what you have written.

  1. Apart from making their own clothes, what other cottage industries do you believe Indian people could have started from home/

  1. Prior to the assassination, Gandhi survived five unsuccessful attempts on his life. What security measures do you believe he put in place, in order to protect his life?

  1. Why do you believe Godse made no attempt to flee India, following his assassination of Gandhi?

  1. Why is ‘fasting’ a dangerous form of non-violent protest

  1. Do you believe Gandhi’s parents were initially disappointed in him? Please explain why/why not

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