Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi “Bapuji” 1869-1948
Mahatma (Great Soul) Gandhi was born in the small town of Porbandar on October 2, 1869. After becoming a barrister (obtaining a law degree from England) in 1891, he returned to Rajkot in Gujarat, but was not successful in starting a lucrative law practice. When an opportunity arose to go to South Africa, he went to Durban. Gandhi started his public career in South Africa where the policy of apartheid deeply disturbed him.
Bapu means “father”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is generally regarded as the father of the nation we know as India.
In 1883, at the age of thirteen, he married Kasturba. His own experience with child marriage was the primary factor that made him oppose this in later years. In 1893, he sailed for South Africa to become a lawyer for an Indian firm. He returned to India for about a year in 1901, and during this visit, he traveled extensively and attended the Indian National Congress meeting in Calcutta. In 1902, he returned to South Africa at the request of the Indian community. In 1914, he returned to India, leaving South Africa forever.
For the next 30 or so years until India’s independence in 1947, Gandhi organized successful satyagraha campaigns and mass civil disobedience marches such as the historic Salt March in 1930 to Dandi (breaking the salt law by picking up a handful of salt at the seashore). Gandhi was opposed to the Congress decision to accept the division of the country into India and Pakistan. He concentrated his efforts on affecting the Hindu-Muslim accord.
On January 30, 1948, while holding a prayer meeting at Birla House in Delhi, Gandhi was shot to death by a Hindu fanatic, Vinayak N. Godse, who was opposed to his efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity.