The Father of India

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The Father of India :

…..a man who has confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being and thus at all times risen superior

Generations to come, it may, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Into a bare handful of bones and skin pour just an ounce or so of flesh and blood.... Our Baapoo

The first two sentences are taken from a paragraph written by Einstein.

The third is taken from the poem the recipe by T.P. Kailasam.

They reveal the real picture and personality of Mahatma Gandhi. His appearance was that of an Indian farmer - no attraction and he was not at all handsome. Such an ordinary and simple man like our farmer was a terror to the Britishers. Their modern and sophisticated weapons did nothing to him. They were powerless and meek. That is why Einstein wondered very much and said...such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Why did the Britishers hesitate to use their weapons against him?

It was because….he had with him some very powerful weapons. They were truth and nonviolence, honesty, courage, firm determination and tolerance. Collectively these factors made him great and the Mahatma. The people of India used to call him BAPU (father). Therefore he was known as the Father of the Nation.

The full name of Mahatma Gandhi is Mohan Das Karama Chand Gandhi. He was born on October 2 - 1869 at Porbandar in Kathivar. His father was Kaba Gandhi and his mother’s name was Putlibai. Kaba Gandhi was sometime Prime Minister in Rajkot. Gandhi was put into a school at an early age. He was only a mediocre student. But he got through all the examinations. After passing Matriculation examination, he went to England to study Law. Before he left for England he was married to young Kasturba. In England he studied hard and passed Bar-at-Law examination and returned home.

He started his practice at first in his home state and then in Bombay (Mumbai). But he was not successful.

In 1893 he went to South-Africa as a lawyer to a rich Indian merchant - Dada Abdullah in Pretoria. There he had a bitter taste of racial discrimination at the hands of a Government dominated by white settlers. In 1890 - 91, There were one lakh thirty thousand Indian Emigrants. Most of them having had taken up abode in Natal. The lives of Indians were made intolerable. They were burdened with heavy taxes, subjected to the most humiliating police ordinances and destruction of shops and property to lynching all under cover of White civilization. Then Gandhi started his struggle. He organised the Indian Congress at Natal and formed an association for Indian education. He also founded a paper Indian opinion and published in English and three Indian languages. South-Africa became a teaching and testing ground for Gandhi and his supporters. Gandhi used the word Sathyagraha. He defined it as truth force and love force : Sathya (just and right) and Agraha (attempt and effort hence).

Sathyagraha Gandhi carried on the South - African struggle for more than twenty years. Nobody talked ill of it in Europe or elsewhere. In the end General smuts abolished the three pound poll tax while Natal was opened to all Indians desirous of settling there as free workers. After twenty years of sacrifice nonresistance was triumphant.

Afterwards follows the Indian story.

After returning from South Africa (1915), Gandhi jumped into the Indian politics. He could not see the miserable plight. If Indian masses who were suffering and starving under the British, The whole country was in the grip of fear. So he toured the length and breadth of the country and instilled in their weak hearts with courage and nationalism. He insisted the people to give up their fear and to fight for the freedom of the country. In 1919 he started a non-violent and non-cooperation movement. Hindu-Muslim unity, removal of untouchability and use of Swadeshi goods were his Iifelong missions.

The following agitations are very famous.

1) Champaram - to secure redressal of the grievances of indigo labour

2) Rowlatt Act - agitation against Rowlatt Act

3) Khilafat Movement - against wrong done to Muslims and Jalianwala Bagh massacre

4) 21 days fast in 1924 - 1928 - Boycott of Siman Commission.

5) March 12 - 1930 - Salt Sathyagraha or Dandi Sathyagrah

6) 1942 - Quit India Call - 8th August - Do or Die

Gandhi’s greatness lies in his principles whatever he preached, he adopted in his life. He was a man of sound and starling character. He wore very simple dress, took scanty food. He was not merely a man of words but of actions. He was God-fearing personality. For him….Truth is God and God is truth.

During struggle for freedom, he suffered a lot. He was imprisoned several times. His entire life was a life of service and sacrifice and of devotion and dedication. His tragic death on January 30 - 1948 plunged the entire nation in gloom. He was assassinated by Nathu Ram Godse.

In this world of terrorism and political rivalries there are two things - Atom Bomb or Mahatma Gandhi. It is left to the choice of the peoples of this universe.

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