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Other titles in the National Geographic World History Biographies series:
Gandhi: The Young Protestor Who Founded a Nation (National Geographic World History Biographies)by Philip Wilkinson
Synopses & Reviews
Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India on October 2, 1869. A shy, serious boy, Gandhi was married at age 13. The marriage had been arranged by his parents. The Gandhis would have four children.Gandhi studied law in London. He returned to India in 1891 to practice law, but had little success. In 1893 Gandhi traveled to South Africa to do some legal work. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he was abused because he was an Indian who claimed his rights as a British subject. He saw all Indians suffered from discrimination. His law assignment was for one year, but he stayed in South Africa for 21 years to work for Indian rights.
Gandhi developed a method of direct social action, based upon principles of courage, nonviolence, and truth, which he called Satagraha. In this method, the way people behave is more important than what they achieve.Gandhi led many campaigns for Indian rights in South Africa. He edited a newspaper, promoted civil disobedience campaigns, and organized a strike among Indian miners. He was arrested many times by the British, but his efforts brought important reforms. Gandhi worked for the British when he felt justice was on their side. He was decorated by them for paramedic work in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 and the Zulu Rebellion of 1906.
In 1914, Gandhi returned to India. Within 5 years, he became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement. Gandhi led a Satyagraha campaign in 1919 that succeeded in preventing the passage of a bill making it unlawful to organize opposition to the government. The massacre of almost 400 Indians by British troops made Gandhi even more determined to develop Satyagraha and win independence through nonviolent resistance. Gandhi fasted to impress people with the need to be nonviolent.
In 1920, Gandhi began a program of hand spinning and weaving to address both economic and political issues. He led his followers on a 240-mile march to the sea in 1930, to protest a law making it illegal to possess salt not bought from the government. During WWII, Gandhi continued his struggle for India's freedom through nonviolent disobedience to British rule. He was often jailed. Altogether he spent seven years in prison for political activity. He believed that it was honorable to go to jail for a good cause.
India was granted freedom in 1947 but was partitioned into India and Pakistan. Rioting between Hindus and Muslims followed. On January 13, 1948, at the age of 78, Gandhi began his last fast. His purpose was to end the bloodshed between Hindus, Muslims, and other groups. Five days later, when leaders agreed to stop the fighting, Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later, he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who opposed Gandhi's program of tolerance for all creeds and religions.
A shy, serious boy, Mahatma Gandhi would later lead India to nationhood and change the course of history. After studying law in London, he championed Indian rights in South Africa for two decades. He returned to India in 1914, leading a campaign of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience against British rule. Philip Wilkinson's lively narrative takes us through his remarkable life, up to India's independence in 1947, and the tragic conclusion; in 1948 Gandhi was assassinated by a fanatic opposed to his program of tolerance for all creeds and religions.
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