Interior: BAPU - Nickname, affectionate for "father"
Mahatma Gandhi Hagiography
Mahatma Gandhi was born in India in 1869. During his mid-twenties, he moved to South Africa to serve as legal adviser with a private firm. Appalled by the denial of civil liberties to Indian immigrants in South Africa, he began a struggle for Indian rights, teaching a policy of passive resistance.The inspiration for this policy came from Tolstoy, Jesus, and Thoreau. In 1914 the government of South Africa finally made important concessions to his demands, and Gandhi returned to India. Following WWI, Gandhi launched his movement of passive resistance to the British. It spread through India, gaining millions of followers. He was revered as a saint and called Mahatma, or “great soul” in Sanskrit. By practicing nonviolence, Gandhi believed Britain would eventually consider violence useless and would leave India. However, a series of armed revolts against Britain broke out, and Gandhi confessed failure and was imprisoned in 1922. After his release in 1924, Gandhi withdrew from active politics but in 1930 proclaimed a new and successful campaign of civil disobedience, calling upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes. In 1932, while in jail, Gandhi undertook a “fast unto death” to improve the status of the Hindu Untouchables. He became the leader of the movement dedicated to ending the unjust aspects of the caste system. India and Pakistan became separate states when the British finally granted India its independence in 1947. During the riots that followed, Gandhi pleaded with Hindus and Muslims to live together peacefully. He fasted until disturbances ceased, but was assassinated in 1948. His teachings inspired nonviolent movements worldwide, most notably in the U.S. under civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.