Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2nd October, 1869. At the age of the eighteen, Gandhi went to England to study law. In 1891, He returned to India and set up practice at Rajkot. In 1893, he received an offer from an Indian firm in South Africa.
With his two minor sons and wife Kasturba, he went to South Africa at the age of twenty-four. Colonial and racial discrimination showed its ugly colors in the famous train incident, when he was thrown off the compartment meant for the ‘Sahibs’.
A Satyagrahis’ camp known as the Tolstoy Farm was established at Lawley, 21 miles from Johannesburg, on 30th May 1910, in order to shelter the satyagrahis and their families.
The South African Government had to heed to the voice of reason and in 1914 repealed most of the obnoxious acts against the Indians. The weekly Indian Opinion (1903) became Gandhi’s chief organ of education and propaganda.
Gandhi returned to India in 1915. After an interrupted stay in Shanti Niketan in February-March, 1915, Gandhi collected his companions of Phoenix and established the Satyagraha Ashram in Ahmedabad city. This was shifted in June 1917 to the banks of the Sabarmati. This Ashram became platform for carrying out his cherished social reforms prime among which were Harijan welfare rehabilitation of lepers and self-reliance through weaving Khadi.
The year 1926 was declared by Gandhi to be his year of silence. His famous march to Dandi in March 1930 started a countrywide movement to violate the Salt-Law. Gandhi was arrested on 4 May 1930, and the Government struck hard to crush the movement, but failed.
So Gandhi was set free on 26th January 1931; and following a pact between him and the British Viceroy, Lord Irwin (5 March 1931), he was prevailed upon to represent the Congress at the second Round Table Conference in London.
Gandhi was completely disillusioned with the attitude of the British, which had renewed its policy of ruthless repression. As a result the Civil Disobedience Movement was resumed in January 1932.
Gandhi was in prison when the Communal Award was announced in August 1932, providing for the introduction of separate electorate for the Depressed Classes.
He opposed this attempt to divide the Hindu community and threatened to fast unto death to prevent it. He started his fast on 20th, September 1932. It created consternation in the country, but the situation was saved by the conclusion of the Poona Pact, which provided for special reservation of seats for the Depressed Classes in legislatures, but under joint electorate.
The weekly Harijan now took the place of the Young India, which had served the national cause from 1919 to 1932. After 1934, Gandhi settled down in Sevagram near Wardha to form a new centre for his enlarged Constructive Programme, which included Basic Education (1937), designed to bring about the universalisation of education.
In 1942, his ‘Quit India’ slogan was to serve as the final signal to British dominion in India. The partition of India and Pakistan came as a personal shock to Gandhi.