Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist and father of the Indian independence movement, was born on this day in 1869. First protesting British rule in South Africa in 1893, he developed a strong political view and strong leadership skills. He returned to India in 1915 and became a founding member of the Indian National Congress, serving as India’s unrecognized government. They began increasing their demands for independence from the British Empire, until on January 26th, 1930, they declared independence, with the British not recognizing their declaration. The British Empire did, however, agree to negotiations with the Indian Congress, but nothing came of the next ten years of meetings. In 1942, Gandhi declared independence from England once again, and was arrested, along with tens of thousands of other activists. The Indian Muslim League sided with the English against Gandhi, requesting that upon Indian independence be granted the lands be partitioned with an independent Muslim state be created. In 1947, against Gandhi’s original wishes, India and Pakistan were partitioned from the British colonial possessions in the region, with wars and mass chaos following as Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs crossed the border to ensure their safety.
Gandhi, during his protests against the British, demonstrated a non-violent method to oppose the British Empire, a way that was unheard of during the time and influenced a generation of activists after his death. Because of his wishes for a joint Muslim and Hindu country, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindi nationalist, vehemently opposing Gandhi’s political views, on January 30th, 1948, at the age of seventy-eight. His death came only months after India’s independence from England.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”-Mahatma Gandhi