Gandhi’s life is revered in India and around the world as an example of how to live simply and devotedly. On his birthday, October 2nd, people across India gather together to observe Gandhi Jayanti. They offer flowers on pictures and statues of his likeness, sing songs, pray, and light candles. All government offices, banks, post offices, and schools are closed for this holiday.
Who Gandhi Was
Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandar in Gujarat to a senior government official. He married at 13, then went to England at 18 to study law. He travelled to South Africa to fight for the rights of Indians who were living there, then returned to India around the start of WWI. Considered the “Father of the Nation”, Gandhi became a leader of Indian nationalism during an era when India was still ruled by the British Empire.
While in India, Gandhi would inspire the people of India to rally together for independence by his use of non-violent civil disobedience. His techniques rapidly became an inspiration around the world for movements of a similar nature. He continued his determined strategy of freeing India peacefully from British rule as the leader of the Indian National Congress.
In 1946, he met with the Cabinet Mission, responsible for recommending a new constitutional structure, and negotiated with them. Independence soon followed and after, in 1947, Gandhi was in Delhi attempting to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal when he was assassinated.
Why Gandhi is Remembered
Gandhi was an important figure both in India and around the world. His life and principles have inspired people of all ages. He is quoted most famously on life and on forgiveness, saying “My life is my message” and “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
For India, he showed resilience and as an individual was powerful in peacefully protesting for India’s freedom from Britain. He is celebrated for his methods, his determination, and his good intentions for peace and all people.
In many ways, Gandhi is remembered as an anti-war activist. His organised boycotts would become an important example for protests around the world for generations to come. Especially in a world so freshly engulfed by World War I and World War II, his demonstrations had a moving effect on the spirits of all kinds of people. He has become an international symbol of peace in many different regards.