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Glimpse of History from ANCL Archives:

Mahatma Gandhi - Father of non-violence and apostle of peace

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi October 2, 1869, January 30, 1948).

He was born in Porbandar, Gujarat, India and died in New Delhi. Mohandas Karamchand (October 2, 1869 and January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of the Indian Independence Movement and known for his non-violent nature of campaign using satyagraha and resistance through mass civil disobedience strongly founded upon ahinsa (non-violence) becoming one of the strongest philosophers of freedom struggles worldwide.

He is fondly called Bapu (in Gujarati, Father). Gandhi first employed his ideas of civil disobedience in the Indian struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Upon his return to India, Gandhi helped lead poor farmers and labourers to protest oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination.

Leading the Indian National Congress, Gandhi worked for the alleviation of poverty, the liberation of women, brotherhood, an end to untouchability and caste discrimination and for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation.

However, Gandhi selflessly worked towards the goal of Swaraj or self-rule for India. One of his famous marches was one which led Indians in the disobedience to the salt tax through the 400 kilometres (248 miles) Dandi March, and in an open call for the British to quit India in 1942. Gandhi remained committed to non-violence even in the most extreme situations.

Gandhi was a student of Hindu philosophy and lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self-sufficient in its needs. He made his own clothes and lived on a simple vegetarian diet. He used rigorous fasts for self-purification as well as a means of protest.

Gandhi's teachings have inspired and influenced civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. Gandhi is honored as the Father of the Nation in India. His birthday on October 2nd is annually commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday.

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