Karamchard Mohandas Gandhi, known as Mahatma (Sanskrit means Great Soul, a nickname given to him by Indian poet R. Tagore), is the founder of non-violence and the father of Indian independence.
The name of Gandhi in the Indian language means 'grocer': his family had to exercise for a short time a small spice trade.
Born October 2, 1869 in Portbandar in India, having studied at the universities of London and Ahmrdabad and majoring in law, practicing briefly as a lawyer in Bombay.
Of wealthy origins in the later generations his family he held some important positions in the courts of Kathiawar, so much so that his father Kaba Mohandas Gandhi was prime minister of Prince Rajkot. The Gandhi traditionally the Vaishnava religion; that belonged to a Hindu sect with particular devotion to Vishnu.
In 1893 he went to South Africa with the appointment of counsel for an Indian firm: there will remain for twenty years. Here it collides with a terrible reality, in which thousands of Indian immigrants are victims of racial segregation. The outrage at the racial discrimination suffered by his countrymen (and himself) by the British authorities led him to political struggle.
Mahatma is fighting for the recognition of the rights of his countrymen and from 1906 launches, on a mass level, its method of struggle based on non-violent resistance, also called Satyagraha: a form of non-radical collaboration with the British government, conceived as means of mass pressure.
Gandhi comes to equality and social policy through peaceful rebellion and marches.
At the end of the South African government implemented major reforms in favor of Indian workers: elimination of part of the old discriminatory laws, recognition for new immigrants equal rights and validity of religious marriages.
In 1915 Gandhi returns to India where they circulate for some time to ferment rebellion against the arrogance of the British rule, in particular for the new agrarian legislation, which provided for the seizure of land to farmers in case of crop failure or poor, and for the crisis crafts.
Becomes the leader of the Congress Party, the party that is fighting for liberation from British colonialism.
In 1919 kicks off the first major satyagraha campaign of civil disobedience, which includes the boycott of British goods and the non-payment of taxes. Mahatma undergoes a process and is arrested. Is kept in prison a few months, but once out resumes his battle with other satyagraha. Re-arrested and then released, Gandhi takes part in the London Conference on the Indian problem, asking the independence of his country.
1930 is the third campaign of resistance. Organize the salt march: disobedience against the salt tax, the most unfair because mainly affecting the poorer classes. The campaign is expanding with the boycott of the fabrics from abroad. The British arrested Gandhi, his wife and another 50,000 people. Often imprisoned in the following years, the "Great Soul" responds to the arrests with long hunger strikes (important is what he takes to draw attention to the problem of the condition of the untouchables, the lowest caste in Indian society).
At the beginning of World War II Gandhi decided not to support Britain if this does not guarantee the independence of India. The British government reacted by arresting more than 60,000 opponents and the Mahatma, which is released after two years.
On August 15, 1947, India became independent. Gandhi lived this moment with pain, praying and fasting. The Indian subcontinent is divided into two states, India and Pakistan, the creation of which enshrines the separation between Hindus and Muslims and culminated in a violent civil war that cost at the end of 1947, nearly one million dead and six million refugees.
The moderate attitude of Gandhi on the issue of the division of the country arouses the hatred of a Hindu fanatic who kills him on Jan. 30, 1948, during a prayer meeting.