GANDHI'S EARLY LIFE
Mahatma, the great soul, epitomizes the meaning of a man who was possibly
the greatest human being the 20th century has seen.
Mahatma Gandhi was a modern messiah whose life became the message to the
world. The message was truth and freedom through non-violence. Non
violence is the most beautiful gift mankind has received since the
existence of civilized evolution.
Violence, wars, terrorism and human injustice are the focus of the central
issues of world problems. The constructive aspects of Mahatma Gandhi's
philosophy can regenerate a world bordering on the chaos.
Gandhiji's altruistic philosophy may appear to be an utopian ideal.
However, if we want to find permanent solutions to life's problems, it is
essential to adopt universal welfare as a central precept. Only an
individual with considerable self-respect, unshakable faith in human
nature and detachment can find sanity where alienation, soaring crime and
unmitigated violence are ripping the society apart.
Today Mahatma Gandhi is no more a person, he has become a phenomenon. In
his lifetime he fought for many causes; colonialism, racial
discrimination, economic exploitation and India's Independence, but
predominantly he fought for human rights which was the pivot of his
existence. His weapons were Satya (truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence).
Gandhiji's entire life was a powerful message for mankind. His every
breath was dedicated to the pursuit of truth (god), in its most pristine
manifestations, justice and liberty for man.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbunder,
India. He later became known as `Mahatma' - the great soul.
Born in an illustrious and distinguished family, Gandhiji married Kasturba
at the age of 13. Gandhiji's experiments with truth reflect his early
childhood. Mundane incidents which otherwise would have been relegated to
posterity are the foundation of his future trials. Meat-eating being
sacrilegious, as a boy Gandhi dared to defy this profanity only to be
convinced of its sacrament. Similarly, his confession of stealing,
refusing to `cheat' at the behest of his revered teacher, trying to reform
Sheikh Mehtab, his school friend, are all evidence of a mind confronting
an introspective conscience. However the incident which haunted his entire
life was his inability to be present at his father's deathbed. A privilege
which he felt he lost owing to his `lustful pangs' towards his young wife.
After completing his school education, he left for England to study law.
In England, apart from studying law, he became an ardent supporter of
Gandhiji also devoured theosophical and mystical works. He read the Koran,
the Old and New Testament and Indian religious books, of which the Gita
was to have a profound influence on his life. The Bhagvad Gita is a Hindu
religious book based on moral discourses and practice of yoga.
Gandhiji was called to bar in 1891, whereupon he immediately retuned to
India. In 1893 he was hired by a law firm to fight a case in South Africa.