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GANDHI'S EARLY LIFE
(1869-1893)

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.

FROM PORBUNDER

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 vegetarianism.

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.

 

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