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Chronology / Time Line
1869 - 1914
 

1869

Oct

02

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born of a Bania (Vaishya or trading caste) family at Porbunder, Kathiawar, the youngest of the three sons of Karamchand alias Kaba Gandhi, Prime Minister successively in Porbunder, Rajkot and Vankaner States, and his fourth wife Putlibai

1876

 

 

Goes to Rajkot with parents; attends primary school there till twelfth year; is betrothed to Kasturbai, daughter of Gokuldas Makanji, merchant.

1881

 

 

Enters High School at Rajkot

1883

 

 

Marries Kasturbai

1884-85

 

 

Takes to meat-eating in secret, but abandons habit after about a year to avoid deceiving his parents.

Father dies, aged 63.

1887

 

 

Passes Matriculation examination; joins Samaldas College at Bhavnagar (Kathiawar), but gives up studies at close of first term.

1888

Sept.

04

Sails for England.

 

Oct.

28

Reaches London.

Lives on vegetarian diet. Takes lessons in dancing and music for a short time, thinking they are necessary parts of a gentleman’s equipment.

1889

 

 

Reads books on simple living and decides to reduce expenses by half; studies religious literature; reads Gita for first time and is deeply impressed

1890

 

 

Cultivates contacts with vegetarian movement; for short while conducts vegetarian club.

 

June

 

Passes London Matric.

 

Sept

 

Joins Vegetarian Society.

1891

June

10

Called to the Bar.

 

 

12

Sails for India.

 

July

 

Reaches Bombay.

 

Nov

 

Applies for admission to Bombay High Court.

1892

 

 

Struggles with legal practice at Rajkot and Bombay; later settles down at former place as legal draftsman.

1893

April

 

Leaves for South Africa, being engaged by a Muslim firm for legal work.

 

May June

 

Experiences colour bar in various forms; decides to remain and fight race prejudice.

1894

Aug

22

Founds Natal Indian Congress.

 

Sept

 

Enrolled as Advocate of Supreme Court of Natal, being first Indian to be so enrolled.

Studies religious literature including the Bible, he Koran and Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You.

1895

 

 

Gets more committed to South African Indian cause. Issues The Indian Franchise: An Appeal to Every Briton in South Africa.

1896

July

 

Returns to India and starts agitation on behalf of South African Indians.

 

Aug

14

Publishes The Green Pamphlet at Rajkot.

Tours Bombay, Madras, Poona and Calcutta educating Indians in regard to grievances of South African Indians.

 

Nov

30

Sails for South Africa with wife and children.

1897

Jan

13

Mobbed on landing at Durban by crowd excited by reports of his speeches in India on conditions of indentured Indian labour in South Africa.

 

 

20

Declines to prosecute assailants.

 

April

06

Submits long memorial to Chamberlain, Secretary of State for Colonies, regarding landing incidents, background.

Carries on programme of petitioning local and Imperial authorities, as well as of communicating with British and Indian public men regarding discriminatory laws.

1898-99

 

 

Represents to Indian National Congress, Colonial and Imperial authorities, against Locations and restrictions on Indians’ trading rights.

1899

 

 

Raises Indian Ambulance Corps in Boer War, which goes into action and is mentioned in dispatches; awarded war medal.

1900

 

 

Sends Dadabhai Naroroji draft resolution on South African Indian problem for Congress session.

1901

Oct

18

Sails for India.

 

Dec

14

Reaches Rajkot via Porbunder.

 

 

27

Moves resolution on South Africa at Congress.

1902

Jan28-Feb

01

Visits Rangoon.

Stays for a month with Gokhale at Calcutta.

Returns to Rajkot, settees down to practise.

 

July

 

Shifts to and sets up practice at Bombay.

 

Nov

 

Is called to South Africa to champion Indians’ cause against anti-Asiatic legislation in Transvaal.

 

Dec

 

Arrives in Durban: leads delegation to Chamberlain.

1903

 

 

Enrolled as Attorney of Supreme Court of Transvaal; founds Transvaal British Indian Association.

Sends weekly statements regarding situation to Dadabhai Naoroji.

 

June

 

Indian Opinion commences publication.

1904

 

 

Reads Ruskin’s Unto This Last : founds Phoenix Settlement near Durban (Natal); organizes hospita during outbreak of plague in Johannesburg; writes series of articles in Gujarati on dietetics which are later translated into English and published under the title Guide to Health.

1905

 

 

Opposes Bengal Partition, supports boycott of British goods. During Gokhale Lajpat Rai deputation to Britain, appeals to Colonial statesmen to treat India, ‘an integral part of the Empire’, with consideration.

1906

May

12

Support ‘home rule’ for India ‘I the name of justice and for good of humanity’.

 

 

27

Writes to brother, Lakshimidas, declaring disinterestedness in worldly possessions.

 

June-July

 

Raises Indian Stretcher-bearer Corps in Zulu Rebellion; takes vow of brahmacharya for life.

 

Sept

11

Addresses mass meeting of Indians at Johannesburg, which takes oath of passive resistance against newly promulgated Transvaal Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance.

 

Oct21-Nov

30

In England on deputation to present Indians’ case to Colonial Secretary.

 

Dec

18

Returns to South Africa

1907

Jan-Feb

 

Writes series of 8 articles in Gujarati on "Ethical Religion", published weekly in Indian Opinion and later, as a book.

 

March

 

Asiatic Registration Act passed in Transvaal Parliament. Indians hold protest meetings.

 

April

 

Sees Smuts at Pretoria, acquaints him with resolutions adopted at mass meetings. Pledges, in Indain Opinion, opposition to ‘Black Act’.

 

Aug

 

Writes to Smuts criticsing Registration Act, suggesting amendments.

Passive resistance, picketing of Permit Offices; defends passive resisters in court.

 

Dec

 

Smuts decides to prosecute Gandhiji.

1908

Jan

08

Asks Government for suspension of Registration Act, offers voluntary registration.

 

 

10

Adopts word : ‘Satyagraha’ in place of ‘Passive Resistance’.

Sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment for failure to leave Transvaal.

 

 

21

Agrees to settlement on basis of voluntary registration, if Registration Act is repealed.

 

 

30

Summoned to see General Smuts at Pretoria and released, on reaching a compromise.

 

Feb

10

Nearly killed by Pathans who regard the compromise, under which Indians are expected to give their finger-prints voluntarily, as a betrayal of Indian interest; refuses to prosecute his assailants.

 

March-June

 

Negotiates with Smuts for fulfilment of promise of repeal of Act which Smuts denies.

 

July

 

Correspondence with Smuts released; Indians in mass meeting decide to refuse thumb impressions and burn registration certificates.

 

Aug

 

Declares use of violence ‘harmful, even unseless to uproot British rule’ in India.

Appeals to Smuts to repeal ‘Black Act’.

Registation certificates burnt at meetings; passive resistance resumed.

 

Sept

 

Royal assent is given to amended Registration Act.

Smuts refuses Indian terms for settlement.

 

Oct

15

Arrested and sentenced to 2 months’ rigorous imprisonment.

 

Dec

12

Released from Volksrust Gaol

Indian National Congress adopts resolution on South Africa, criticizing the harsh, humiliating and cruel treatment of British Indians in South Africa as injurious to British Empire.

1909

Jan

16

Arrested at Volksrust for failing to produce registration certificate; on deportation, returned and is re-arrested, but released on bail.

 

 

20

Writes to Press calling on Indians to prepare for final phase of struggle.

 

Feb

25

Arrested at Volksrust; sentenced to 3 months.

 

May

02

Transferred to Pretoria Central Gaol.

 

 

24

Released.

 

June

21

Leaves with Haji Habib, on deputation to England to represent Indian case.

 

July

10

Arrives in London.

With the assistance of Lord Ampthill, works ceaselessly to educate influential British leaders, the public, and to move Imperial authorities.

 

Oct

01

Writes to Tolstoy regarding Passive Resistance movement.

 

Nov

09

The Times reports failure of Gandhi Government negotiations on Transvaal laws.

 

 

10

Replies to Tolstoy, sends his biography by Doke.

 

 

13

Leaves England for South Africa.

Writes Hind Swaraj on board "s. s. Kildonan Castle".

 

 

30

Reaches South Africa.

 

Dec

29

Congress at Lahore adopts resolution praising Indians’ struggle in South Africa, urging ban on indenture.

1910

April

04

Sends Tolstoy copy of Indian Home Rule, seeks comment.

 

May

08

Tolstoy replies: question of Passive Resistance of greatest importance not only for India but for humanity.

 

 

30

Founds Tolstoy Farm.

 

Dec

04

Pays memorial tribute to Tolstoy.

1911

Jan

 

Communicates with Smuts regarding amendments to Immigrants’ Restriction Bill; latter assures; no colour bar taint in laws.

 

March

27

Interviews Smuts at Capetown.

 

April

22

Smuts agrees to assurances demanded by Indians in reciprocation of suspension of Passive Resistance movement.

 

May

03

Meets Smuts: ‘Provisional Settlement’ arrived on Smuts’ promise of repeal of Asiastic Registration and Immigrants’ Restriction Acts.

 

June

24

Pledges loyalty to King-Emperor on coronation.

 

Dec

08

Invites Gokhale to South Africa.

1912

March

16

Commends Gokhale’s attempts for abolition of indenture system.

 

Sept

12

Phoenix Trust is set up.

 

Oct

22

Accompanies Gokhale, on tour of South Africa, Laurence Marques, Mozambique and Zanzibar.

Gives up European dress and milk and restricts himself to diet of fresh and dried fruit.

1913

Jan

18

Refers in Indian Opinion to the possibility of return home to India by mid-year.

 

March

14

Indian marriages in South Africa invalidated by Searle’s Supreme Court judgment.

 

 

30

Indians in mass meeting protest against Searle judgment.

 

April

12

In Indian Opinion draws attention to new Immigration Bill’s failure to fulfill terms of Provisional Settlement of 1911. Kasturba decides to join Passive Resistance struggle.

 

May

19

Warns Government of certainty of revival of movement if it fails to grant promised relief.

 

June

07

Idea of return to India deferred in view of stringent application of discriminatory laws and likely resumption of satyagraha.

 

 

28

Expresses readiness for negotiations.

 

Sept

13

Announces negotiations "proved abortive" .

 

 

15

Passive Resistance is revived.

 

 

16

Kasturba is arrested.

 

Oct

17

Visits Newcastle; urges indentured Indians to cease work till repeal of 3 tax.

3000 miners strike.

 

 

24

Proposes ‘March’ into Transvaal.

 

 

28

‘March’ from Newcastle begins.

 

 

30

Reaches Charlestown.

 

Nov

03

Announces ‘March’ into Transvaal to court arrest.

 

 

05

Telephones Smuts seeking assurance of repeal of 3 tax.

 

 

06

Leads ‘ Great March’.

 

 

07

At Volksrust, released on bail; rejoin Marchers.

 

 

08

Arrested at Standerton; released on recognizance; ‘March’ continues.

 

 

09

Arrested at Teakworth, taken to Balfour.

 

 

10

Takes ‘one meal a day’ pledge till repeal of tax.

 

 

11

Sentence, at Dundee, to 9 months’ rigorous imprisonment.

 

 

13

Removed to Volksrust gaol.

 

 

14

Sentenced to 3 months on fresh count at Volksrust.

 

Dec

18

Released unconditionally; from time of release till settlement take only one meal a day and puts on indentured labourer’s dress.

1914

Jan

13,16

Interviews Smuts, submits proposals.

 

 

22

Suspends satyagraha following agreement with Smuts.

Fourteen days’ penitential fast for moral lapse of inmates of Farm.

 

June.

 

Indian Relief Act is passed.

 

July

18

Sails for England, en route to India.

 

Aug

4

Reaches London.

Raises Indian Volunteer Corps

 

Oct.

 

Volunteer Corps on duty.

Offers satyagraha over administrative interference in corps.

 

Dec

19

Sails for India.

 

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Copyright 2004 Mani Bhavan