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Mahatma Gandhi

Important facts about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and his contribution to freedom struggle


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 to a Hindu Modh Baniya family in Porbandar (also known as Sudamapuri), a coastal town on the Kathiawar Peninsula and then part of the small princely state of Porbandar in the Kathiawar Agency of the Indian Empire. His father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), served as the Diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar state.

Although Karam Chand only had an elementary education and had previously been a clerk in the state administration, Karamchand proved a capable chief minister. During his tenure, Karamchand married four times. His first two wives died young, after each had given birth to a daughter, and his third marriage was childless. In 1857, Karamchand sought his third wife’s permission to remarry; that year, he married Putlibai (1844–1891), who also came from Junagadh,and was from a Pranami Vaishnava family. Karamchand and Putlibai had three children over the ensuing decade, a son, Laxmidas (c. 1860 – March 1914), a daughter, Raliatbehn (1862–1960) and another son, Karsandas (c. 1866–1913)

On 2 October 1869, Putlibai gave birth to her fourth child, Mohandas, in a dark, windowless ground-floor room of the Gandhi family residence in Porbandar city.

As a child, Gandhi was described by his sister Raliat as “restless as mercury, either playing or roaming about. One of his favourite pastimes was twisting dogs’ ears.”

The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and king Harishchandra, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood.

Gandhi’s father was of Modh Baniya caste in the varna of Vaishya.His mother came from the medieval Krishna bhakti-based Pranami tradition, whose religious texts include the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavata Purana etc. observing fast was common to her.

In 1874, Gandhi’s father Karamchand left Porbandar for the smaller state of Rajkot, where he became a counsellor to its ruler, the Thakur Sahib; though Rajkot was a less prestigious state than Porbandar, the British regional political agency was located there, which gave the state’s diwan a measure of security.In 1876, Karamchand became diwan of Rajkot and was succeeded as diwan of Porbandar by his brother Tulsidas. His family then rejoined him in Rajkot.

At age 9, Gandhi entered the local school in Rajkot, near his home. There he studied the rudiments of arithmetic, history, the Gujarati language and geography. At age 11, he joined the High School in Rajkot. He was an average student, won some prizes, but was a shy and tongue tied student, with no interest in games; his only companions were books and school lessons.

While at high school, Gandhi’s elder brother introduced him to a Muslim friend named Sheikh Mehtab. Mehtab was older in age, taller and encouraged the strictly vegetarian boy to eat meat to gain height. He also took Mohandas to a brothel one day, though Mohandas “was struck blind and dumb in this den of vice,” rebuffed the prostitutes’ advances and was promptly sent out of the brothel. The experience caused Mohandas mental anguish, and he abandoned the company of Mehtab.

In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas was married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia (her first name was usually shortened to “Kasturba“, and affectionately to “Ba”) in an arranged marriage, according to the custom of the region at that time. In the process, he lost a year at school, but was later allowed to make up by accelerating his studies.His wedding was a joint event, where his brother and cousin were also married. Recalling the day of their marriage, he once said, “As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives.” However, as was prevailing tradition, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents’ house, and away from her husband.

In late 1885, Gandhi’s father Karamchand died. Gandhi, then 16 years old, and his wife of age 17 had their first baby, who died after a few days. The two deaths anguished Gandhi.

The Gandhi  had four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900.

In November 1887, the 18-year-old Gandhi graduated from high school in Ahmedabad.In January 1888, he enrolled at Samaldas College in Bhavnagar State, then the sole degreegranting institution of higher education in the region. But he dropped out and returned to his family in Porbandar.

On 10 August 1888, Gandhi aged 18, left Porbandar for Mumbai, then known as Bombay. on 4 September, he sailed from Bombay to London.

Gandhi studied law  and enrolled at the Inner Temple ( name of the college). His hand writing was very bad.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent, for one of his first teachers was an Irishman

Influenced by Henry Salt’s writing, he joined the Vegetarian Society, was elected to its executive committee.

In 1891 and then left London for India where he learned that his mother had died while he was in London and that his family had hide the news from him.

His attempts at establishing a law practice in Bombay failed because he was psychologically unable to cross-examine witnesses.

He returned to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants but was not that successful.

In 1893, a Muslim merchant in Kathiawar named Dada Abdullah contacted Gandhi. Abdullah owned a large successful shipping business in South Africa. His distant cousin in Johannesburg needed a lawyer, and they preferred someone with Kathiawari heritage. Gandhi inquired about his pay for the work. They offered a total salary of £105 plus travel expenses. He accepted it, knowing that it would be at least one year commitment in the Colony of Natal, South Africa (also a part of the British Empire)


In April 1893, Gandhi aged 23, set sail for South Africa to be the lawyer for Abdullah’s cousin. He spent 21 years in South Africa, where he developed his political views, ethics and politics.

Though unable to halt the bill’s passage, his campaign was successful in drawing attention to the grievances of Indians in South Africa.

Immediately upon arriving in South Africa, Gandhi faced discrimination during his journey from Durban to Pretoria . He was not allowed to sit in the first class coach of train  because of his skin colour and heritage.

In one instance, he was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg Railway station .

Due to his colour, he was refused to give a room in a hotel in Johannesberg.

The case for which he went to South Africa ended in 1894, but discriminations by Britishers with Indians there  made him to stay for next two decades .

He planned to assist Indians in opposing a bill to which was denying  them the right to vote.

His life in south Africa is devided into two phases – 

  1. Moderate phase : 1894-1906
  2. The satyagraha phase : 1906-1914

22 May 1894-  He set up Natal India Congress and became its first secretary.

Gandhi in Boer War (1899)

Transvaal was rich in gold, so British plotted to overthrow Boer government.

This led to the Boer War (1899), Boers were defeated but they continued to live here.

During Boer war, Gandhi served from British side, as an assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher-bearer corps ( A KIND OF AMBULNCE SERVICE )

Gandhi earned Boer war medal for his services


1904: Inspired by Tolstoy, Gandhi setups Phoenix farm. There he begins treating all ailments and preaching and writing about hygiene, sanitation, good diet, natural cures, and sexual abstinence. This sheds an important light on the origin of Gandhi Ashrams in India.

1904: starts printing newspaper “Indian Opinion” from his farm.

Gandhi in Zulu Wars (1906)

British attacked Zulu population and made them serve as labour in the diamond mines across Southern Africa.

In 1906, the Zulu Rebellion broke out in Natal province of South Africa Zulus demanded land rights and abolition of heavy taxes. However, the whites declared war against the Zulus.

In this Zulu war/rebellion, Gandhi (Again) served from British side, as the officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps and earned Zulu War Medal for his services. 

Controversial legislations of Britishers against which Gandhiji led Satyagraha in South Africa 

a) Stayagraha against Transvaal ordinance (1906) on compulsory registration and passes for Indians in 1907-08

    • -Gandhi arrested for this campaign against registration act,
    • Gandhi travels to London, finally Transvaal registration act repealed

b)Campaign against restriction on Indian migration (1913)

c) Invalidation of Indian (non Christian ) marriages (MARCH 1913) in an order by their supreme court.

Supreme Court in Cape Town nullified all non-Christian marriages, and declared all Indian wives as mistress and their kids as bastards.

Gandhi immediately demanded a change in the law, declaring that declaring that “Any nation that fails to protect the honour of its women, any individual who fails to protect the honour of his wife is considered lower in level than a brute”.

Kasturba spearheaded a passive resistance. Women volunteered to go to jail on their own initiative.

d) April 1913Campaign against poll tax (3 pound) on ex – indentured Indians (1913)

South African Union’s PM General Smuts introduced even harsher immigration bill. The bill included an ongoing provision for the £3 poll tax.

In May 1913 Gandhi demands poll tax and marriage issues be settled together. All Indians and Transvaal and Natal rally up behind him. But the immigration bill soon passed.
In June 1913 ,King gives assent to bill and it became an “Act”.
In sep 1913 Gandhi launches the “passive resistance” courts arrest along with his followers- including women.
Oct 1913 – 5000 Indian coal miners of northern Natal go on strike. Gandhi and his coworkers were instrumental in encouraging the strike.

  • The coal miners’ strike provided the committed mass of supporters to Gandhi.
  • His movement gains attention of Indian press, Gandhi starts receiving funds from Gokhale, Aurobindo Ghosh and Wealthy Indians, even from princely states of India.
  • This money helped him to launch a long Transaaval march- arranging food and supplies for those protestors and their families.
  • Gokhle visited south Africa in 1912.

Transvaal March 1913

Along with 2000 Natal coal miners, Gandhi began March towards Transvaal. At that time, crossing border from Natal to Transvaal required Permit- But they crossed border without permit.

But since the protest did not collapse, General Smuts ordered police to arrest coal miners. Miners were sent to hard labour camps. Gandhi was thrown into Jail again.

On all these issues , the method adopted by Gandhiji was satyagraha, involving peaceful violation of specific laws , mass courting arrests, hartals, marches , fasting etc.   


JAN 1914-   Eventually, through a series of negotiations involving Gnadhiji , Lord Hardinge , C.F. Andrews and General Smuts, an agreement was reached by which the govt of South Africa conceded the major Indian demands relating to the poll tax ,the registration certification and marriages.

Hermann Kallenbach – born to a  German-Jewish family. In 1896, he went to South Africa to join his uncles in Johannesburg, where he practiced as an architect and became a South African citizen.

He was one of the foremost friends and associates of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1904 he met Gandhi, who was then working in South Africa. They had long discussions on religious and other issues. He was highly influenced by Gandhi’s ideas of Satyagraha and equality among human beings and became his intimate friend and a dedicated devotee,

In 1910 Kallenbach, then a rich man, donated to Gandhi a thousand-acre (4 km²) farm belonging to him near Johannesburg. The farm was used to run Gandhi’s famous “Tolstoy Farm” that housed the families of satyagrahis. Kallenbach himself named this farm after Leo Tolstoy as he was deeply influenced by Tolstoy’s writings and philosophy.

Abandoning the life of a wealthy, sport-loving bachelor, he adopted the simple lifestyle, vegetarian diet and equality politics of Gandhi on this farm.Henry Polak was another close friend and follower of Gandhi. Kallenbach was associated with Gandhi throughout the Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) struggle, which lasted in South Africa until 1914.

He also accompanied Gandhi and his wife on their final voyage from South Africa to London in 1914.


authors How did they influence Gandhi?
Henry David Thoreau concept of Civil Disobedience
John Ruskin “Unto his last” – ideas of simple living, community living.
Work by hands better than by machines. (same reflect in his “Hind Swaraj” later on).
Ralf Waldo Emerson concept of Individualism
Tolstoy The kingdom of God is within you.

He corresponded ( exchange letters ) regularly with Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.

July 1914- Gandhiji leaves for ENGLAND AND FROM THERE TO INDIA.


1915: Gandhi returned to India, Lord Hardinge awarded Kesar-e-Hind medal for his services in ambulance corps during South Africa.

Sabarmati Asharam : Gandhi’s India ashram was originally established at the Kocharab Bungalow of Jivanlal Desai, a barrister and friend of Gandhi, on 25 May 1915. At that time the ashram was called the Satyagraha Ashram. But Gandhi wanted to carry out various activities such as farming and animal husbandry, in addition to other pursuits which called for the need of a much larger area of usable land. So two years later, on 17 June 1917, the ashram was relocated to an area of thirty-six acres on the banks of the river Sabarmati, and it came to be known as the Sabarmati Ashram.

It was from his base here that Gandhi led the Dandi march also known as the Salt Satyagraha on 12 March 1930. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian Independence movement the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya.

1915, Viramgram Satyagraha : Gandhi entered into Indian Politics through the launching of a Satyagraha at Viramgam customs office, knowing about the high handedness in the customs office. He communicated with the Government and secured an order for the closure of that Customs Office from the Vicercy, Lord Chelmsford. This was his first Satyagraha in India.

1920: Gandhiji returned this award as a part of protesting against jallian wala bagh massacre and also in support of khilafat movement.

1917 – Champaran Satyagrah , in Bihar, against Tinkathia system of Indigo cultivation, gandhiji was invited by Rajkumar Shukla. Other companions were- Mahadeo Desai, Rajendra Prasad, Narahari Rao Parikh, Acharya Kriplani.Gandhi ji opted civil disobedience as their weapon.

1918 – Ahemedabad mill strike – after withdrawl of Plague bonus , he supported  35 % salary increase of workers, as inflation arise due to WWI. He opted Hunger Strike as their weapon.

1918 – Kheda satyagraha – supported peasants cause for remission of revenue to crop failure ( less than one fourth). He opted Non cooperation Movement as their weapon.

1919, Delhi- Gandhiji was elected as president of All India Khilafat Committee

Aug 1920- Non cooperation movement launched (BG Tilak died on that day )

1921- Gandhiji give up his Dhoti Kurta dress in favour of small Langot in order to use less cloth (Khadi, which was comparatively costlier )

5th  feb 1922- Chaura Chauri incident and Gandhiji called off theNCM.

(on 12th of feb 1922, he was about to start Civil Disobedience Movement from Bardoli. What it could not happen as he called off the NCM itself).

10 March 1931-He was jailed for 6 years but reeased after two years in 1924 on health groundsn ( operation of appendicitics)

1924- he presided over INC Belgaum session.

31 january 1930- he gave 11 point ultimatum to Lord Irwin.

12 March 1930 to 6 April 1930- Dandi March ( from Sabramati to coastal area Dandi , 240 miles / 390 km , Gandhiji with his 78 followers ). He broke the salt law on 6;30 am on 6th April 1930. 

He was arrested on the midnight of 4-5 May 1930.

5 March 1931- Gandhi- Irwin pact signed.

Sep 1931- He attended second RTC representing INC.

While in England in 1931, Gandhi made his first radio broadcast for the United States. The first thing the people of the United States heard the Mahatma say was, “Do I have to speak into this thing?”

Jan 4 , 1932- He was arrested again and imprisoned in Yerwada central jail.

25 sep 1932- Poona Pact signed between Gadhiji and Ambedkar in Yerwada Jail.

30 sep 1932-Gandhiji estb All India Untouchability league , to remove untouchability from society. later its name was changed to Harijan Sewak sangh. It was headquatered at KINGSWAY camp, Delhi. Industrialist Ghanshayam Das Birla was its founding president and Amritlal Thakkar as its secretary.

Officially CDM was suspended in 1933 and it was finaly withdrawn in may 1934.

8 May 1933- released from Yerwada jail ( same day he started fast for the improvement of Harijan’s condition). This fast was observed by for 21 days, the longest by Gandhiji in all his 17 Fasts during freedom movement. 

Harijan Yatra -7 november 1933 – he started countrywide tour (12500 miles ), travelling from Wardha Asharam for next 9 months for abolishing untouchability. They started temple entry movement. Many Hindu orthodox elements were against his this move and on 25 june 1934, Pune- a bomb attack on Gandhiji’s car. 

Sewagram / Wardha  Ashram  :   When Gandhi started his padayatra (foot march) in 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi for the Salt Satyagraha, he decided not to return to Sabarmati till India achieved independence. Gandhi was imprisoned for more than two years. On his release he spent sometime travelling around India. He decided to make a village in Central India his headquarters. He came to Wardha in 1934, at the invitation of his follower and industrialist, Jamnalal Bajaj and stayed in one of the rooms at Jamnalal’s bungalow (Bajajwadi) at Wardha and in the Prarthana mandir of Mahila Ashram for sometime.

In April 1936, Gandhiji established his residence in a village called Segaon at the outskirts of Wardha, which he renamed as Sevagram, which means ‘village of service’. Gandhiji was 67 years old when he came to Sevagram. Sevagram is a small village, located about 8 km from Wardha.

Gandhi demanded fair treatment for the untouchables, India’s lowest caste, and he underwent several fasts to support the cause. He called the untouchables harijans,which means “children of God.”

In 1934, Gandhi announced his retirement from politics in, as well as his resignation from the Congress Party, 

Drawn back into the political fray by the outbreak of World War II, Gandhi again took control of the INC, demanding a British withdrawal from India in return for Indian cooperation with the war effort.  


Indian opinion, 1904 –(published in South Africa ).

Published in 4 languages – Gujarati, Hindi , Tamil and English.

Madanjit Vinayak was owner of international press, where this paper published.

Hind swaraj , 1909 – (South Africa )it is written in dialogue format / question – answere form ( dialogue between reader and editor ). In this book, Gandhiji expresses his views on Swaraj, modern civilization and mechanization.

It is written on Board, when he was travelling fromLondon to South Africa . later Gujarati edition was translated into English by Gandhiji as Gujrati edition declared banned.

Imp. Points in Hind Swaraj :

-Indian civilization is undoubtedly the best because of its immense assimilative power. -The industrial capitalism of the West is responsible for all conflicts, for it has divorced economic activities from moral concerns.

– In our contemporary times, the lawyers, the doctors and the railways are making the country poorer. 

Young India ( 1919-31 )in English language ( weekly )

Hrijan – 1933-48 –  English language ( weekly )

Harijan Bandu – Gujarati Harijan sewak– Hindi.

He disclosed all his secrets in his autobiography- My Experiments With Truth. Which covers his life upto 1921. He wrote his autobiography, in Gujarati. His personal assistant Shri Mahadev Desai had translated it into English.

In 1939, he wrote a request letter for Hitler to avoid war, but it never reached its intended recipient because of an intervention by the British government.

INDIVIDUAL SATYAGRAHA , 1940 : due to the failure of August offer , Gandhiji  initiated a limited satyagraha on an individual basis in every locality.The carefully -chosen satyagrahis would preach against participation in the war , after informing the district magistrate of the time and place of the anti war speech. Vinoba Bhave was first satyagrahi on 17 October 1940 ,  Jawarharlal Nehru , the second  And Braham Dutt , third.  if the government did not arrest them, they planned to start moving towards Delhi (the Delhi Chalo movement ). The individual satyagraha not only expressed the indian people’s strong political feeling but gave the British the opportunity to accept Indians demands peacefully.     By 15 May 1941, more than 25000 satyagrahis had been convicted

Cripps Mission (1942) :the congress rejected its proposals and Gandhiji described the proposals as ” a post dated cheque on a crashing bank”.  

1942- QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT : he Quit India Movement or the India August Movement, was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India.

The Cripps Mission had failed, and on August 1942, Gandhi made a call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan.

9 Aug 1942 was its launch date but on early hours of 9 August , all main leaders  including Gandhiji got arrested and taken to some unknown places .

Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai were interned in the Aga Khan palace (Pune) from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944, following the launch of Quit India Movement. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died during their captivity period.

GANDHI JINNAH TALKS , 1944- When Gandhi was released on 5 May 1944, he proposed talks with Jinnah on his two-nation theory and negotiating on issue of partition. The CR formula acted as the basis for the negotiations. Gandhi and Jinnah met in September 1944 to ease the deadlock. Gandhi placed the CR formula as his proposal to Jinnah. Negotiations ultimately failed.

15 Aug 1947- when India got independence on the early hours of 15 Aug 1947, Gandhiji was in Bengal , trying to end violence in Riot affecting areas.

Death : 5:12 pm , 30 January 1948 (Martyr;s Day) ,  Birla house (now Gandhi Smriti), 5 minutes after conclusion of his meeting with Sardar patel. when he was on  his way to address a prayer meeting, Nathuram Godse  (a Maratha, age36 , a member of Hindu Mahasabha and former member of RSS )fired three bullets from a Beretta M1934 9mm Corto pistol into his chest at point-blank range.

Raj Ghat– resting Place of Mahatma Gandhi.

Jesus the Christ was crucified on Friday. Gandhiji was born on Friday. India got its independence on Friday. Gandhiji was assassinated on Friday.

TRIAL AT SPECIAL COURT IN RED FORT DELHI: Gandhi’s assassin Godse made no attempt to escape. He was arrested. In the weeks that followed, his collaborators were arrested as well. They were tried in court at Delhi’s Red Fort.   Total 8 persons were convicted.

Godse and Narayan Apte were sentenced to death  on 8 nov 1949, Godse got executed on 15 november 1949 in Ambala jail. Others got life sentence, on their appeal , their trial was held in Peterhoff Shimla ( then Punjab High Court ).

Times Magazine named Gandhiji as person of the year in 1930.

GOI awards Gandhi peace Prize to distinguish social workers, world leaders and citizens.

First winner- Julius Nyerere ( from Tanzania ).

Gandhiji was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for 5 times between 1937-1948.

He was called Father of the nation by Subhash Chandra Bose on 6th july 1944 ( Singapore Radio ).

His life aims were truth, non-violence, spiritualism, religiousness, honesty, discipline, loyalty, aspiration and so on. All these excellent high qualities made him the Mahatma which means a great soul.

Gandhi was basically very helping and concerned about others. Once while he was boarding train one of his shoes slipped and fell on to the track. He instantly removed the other shoe and threw it near the first one. His intention was to help the person who would find the pair and help himself. 

Mahatma Gandhi inspired millions of people world over to take the path of non-violence and civil disobedience. 5 world leaders who got Noble Peace prize viz. Martin Luther King Jr.

(USA), Dalai Lama (Tibet), Aung San SuuKyi (Myanmar), Nelson Mandela (S. Africa) and Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina) have acknowledged the fact that they were influenced by the philosophy of Gandhi. 

He himself was shortlisted for nobel prize for 5 times ( 1937, 1938,1939, 1947, 1948). But dis not get it . At the end of 1947, when he was shortlisted for fifth time, the Nobel prize committee unanimously decided to give him Noble peace prize , but it could not be happened as Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. No body was conferred Nobel peace prize in 1948 on the ground that ‘ there was not a suitable candidate ; that year. 

He hates photographers and taking photos. But the fact is, at that time, he was the only person hugely photographed

He hated cinema. He doesn’t think, cinema is a medium to propagate his ideals. But in his last years, he fervently used Radio.

Gandhiji thought, postal cards are cheap and simple communication mode.

Mahatma Gandhiji’s childhood aspiration was to study medicine and become doctor one day. But during those days this profession was considered below his caste, so his father convinced him to study law instead.

Though an average student, occasionally Gandhiji used to win awards and scholarship at local schools.   One of the study report card stated him as “good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography; conduct very good, bad handwriting.”

As a child, Gandhiji was always afraid of darkness. He would fear that ghost prowling in some dark corner would suddenly jump on him. One day, his old maidservant, Rambha advised him to think of Lord Rama whenever he was afraid or frightened. From that day onwards, Gandhiji believed that as long as Lord Rama was there with him, he need not worry about anything. Even when he was assassinated, the last word he spoke was the name of Lord Rama.

In order to improve his concentration and pronunciation, Mahatma Gandhi decided to memorize complete verses of ‘Bhagwad Gita’ during his imprisonment days.

Gandhiji used to travel along with his own goat, so that he could have fresh milk always. Though he strictly followed vegetarianism, most of the freedom struggle days he would go fasting.

Bapuji had learnt the art of making leather shoes. During his tenure at the Tolstoy farm, he weaved shoes for children out there. He was considered good at his skills.

A group of Chinese visitors gifted Gandhiji three monkeys made of china clay. He truly cherished and preserved the gift for life. ( BAPU KE TEEN BANDAR ).

Another interesting fact about Mahatma Gandhi was his love for walking! At the age of 60, Mahatma Gandhi walked apx 240 miles during the Salt March from his Ashram to Dandi Sea.  He attributed this habit to his initial student days, when he used to enjoy long walks.

More than 150 countries in the world have illustrated the life of Mahatma Gandhi in stamps.

Nai Talim, basic education  : Gandhi rejected the colonial Western format of education system. He stated that it led to disdain for manual work, generally created an elite administrative bureaucracy. Gandhi  favoured an education system with far greater emphasis on learning skills in practical and useful work, one that included physical, mental and spiritual studies. His methodology sought to treat all professions equal and pay everyone the same.

Gandhi called his ideas Nai Talim (literally, ‘new education’). He believed that the Western style education violated and destroyed the indigenous cultures. A different basic education model, he believed, would lead to better self awareness, prepare people to treat all work equally respectable and valued, and lead to a society with less social diseases

Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, celebrated on October 2, is one of only three national holidays in India

Gandhi’s birthday is known as Gandhi Jayanti in India and is commemorated with a prayer for peace, ceremonies, and with singing “Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram,” Gandhi’s favorite song.

To honor Gandhi’s message of nonviolence, the United Nations declared October 2 as the International Day of Nonviolence. This went into effect in 2007.


Satyagraha was based on truth and non- violence. It was influenced by Thoreau , Emerson and Tolstoy.

The literal meaning of Satyagraha is holding on to truth. The satyagraha can be distinguished from the passive resistance  ( the method adopted by the extremists). There are different  techniques , of Satyagraha such as fasting , Hijrat( walk out )  and Hartals.

The technique of satyagraha , being based on nonviolence , could easily attaract the masses 

Gandhi distinguished between satyagraha and passive resistance in the following letter:

“I have drawn the distinction between passive resistance as understood and practised in the West and satyagraha before I had evolved the doctrine of the latter to its full logical and spiritual extent. I often used “passive resistance” and “satyagraha” as synonymous terms: but as the doctrine of satyagraha developed, the expression “passive resistance” ceases even to be synonymous, as passive resistance has admitted of violence as has been universally acknowledged to be a weapon of the weak. Moreover, passive resistance does not necessarily involve complete adherence to truth under every circumstance. Therefore it is different from satyagraha in three essentials

Weak people take recourse to passive resistance because they are not capable to wage armed resistance,whereas Ahimsa is embraces by strong people for they are not desirous of armed resistance.

Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever; and it ever insists upon truth. 

Ahimsa and satyagraha

It is important to note the intrinsic connection between ahimsa and satyagraha. Satyagraha is sometimes used to refer to the whole principle of nonviolence, where it is essentially the same as ahimsa, and sometimes used in a “marked” meaning to refer specifically to direct action that is largely obstructive.

Means and ends

The theory of satyagraha sees means and ends as inseparable. The means used to obtain an end are wrapped up in and attached to that end. Therefore, it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. As Gandhi wrote: “They say, ‘means are, after all, means’. I would say, ‘means are, after all, everything’. As the means so the end. 


Civil disobedience of the law of the unjust and tyrannical government is a strong and extreme form of political agitation. According to Gandhi , this technique could be more dangerous and powerful than the armed rebellion and hence, should be adopted only the last resort (last option ).


1) Who was the first biographer on Mahatma Gandhi?

a) Acharya J.B. Kriplani
b) Vinoba Bhave
c) Doke
d) Rajendra Prasad

J Doke Authored  “ M K Gandhi –An Indian Patriot in south Africa ‘. 

2) Which of the following is not a part of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology in the Hind Swaraj?

a) India’s Varna system is not an ideal one.
b) Indian civilization is undoubtedly the best because of its immense assimilative power.
c) The industrial capitalism of the West is responsible for all conflicts, for it has divorced economic activities from moral concerns.
d) In our contemporary times, the lawyers, the doctors and the railways are making the country poorer.

3. Of the following, who were the first two Satyagrahis of Mahatma Gandhi in Individual Satyagraha?

a) Vinoba Bhave and Jawaharlal Nehru
b) Vinoba Bhave and Rajendra Prasad
c) Sardar Patel and Vinoba Bhave
d)Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel

Note : Braham Dutt was third to offer Individual Satyagraha .

4. Consider the following statements, and select the correct answer from the codes given below:

  1. Gandhi launched the Swadeshi Movement in 1905.
  2. In Gandhi’s philosophy, there was no alternative for morality.
  3. Gandhi was opposed to renouncing one’s religion.
  4. One should not mind meddling into the other’s affairs, if they were opposed to you.

a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) 3 and 4
d) 4 and 1

5.What was not a part of Mahatma Gandhi’s Scheme of Education?

a) Free compulsory education for boys and girls from 7 to 14 years.
b) Vocational education.
c) The University education should be for meritorious students only.
d) Its goal is character building and understanding social responsibilities.

6. Consider the following statements :

  1. Soul force is better than brute force
  2. Self suffering is higher than violence
  3. Hatred must be replaced by love

Which of the above statements are true about Gandhi ji?

a) 1 & 2
b) 2 & 3
c) 1 & 3
d) 1,2, & 3

7. When Gandhi ji was asked in 1921 whether he would like to make any changes in the languages of Hind Swaraj written in 1909 he said he would like to change one word. What was this?

a) His criticism of doctors
b) His criticism of lawyers
c) His use of word prostitute for the British parliament.
d) His views about machines

8. In which year did Gandhi ji set up (All India) Harijan Sevak Sangh?

a) 1917
b) 1922
c) 1928
d) 1932

9. Which movement of Gandhi ji gave the slogan of ‘do or die’?

a) Civil disobedience movement
b) Non – cooperation movement
c) Quit India movement
d) Champaran movement

10. When did Gandhi ji return to India?

a) January 01, 1915
b) January 09, 1915
March 15, 1915
d) April 10, 1915

11. Who was instrumental in establishing Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi by providing Rs. 1.50 Lakh in the year 1921 A.D.

Dr. Pranjeevan Das Mehta

12. In which format “Hind Swaraj” was written by Mahatma Gandhi?

Dialogue between the Editor and Reader

13. Basically Hind Swaraj happens to be

– A discourse on civilization

14. What was the greatest achievement of modern civilization according to Mahatma Gandhi?

–Invention of weapons of mass destruction

15. What caption was given to the first American edition of “Hind Swaraj” published in 1924?

Sermon on the sea

16. What was the reaction of Mahatma Gandhi after going through R.C. Dutta’s monumental work “Economic History of India”?

– His eyes were moist with tears

17. Which mental state is conductive for the renunciation of anything according to Mahatma Gandhi?

– After finding better alternative to desired things.

18. When Winston Churchill did dubbed Mahatma Gandhi “Half Naked Faqir” of India giving vent to his intense disliking for Mahatma Gandhi?

– During Dandi March.

19. About which book Mahatma Gandhi has commented that it has been written with “blood and tears”?

– Unto This Last

20. “Rare personalities like Gandhi arrive rarely on this earth for the weal of humanity and Motherland” who eulogized Mahatma Gandhi in these terms?

– Dr. Pranjeevandas Mehta

21. Between 1936 and 1945 Mahatma Gandhi often stayed at Manorville, wheneverhe visited Shimla.

This mansion belonged to – Rajkumari Amrit Kaur

22. In what context was the slogan ‘do or die’ raised?

–Quit India movement

23. Who said “Sitaranmayya’s defeat is my defeat”, when Pattabhi Sitaramayya was defeated by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1938 Haripura Congress session?

-Mahatma Gandhi

24. India’s last war of independence has begun……..father of our nation! In this holy war of India’s liberation we ask for your blessing and good wishes.’ Who said this in 1944?

–Subhash Chandra Bose

25. Mahatma Gandhi presided over the annual session of Indian National congress only once. In which year and where this session was held?

– Year 1924, Belgaun Session( in Karnataka)

26. Among the following view points which one is in consonance with Mahatama Gandhi’s assumptions? Hinduism is not a particular religion.

  • It embraces every religion of the world.
  • The Geeta is our mother.
  • At present in Europe there is neither Godliness nor does it represent the spirit of Christianity
  • All the above

27. How did Mahatma Gandhi differentiate between passive resistance and Ahimsa?

Weak people take recourse to passive resistance because they are not capable to wage armed resistance,whereas Ahimsa is embraces by strong people for they are not desirous of armed resistance.

28. According to Mahatma Gandhi principal stumbling block in the path of social change in India is

-Lack of interest or indifference of masses towards it.

29. What did Gandhiji mean by calamitous machines ?

Those machines which render the laborers unnecessary

30. The Gandhian meaning of Swarajya is

– Freedom to our compatriots

31. According to Gandhiji the true role of journalism in the society is

– To educated the people

32. How did Mahatma Gandhi view secrecy in politics?

– a sin

33. When was the civil Disobedience Movement finally called off by Mahatma Gandhi


34. “There is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everybody’s greed.” Who said it?

  1. Nelson Mandela
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru
  3. M. K. Gandhi
  4. Rabindranath Tagore

35.When did Subhash Chander Bose first meet Mahatma Gandhi?

– July 16, 1921 at Bombay

36. According to Gandhiji which of the following has made India bankrupt?

  1. Railways
  2. Lawyers
  3. Doctors
  4. All of the above

37.  In which Satyagraha, Gandhi ji used the last weapon of hunger strike?

  1. Ahmadabad Textile Mill Strike
  2. Champaran Satyagraha
  3. Kheda Satyagraha
  4. The Khilafat Movement

38. Which event did Gandhiji ragard as advent of Satyagraha in India?

  1. Visit to Shanitniketan
  2. Viramgram Custom office (1915,Gujarat ).
  3. Plague at Wadhwan
  4. Visit to Rajkot

39.What name did Gandhiji give to his Ashram at Ahmedabad?

  1. Tapovan
  2. Sevashram
  3. Satyagraha Ashram
  4. Vaishnav Ashram

40. Which three things Gandhiji vowed not to touch in England?

  1. Wine, Tobacco and Meat
  2. Tobacco, Meat and Women
  3. Women, Tobacco and Wine
  4. Wine, Women and Meat

41. Where did Gandhiji meet a lady who helped him get rid of untruth?

  1. Ventnor
  2. Brighton
  3. Manchester
  4. Richmond

42. Who had said- “Man and woman are of equal rank but they are not identical”?

  1. Mahatma Gandhi
  2. Nelson Mandela
  3. Winston Churchill
  4. Margret Thatcher

43. Of the following women, who had not joined the Gandhian Movement?

  1. Sarla Devi Chaudharani
  2. Sarojini Naidu
  3. Anusuya Behan
  4. Putli Bai

44. Gandhiji’s satyagrha is based on:

  1. Truth and Non-violence
  2. Ends and Means
  3. Morality
  4. All of the above

45. Which name did Gandhi ji give to his scheme of education?

  1. New Education Policy
  2. Wardha Scheme
  3. Nai Talim
  4. Mother-Tongue

46. From where did Gandhi ji come across the three principles of his ideology?

  1. Leo Tolstoy’s The kingdom of God is Within you
  2. John Ruskin’s Unto This Last
  3. Rousseaus’s Social Contract
  4. Kathline Mayo’s Mother India

47. choose the incorrect options :

  1. Mountbatten plan- 3 june 1947
  2. Partition of Bengal – 16 october 1905
  3. Gandhi Irwin Pact – 25 march 1931
  4. Gandhiji’s 11 point Ultimatum to Lord Irwin -31 jan 1930

48. Against which action of the British Government did Gandhi Ji organize the Dandi March as a protest?

– Imposition of salt tax

49. Which two leaders voted against Mahatma Gandhi’s resolution proposing action against the British Government at the Nagpur Session of the Congress?

– Madan Mohan Malvia & Mohammad Ali Jinnah

50. Mahatma Gandhiji visited Shimla for the first time in May 1921 (for a series of interviews with, Viceroy Lord Reading) and stayed at

– Shanti Kuteer (Summer Hill)

51. Who is known as “Frontier Gandhi” of Himachal Pradesh?

-Bhajju Mal

52. Who is known as Pahari Gandhi from Dehra Gopipur (Kangra)?

– Baba Kanshi Ram

53. Which periodical was published by Mahatma Gandhi during his stay in South Africa?

– India Opinion


  1. When did Gandhiji born?

Answer: in 1869 October 2

  1. When did Gandhiji went to South Africa to practice law?

Answer: in 1893

  1. Where did Gandhiji’s first Satyagraha experimented?

Answer: South Africa in 1906, September to protest against the Asiatic Ordinance issued against the Indians in Transval

  1. When was Gandhiji’s first imprisonment?

Answer: 1908 at Johannesberg in South Africa

  1. In which railway station where Gandhiji was humiliated and ousted ?

Answer: Peter Marits Burg Railway Station in SouthAfrica

  1. When did Gandhiji started Tolstoy Farm (SouthAfrica)?

Answer: in 1910

  1. Where did Gandhiji started the Phoenix Settlement ?

Answer: Durban in South Africa

  1. What is the name of weakly started by Gandhiji in SouthAfrica?

Answer: Indian opinion (1904)

  1. When did Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa ?

Answer: 9th January 1915. January 9 is observed as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  1. Where was Gandhiji’s first satyagraha in India?

Answer: It was for the right of Indigo workers in Champaran in 1917

  1. Where was gandhiji’s first fast (Gandhiji’s second satyagraha in India)?

Answer: In Ahmadabad

  1. Which causes Gandhiji to abandoned his title Kaiser-I-Hind?

Answer: Jallianwalabagh Massacre (1919)

  1. Who started weeklies named Young India and Navjeevan?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Which is the only Congress session presided over by Gandhiji?

Answer: Congress session at Belgaum in 1924

  1. Who started All India Harijan Samaj in 1932?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Where is Wardha Ashram situated?

Answer: In Maharashtra

  1. When did Gandhiji started the weekly Harijan?

Answer: 1933

  1. Gandhiji called Subhash Chandra Bose as _________?

Answer: Patriot

  1. Who called Gandhiji as “Half naked Seditious Fakir”?

Answer: Winston Churchill

  1. Who gave the name ‘Gurudev’ to Tagore?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Who called Gandhiji as ‘Mahatma’?

Answer: Ravindara Nath Tagore

  1. Who is political guru of Gandhiji ?

Answer: Gopal Krishna Gokhale

  1. Who is considered as spiritual guru of Gandhiji?

Answer: Shrimad Rajchandra (jain poet,philosopher,scholar and reformer)

  1. When did Gandhiji assassinated?

Answer: 1948 January 30 by Nadhuram Vinayak Godse

  1. What was called as ‘Post Dated Cheque’ by Gandhiji ?

Answer: Cripps’s Mission (1942)

  1. When did Gandhiji published ‘Hind Swaraj’ ?

Answer: In the year 1909.

  1. who gave Baba Amta the title ‘Abhay Sadak’ ?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. The period which is considered as ‘Gandhian Era’ in Indian Independence struggle ?

Answer: 1915 – 1948

  1. Where was Gandhiji’s third satyagraha in India?

Answer:  kheda satyagraha

  1. What is the real name of Gandhi’s Autobiography ?

Answer: Satya na prayogog (my experiments with truth).

  1. What is the period that referred in Gandhi’s Autobiography ?

Answer: 1869 – 1921

  1. When did Autobiography of Gandhiji first published ?

Answer: 1927 (in Navajeevan)

  1. In which language Gandhiji wrote his Autobiography ?

Answer: Gujarati

  1. Who translated Gandhi’s autobiography into English ?

Answer:  Mahadev Desai

  1. Who founded Satyagrah Sabha ?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Who was the secretary of Mahatma Gandhi after the demise of Mahadev Desai ?

Answer: Pyarelal

  1. What is the real name of Mira Behn, the disciple of Gandhiji ?

Answer: Madeleine Slade

  1. Who compared Gandhi’s Dandi March to the legendary journey of Sri Rama to Lanka ?

Answer: Motilal Nehru

* Persons having nick name as Gandhi

  1. Who is known as Frontier Gandhi ?

Answer: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

  1. Who is known as Bihar Gandhi ?

Answer: Dr. Rajendra Prasad

  1. Who is known as Modern Gandhi ?

Answer: Baba Amte

  1. Who is known as Sri Lankan Gandhi ?

Answer: A.T. Ariyaratne

  1. Who is known as American Gandhi ?

Answer: Martin Luther King

  1. Who is known as Burmese Gandhi ?

Answer: Aung San Suu kyi

  1. Who is known as African Gandhi ?

Answer:  Kenneth Kaunda

  1. Who is known as South African Gandhi ?

Answer:  Nelson Mandela

  1. Who is known as Kenya Gandhi ?

Answer:  Jomo Kenyatta

  1. Who is known as Indonesian Gandhi ?

Answer:  Ahmed Sukarno

  1. Who wrote the book “The words of Gandhi” ?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Who is the write of “Gandhi on Non-Violence” ?

Answer: Thomas Merton

  1. “The Life Of Mahatma Gandhi” is written by?

Answer:Louis Fischer

  1. who is the author of “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India”

Answer: Joseph Lelyveld

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