Biography Early life and background Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi  was born on 2 October  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 — , served as the diwan chief minister of Porbandar state. His first two wives died young, after each had given birth to a daughter, and his third marriage was childless. In , Karamchand sought his third wife's permission to remarry; that year, he married Putlibai — , who also came from Junagadh,  and was from a Pranami Vaishnava family.
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. In his autobiography, he admits that they left an indelible impression on his mind. To keep two or three consecutive fasts was nothing to her.
His family then rejoined him in Rajkot. There he studied the rudiments of arithmetic, history, the Gujarati language and geography. 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. 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. The two deaths anguished Gandhi. Harilal , born in ; Manilal , born in ; Ramdas , born in ; and Devdas , born in But he dropped out and returned to his family in Porbandar. Gandhi's uncle Tulsidas also tried to dissuade his nephew. Gandhi wanted to go.
To persuade his wife and mother, Gandhi made a vow in front of his mother that he would abstain from meat, alcohol and women. Gandhi's brother Laxmidas, who was already a lawyer, cheered Gandhi's London studies plan and offered to support him. Putlibai gave Gandhi her permission and blessing. Upon arrival, he stayed with the local Modh Bania community while waiting for the ship travel arrangements. The head of the community knew Gandhi's father.
After learning Gandhi's plans, he and other elders warned Gandhi that England would tempt him to compromise his religion, and eat and drink in Western ways. Gandhi informed them of his promise to his mother and her blessings. The local chief disregarded it, and excommunicated him an outcast. But Gandhi ignored this, and on 4 September, he sailed from Bombay to London. His brother saw him off. His childhood shyness and self withdrawal had continued through his teens, and he remained so when he arrived in London, but he joined a public speaking practice group and overcame this handicap to practise law.
He tried to adopt "English" customs, including taking dancing lessons. However, he could not appreciate the bland vegetarian food offered by his landlady and was frequently hungry until he found one of London's few vegetarian restaurants. Influenced by Henry Salt's writing, he joined the Vegetarian Society , was elected to its executive committee,  and started a local Bayswater chapter.
They encouraged Gandhi to join them in reading the Bhagavad Gita both in translation as well as in the original. He returned to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants, but he was forced to stop when he ran afoul of a British officer.
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. 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.
Gandhi was kicked by a police officer out of the footpath onto the street without warning. He found it humiliating, struggling to understand how some people can feel honour or superiority or pleasure in such inhumane practices. He planned to assist Indians in opposing a bill to deny them the right to vote , a right then proposed to be an exclusive European right.
He asked Joseph Chamberlain , the British Colonial Secretary, to reconsider his position on this bill. He helped found the Natal Indian Congress in ,   and through this organisation, he moulded the Indian community of South Africa into a unified political force.
In January , when Gandhi landed in Durban, a mob of white settlers attacked him  and he escaped only through the efforts of the wife of the police superintendent. However, he refused to press charges against any member of the mob.
According to Arthur Herman, Gandhi wanted to disprove the imperial British stereotype that Hindus were not fit for "manly" activities involving danger and exertion, unlike the Muslim "martial races".
They were trained and medically certified to serve on the front lines. They were auxiliaries at the Battle of Colenso to a White volunteer ambulance corps; then at Spion Kop Gandhi and his bearers moved to the front line and had to carry wounded soldiers for miles to a field hospital because the terrain was too rough for the ambulances.
At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of Satyagraha devotion to the truth , or nonviolent protest, for the first time.
Gandhi's ideas of protests, persuasion skills and public relations had emerged. He took these back to India in He was not interested in politics.
This changed after he was discriminated against and bullied, such as by being thrown out of a train coach because of his skin colour by a white train official. After several such incidents with Whites in South Africa , Gandhi's thinking and focus changed, and he felt he must resist this and fight for rights.
He entered politics by forming the Natal Indian Congress. Gandhi suffered persecution from the beginning in South Africa. Like with other coloured people, white officials denied him his rights, and the press and those in the streets bullied and called him a "parasite", "semi-barbarous", "canker", "squalid coolie", "yellow man", and other epithets.
People would spit on him as an expression of racial hate. In some cases, state Desai and Vahed, his behaviour was one of being a willing part of racial stereotyping and African exploitation. Scholars cite it as an example of evidence that Gandhi at that time thought of Indians and black South Africans differently.
Gandhi cited race history and European Orientalists' opinions that "Anglo-Saxons and Indians are sprung from the same Aryan stock or rather the Indo-European peoples", and argued that Indians should not be grouped with the Africans.
The general image of Gandhi, state Desai and Vahed, has been reinvented since his assassination as if he was always a saint, when in reality his life was more complex, contained inconvenient truths and was one that evolved over time. The medical team commanded by Gandhi operated for less than two months. Andrews , Gandhi returned to India in He brought an international reputation as a leading Indian nationalist, theorist and community organiser.
Gandhi joined the Indian National Congress and was introduced to Indian issues, politics and the Indian people primarily by Gokhale. Gokhale was a key leader of the Congress Party best known for his restraint and moderation, and his insistence on working inside the system.
Gandhi took Gokhale's liberal approach based on British Whiggish traditions and transformed it to make it look Indian. The British did not recognise the declaration but negotiations ensued, with the Congress taking a role in provincial government in the late s. Gandhi and the Congress withdrew their support of the Raj when the Viceroy declared war on Germany in September without consultation. Tensions escalated until Gandhi demanded immediate independence in and the British responded by imprisoning him and tens of thousands of Congress leaders.
Meanwhile, the Muslim League did co-operate with Britain and moved, against Gandhi's strong opposition, to demands for a totally separate Muslim state of Pakistan. In August the British partitioned the land with India and Pakistan each achieving independence on terms that Gandhi disapproved. In a June leaflet entitled "Appeal for Enlistment", Gandhi wrote "To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible despatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the army.
Gandhi's private secretary noted that "The question of the consistency between his creed of ' Ahimsa ' nonviolence and his recruiting campaign was raised not only then but has been discussed ever since. Champaran Satyagraha Gandhi in , at the time of the Kheda and Champaran Satyagrahas Gandhi's first major achievement came in with the Champaran agitation in Bihar.
The Champaran agitation pitted the local peasantry against their largely British landlords who were backed by the local administration. The peasantry was forced to grow Indigo, a cash crop whose demand had been declining over two decades, and were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. Unhappy with this, the peasantry appealed to Gandhi at his ashram in Ahmedabad. Pursuing a strategy of nonviolent protest, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and won concessions from the authorities.
Kheda Satyagraha In , Kheda was hit by floods and famine and the peasantry was demanding relief from taxes. Gandhi moved his headquarters to Nadiad ,  organising scores of supporters and fresh volunteers from the region, the most notable being Vallabhbhai Patel. A social boycott of mamlatdars and talatdars revenue officials within the district accompanied the agitation. Gandhi worked hard to win public support for the agitation across the country. For five months, the administration refused but finally in end-May , the Government gave way on important provisions and relaxed the conditions of payment of revenue tax until the famine ended.
In Kheda, Vallabhbhai Patel represented the farmers in negotiations with the British, who suspended revenue collection and released all the prisoners. Before this initiative of Gandhi, communal disputes and religious riots between Hindus and Muslims were common in British India, such as the riots of — Gandhi had already supported the British crown with resources and by recruiting Indian soldiers to fight the war in Europe on the British side. This effort of Gandhi was in part motivated by the British promise to reciprocate the help with swaraj self-government to Indians after the end of World War I.
The British colonial officials made their counter move by passing the Rowlatt Act , to block Gandhi's movement. The Act allowed the British government to treat civil disobedience participants as criminals and gave it the legal basis to arrest anyone for "preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without judicial review or any need for a trial". He leveraged the Khilafat movement , wherein Sunni Muslims in India, their leaders such as the sultans of princely states in India and Ali brothers championed the Turkish Caliph as a solidarity symbol of Sunni Islamic community ummah.
It initially led to a strong Muslim support for Gandhi. However, the Hindu leaders including Rabindranath Tagore questioned Gandhi's leadership because they were largely against recognising or supporting the Sunni Islamic Caliph in Turkey. It offered evidence of inter-communal harmony in joint Rowlatt satyagraha demonstration rallies, raising Gandhi's stature as the political leader to the British.
Jinnah began creating his independent support, and later went on to lead the demand for West and East Pakistan. Deadly religious riots re-appeared in numerous cities, with 91 in United Provinces of Agra and Oudh alone.