A man throws water on a statue of Mahatma Gandhi as he cleans it on the eve of Gandhi's birthday at the Gujarat state legislature complex in Gandhinagar, India, on Oct. 1, 2012.
What's the connection?
It is probably unusual to many that we should use the name of the great spiritual leader and Father of India simultaneously with USA, as we have done here in our website title. To be quit clear and to avoid any confusion, we mean no disrespect! If anything, we are attempting to pay homage to The Great One by claiming him as one of our very own.
For us as Americans, there is a strong and undeniable connection. We might do well to ask ourselves one simple but important question. What might an alternate eventuality be of the American Civil Rights Movement had Dr. Martin Luther King not been a student of Gandhi and adhered closely to his teachings and practice of non-violent disobedience?
We will never really know the
answer to that question, nor will we understand the possible
ramifications for our country. In short, it is safe to say that violence
only breeds more violence... Indeed, we owe a great deal to Gandhi and his philosophies. His influence on the world continues to the furthest reaches of its four corners, even today.
In this interview, Dr. King explains how he was first exposed to the ideas of Gandhi and the philosophy of nonviolence.
covered with a new dusting of snow.
A historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at Britian's Parliament Square in London in a rare honor bestowed by the British
government which had been a staunch adversary of the iconic leader during its
colonial rule in India. In the photo above, British Prime Minister David Cameron shakes hands with
Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Mohandas Gandhi's grandson, beneath the new statue. Gandhi’s 9-foot statue, by British sculptor Philip Jackson, was unveiled jointly by British
Prime Minister David Cameron and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The statue stands exactly opposite Britain’s Houses of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and adjacent to iconic leaders like anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Gandhi’s statue also has Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill for company, an irony given the ex-premier’s dismissive thoughts of someone he described as a half naked fakir.
Barack Obama January 25, 2015
Earliest known photo of young Gandhi, at the age of 7, in 1876
Gandhi with his class mate Sheikh Mehtab (right) at Rajkot, 1883.
Gandhi was referred to by a number of different names. The following are some of them in their various forms. It should not be difficult to remember that Gandhi, Gandhiji, Bapu, Bapuji, the Mahatma or Mahatmaji all refer to the same person, once you get the hang of it!
Bapu is a Hindi word for "Father" or "Spiritual Father". Gandhi was refered to as Bapu, and it was meant as a show of genuine affection. Today, Gandhi is officially honored as the Father of India.
Mahatma is Sanskrit for "Great Soul". Mahatma is the name we recognize in the USA as most closely associated with Gandhi.
"ji" is a suffix used to show respect at the end of a person's name or title, and is well used throughout the Indian subcontinent.
On January 13th, beginning what would prove to be his last fast, the Mahatma said: "Death for me would be a glorious deliverance rather than that I should be a helpless witness of the destruction of India, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam". Gandhi explained that his dream was for all India to live together in unity and harmony.
On 30th January 1948, while Gandhi was on his way to a prayer meeting at Birla House in Delhi, Nathuram Godse managed to get close enough to him in the crowd to be able to shoot him three times in the chest, at point-blank range. Gandhi’s dying words were claimed to be, “Hé Rām”, which translates as, “Oh God”.
A memorial now sits on the site where Gandhiji's body was cremated in Delhi.
A Newsweek Magazine cover immediately following Gandhi's death asks, "India: After Gandhi, What?"
battle of right-against-might" Gandhi, April 5, 1930
Gandhi's note to a journalist at Dandi during the Salt March
Street Art is becoming more popular day by day all over the world and for countries like India, it is something new and exciting. Delhi became the first Indian city to host a Street Art Festival in the south Delhi neighborhood of Shahpur Jat. It hosted a collection of more than 60 artists, international and local, who painted the city walls and made them look like an art gallery.
Gandhi seen here in a photograph from 1944.
At the age of 19, Mohandas left home alone to study law in London at the Inner Temple, one of the city’s four law colleges. Though his elders objected, Gandhi could not be prevented from leaving. It is said that his mother, a devout woman, made him promise that he would keep away from wine, women, and meat during his stay abroad.
Gandhi showed determination in his educational pursuit and accomplished his objective of finishing his degree and successfully passing the bar on June 10, 1891. Upon returning to India that same year, he set up a law practice in Bombay, but met with little success. Unfortunately, Gandhi found that he lacked both knowledge of Indian law and self-confidence in practice. When he was offered a year-long position with an Indian firm as their legal adviser in South Africa, Gandhi was thankful for the opportunity. Together with his wife, Kasturba, and their children, Gandhi remained in South Africa for a total of nearly 20 years before returning home to India.
The Indian community in South Africa consisted mainly of indentured laborers and traders. The laborers were taken to this foreign land by European landlords to bolster South Africa's acute labor shortage. The conditions under which these Indian workers were forced to live was akin to slavery. They were devoid of local political rights, and forced to endure many imposed restrictions and heavy taxes.
Gandhi was appalled by the discrimination he experienced as an Indian immigrant in South Africa. When a European magistrate in Durban asked him to take off his turban, he refused and left the courtroom. On a train voyage to Pretoria, he was thrown out of a first-class railway compartment after refusing to give up his seat for a European passenger; despite having the proper ticketing.
This event was a turning point in Gandhi's life, and soon after he began focusing his attentions and efforts on opposing discriminatory legislation against minority Indians in South Africa. This is where Gandhi was first awakened to social injustice that in turn shaped his social activism. From this political awakening, Gandhi was to emerge as the leader of the Indian community, and it is in South Africa that he first coined the term satyagraha to signify his theory and practice of non-violent resistance.
Gandhi, student in law in London, 1891.
Gandhi during the satyagraha campaign of 1913-14, as he appeared at the end of the struggle, January 1914.
Gandhi during the early days of legal practice, 1902. Gandhi during the early days of his legal practice in Johannesburg, 1900
Gandhi returned to India in early 1915. Except for a short trip that took him to Europe in 1931,
Gandhi was never to leave
the country again. Though he was not completely unknown in
India, Gandhi followed the advice
of his political mentor, Gokhale, and took it upon himself to
become familiar with Indian conditions. He traveled widely for one year.
Over the next few years, he was to become involved in numerous
such as at Champaran in Bihar where workers on indigo
of oppressive working conditions, and at Ahmedabad, where a
broken out between management and workers at textile mills.
earned Gandhi a considerable reputation, and his rapid rise to the
helm of nationalist politics soon followed. As his fame spread, he became widely referred to as Mahatma or Great Soul. By 1921, Gandhi was
leading the Indian National Congress and supporting the Home Rule
movement. In time he rose to become the predominant political and ideological leader of his home country of India during their struggle for independence from British rule.
Gandhi's policy of non-violent, non-cooperation not
only assisted India in winning her long overdue independence, but went on to inspire
movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the world today.
Portrait of Gandhi taken shortly after he and Kasturba returned to India in 1915.
Interactive map of the Indian subcontinent. Porbander, Gandhi's birthplace, is highlighted with a red arrow.
The Story of My Experiments With Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. It was written in weekly installments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929. The book was written primarily as a means to explain the background of his public campaigns. In 1999, the book was designated as one of the "100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities.The link below will allow you to download the book in its entirety as a single 1.9mb .PDF file.
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The Story of My Experiments With Truth.
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- Gandhi is officially honored in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, Oct. 2, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.
- Time Magazine named Mahatma Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930.
- Gandhi had a great sense of humor! One example: When asked by a reporter what he thought of Western civilization, Ghandi replied, "I think it would be a very good idea."
- Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent, due to the fact one of his first teachers was an Irishman.
- On 30 January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was shot and killed on the grounds of the Birla Bhavan (Birla House) in New Delhi.
- Through a pre-arranged marriage, Gandhi was wed at age 13; his wife was one year older.
- Gandhi and his wife had their first child when he was 15 years old. The child died a few days later, but the couple had four sons before he eventually took a vow of celibacy.
- Gandhi's wife died in prison in 1944; he was also in prison at the time of her death. Gandhi was released from prison only because he contracted malaria and officials feared an uprising if he also died while in prison.
- Gandhi was basically very helping and concerned about others. Once while he was boarding a 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 provide the person who was to find them with a matched pair.
- Gandhi never visited the US, but he had many American fans and followers. One of his more unusual admirers was Henry Ford. Gandhi sent him an autographed charkha (spinning wheel) through a journalist emissary. During the darkest days of the Second World War, Ford who was struck by the charkha's "mechanical simplicity and high moral purpose" would often sit for hours and spin.
Time Magazine named Gandhi Man Of The Year for 1930 is their January 5, 1931 issue.
Photo: Kanu Gandhi/©The Estate of Kanu Gandhi
Kanu Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grand-nephew, came to live with The Mahatma in the Sevagram Ashram and became his lifelong follower. Meeting the photographers and journalists who visited Gandhi helped to develop Kanu's interest in photography, although his uncle said there was no money to buy a camera. However, Gandhi agreed to allow Kanu to photograph him on the condition that no flash would be used, that he would never be asked to pose, and that he never request the ashram to fund his photography. In 1936, Kanu received his first camera and a few rolls of film through a 100 rupee contribution from industrialist GD Birla, and thus began his documentation of the last ten years of Gandhi's life.
In 2015, "Kanu's Gandhi" was published as the third title in the Nazar Photography Monographs series brought out by the Delhi-based Nazar Foundation. The exquisitely produced book reveals 92 rare and personal black and white photographs of the Mahatma, taken by Kanu Gandhi between 1938 and 1948. The book was culled from a long forgotten archive that was meticulously researched and painstakingly restored. The book was launched on October 30, 2015 at the Delhi Photo Festival.
Gandhi at his Spinning Wheel, the defining portrait of one of the 20th century's most influential figures, almost didn't happen, thanks to the Mahatma's strict demands. Granted a rare opportunity to photograph India's leader; Life Magazine staffer Margaret Bourke-White was all set to shoot when Gandhi's secretaries stopped her cold: If she was going to photograph Gandhi at the spinning wheel (a symbol for India's struggle for independence), she first had to learn to use one herself.
But that wasn't all. The ascetic Mahatma wasn't to be spoken to (it being his day of silence.) And because he detested bright light, Bourke-White was only allowed to use three flashbulbs. Having cleared all these hurdles, however, there was still one more - the humid Indian weather, which wreaked havoc on her camera equipment. When time finally came to shoot, Bourke-White's first flashbulb failed. And while the second one worked, she forgot to pull the slide, rendering it blank.
She thought it was all over, but luckily, the third attempt was successful. In the end, she came away with an image that became Gandhi's most enduring representation. it was also among the last portraits of his life.
Gandhi statue by the Ferry Building (at The Embarcadero), San Francisco, California.
of 16 Slum Children of Gujarat
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