2nd October 1869 – 30th January 1948
“The Weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”
All Men are Brothers, Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was a political leader in India who fought a peaceful revolution of civic disobedience against the British colonial forces.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Gujarat in 1869. At school he encountered people from different faiths and castes to him, this experience combined with his reading of Indian myths started his devotion to Love and Justice as ultimate human ideals. Gandhi trained as a barrister and spent 21 years as a civil rights lawyer in South Africa where he developed his views that national identity transcended religious and caste identity. He suffered many racist attacks and discrimination which lead him to question his, and other Indians, place in the British Empire.
In 1915 Gandhi returned to India to begin the struggle for independence. He rose to a prominent position in the India Congress which eventually declared independence. This independence was not recognized by the British who later imprisoned Gandhi and many other congress members.
Despite being a devout Hindu, a major influence on Gandhi’s thinking was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes, and his correspondence with, radical Christian Anarchist, Leo Tolstoy who was also participating in non-violent political resistance at the time. In the 1920’s Gandhi began his campaign of non-co-operation and active nonviolence with marches, protests and hunger strikes. He fought for more recognition of the lower castes, the emancipation of women and freedom from British rule.
Whilst there is debate over the effectiveness of his politic achievements Gandhi is now revered as a global hero for political activism and non-violent resistance and known as the “Father of India”. He championed equality and justice for all in one of the most segregated and oppressive places of the world shunning the use of weapons and so shone a light on the evils and injustices of militarism, colonialism and segregation.
Gandhi was assassinated on this day by a Hindu nationalist on his way to a prayer meeting.
A Prayer for Mahatma Gandhi:
Lord God of all people and of all Nations. We thank you for the life and example of Mahatma Gandhi who through reading your Holy Scriptures was inspired and driven to fight against the oppressive systems of our world. We ask that we too would be filled with the same fire and zeal to fight injustice through the means of non-violence for the betterment of all people, not just our own social class. Through your most Holy Name we pray. Amen
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