Where was Gandhi killed
Throughout his life, Gandhi fought non-violently for more justice in India and for independence from the colonial power of England. He himself died that Tuesday 70 years ago from the bullets of a Hindu nationalist.
The first name of the Indian resistance fighter Gandhi? Almost everyone would guess "Mahatma". This is the Hindu honorary title "Great Soul", which the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore bestowed on him in 1915. Other contemporaries such as the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who described Gandhi as a "rebellious, naked fakir", found far less flattering paraphrases. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the leading figure of the Indian independence movement against the British colonial administration.
The inconspicuous Indian with the simple loincloth thought nothing of the use of weapons - in his gentle eyes they were a "symbol of helplessness". Instead, the deeply devout Hindu encountered the occupiers in a spirit of love and non-violence. With success: in 1914 the previously discriminated Indian immigrants in South Africa became citizens with equal rights, and in 1947 India became independent.
Gandhi resigns as a lawyer
In the life of Gandhi, who was born on October 2, 1869, there is initially nothing to indicate his extraordinary political abilities. Growing up in a pious family, the young Gandhi is particularly interested in Jainism with its commandments of non-violence and respect for all living beings. As a young man he reads the Indian wisdom book, the Bhagavadgita, and the Bible with the Sermon on the Mount. At school, Gandhi, who will later give important speeches off the cuff, is terribly shy. As a result, he also fails as a lawyer; he has to give up his legal practice.
In 1893 he went to South Africa as legal advisor for an Indian company. Gandhi discovers the lawyer's real job of bringing conflicting parties back together and becomes an advocate for the oppressed Indian immigrants in South Africa. There he studies among other things Hinduism and Henry David Thoreau's book "Civil Disobedience". In 1914 he experienced his greatest political success to date in Africa through tenacious persistence: The discriminatory laws against the Indians are repealed, they are now citizens with equal rights.
Gandhi leads the Indian resistance movement
The conditions in India mean that Gandhi is also politically active in his home country. There he strives for the equality of Indians in the British Empire. With his own mix of humble gentleness, indomitable determination, and clear political logic, Gandhi leads the resistance movement against the British with ever broader Indian support.
The British government was completely perplexed by the peaceful revolution, and even mass imprisonments remained ineffective. "You cannot keep imprisoning and imprisoning, especially when you are dealing with a nation of 319 million," remarked a senior British official at the non-violent protest. In 1930 Gandhi led the salt march, during which the Indians demanded free access to the sea in order to be able to extract salt there themselves. When numerous Indians tried to enter the Darshana salt mines, the British beat down the peaceful demonstrators - in front of the eyes of the world press. Britain lost face.
India pays independence in blood tolls
At the end of the Second World War, England's position was weakened, and on August 15, 1947, India gained independence - albeit as a divided country: five million Sikhs and Hindus had to leave the Pakistani half of the Punjab after independence, while over five million Muslims were still in the Indian one Half.
When the refugee movement began, Hindus and Muslims attacked each other. Gandhi, the "father of the Indian nation", was deeply depressed by the blood toll in India's independence and his personal failure. His long struggle as a Hindu for the rights of Muslims and his openness to other religions ultimately became his undoing: On January 30, 1948, the 78-year-old "apostle of non-violence" was shot by a fanatical supporter of a nationalist Hindu organization.
Even 70 years after the fatal assassination, Gandhi continues to be fascinated, and he is still considered a modern saint. He combined such a great humanity and many good qualities that Albert Einstein said of him: "Future generations will perhaps find it hardly credible that a person like this ever walked on this earth in flesh and blood."
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