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Gandhi Ji

In the present day Gujarat state, at Porbandar town, on October 2, 1869 was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose father happened to the Chief Minister(Dewan) of Porbandar His mother, though a deep worshipper of Lord Vishnu, was very much influenced by one of the branches of the Hinduism called Jainism, which believed in non-violence and strict self – discipline. At the age of 19, Mohandas went abroad to study Law at London at the Inner Temple, one of London’s four law colleges. In mid 1891, after coming back from abroad, he opened up law office at Bombay which came to naught. As a corollary, he had to accept a job with an Indian firm which sent him to South Africa to its office. For a period of two decades, Gandhi and his family, consisting of his wife Kasturbai and children, lived there.

The prevalent racial discrimination which as an Indian immigrant Gandhi received in South Africa was simply atrocious to him. In a Durban city court, when a European Magistrate summarily ordered him to take off his turban, he walked off in a huff from the court room. On another occasion, in a first class compartment, while on way to Pretoria, an intolerant white stage coach driver beat Gandhi up when he refused to vacate his seat in favour of an European passenger. That train journey became a turning point in Gandhi’s life (also mankind history’s) when a new concept called satyagraha (truth+resistane) was born, as a way for protesting with authorities, by showing non-cooperation with authorities.

The Birth of Passive Resistance

In 1906, when an order was passed by Transvaal Government that all Indian population should be registered, the concept of civil disobedience was envisaged. For eight long years Gandhi led that campaign. During final phase in 1913, thousands of Indians of that movement went to jail.

Including women, miners were flogged and some wee even shot. Finally under the pressure from the Government of India as well as British, Gandhi and General Smuts worked out a compromise and several important concessions like the abolition of poll tax and abolition of Indian marriages were accepted by South African Government.

Gandhi left the South African soil to return to his motherland, India, in 1914, a momentous year in the annals of India’s history. Though in World War- I he was supportive of the British war efforts to wipe out Fascism of Germany, he was critical about the colonial authorities for many unjust measures. In 1919, when Rowlett Acts was passed giving colonial powers to suppress so called emergency subversive activities, he launched an organized passive resistance campaign. Temporarily he suspended the agitation after Amritsar massacre by British of 400 Indians. By and large, by 1920, in the Indian Independence horizon, he became a shining Star.

Leader of a Movement

Gandhi always pointed out the importance of economic independence in the nonviolent, non cooperation movement campaign for home rule. In order to end the monopoly of the English textiles in India’s economy, he advocated the manufacture of home spun or khaddar cloth in the country. Gandhi’s simplicity in lifestyle bordering on asceticism and emphasis on prayer as a means of uniting all castes and creeds, fasting and meditation all earned him the reverence of multitude of one and all and he was beginning to be called Mahatma (Great Soul). Independent movement became a broad based massive movement under the care and guidance of Gandhi. He slowly trained people to boycott British manufacturers and institutions in India, schools and legislatures included. But due to sporadic violence, the resistance movement was stopped by him much to the dismay of his followers. He was arrested by the British in March 1922 and for sedition sentenced to six years in prison. Due to appendicitis operation, he was released in 1924. Surprisingly for next several years there was a lull in his political activity But again in 1930, a new initiative on colonial government’s salt tax was attacked by him in a new civil disobedience campaign, as it generally affected even poorest citizens

Visit the Land Of Mahatma Gandhi

‘Gujarat state has Mahatma Gandhi’ these are the famous words of Narendra Modi, the present Chief Minister of Gujarat. How true it is! Entire Gujarat is truly swollen with pride to be the birth place of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Today Gujarat has conserved Mahatma Gandhi with museums, ashrams, statues and in every nook and corner of India, we find his statue and roads named after him.

A visit to Gujarat is a must for everyone who wants to know more about the Father of the Nation. This is the state the genius of which was instrumental in his being born into this world, as a result of which the country got rid of the shackles of the bond of foreign rule and tasted the air of freedom. There can be no two opinions about this person’s influence as a world icon, which has influenced world leaders like President Obama of U.S, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Gujarat has several Gandhi attractions. Among them the State government has particularly developed a Gandhi Tourism Circuit facilitating tourists follow the life of the Mahatma.

The following Itinerary has been Chalked Out for Their Benefit

The Gandhi acquaintance journey will necessarily start from his birthplace Porbandar, where was born. He was born in blue haveli, the nomenclature of which is Kirti Mandir. Incidentally this place has been converted into a nice museum, containing old exhibits and photographs of Gandhiji. Some of his possessions which are of rare personal nature are also kept here.

Next place to visit by the tourists is Sabarmathi Ashram. This is in the banks of Sabarmathi river, situated on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where Mahatma spent several years. The main advantage here is, the visitor can get a clear view on the daily life of Gandhiji. A broad assortment of letters written in his own hand, paintings, and literature are all available in this ashram. Near Ahmedabad, another ashram called Kochrab Ashram founded by Gandhiji himself is also worth visiting, which also played a pivotal role in Indian independence movement.

Rajkot’s Rashtriyashala, set up in 1939, by Mahatma Gandhi highlighted the values of Swaraj to the country and educated the people about the pride of freedom the colonial rule. While in Rajkot, another place to visit is Kaba Gandhi no Delo, which was the birth place of the father of Mahatma. A pictorial tour of Gandhi’s life is also available in this house.

Next place in the itinerary will be Bhavnagar to visit a memorial in Gandhi’s remembrance there.

A couple of museums – one Barton Museum, displaying archeological remains of the region and Gandhi museum with interesting insights of Gandhi’s life are there.

Bardoli, a small town near Surat grabbed a significant role in Indian Independence. Here Sardar Patel, another famous son of Gujarat started the famous the No-Tax movement in protest of Taxes on farmers by the British. Other interesting places to visit are Swaraj Ashram, a garden and a museum. Aitihasik Ambo, a mango tree, where Gandhiji said ‘only he would not settle for anything less than complete independence of India’ is in this place only.

Another place near Surat to visit is Dandi, where the historic Dandi March or Namak Satyagraha was ended. That march was against the monopoly of British on Salt. Mahatma Gandhi began a non-violent march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and trekked through to to the ocean town of Dandi, at a distance of 390 km, taking 24 days to reach. Thousands joined him on the way. Gandhiji produced salt at Dandi, and made the entire world to focus their attention on the Indian Independence movement.

Death and Legacy

Death has not diminished his appeal. Gandhji’s commitment to non-violence, simple lifestyle, veggie diet, fasting are all examples being followed by oppressed peoples all over the world for means of protest.

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