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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a great son of India. He was born when the country was not free, but was suffering under the British rule. Gandhi, by his words and deeds, inspired the people of the country, united them and led them in a massive non-violent struggle against the mighty foreign reign. Thanks to his leadership and the great sacrifices of the people, the English were forced to move out of our land and our country got independence at last, in the year 1947. Gandhi was a noble soul and is hailed as Mahatma and as ‘The Apostle of Peace’. He is also revered as the Father of the Nation. The word ‘jayanti ’ denotes the day of birth and is used to refer to the birth of divinities and great persons. Gandhi jayanti is the day of birth of Mahatma Gandhi and that is celebrated by the people with gratitude and joy.
Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 in the state of Gujarat. He studied law in England and went to South Africa for practicing as a lawyer and earning his livelihood. England was ruling South Africa then, and the people of Indian origin were treated as virtual slaves. Gandhi brought the people together, started the struggle against the British tyranny through peaceful means and at last, got them many legitimate rights. Then, he returned to motherland in 1915. India was under the total control of the English rule then, where people were denied their rights and were undergoing untold miseries. Gandhi assessed the situation and launched the Civil Disobedience movements, organizing people in non-violent, non-cooperation struggles against the rulers. Acceding to his call of ‘Satyagraha’, the truthful, non-violent, resistance, millions of people quit their vocations and went to prison. This unique struggle of Mahatma Gandhi had no precedents and hence the British authorities had no answers for it.
They let loose various forms of oppressions on the people and Gandhi himself, along with many leaders of The Indian National Congress, the party he lead, were imprisoned for years. After decades of various struggles, the British government was forced to grant freedom to India. But tension between Hindus and Muslims led to great violence, and the nation had to be divided into sectarian lines, as India and Pakistan, amidst bloodbath. India became independent on 15th August, 1947. But, Gandhi, who was mainly instrumental in our getting freedom, was touring the riot hit areas and observing fast, in order to instill peace among the warring communities. Even though Gandhi served the nation selflessly, there were people who accused him of being biased towards Muslims, and he was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic in a prayer meeting on 30th January, 1948 in Delhi. Thus, the life of this embodiment of peace was snuffed out by violence. Gandhi was not only a freedom fighter but was also a great social reformer, who fought against many of the ills of the society like untouchability, for eradicating which he observed fasts for several days many times in his life. Thus Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to our land has no parallels in history.
Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2nd October all over the country. On this day, the President of India leads the nation in offering homage to Gandhi in his Samadhi (place of cremation), in Delhi, while his statues are garlanded and tributes paid to him in state capitals and other places. Prayer meetings and events are also held at the place where he fell to the assassin’s bullets and also all over the country, in which his services to the nation are gratefully remembered. Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday for us, while UN has declared the day as the International Day of Non-Violence.