Mahatma Gandhi : Early Life, Chronology, Campaigns, Satyagraha & Writings

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Mahatma Gandhi is one of most important person who played major role as Indian Freedom fighter. today, we are going to share some best GK Questions and Answers on Mahatma Gandhi, which can be very helpful in the preparation of competitive examinations such as Talati, Gpsc, Bin Sachivalay, SSC Clerk, UPSC (IAS, IPS, IFS) and Railways exam preparation.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly called Mahatma Gandhi, was the main architect of the Indian nation and is rightly called the Father of the Nation.

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Chronology of Mahatma Gandhi  (1869-1948)

2 October, 1869Born at Porbandar, Kathiawar, India, son of Karamchand and Putlibai Gandhi.
1883Married Kasturba
1888Sailed from Bombay for England to study law
1891Returned to India after being called to the Bar. Began to practise law in Bombay and Rajkot.
April 1893Sailed for South Africa to become lawyer for an Indian firm
May 1894Organised the Natal Indian Congress
1899Organised Indian Ambulance Corps for British in Boer war
1901-02Travelled extensively in India, attended Indian National Congress meeting in Calcutta and opened law office in Bombay
1902Returned to South Africa at the request of Indian Community
1903Established the weekly journal ‘Indian Opinion’. Organised Phoenix Farm near Durban.
September 1906First ‘Satyagraha’ campaign in protest against proposed Asiatic ordinance directed against Indian immigrants in Transvaal.
June 1907Organized ‘Satyagraha’ against compulsory registration of Asiatics (The Black Act)
January 1908Stood trial for instigating ‘Satyagraha’ and was sentenced to two months imprisonment in Johannesburg jail (his first imprisonment)
February 1908
August 1908After Smuts broke agreement, second ‘Satyagraha’ campaign began with bonfire of registration certificates
February 1909Sentenced to three months imprisonment in Volksrust and Pretoria jails
November 1909Arrested for third time
December 1909Released unconditionally in expectation of a compromise
May 1910Established Tolstoy farm near Johannesburg
September 1913Third ‘Satyagraha’ campaign. Led 2,000 Indian miners from New Castle across Transvaal border.
July 1914Returned to India, leaving South Africa forever

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Profile of Mahatma Gandhi

Early Life:

Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869, in Porbandar, India. His family belonged to the Vaishya (merchant) class of Hindus and the young Gandhi received a fairly orthodox, upbringing. At the age of 13 years, Gandhi’s marriage was held, his bride, Kasturba, being the same age and chosen by his parents.

Gandhi was soon sent to London to study law and there he quickly became aware of his ineptness in social gatherings. In his autobiography, Gandhi narrates his attempts at getting Westernized, including violin and ball-room dancing lessons.

In 1891 Gandhi returned to India to practice law but was too shy and awkward and thus met with little success.

South Africa and the Beginnings of Satyagraha

In 1893, Mahatma Gandhi went to South Africa, then under British control, for legal work. Racial discrimination was freely practiced and in a incident that would change his life, Gandhi was forcefully evicted from a first class train compartment. This incident in South Africa opened Gandhi’s eyes to the rampant racial discrimination and humiliation faced by non-whites.

For 21 years, Gandhi stayed in South Africa, working towards rights for Indians in South Africa. He began the “Tolstoy Farm” in South Africa and edited the newspaper called ‘Indian Opinion’. Gandhi began experimenting with non-violent methods of protest, promoting civil disobedience and strikes or “hartals.”

Gandhi was arrested several times but his action prompted some reforms. Ironically, for his humanitarian work during the 1899-1902 Boer War and Zulu Rebellion, Gandhi was decorated by the British authorities.

Early Campaigns in India

In 1915 Gandhi returned to India and toured the country extensively, making Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, his base.

In July 1917, Gandhi first stepped into the limelight in India, when he headed a protest against the exploitation of the Indigo workers in Champaran (Bihar).

By March 1918 Gandhi led a peaceful strike of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) Mill workers for higher wages and in June 1918, a remission of taxes was granted in the drought hit area of Kheda (Gujarat) after a no-tax campaign led by Gandhi.

Rowlatt Satyagraha

In protest against the Rowlatt Act imposing war time restrictions on Indians, Gandhi launched the Rowlatt Satyagraha on 6th April 1919.

It was a combination of hartals, fasting and prayer meetings and breaking of some civil laws. But the Rowlatt Satyagraha ended amidst the violence of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and Gandhi called of his “Himalayan blunder”.

But the initial phase of the Rowlatt Movement had proved the potential of Satyagraha and thus both the Indian National Congress and Khilafat leaders supported the Non Co-operation Movement of 1920.

The participation of women, children, all castes and religions made this a truly mass movement and the era of Gandhism entered its greatest phase. But Gandhi called off the movement because of a violent incident at Chaurichaura (United Province).

The Doctrine of Satyagraha

“Satyagraha” means insistence and adherence to truth, in a non-violent manner. Initially the term “passive resistance” was used to describe non-violent protest but Gandhi insisted that Satyagraha was more than that.

Satyagraha was a way of life, an evolving technique to bring change without violence. Non violence or “Ahimsa” to Gandhi was imperative as a search for truth involved fighting injustice. Fighting injustice required one to love fellow beings and this love demanded non violence. Gandhi believed it was necessary to first feel for the oppressed then fight for justice, thus making Satyagraha a “truth” and “justice” seeking force.

Facing any brutality without resorting to violence demanded exceptional self-control and courage. But Gandhi insisted that a Satyagrahi could only oppose an unfair act, never a person. Compassion for the suffering and constructive work were necessary ingredients of satyagraha.

The success of Satyagraha can be explained by the fact, that anyone, truly wishing to, could perform a Satyagraha with/without a leader. A single person could fast in protest, a group could go on strike, women could picket shops selling foreign goods etc. Thus all Gandhi’s Satyagrahas were open to everybody, irrespective of caste, creed or age.

While performing Satyagrahas, Gandhi was an expert at symbolism. In 1930, when the Civil Disobedience movement was launched, Gandhi chose to break the salt law. The image of this frail man, holding aloft a handful of salt swept India into a flurry of civil action against the British authorities, simply because the salt issue affected every single Indian. Similarly, popularization of the “Charkha” or spinning wheel was due to its practical use of spinning khadicotton and as a symb