Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), affectionately known as Bappuji, was born in Porbandar in the present state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869. He is also know as "Father of the Nation". The nation is celebrating his 135th Birth anniversary(Gandhi Jayanthi) come October 2nd, 2004.
A brief history
His real name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was born to Karamchand Gandhi and Puthlibai in Porbandar in Gujarat on October 2, 1869.
He had his schooling in nearby Rajkot, where his father served as the adviser or prime minister to the local ruler. His father died before Gandhi could finish his schooling, and at thirteen he was married to Kasthurba who was even younger. In those days child marriages were rampant.
In 1888 Gandhi set sail for England, where he had decided to pursue a degree in law. He was fluent in Hindi and English, and residing in the minds of millions, Gandhiji was able to unite India like none other.
Mohandas K. Gandhi was a constant experimenter. Spirituality, religion, self-reliance, health, education, clothing, drinks, medicine, child care, status of women, no field escaped his search for truth. His thoughts, whether in the spoken form or expressed in writing, became authorative words of action for the masses of India. He was a man who did what he said and led an exemplary and a transparent life. Not many people can claim "My life is an open book". There were millions of Indians who treated Gandhi's suggestions as supreme commands and acted upon them (hence the name Mahatma).
He identified himself with the struggles and pains of the common Indians.
He quickly became the sole voice of the downtrodden and the exploited. They completely believed that Gandhiji understood their difficulties and would provide justice for them. Among Gandhiji's disciples were kings, royals, untouchables, rich, poor, foreigners and women. When this selfless and pure man became the leader of the nation, he gave a clear and unambiguous direction to the efforts being made for resolving the Himalayan problems facing India. Most important of them were poverty, religious conflict, exploitation, ignorance and colonization by the British.