Birth and Parents Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, at Porbandar. Mohandas or Mohan was youngest of the three sons of Putlibai and Karamchand Gandhi. The latter had been Prime Minister successively in three Kathiawar States. He was straight and true as steel, known for his steadfastness and loyalty. The little house were Gandhi was born is today the "Kirti Mandir". Early InfluencesPutlibai was a traditional Indian woman, devoted to her home and family, deeply religious and austere. These qualities left a deep impression on young Gandhi. Another powerful influence of Gandhi’s early life was seeing King Harishchandra, in the play, suffer for, but finally triumph in, his adherence to Truth. The boy Gandhi aspired to do no less. Schooling At school, first the primary at Porbandar, and later the Albert High School, Rajkot, Gandhi showed no particular brilliance, played no games, avoided company. He read little beyond text books, but respected his teacher, though, even at his biding, he would not copy from his neighbour’s answers. Kasturba and Laxmidas Marriage with Kasturba, at the age of thirteen, was almost play. But Gandhi began as a jealous and possessive husband; he wanted to make his illiterate wife an ideal one. The other person he was much attached to was his eldest brother Laxmidas. When their father was no more, it was Laxmidas who helped to educate him and sent him to England for legal studies. In London Putlibai let Gandhi go abroad only after he vowed to lead a chaste and simple life. For a while Gandhi was tempted to ape English dress and manners. But soon he returned to simplicity. A vegetarian by tradition he soon became one by conviction, joining and working actively for the London Vegetarian Society. He was called to the Bar in June 1891. The challenge in South Africa In 1893, Gandhi went to South Africa to handle a case. But though his legal work was soon over, he remained there for 21 years, fighting for Indian rights and defending indentured labour in low courts against discrimination. In this he was assisted by European staff and associates like Polak and Kallenbach. Ashram Settlement In founding and running his Ashram settlement at Phoenix and Tolstoy farm, Gandhi was much influenced by Tolstoy and Ruskin towards leading a simple community life. The third of "the moderns" who impressed Gandhi was Raj Chandra, the Jain philosopher and intellectual. Service in hour of need Gandhi combined his opposition to wrong with the compassion for the wrong-doer. During the Boer war and the Zulu rebellion he helped the Government at the hour of its need, by raising Indian Ambulance and Stretcher-bearer Corps which served close to the line of fire. Gandhi was awarded medals for this service. The Indian struggle The Natal India congress founded by Gandhi in 1894, on lines similar to the Indian National Congress, and later the British Indian committee in the Transvaal fought against restriction on Indian trade, movement and residence. During the campaign against the ‘Black’ Registration Act, Gandhi lit a grand bonfire of thousands of the registration certificates. The Tolstoy Farm The Passive Resistance Struggle was to be long-drawn-out. Thousands of satyagrahis suffered imprisonment, loss of property, trade. Tolstoy farm was built by Gandhi on land donated by Kallenbach, as a colony for housing satyagrahis families. They did farming, grew fruit, followed simple crafts and conducted school — all noble experiments in community living. Gokhale The Great March: - Gokhale visited south Africa in 1892, and studied the Indian problems first-hand. He met government leaders and securing promise of relief counselled Indian moderation. But government failure to abolish the 5 poll-tax drove them to despair. In November 1913, Gandhi led the ‘Great March’ from Natal into the Transvaal, defying law. The Martyrs After Gandhi, Polak and Kallenbach were arrested and jailed. Woman too courted imprisonment. Later the government released them and set up the Solomon commission of inquiry. C. F. Andrews and Person visited South Africa and interceded with the Government. Gandhi attend the unveiling of a memorial for Martyrs like Nagappan and Vilvilliamma. The Mahatma Leaves The Indian relief passed, Gandhi decided to return to India. After receiving farewell tributes, the Mahatma left South Africa in July 1914. When in England, enroute home, the great war broke out. Gandhi helped to raise an Indian Volunteer Corps. In December, Gandhi and Kasturba sailed for India.

Gandhiji was born on 2nd October