Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi~October 2, 1869

“Born of Hindu parents in 1869, Gandhi traveled to London as a young adultto study law. He corresponded with Tolstoy, sending him a copy of IndianHome Rule and seeking Tolstoy’s comments. Tolstoy replied that India andhumanity as a whole needed the practice of passive resistance.”

Gandhi in 1907 in South Africa

Gandhi in 1907 in South Africa

“Gandhi gained employment with a Muslim law firm in South Africa. There,with his dark complexion, he encountered extreme racial prejudice. Reading the Bible, the Koran, and Tolstoy’s Kingdom of God Is Within You, he became increasingly convinced that only nonviolence could heal the wounds of the world, both personal and national. He worked tirelessly on behalf of Indian immigrants’ civil rights, refusing to depart from nonviolence to achieve political purposes. Instead he relied on satyagraha, a term he coined, meaning “holding on to Truth” or “Soul force”. He achieved remarkable changes on behalf of South African Indians during this period.”

Gandhi at age 21

Gandhi at age 21

“Returning to India, Gandhi took up the cause of freedom from British rule. He endured imprisonments without trial, and fasted for weeks on end to purify both his own motives and those of others in the freedom movement whose frustration with setbacks and slow progress often led to violence. He founded the weekly paper Harijan to address the need of “untouchables,” and created two ashrams.

Ultimately the goal of independence for India became a source of great sadness to Gandhi. He refused to attend the independence celebration on August 15, 1947, unwilling to be a party to what he termed “India’s vivisection”: the partitioning off of Pakistan from India. During the civil unrest following independence, Gandhi fasted for communal peace. He personally visited areas beset with riots, to no avail. In January 1948, Gandhi was assassinated as he was on his way to a prayer meeting.

Gandhi’s timeless influence inspired Dr. Martin Luther King and countless other peace activists, and brings light to our world in these dark days.

Recommended readings: Gandhi on Non-Violence, A Selection from the Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, edited and with an introduction by Thomas Merton; and, The Words of Gandhi, selected by Richard Attnborough, Director of the award-winning film “Gandhi” (1982), for which Attenborough prepared through 20 years of study about Gandhi and his life.” — from, A Network for Grateful Living.

Kasturba, Gandhi's wife, in 1915

Kasturba, Gandhi’s wife, in 1915


“To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?”~ Gandhi

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