This article by Oyvind Tonnesson will give the reader a greater understanding of who Mahatma Gandhi was and the philosophy he stood for. The man known as Mahatma (meaning ‘Great Soul') Gandhi was born Mohandas Karmachand Gandhi on October 2, 1869. He received his education first in India and then in London, receiving admittance to the English bar in 1889. In 1891, he returned to India but was unsuccessful in setting up a law firm. He found work as a legal advisor in South Africa instead. He was outraged at the denial of civil liberties and learned how non-whites were not treated fairly. Indians were referred to, derogatorily, as ‘coolies.' They generally had no political rights and were subject to racial discrimination. Gandhi himself experienced this discrimination first hand when, although he held a first-class ticket, he was thrown out of a first-class railway compartment. This as well as his awareness of unfair treatment gave rise to his animosity of Apartheid. He embraced the idea of combating violence with non-violence. He adhered to teachings of Henry David Thoreau, Annie Besant, Tolstoy, and Jesus Christ, among others. In 1914 he had gained a victory with the Natal government. The government officially promised to alleviate anti-Indian discrimination and make concessions. By 1915 his non-violent ideology was widely received and he had many followers. After his death, many leaders in the United States adopted his methods of civil disobedience, including Martin Luther King, Jr.
, a civil rights leader. Gandhi wrote an autobiography in which he recorded the early years of his life. He referred to himself as a seeker of truth. Gandhi, for all his efforts, was arrested for sedition and spent six years imprisoned. He was released in 1925 due to poor health. He would go back to India to continue the fight and would be arrested a few more times. One evening, while walking to evening prayers toward the garden where the prayer meeting was held, a young man came up to him. Nathuram Godse bent down in a humble gesture, then removed a revolver from his pocket and fired three shots into Gandhi's chest. Gandhi's hands were still folded in a greeting as he fell, taking his last breath, and blessing his assassin. The watch he wore beneath his loincloth hit the ground, stopping the hands to read 5:12 pm. Through his work, Mahatma Gandhi enabled the less fortunate people of the world to gain a higher quality of life. Reading this article will be beneficial to those wanting to understand the man, Mahatma Gandhi fully.