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Mahatma Gandhi's Political Activism & Spirituality

Mahatma Gandhi's life synthesized spirituality and political activism. Gandhi believed in human dignity and freedom; he fought injustice with words, ideals, and self-discipline. Gandhi's unique philosophy helped free India and influenced generations of peace activists.

Gandhi was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in India on October 2, 1869. Although his family was not wealthy, they lived a comfortable life as members of India's middle class. The Gandhis belonged to the Bania caste, a social subdivision that included merchants, tradesmen, landowning farmers, and government officials. Gandhi's father was a respected official in the court of local royalty. Gandhi probably inherited his love for austerity from his father: "My father never had any ambition to accumulate riches and left us very little property." Gandhi inherited his spirituality from his mother, who he described as deeply religious. Both Gandhi's parents were Hindus, and the whole family were strict vegetarians.

At the time of Gandhi's birth, India was ruled by the British. The British had been in India since the early seventeenth century when they set up trading posts by force, bribery or agreement with the Mogul Emperor and the local princes. When the Mogul court in Delhi collapsed in the 1700s, the British minority took more control of Indian political affairs, as well as the land and its resources. India was declared an official colony in 1858, and Great Britain placed its eleven provinces under imperial rule. To enforce its laws, Britain stationed thousands of troops in India. The troops were soon joined by British political officials and their families, as well as businesspeople: "The majority of British officials had little interest in getting to know the country where they had chosen to serve: their principal concern was to protect themselves and to establish control." While many Indians approved of some of the improvements brought by Briti...

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Mahatma Gandhi's Political Activism & Spirituality. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:44, May 21, 2019, from