India’s great soul

Mahatma Gandhi at Aga Khan Palace

The great soul of India – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi wanted to change the world through love and kindness. He did it. He lived to show the way the planet should live after him. A way where there is no evil, no hatred and no violence. He was an advocate, a politician, a pacifist, a fighter for human freedom. He created India. He became the Father of the Nation and its spiritual leader. He is Mahatma Gandhi – India’s great soul.

„Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.“ These are words of the genious Albert Einstein, who lived at the same time as Gandhi. They say it all about one of the greatest persons that humanity has ever known. 149 years have passed since the day that Gandhi came to this world, but his covenants still echo everywhere on Earth. They inspire millions in their personal life.

Today Gandhi’s spirit lives in the whole country, but there is one place that should definitely be visited. A place that should not be missed if you travel to India – Aga Khan Palace in the city of Pune – Gandhi’s memorial. The magestic white castle was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III. In 1942 Gandhi was imprisoned there with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his long-time secretary Mahadev Desai for almost 2 years, because of his fight for India’s independence from the British Empire, and during this period his two closest companions in life died. In 1969 the castle was given to the Indian people by Aga Khan IV as a symbol of respect for Gandhi and his philosophy. Today there is a monument preserving his ashes. These facts made the place sacred for the whole Indian nation. Every year pilgrims from all over the country come to this place. Moreover thousands of supporters of Gandhi’s phylosophical views from the whole world, also get visas for India and come to pay respect to the memory of Gandhi and his relatives.

The life of Mahatma Gandhi

The life of the Father of the Indian Nation is a shattering story of fighting. A fight to live in freedom and with dignity. A fight whithout any violence, a fight where only love exists. It all started in 1893. At that time, the 23 year-old Gandhi came to work in South Africa. He immediately saw terrible skin color discrimination, that he personally faced more than once. He started a political activity in the country, fighting for more rights for the Indians and developing a concept for non-violent resistance that he called “Satyagraha” and which became an inspiration for people like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

In 1915 Gandhi went back to India and started a long fight for the country’s independence. His weapons against British Raj were peaceful resistance, non-violence and non-cooperation. He organized hundreds of initiatives, campaigns and marches with the local people. He called for a massive boycott on all British goods, British educational institutions and courtrooms. He asked people to leave the government jobs and to give up the British titles and honors. He never used any force in his fighting, and he strictly followed his principle that any form of violence is evil and could not be justified. Gandhi was determined: “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.“

Throughout the years the Father of the Indian Nation was arrested many times by the British collonial powers, and he spent a total of eight years in prison. His answer though was always the same – love. Three times during his activity he stopped massive campaigns, which were on the way to achieve the so craved independence, just because they reached to the edge of violence. Gandhi says: “Violence is the weapon of weak, non-violence that of the strong.”

Eventually on June 3rd 1947 the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee proclaimed the country’s independence, dividing British India in two parts: the predominantly Hindu India and the predominantly Muslim Pakistan. Gandhi’s words stay forever: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

The Father of the Indian Nation left this world on January 30th 1948, while working on his project on the constitution. Ten days earlier an unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate him – the leader of the country was speaking, addressing the believers from the porch in his home in Delhi, when a Punjab refugee threw a hand-made bomb on him. Nobody was injured. The government insisted that his security is reinforced, but Gandhi denied: “If I’m to die by the bulleet of a mad man, I must do so smiling.”

In the fatal January 30th, the Father of the Nation came out on the lawn in front of his home, where he was loudly welcomed by his supporters. At this moment he was hit by three bullets, fired by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, because of his tolerance for the Muslims. Gandhi wispered “O, Rama! O, Rama!”, made a sign that he forgives his assassin and closed his eyes forever.

Nowadays, Gandhi’s birthday – October 2nd is celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. And his words “There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only ‘peace’.” should be followed by every political leader in the world. Then the world would be better. As the one Gandhi was fighting for.