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Mahatma Gandhi

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: “high-souled”, “venerable”) applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa, is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for “father”, “papa”) in India. In common parlance in India he is often called Gandhiji. He is unofficially called the Father of the Nation.

Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat, western India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated in the garden of the former Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti) at 5:17 pm on 30 January 1948. Accompanied by his grandnieces, Gandhi was on his way to address a prayer meeting, when his assassin, Nathuram Godse, fired three bullets from a Beretta 9 mm pistol into his chest at point-blank range. Godse was a Hindu nationalist with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi guilty of favouring Pakistan and strongly opposed the doctrine of nonviolence. Godse and his co-conspirator were tried and executed in 1949.
Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is a national holiday in India, Gandhi Jayanti. Gandhi’s image also appears on paper currency of all denominations issued by Reserve Bank of India, except for the one rupee note. Gandhi’s date of death, 30 January, is commemorated as a Martyrs’ Day in India.

There are three temples in India dedicated to Gandhi. One is located at Sambalpur in Orissa and the second at Nidaghatta village near Kadur in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka and the third one at Chityal in the district of Nalgonda, Telangana. The Gandhi Memorial in Kanyakumari resembles central Indian Hindu temples and the Tamukkam or Summer Palace in Madurai now houses the Mahatma Gandhi Museum.

(Source – Wikipedia)

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