Why did Gandhi fast on Independence Day

Porbandar is a small town on the west coast of India on the Kathiawad peninsula. At the time of Gandhi, Porbandar was a small dwarf state with barely more than 72,000 inhabitants who lived mainly from trade.
Here Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 into the trading caste of Modh Bania. The Gandhis worshiped Vishnu, who especially embodies the sustaining and loving aspect of God.
The Gandhi family played an important role in the political life of the small state. Like his grandfather, his father was Karamchand Diwan, a kind of prime minister of the state. Grandfather and father were men with firm principles, a great love for the truth, but also of heated temperament and sensuality.
His mother Putlibai described Mohan4as as a saint of deep religiosity. She was a strong personality with a lot of self-discipline. Her strict vows impressed the later Mahatma, as did her regular fasting.
In his autobiography he could hardly remember his school days. He attributed his learning difficulties to a sluggish intellect and poor memory.
However, some writings and stories found Mohan's special interest early on. Above all, this included the Ramayana of Tulsidas. His nurse taught him to recite the divine name "Rama". As a result, the young Gandhi lost his great fear of ghosts and found his first access to God.

He was also fascinated by the stories told by puppeteers and actors in the city. For him, Shravana symbolized the son's devotion to his parents. Harishchandra represented the ideal of the seeker of truth.
Mohan was forbidden to touch a street sweeper who regularly came to her home. Mohan claimed that untouchability was not legitimized by religion. Therefore, touching a street sweeper could not be a sin.
At the age of 13 Mohan married the same age Kasturbai from a respected family in Porbandar. With this child marriage, an embarrassing chapter in his biography began for Gandhi. Later he also fought against what he believed to be the absurd and ominous institution of child marriage.
After his school education, Gandhi went to study in England in 1888. After his father's death, his mother did not let him go until he had sworn not to touch wine, women, and meat. Despite this oath, Gandhi was expelled from the caste for his overseas trip.
He found it difficult to find his way around London. Gandhi played the English gentleman, bought the best of London clothes and took lessons in French, dancing and playing the violin.
On November 6, 1888, Gandhi was admitted to the Inner Temple for training as a lawyer. After a few failures, the would-be gentleman corrected his experiments and gradually changed his life.
Gandhi wrote to his brother that he was pleased to be admitted to the bar and that he could keep his oath.
Gandhi kept an accurate record of every little expense and organized his life according to a meticulous plan. He invested a lot of money in books and read them with great eagerness. He even learned Latin to study Roman law.
To make his life easier, he rented a room and cooked his own meals. The changes in lifestyle gave Gandhi deep satisfaction.
He became a member of the Vegetarian Society of London, met a lot of interesting people, started his own diet experiments ...
... and wrote articles on the customs and diets of the Hindus for the Society's magazine. He described alcohol as an enemy of humanity and a curse of civilization.
In 1889 Mohandas read the Bhagavad Gita for the first time, in German "The Song of the Sublime" in English translation and in the original. Above all, the verses in the second chapter about renunciation and renunciation as the highest form of religion left a lasting deep impression on him. From then on, Gandhi regarded the Gita as the "book par excellence for the knowledge of truth".
On the advice of a friend, he also read the Bible. The Sermon on the Mount in particular spoke from his heart. He tried to combine the teachings of the Gita, the Buddha and the mountain preaching and deepened his comparative study of the world religions.
Gandhi passed his exams and was admitted to the bar on June 10, 1891. He left for home the following day. On his arrival he learned that his dearly beloved mother had died in the meantime.

In April 1893, Gandhi went to South Africa to represent an Indian company in a lawsuit in court.
The racial discrimination there shocked him and deeply affected him.
As a colored "coolie" he had to take all sorts of insults and beatings in the apartheid society. However, he refrained from retaliation or prosecution of the white evildoers.
During his stay in South Africa his interest in spiritual things grew. He studied different religions and practiced self-control. Tolstoy's book "The Kingdom of God Is Within You" overwhelmed him.
After staying for a year, he wanted to return to India. At the farewell ceremony, he learned of the South African government's intention to deprive Indians of their right to vote in the legislative assembly. Gandhi considered this bill to be the first nail in the coffin of the Indian community in South Africa. He was immediately asked by his compatriots to stay another month and lead them in the fight for their rights. The struggle for national self-respect and against racial discrimination began.
Gandhi went public and drafted the first petition ever submitted by Indians to a South African parliament. She called for Indian voting rights to be retained. The common agitation welded the Indian community together.
Together with his colleagues, Gandhi founded the "Natal Indian Congress" in order to take action against more and more unjust laws to the detriment of the Indians and to create better relations between them and the Europeans.
Years passed with organization and public relations. Gandhi wrote his first political writings on the Indian situation in South Africa.
Beyond political work, however, he did not neglect his intellectual development. During this time he read over 80 books that brought him the message of universal love, including many of Tolstoy's works. He read the "Gathas of Zarathustra", numerous Hindu scriptures and books on the life of Muhammad.
After a three-year stay, Gandhi went to India and brought his family to join him.

When the Boer War broke out between the Dutch settlers and the British in 1899, his loyalty to the Empire prompted Gandhi to join the British side - even though he personally sympathized with the Boers. However, as long as he claimed the rights of a British citizen in his political struggle, as long as he believed he had a duty to defend the Empire.
So he organized an Indian medical corps. He was awarded the war medal for his services to the front.
Gandhi's desire to devote his life to the service of his fellow man grew stronger and further changed his lifestyle.
The Bhagavadgita became for him an infallible dictionary of behavior and the solution to his problems. He learned them by heart. The teachings of non-possession, non-attachment, and equanimity gripped him. During the rest of his life he tried to implement these yoga teachings in his everyday life.
He renounced all worldly possessions and gave all his income to the community.
To cleanse his body too, he read treatises on naturopathy. He refused medication, fasted, and experimented with various diets. He had great faith in soil and water cures and often prescribed mud packs to his employees.
He wrote the Guide to Health, but never understood why. this health guide became Gandhi's most widely read book in both East and West.
The increased public relations work made it necessary to have a newspaper as a mouthpiece for the Indians in South Africa. From June 1903 the weekly newspaper "Indian Opinion" appeared in four languages. The collected articles, books, notes and letters of Gandhi now fill 90 large volumes.
While on a train ride, Gandhi read Ruskin's book Unto This Last, which captivated him. Immediately he decided to base his life on the ideals of this book. He published his own summary of the book under the title "Sarvodaya - Welfare for All".
As central teachings of this book, Gandhi highlighted
- that the good of the individual is contained in the good of all;
- that every work is equally valuable and
- that primarily a life of manual labor is worth living.
He immediately put these ideas into practice and founded the Phoenix Farm, a rural commune with strict rules and a Spartan lifestyle. The community was largely self-sufficient and reduced its material needs to a minimum.
Indian Opinion was printed on the farm. All settlers took part in the production. Machines were only used when the work could not be done by hand.

During the so-called "uprising" of the Zulu in 1906, Gandhi again offered his services to the British. Again he found himself at odds between his loyalty to the Empire and his concern for the cause of the oppressed Zulus. To his relief, Sergeant Gandhi and his medics only helped the wounded Zulus.
Participation in the bloody terror of the British made him think deeply and make further changes in his lifestyle. It was then that Gandhi decided to practice Brahmacharya in the future. He recognized that abstinence and control of the senses made a life of service much easier for humanity. A normal family life would tie up too much energy for the interests of just a few people.
When he returned from the war, he was confronted with a law by the Transvaal government that required all Indian men, women and children over the age of eight to register with their fingerprints.
The Indian community was very upset about this discrimination. At a mass meeting on September 11, 1906, Gandhi swore that he would rather die than obey this law. During the struggle against this law in 1907 the word was coined that was to become the epitome of Gandhi's life: Satyagraha, clinging to the truth, or the power of the soul or the power of love. With this term Gandhi wanted to delimit his kind of active struggle against only passive resistance from weakness or helplessness.
On January 10, 1908, Attorney Gandhi was tried for the first time for civil disobedience. In prison he spent his time reading Thoreau and Socrates, who were both exemplary satyagrahis for him.
After negotiations with General Smuts, Gandhi was released a few weeks later. In a compromise controversial among the Indians, Gandhi and Smuts agreed on a voluntary registration of the Indians and the withdrawal of the law. Attacked and seriously injured by an Indian opponent of the compromise, Gandhi was the first to voluntarily fingerprint himself.
The distrust of some compatriots was justified. The Smuts government did not revoke the law, whereupon the Indians publicly burned their registration certificates. Again many were arrested, including Gandhi.
The fight went on. Time and again, Indians offered nonviolent resistance and went to prison. When Gandhi continued to refuse registration after unsuccessful negotiations, he was sentenced on February 25, 1909 to three months' imprisonment under difficult conditions. For Gandhi, satyagraha, and especially civil disobedience, was the moral equivalent of war and civil war. Like Thoreau, he believed that under an unjust government, prison was the proper place for just people.
Gandhi's efforts to find a solution to the conflict also took him to London. From there he corresponded with Count Leo Tolstoy, who had long been interested in the liberation struggle in India. He informed Tolstoy about the struggle of the Indians in South Africa and also sent him a copy of his biography, which had been written in 1909 by Pastor Doke.
In his reply, Tolstoy expressed his great concern for the struggle of the Indians. He prophesied that this movement would be destined to bring a message of hope to the oppressed peoples of the earth.

On the way back from England Gandhi worked day and night on his book "Hind Swaraj" - Self-determination for India.
This work contains the quintessence of his criticism of society and civilization. In it he speaks out clearly against the materialism and structural violence of modern Western societies and warns the Indians against imitating their role model.
In his ethics he emphasizes the inseparable unity of means and end, which is the same as that between a seed and a tree. Swaraj as true self-determination of society and self-control of the individual could not be achieved through brute force, but only through the power of truth. He wants to dedicate his life to this goal.
Gandhi's dream of a community of Satyagrahis who would live very simply in the country now took shape on a farm near Johannisburg. He called it Tolstoy Farm.
This community became a laboratory for various experiments in self-discipline, upbringing, diets, and other spiritual, moral, and economic matters. Accurate records were kept of all things of daily life.
In October 1912, the Indian politician Krishna Gokhale came to South Africa at the invitation of Gandhi. Gandhi played the role of his secretary and personal assistant. Gokhale came to find out more about the Indian situation in South Africa. He also wanted to try to mediate between the Satyagrahis and the South African government.
In this way, Gandhi maintained a close exchange between the freedom movement in India and the Indian civil rights movement in South Africa.
In 1913 the Satyagrahis went back to battle. The Indian "guest workers" brought into the country by the British were hit hard by new laws that restricted immigration and freedom of movement, invalidated marriages of non-Christians and maintained the hated poll tax on former guest workers.
The unjust laws were broken in various actions by the satyagrahis. 50,000 miners went on strike against the contract worker tax. Hundreds of men, women and children marched from Natal to the Transvaal and were arrested for illegal immigration. After long and tough negotiations, the Indian civil rights movement triumphed over all issues. Gandhi and his colleagues were released. The demands of the Indians were met in the Indian Relief Bill.
In solidarity with the victims of the struggle and as a symbolic act, Gandhi took off his western clothing. This was another step on the way to an ascetic life.
At the victorious end of the Satyagraha campaign he stated: "Satyagraha is a weapon of inestimable value. Whoever uses it knows neither disappointment nor defeat."
After 21 years, Gandhi's mission in South Africa came to an end.
On July 18, 1914, Gandhi went to London with Kasturbai and his German friend Hermann Kallenbach to meet leading Indian and British personalities.
War was declared two days before his arrival. Gandhi organized a medical corps for the British Army for the third time. For health reasons, however, it was not used. On December 19, he returned to India hoping for a British-Indian collaboration.

On their return to India on January 9, 1915, Gandhi and Kasturbai were received with a large number of people.
Gandhi promised his political guru Gokhale that he would only speak out in public on political issues after he had gained enough experience in India.
So he first traveled to Kathiawad to visit relatives and friends.
He was greeted spontaneously as "Mahatma" - the great soul.
In May Gandhi founded the Satyagraha Ashram in Kochrab near Ahmedabad. The community adhered to the classic vows for yogis, which Gandhi extended to 11 rules: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, brahmacharya, lack of property, self-sufficiency through manual labor, control of the palate, fearlessness, equal respect for all religions, swadeshi and abolition of untouchability.
In 1917, the oppression of the farmers of Champaran in northern Bihar led to Gandhi's first Satyagraha campaign in India.
Gandhi conducted an investigation into the plight of peasants who were driven to the brink of starvation by the British by forcing indigo to grow at low prices and high taxes.
When asked to leave the area, Gandhi refused and expressed his determination to continue the investigation in the public interest.
In court, he argued that his civil disobedience was based not on a lack of respect for legal authority, but on obedience to the higher law of conscience. He pleaded guilty and requested appropriate punishment.
However, Gandhi was released and the investigation continued. The report of the commission of inquiry led to the abolition of compulsory cultivation and a reduction in taxes.
The country had received its first lesson in individual civil disobedience.
In 1918 riots broke out among the textile workers in Ahmedabad, who were poorly paid and suffered from difficult working conditions. Gandhi investigated their situation, led a peaceful strike and obliged the workers to renounce the use of any violence and to hold out until victory. The situation of the strikers became critical ... 20 days passed, after which hunger increasingly impaired the fighting strength of the workers ... On a spontaneous impulse, Gandhi announced that he would fast if the strike was not continued until an agreement was reached or until all Workers left the factory. An arbitration agreement was reached three days after the fast began.

After the end of the First World War, the Indians hoped for the restoration of civil liberties that had been restricted in the course of martial law. The Rowlatt Acts of March 1919 extended martial law and continued to restrict civil rights. A wave of indignation ran through the people.
If Gandhi had recruited troops for the British army a few months earlier, he was now forced to resist the colonial rulers again. He scheduled a nationwide Hartal for April 6th, a day of prayer and fasting for the self-cleansing of the entire population. This general strike was the prelude to civil disobedience. Large crowds took part in the actions and pledged to refrain from violence against people and property.
Forbidden literature was sold in the streets, including Gandhi's Hind Swaraj and Sarvodaya.
The country was in turmoil. Countless people have been arrested and sentenced.
On April 13th, General Dyer and his troops marched through Amritsar to Jallianwala Bagh, determined to shoot any rebels who disregarded his ban on gathering there. Without warning, he let fire open on the unarmed men, women and children. Of 1650 shot hit 1516. 379 people were killed, about three times as many wounded.
Even worse than this massacre, Gandhi felt the humiliation of martial law. In Amritsar, men and women had to crawl on their stomachs like worms. Completely innocent people were arbitrarily flogged in public.
When, under the terror of the British, violent riots by the people became more and more frequent, Gandhi saw his "Himalayan-sized mistake". He had prompted civil disobedience too early on a people who were not yet mature enough to do so. On April 18, 1919, he called off the Satyagraha campaign.
After extensive educational work in his newspapers "Navajivan" and "Young India", Gandhi recommended a different strategy in the next conflict.
In 1920 the British smashed the Turkish Empire with the Sevres Peace Treaty and deposed the Sultan. The Indian Muslims were particularly indignant about the abolition of the caliphate, so that the caliphate campaign offered the opportunity for Muslims and Hindus to act in solidarity. This time Gandhi recommended extensive non-violent non-cooperation with the British government.
He himself gave the starting signal by returning his Kaisar-I-Hind medal and the other war awards from South Africa. After the events of 1919 and 1920, he was no longer able to cooperate with a government that maintained its immoral rule only through violence and terror.
Schools and colleges were evacuated. The courts emptied.
In many speeches, Gandhi convinced the people to fight the government with the weapons of love. He condemned the teaching of the sword: "I want India to practice the nonviolence of the strong" - he emphasized again and again.
"If India adheres to the teaching of the sword, it may temporarily win, but then I will no longer be able to be proud of India."
At the meeting of the Congress Party in December 1920, Gandhi's resolution on non-cooperation was unanimously adopted. Through this movement, Swaraj, or autonomy, should be achieved within a year, if possible. This aim should be pursued by peaceful and legitimate means. With further proposals for the reorganization of the party structure, Gandhi contributed to the gradual transformation of the Congress Party from an honorary club into a mass organization. This is how the Gandhi era began in congressional politics.
At Gandhi's suggestion, a new independence flag was also designed: a spinning wheel in front of the colors white-green-red, which symbolized peace, purity and the unity of all religions in India.

Swaraj and Swadeshi, political and economic independence complemented each other. On July 31, 1921, Gandhi launched the campaign to boycott foreign textiles by lighting a huge fire with imported clothing in Bombay. He did this not out of hatred, but as a symbol of India's determination to throw off foreign control and stand on her own two feet.
Gandhi took off his hat and shirt. He knew that millions of Indians were too poor to replace foreign clothing. His head was shaved. He wrapped a piece of khaddar around his loin and from then on wore a loincloth that he had spun himself.
Gandhi informed the viceroy of his intention to start the mass nonviolent uprising in Bardoli, Gujarat. A few days later, however, there were violent attacks by demonstrators in Chauri Chaura, in which several police officers were murdered. Gandhi saw this act of violence as a warning from God. Even if the violence is provoked by the police, counter-violence is not justified and a violation of the principle of truthfulness and non-violence.
He stopped the planned mass campaign of civil disobedience in Bardoli and fasted for five days in penance for what had happened.
The long-awaited arrest finally came. On March 10, 1922, he was taken away by the police.
On March 18, the historic trial began in Ahmedabad. The defendant Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 53 years old, who claims to be a farmer and weaver by profession, defended himself and pleaded guilty: "I consider it a virtue to be disloyal to a government that has done more harm to India than it does any other system of government ... "" ... I am not asking for mercy. I am here to seek, and joyfully accept, the ultimate penalty that is inflicted on me for what is, by law, a willful crime that is on me but appears as the highest duty of a citizen. "
Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison.

On February 5, 1924, Gandhi was released early from prison.
He continued his political and religious work, always placing particular emphasis on the constructive program, the unity of religions and grassroots democracy.
He preached with passion: "Our ability to achieve unity in diversity will be our beauty and the acid test of our culture ... My Swaraj takes into account the weakest of the weak. Freedom will come not through the seizure of power by a few, but through ability of all people to resist state authority if it is abused. "
Gandhi considered untouchability an inhuman sin. "Everything that is detrimental to the well-being of the nation is untouchable, but a person can never be this."
"The spinning wheel was recommended to the nation to give work to the millions of people ... who live in utter poverty. The Charkha is intended to bring about the essential and vibrant community of interests among the Indian masses. ... It is a crime to carry out manual labor to replace the introduction of spinning machines ... If India is really to prosper in its villages and not just in the cities, then the spinning wheel is the only instrument of its prosperity and freedom. "
When Gandhi's term as President of the Congress Party expired at the end of 1925, he vowed to retire from active politics for a year.
The year of silence gave Gandhi's body an opportunity to rest. He now devoted more time to his ashram, but kept in touch with the people through his newspapers. Through tireless educational work, he tried to win the nation over to his social and economic reforms.
He wrote extensively on his ideas about truth and nonviolence, gave lectures on the New Testament, the Gita and the Ramayana. In his opinion, the central theme of the Gita was the selfless renunciation of the fruits of one's own actions.

At the Congress Party's congress in December 1928, revolutionary enthusiasm especially among the young radical faction under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose made waves. They demanded the immediate declaration of independence. The majority, however, aspired to Dominion status within the Empire.
At Gandhi's initiative, a compromise resolution was passed calling for Dominion status within a year. Should this demand not be met by December 31, 1929, the Congress Party would declare full independence as the goal.
At midnight on December 31, 1929, Gandhi's historic Declaration of Independence was passed along with the measures to be taken.
The Satyagraha Campaign began on January 26, 1930 as Independence Day. Throughout the country, large crowds solemnly made the following pledge: "We believe that it is the inalienable right of India, like any other people, to live in freedom ...
"We consider it a crime against mankind and against God to subject ourselves any longer to a rule that will bring bad luck to our country ..."
Gandhi published an 11-point manifesto highlighting the total ban on alcohol, the reduction in land tax and military spending, and the abolition of the salt tax as the most pressing needs of the people.
"Besides air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity in life" - wrote Gandhi.
In a letter to the Viceroy, he announced his intentions as always: "If my letter does not make an impression on your heart, I will go to the 11th day of this month to break the salt law ... As the freedom movement primarily for the poorest of the country, we will begin with this malady. " The Viceroy did not answer Gandhi's request for negotiations.
Gandhi decided to practice the first act of civil disobedience himself by illegally taking salt from the sea with selected satyagrahis from the Ashram who practiced nonviolence as a religion.

The long-awaited hour had come.
On March 12th the great march for freedom began.
Gandhi, along with 78 Satyagrahis, began his 241-mile march from the Ashram to Dandi, a village on the west coast of India.
The 61 year old Gandhi marched with quick and sure steps at the head of the procession, full of conviction of the justice of the fight and full of confidence in the success of the campaign.
Every day about 10 miles were covered ... On the way he talked about the familiar topics: renouncing alcohol, the abolition of child marriage, the spinning of khadi and the other points of the constructive program.
The non-violent rebel preached the duty of disobedience: "Loyalty to such a corrupt state is a sin, disloyalty a virtue." In the areas crossed, many village chiefs gave up their government posts.

On April 6, 1930, after 24 days of pilgrimage, the time had come.
Gandhi first took a bath on the beach at Dandi.
Then he solemnly picked up a piece of natural sea salt. The British salt monopoly was broken. The nation had been waiting for this signal for a long time.
Agitation and civil disobedience spread across the country. India revolted. Anyone who took the risk of prosecution under the Salt Act was able to extract salt where and when they wanted. The main thing is that the outrageous law has been broken.
Most remarkable was the role of women in the national liberation struggle. In the hour of probation, they left the seclusion of their houses in large numbers and threw themselves into battle ... Gandhi remarked: "In this nonviolent war the contribution of women should be much greater than that of men ... The women that shame Calling gender is a slander; it is the injustice of men to women ... If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future belongs to women. "
Nowhere has a law been more peacefully and yet more stubbornly disregarded.
The people resolutely fought to endure the brutalities and torture of the security forces ... The police carried out mass arrests. Salt pans were violently destroyed and people were brutally driven away. 60,000 political prisoners filled the prisons, and yet the people remained peaceful and ready to continue the campaign.
Congress leaders were arrested while they were on the streets. Gandhi was initially allowed to spread his message of civil disobedience unmolested until he was finally taken away on May 4th.

Gandhi's son Manilal led 2,500 Satyagrahis to storm the Dharsana Salt Works. As everywhere, those who resisted nonviolently were knocked down, killed or seriously injured without resistance. The government responded with even more repression and brutal violence.
India was now ruled by a ruthless dictatorship that unrestrainedly violated human rights.
However, every new repressive measure also provided an opportunity to disregard them.
The boycott of foreign clothing and the picket line in front of the liquor stores were increased. The peasants refused to pay taxes.
The course of events gave the people confidence and perseverance.
All of India was in an uprising ... Hundreds of MPs resigned ... The congressional committees were declared illegal ... The police made mass arrests. The leadership of the campaign changed from one person to the other in quick succession. India became a gigantic prison, and yet many died for the freedom of their country. The cruel battle dragged on for months ...
On the occasion of his unconditional release on January 26, 1931, the anniversary of the pledge of independence, Gandhi remarked: "I long for peace if it can be honored."
The Congress Party's Working Committee reaffirmed its belief in civil disobedience and passed Gandhi's resolution on the terms of a ceasefire. He called for a general amnesty for political prisoners and an immediate cessation of repressive measures.
Gandhi always tried to do everything possible to meet his opponent and to overcome anger and distrust. So he decided to leave no stone unturned in the creation of peace and to enter into negotiations with the viceroy.
After tough negotiations, the Gandhi-Irwin Agreement was signed on March 5, 1931. The agreement was "preliminary" and "subject to change". The central question of the exact conception of the goal of independence remained open ... "It is not wise to say which party won" - noted Gandhi.
The prisons opened ... Thousands of political prisoners were released and welcomed by the people.

Gandhi emphasized the importance of the compromise: "A new age has now dawned ... For a full 12 months we have developed a war mentality. Now we have to sing to a different tune ... The Satyagrahi must always be ready for battle, but at the same time exactly the same Be anxious for peace The essential condition for a compromise is that there should be nothing humiliating or over-anxious about it.
A strong delegation of Islamic "Khudai Khidmatgar", servants of God, from the northern border province also took part at the next congress in Karachi. Under the leadership of Abdul Gaffar Khan, known as Grenz-Gandhi, they even succeeded in driving the military and police out of the city of Peshawar and forming a counter-government last year.
The party congress ratified the Gandhi-Irwin agreement and appointed Gandhi as the sole representative of the congress party at the round table conference in London.
At Gandhi's suggestion, the colors of the national flag were changed.White, green and red have been replaced by saffron for courage and willingness to make sacrifices, white for truthfulness and peace, green for faith and strength. The spinning wheel was retained as a symbol of the hope of the masses.
For Gandhi, the true defense of the flag was to acquire the properties symbolized in the colors and to give the spinning wheel a place in every household.
He stated, "We have nearly 700,000 villages, a large number of which are in a state of starvation. This is because they have no work for six months of the year ... So some additional employment is necessary to find ... One such occupation is spinning by hand.

When Gandhi left India on August 29, 1931 for the Round-Table Conference, he dreamed of a different India: "I will work for an India in which even the poorest have the feeling that it is their country that they actually shape and shape have an effective say, an India in which there is no upper and no lower class, an India in which all religious communities live in perfect harmony. "
In a very lively atmosphere on board, Gandhi played with a child ... He felt very comfortable around children ... The child also clearly enjoyed playing with the Mahatma ... "Children are my life," he said .
On the bridge he had the various navigation instruments explained to him ...
... and also willingly took part in the rescue exercise with life jackets.

On the ship, Gandhi gave lectures on nonviolence. He suggested that if life asserts itself in the midst of destruction, there must be a higher law ... the law of love, which works like the law of gravity; that the power of nonviolence is infinitely more subtle than the material power of nature; and that opponents should be conquered with love ...
In his loyal secretary Mahadev Desai, Gandhi had an assistant who not only relieved him of a lot of routine work, but who also made his sharp mind and tireless labor fully available to Gandhi. Mahadev had great reverence for Gandhi, and Gandhi had a deep and boundless affection for him.
In London, Gandhi accepted Muriel Lester's invitation to stay at Kingsley Hall. This house was the Quaker center for social work in the slums of London. The people of the East End opened their homes and hearts to Gandhi ...
On the flat roof of the house, Gandhi was given a small cell with a view of the city.
Many people gathered in front of the house to welcome Gandhi. (Original sound :) "I am grateful for this opportunity to be surrounded by happy children and to see the homes of the poor."
He quickly felt at home among the workers. He was happy because here he got an impression of the life that he had committed himself to lead.
At the Round Table Conference, Gandhi emphasized the need for universal suffrage and racial equality and advocated an honorable partnership between India and Britain.
"A nation that does not control its own defense and foreign policy is hardly a responsible nation," assured Gandhi.
He warned: "A nation of 350 million people only needs a will of its own to say 'no'; and that nation is now learning to say 'no'."

Gandhi's visit to Lancashire gave him the opportunity to make friendly contacts with the factory owners and workers.
At this center of the British textile industry, the Mayor of Darwen greeted the most uncompromising advocate of the boycott of foreign clothing.
Gandhi asked the workers not to hold India responsible for their misery and poured out his heart before them. "I would be a wrong friend if I weren't open to you." He explained how economics, ethics and politics inevitably permeate each other in his life ...
"My nationalism is not so narrow-minded that I would not share your grief ... I do not wish the happiness of my country at the expense of the happiness of another country ... You have three million unemployed, but we have almost 300 million unemployed and underemployed for half of the year ... Your average unemployment benefit is 70 shillings. Our average income is 7 shillings and 6 pence a month ... If India could revive the living corpses by giving them food and life in the form of work , this would help the whole world ... "
Bluntly he asked the machine workers, "Would you like Lancashire's prosperity to rest on the ruin of the Indian artisan?"
Her spontaneous answer was: "Now we know each other."
When asked to say something, Gandhi said (original tone): "Tell the other children that I love you all like my own children - that's all I want to say."
In a recorded speech, Gandhi tried to prove the existence of a benevolent force - God - (original tone): "While everything around me is constantly changing, subject to constant dying, I perceive weakly that all these changes are a living force It is based on, which is itself unchangeable, which holds everything together, which creates, dissolves and recreates. This formative power, this spirit is God ... For I see how life asserts itself in the midst of death, truth in the midst of untruth claims that the light asserts itself in the midst of darkness. From this I gather that God is life, truth and light. Faith goes beyond reason ... "
As his Majesty's guest, Gandhi felt a moral obligation to accept the invitation and attend the king's reception.
He went to Buckingham Palace in his usual clothes.
The round table conference was a complete failure. Any tendency towards division in India was encouraged according to the established colonial policy of "divide and rule" ... The conference ended on December 1, 1931.
After Gandhi planted a tree in front of Kingsley Hall, this was his farewell message (original tone): "Whatever the result of the mission that took me to London, I know that I have the most pleasant memories of my stay in the midst of the poor people of East London. "
On his return trip, Gandhi drove to Geneva via France to spend a few days with his friend and admirer Romain Rolland.
The two kindred souls met in the Villa Olga on the shores of Lake Geneva, deeply alarmed by the storms they saw looming over the world.
Speaking to a gathering of military service opponents in Lausanne, Gandhi declared: "God is an eternal principle. That is why I say the truth is God and the way to him is the way of love."
After staying in Switzerland for five days, Gandhi left for Italy.

In Rome the galleries of the Vatican were opened especially for Gandhi ... He was very interested in their art treasures ...
Gandhi's gaze fell on an impressive crucifix. He went up close and remained in deep contemplation ... He realized that nations and individuals can only be created through the agony of the cross, and that joy does not come from inflicting suffering on others, but from voluntarily doing oneself Endures suffering ...
Upon his arrival in India, Gandhi was astonished and dismayed to find heightened repression under the state of emergency ... The ceasefire had been dealt the fatal blow ... The die seemed to be cast ...
Gandhi reported extensively to the Congress Party's Working Committee on his work in Great Britain ... Together with his colleagues he discussed the dire situation in the country and asked Lord Willingdon to speak to find a solution ...
When the Viceroy gave him a cool reply, Gandhi had no choice but to resort to civil disobedience again ...
He was preparing to go to jail.
He sent a message to the people to wake up from their sleep and take up the challenge of the government without hatred or malice, because "we are not fighting people, we are fighting measures."
The government hit back immediately and arrested Gandhi on January 4, 1932.
India groaned under the new wave of oppression ... it was a conflict between two historical forces ...
The prisons filled again with political prisoners.

Week after week, news of emergency laws reached Gandhi in prison across the country.
What worried him more than anything else was the new constitution foreseen for the separate voting process for the untouchables, whom Gandhi called "Harijans", children of God.
Not only the Muslims, but also the untouchables should now elect their own representatives to parliament in separate procedures. With this procedure, Gandhi saw the inhumane division of Indian society also legitimized by law. His whole commitment to the unity of the Hindus was in jeopardy. It would be further undermined in the future by party struggles and elections. Gandhi informed Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald that he would have to resist this decision with his life.
On September 20, 1932, he began his fast to death. This time his fast was not directed towards Great Britain but towards the Hindu community. Gandhi's fast was not so much a patched up agreement between the caste Hindus and the leader of the casteless Ambedkar, but primarily to make all Hindus receptive to the concerns of the Harijans and to mobilize them. It was not the negotiations that were decisive for him, but the change in the relationship between Hindus and Harijans.
The goal was achieved on both levels. The more the people feared for the life of the Mahatma, the more eagerly they tore down the barriers between caste Hindus and untouchables.
Millions prayed and fasted with Gandhi. There were demonstrations and spontaneous public fraternities. Prominent Hindus dined publicly with Harijans. In many villages and towns the untouchables were allowed to use the common well. Organizations made decisions to eliminate discrimination. Hindu temples were opened to Harijans everywhere. A wave of reform, penance, and self-cleansing washed over the country. What social reformers failed to achieve in decades, the Mahatma's charism accomplished in a matter of days.
On the 5th day of fasting, when Gandhi's life threatened to come to an end, the representatives of the Kastenhindus and the Untouchables signed the Yeravda Pact in coordination with Gandhi, which provided for a common electoral process, but reserved seats in parliament for the untouchable. Finally the British government agreed, so that Gandhi ended his fast on the sixth day.
The "epic fast" improved the living conditions of the Harijans in some areas and, above all, led to a psychological revolution in Hindu society. Gandhi's fasting transformed a religious duty into a moral sin and sustainably strengthened the self-confidence of the Harijans, even if the actual social situation of the untouchables, especially in the countryside, could hardly be improved in the long term.

The prominent event of the Congress Party's 1934 convention was Gandhi's withdrawal from the party. He failed to induce Congress to change its methods from "peaceful and legitimate" to "truthful and nonviolent".
Gandhi justified his resignation from the Congress Party "If I were to continue to dominate the Congress Party despite fundamental conflicting interests, that would almost be a kind of violence for me, from which I have to refrain ..."
Gandhi wanted to have a free hand for constructive work in the villages and for the benefit of the Harijans. He considered this work more important than party politics. To revive the Indian villages was vital for India and the only means against the progressive impoverishment. For this purpose, Gandhi founded an ashram in Wardha.
"We should," he argued, "identify with the poor villagers, how they live, help them produce what they need, and make full use of the raw materials, talents and tools available locally."
Concerned about the advance of the machines in the villages, Gandhi stated: "The Indian villages have threshed their own rice for ages ..."
"Unpeeled rice and hand-milled whole wheat flour are not only nutritious, they also create jobs in the countryside."
"We allowed the village's oil farmer to be made extinct. Now we are using adulterated oil ..." Gandhi convinced the villagers to adopt a sensible diet.
"In all of our diets," he explained, "we consider the shade to be the substance and prefer white sugar to the richer brown sugar ..."
Gandhi advocated mechanization where there are too few hands to do the work ... However, he considered it an evil when there are more hands than necessary for the work, as is the case in India.
To solve this problem, he proposed to protect the village trade and handicrafts and the workers who exercise them from the devastating competition of the machine industry.
Convinced that the real India can be found in the villages, Gandhi moved his ashram to the shabby village of Sevagram in 1936.
There he wanted to devote himself to self-realization through serving the villagers. He wrote: "I do not consider any sacrifice too great to see God face to face. All my work, whether it is called social, political, humanitarian or ethical, is directed towards this goal. And knowing that if God is found more often in the lowest of his creatures than in the high and mighty, I strive to achieve their status. I cannot do this without serving them. Hence my passion for the service of the oppressed groups. "

Gandhi realized that in the long run the future would depend on the village schools.
He explained his theory of education through professional training. By supporting the child in a variety of ways, it would both promote intellectual development and ensure that the child is anchored in the social and economic life of the village.
Training should build on the job opportunities in the village and be easily accessible to all.
Although the basic training was based on a craft, Gandhi insisted that the children's minds and emotions be nurtured as well as manual skills.
For Gandhi, the realization of nonviolence was not limited to India.
Mussolini's attack on Abyssinia stunned him.
He appealed to the world: "If the recognized leaders of humanity who control the energies of destruction, with full awareness of the consequences, forego their use, a lasting peace could be achieved.
Regarding the Munich Agreement of 1938 he remarked: "The peace that Europe achieved in Munich is a triumph of violence. It seals the defeat of Europe ... The science of nonviolence alone can pave the way to a real democracy ..."
Gandhi was deeply touched by the plight of the Czechs. He advised the little peoples of Europe to defy Hitler's will and go down unarmed in order to save their honor. He maintained that while it was brave to fight; it is, however, even braver to refuse to fight, but also to refuse to give in to the will of the primordial supervisor.

With the escalation of anti-Semitism in Germany, Gandhi advised the persecuted Jews to valiantly claim Germany as their home. He was certain that religious opposition to the ungodly anger of an inhuman man would give Jews the inner strength and joy that Jehovah gave them.
Foreseeing the devastating consequences of war, Gandhi wrote to Mr. Hitler - the only person who could prevent a war that would throw humanity back into the Stone Age. He asked him, "Do you have to pay this price for a goal, however valuable it may seem to you? Will you listen to the appeal of someone who has deliberately rejected the method of war?"
The Indian National Congress condemned the aggression of the Nazis. He also stated that while the Indian people were not at odds with any other people, they were in profound conflict with systems that glorify war and violence and suppress the human spirit. India cannot join a war allegedly waged for the freedom of democracy if that freedom is denied India.
Gandhi passionately appealed to Indians to embrace nonviolence as their creed and to uphold human dignity. He wrote: "The defense of India with the present methods is necessary because it is an appendage to Britain. Free India cannot have an enemy."
"It would be better if India abandoned violence once and for all, even in defense of its borders... If India enters the arms race, it will commit suicide." "If India is lost to nonviolence, there is no longer any hope for the world."
In February 1940 Gandhi and Kasturbai visited the great poet Tagore in Santiniketan ... (music) ... Tagore and Gandhi were deeply friends. Their relationship was characterized by love and mutual respect.
Events took their own course ... As India remained under British colonial rule, action was urgently needed.
In 1940 the Congress Party gave Gandhi full responsibility for a new campaign of civil disobedience.
Gandhi stressed the absolute necessity of discipline: "The essence of Satyagraha is not to write slogans, but to carry out the ordinances of the elected general in word and mind ..."
Gandhi recommended his 13-part constructive program. The non-violent realization of Swaraj on the basis of social justice and economic equality, which enable each individual to receive everything necessary for life, already lay in the fulfillment of this program.
Combining economics and ethics, Gandhi represented the Upanishad message of enjoying wealth by renouncing it in favor of the common good.
He promulgated the theory of trusteeship to transform the working society into an egalitarian society. "A society based on nonviolence cannot pursue any other goal."
This time, Gandhi sought a middle way between inaction and risky mass actions and opted for individual satyagraha as an expression of moral protest against war.
He wanted to stay out of himself and designated Vinoba Bhave as the first satyagrahi to publicly announce his non-cooperation with the war effort.
The symbolic protest from one person to the other took on large dimensions ... Thousands responded to the call, announced their intentions and went to jail.
When the government banned the press from reporting on the progress of the Satyagraha campaign, Gandhi stopped his newspapers and asked everyone to be their own newspaper with authentic news.

In 1942 Sir Stafford Cripps came to India to discuss the British War Cabinet's proposals for self-government.
Behind the proposals, which referred to the post-war period, stood the old imperialist policy of division, which only reinforced all separatist tendencies.
Cripps began a series of negotiations with the leaders of all parties.
The British proposals were rejected by all parties and groups in India.
The Cripps mission failed. The prospects for freedom became bleak and distant.
India threatened to be invaded by the Japanese ... The Quit India campaign was slowly beginning to take shape in Gandhi's mind.
The Congress Party's Working Committee agreed with Gandhi's view that India's dependence was weakening its defenses and announced to the country that British rule in India must finally cease. Only the concrete prospect of freedom would motivate the people to resist aggression. (Original sound, calls: "Mahatma Gandhi jikai")

Again the fight was fierce and with great sacrifice ...
Gandhi was arrested again. It was his last stay in prison. In total, he had spent 2089 days in Indian and 249 days in South African prisons.
At the age of 74, he undertook another 21-day fast.
Shortly after his fast, Kasturbai became seriously ill in prison. On February 22, 1944, she died as a prisoner to His Majesty at the age of 74. So ended a 62-year friendship between Gandhi and Kasturbai.
Gandhi's constant companion through the years has been burned before his eyes.
He let his feelings run wild and said, "I can't imagine life without Ba."
In August 1945 the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... The Second World War was over.
Gandhi's response to the atomic bomb was a reinforced commitment to nonviolence: "The atomic bomb killed the finest sentiment that has kept mankind alive in centuries. The bomb will not be destroyed by counter-bombs any more than violence can be defeated by counter-violence. "
Later Gandhis said at an inter-Asian conference (original tone): "Madam President, dear friends, the West is thirsting for wisdom today. The West is desperate about the accumulation of atomic bombs, because arming with atomic bombs means total annihilation, not only of the West, but of the whole world. If you want to convey a message to the West, it has to be a message of love, it has to be a message of truth. "

India's fateful hour had come.
In March 1946, a government delegation made up of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and A.V. Alexander in India to negotiate the terms of the transfer of power.
Great Britain, bled by the war, which was also under pressure from the USA, wanted to get rid of its largest and rebellious colony as quickly as possible under the new anti-colonial Labor government.
Gandhi stayed in contact with the delegation during the negotiations. He declared his opposition to the two-nation theory, but emphasized that he was speaking only for himself.
"Independence should be political, economic and moral, i.e. in concrete terms: withdrawal of the British army, freedom from capitalists and capital to ensure equality between the greatest and the least and freedom from armed forces."
He hoped that free India would continue its nonviolent policies and free the earth from this overwhelming burden.
Talks between the parties and groups in Simla broke off on May 12 after no agreement could be reached between the Congress Party and the Muslim League.
After the failure of the Simla conference, the cabinet mission pursued its own plan and rejected the partition of India for security, economic and administrative reasons.
She recommended a united India and the establishment of a transitional government that should convene a constituent assembly.
Gandhi convinced the Congress Party to attend the constituent assembly. "The proposal should be a challenge for us and not a reason to reject ..."
Gandhi describes his ideal of an independent India as follows: "In this social structure, which is made up of countless villages, there will be constantly expanding, but never ascending circles of life. Life will not be a pyramid, the top of which is carried from below, Rather, it will be a circle of oceanic expanse, the center of which is the individual who is always ready to sacrifice himself for the village. The village in turn is willing to sacrifice himself for the circle of villages at any time until the whole becomes an organism which consists of individuals who never become aggressive out of presumption, but always live in humility and participate in the majesty of the ocean-wide circle of which they are integral parts. "
The Muslim League under Mohammed Ali Jinnah designated August 16 as the "day of direct action" to protest against the establishment of the transitional government and to emphasize the demand for a separate state in Pakistan. This action sparked a veritable orgy of violence in Calcutta. Over 4,000 people were massacred and more than 15,000 injured.
The violence quickly spread to Noakhali and Tripura, the rural areas of East Bengal.
The first refugee treks came to the cities.
Inter-religious hatred spread to neighboring Bihar state and other parts of the country.

Gandhi set out for Noakhali at the end of 1946.
This trip became a test of his nonviolence technique.
He stressed the need for complete religious tolerance: "In every province everyone is an Indian, regardless of whether they are Hindu, Muslim or of any other faith." He expected the majority to act as protectors of the minority.
On the morning of January 7, 1947, the barefoot pilgrim began his historic march in Chandipur, which took him to a different village every day.
He wrote from Noakhali: "My current mission is the most difficult and complicated of my life ... The motto 'do or die' is being tested here. For me, 'doing' means reconciling Hindus and Muslims, otherwise I will here decide my life. "
During his seven-week pilgrimage, 77-year-old Gandhi walked about 116 miles through very rough terrain and visited 74 villages.
On March 2, 1947, he boarded a steamer in Chandipur that took him to Bihar on another peace mission.

In Bihar, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan was his constant companion.
He traveled tirelessly, comforting and encouraging the desperate and exhorting those who had wreaked havoc.
He asked them to atone for their sins: "Retribution is a vicious circle. Rebuild what you have destroyed and live together as members of a family."
Gandhi recalled the words of Buddha, who there in Bihar 2,500 years earlier proclaimed the eternal law that violence can never be conquered by force, but that hatred must be overcome by love.
To stop the genocide, Gandhi and Jinnah issued a joint statement condemning "the recent acts of lawlessness and violence that have shamed the name of India" and "forever discarding the use of force for political ends. "
During a prayer meeting, Gandhi emphasized the equality of all religions, noting: "I believe in the message of truth as it has been preached by all religious teachers in the world."
"I pray incessantly that I do not feel any hatred towards my slanderers, that even if I should fall victim to an assassin's bullet, I will exhale my soul in the name of God on my lips."
The impending partition of India worried Gandhi deeply. He felt abandoned with his cause and said thoughtfully: "Let posterity know that Gandhi did not participate in India's vivisection." During the last stage of the negotiations he only played a marginal role.
On June 3, 1947, Viceroy Mountbatten secured the approval of the Congress Party and the Muslim League for the British government's plan to give independence to two Dominions on August 15, 1947.
There wasn't much time left. While the work on the partition went on at breakneck speed, Gandhi in Calcutta tried to overcome hatred with love.
The midnight hour of August 14, 1947 symbolized the rebirth of a nation after centuries of sleep and a long struggle for liberation. Gandhi did not take part in the celebrations, but fasted and prayed all day.
With the withdrawal of the last contingents of troops, 190 years of British rule over India came to an end.
Gandhi extolled the British withdrawal as "the most honorable act of the British nation."
The time of joy did not last long. Unrest ravaged large regions. Minorities were bullied and persecuted.
The division of the country caused one of the largest mass escapes in history, leaving over 16 million people homeless and killing over two million.

Gandhi was tormented by increasing tensions. When asked for a message on the way from Calcutta to Delhi, he wrote in Bengali: "My life is my message."
Under the influence of the events, the values ​​changed very quickly. Political independence was of little value to Gandhi if it did not herald the age of the common people. He was an uncompromising opponent of the madness of mass production at the expense of human values.
Gandhi opposed this: "In order to have a world without war, the economy of all nations must be free from all exploitation."
The change in values ​​also manifested itself symbolically in the new national flag of India. The spinning wheel was replaced by the Chakravarta, the sacred wheel of the eternal law, the symbol of the world ruler.
When Gandhi's words were no longer sufficient to put a stop to the violence between Hindus and Muslims, he decided in Delhi - as before in Calcutta - to fast to death.
The beginning of the fast on January 13, 1948, put him in a state of calm and peace. "Death would be a glorious redemption for me. I would prefer it to be a helpless witness to the destruction of India."
Gandhi ended his fast on January 18th after seeing the serious change of heart of the people and their leaders.
During the address at a prayer meeting, a bomb dropped by a Hindu refugee.
Gandhi remained unmoved and asked the audience to keep listening. He did without a bodyguard and asked not to punish the assassin.
Gandhi criticized not only religious fanatics among the people, but also the politicians of the Congress Party. The sole rule of the Congress Party in the Indian Union did not offer the nonviolent anarchist Gandhi sufficient security from abuse of power and corruption.
In a draft to change the party statutes, he therefore proposed to dissolve the party and convert it into a Lok Sevak Sangh. Such a loose association of peace workers in the service of the people should stay out of party and power politics and above all devote itself to the social, economic and moral aspects of constructive work in the villages.

On Friday, January 30, 1948, just before sunset, Gandhi went to prayer to be united with the God who showed him the way for a lifetime, until this path was suddenly interrupted ...
Nathuram Godse, a member of the right-wing extremist Hindu Mahasabha, approached Gandhi. With his death shots he wanted to eliminate an enemy of Hinduism and a friend of the Muslims.
Gandhi's mind was focused on God, his soul united with him.
As he always wished, he died with the name of God, Rama, on his lips.
Men and women of all religions took from the earth which for them was soaked with the blood of a saint.
With a moving voice, Nehru said (original sound): "The light has gone out from our lives and there is now darkness everywhere ... Our beloved leader, Bapu, the father of the nation, has passed away. The light has gone out, I said but I was wrong. Because the light was no ordinary light. The light that has illuminated this land for so many years will illuminate this land for many more years to come. "
On January 31, Gandhi's body was cremated on a sandalwood pyre.
After 13 days of mourning, the urn containing the remains of Gandhi was brought in a special train to his final resting place, to the waters of Jamuna and Ganges, which make beggars and kings, sinners and saints alike.
The catafalk moved slowly towards the Sangam, the sacred confluence of the Ganges, Jamuna and Saraswati, three rivers whose names are closely interwoven with Indian culture.
Gandhi's ashes were given to the holy waters.
Let us remember his words: "There is no such thing as 'Gandhianism' and I do not want to leave a sect. I do not claim to have found any new principle or teaching. I have only tried in my own way, the eternal ones Applying truths to our daily life and its difficulties ... The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have come to are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world Truth and nonviolence are as old as the mountains. All I've done is try to experiment on as broad a basis as possible in both. Sometimes I've been wrong and I've learned from my mistakes. "
"Forget the idea of ​​being a follower. No one leads and no one follows. No one is a leader and no one is a follower. We all walk together in a row. I've had this many times, but I'll say it again to tell you about it recall."