When I was asked to pick an Asian personality for my term paper, I immediately thought of Mahatma Gandhi, a person whose name was synonymous with India. I was intrigued because other than the common knowledge facts like he was a freedom fighter and a politician, I wanted to know who exactly this person was Where did he start What made this person click How did he become what he did become And where else would we find the answers than his own autobiography and in his own words I was not disappointed…
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is usually addressed as Mahatma Gandhi, "Mahatma" meaning "Great soul". He led India through its struggle to independence and has been rightfully called the "Father of the nation" or "Bapu, meaning Father" in India. He was a great visionary and in his thoughts and actions were far ahead of his times. He lived his life for his principles of simple living and high thinking. He wanted to follow "satya" or truth and ahimsa or non-violence.
In a world of crimes and death rows, he showed that spirituality and a deep concern for his fellow beings a can achieve a lot through the toughest of odds. In the Times Magazine, year 2000 Johanna McGreary, writes that, "In an age of empire and military might, he proved that the powerless had power and that force of arms would not forever prevail against force of spirit." Times magazine had nominated him as the runner up for the "Person of the Century".
Gandhiji's autobiography, "The Story of My Experiments with Truth" makes gripping reading and one cannot but be amazed at the humble beginnings and simple circumstances which has led to the shaping of this great soul who served as a documented inspiration for celebrities like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Set in the time frame of the mid 1800's to the mid 1900's it targets multiple audiences, which are riveted towards it for the different facets it presents. It walks us through his innocence childhood, youthful discrepancies and an emerging maturity as he sees the world and takes in the sufferings and the steeled principles, which eventually sees him, triumph. He is never at a loss for words because it's just a narration of the happenings in his life, his inspirations, both people and events, and a will to impart his education and knowledge to the readers.
His autobiography is very simply written and starts honest account of what how his life began. He was born in Porbunder in 1869 on October 2nd. He was the youngest of three brothers. He was born in to a traditional, religious "Vaishnavite " family meaning a particular caste bound by specific religious beliefs and cultural codes. His father was a strict but very well respected "Divan" or official in the administration and was young Gandhi's role model. His mom is portrayed as a very religious person who put herself through fasts and saintly austerities and accepted every hardship as a will of god and did not flinch when things didn't go according to plan.
Young Gandhi states that two of the most inspiring events in his life happened during his childhood.
One of his first memories is the reading of a book about 'Sharvan", a son who stuck to taking care of his parents with unerring devotion and care. He was enamored by this fact and the proof that he imbibed it well is that when his father is bed ridden later in his life he was one of the prime nursing aides: even in his young age, he is supposed to have forgone time at the gym in order that he rushes home to be at his father's side.
But at the same time, he also feels very badly when he spends time with his ...
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