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Essay on “Martyrs’ Day-January 30” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Martyrs’ Day

(January 30)

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian nation, was assassinated on January 30, 1948, India observes Gandhi’s death anniversary as Martyr’s day every year.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was one of the most charismatic leaders who fought for the freedom of the country with ahimsa (non- violence ) and satyagraha (way of truth) as his only weapons.

Gandhiji influenced  both nationalist and internationalist movements and brought the cause of India’s independence from British colonial rule to world attention. Gandhiji’s principle of satyagraha has also inspired other national activists. 

The title of ‘Mahatma’ was accorded on Gandhiji in 1915 by his admirer Rabindranath Tagore. It was given in response to Gandhiji conferring the title of “Gurudev” (great teacher) upon Tagore.

Gandhi was born in Porbander in Gujarat on 2 October 1869. He had his schooling in nearby Rajkot, where his father served as the adviser to the local ruler.

At thirteen , he was married to Kasturbai. His father died before Gandhi could finish his schooling. In 1888, Gandhi set sail for England, where he had decided to pursue a degree in law. Gandhi left behind his son and wife.

Truth

Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose discovering truth. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography ‘ The Story of My Experiments with Truth’.

Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarized his beliefs first when he said “God is Truth”. He would later change this statement to “Truth is God”. Thus, Truth in Gandhi’s philosophy is “God”.

Nonviolence

The concept of nonviolence has a long history in Indian religious thought. Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography. He was quoted as saying:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end , they always fall- think of it, always.”

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”   

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

However, Gandhi was aware that this level of nonviolence required incredible faith and courage, which he realized not everyone possessed. The therefore advised that everyone need not keep to nonviolence, especially if it were used as a cover for cowardice:

“Gandhi guarded against attracting to his satyagraha movement those who feared to take up arms or felt themselves incapable of resistance. ‘I do believe,’ he wrote, ‘that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

“At every meeting I repeated the warning that unless they felt that in non- violence they had come into possession of a force infinitely superior to the one they had and in the use of which they were adept, they should have nothing to do with non- violence and resume the arms they possessed before.”

Satyagraha

Satyagraha signifies his theory and practice of non- violent resistance. Gandhi was to describe himself as a votary or seeker of satya. Which could not be attained other than through ahimsa. Gandhi felt that Satyagraha could be used to make the oppressor and the oppressed recognize their common bonding of humanity.

In South Africa Gandhi used satyagraha in the struggles of the Indians to claim their rights, and their resistance to oppressive legislation and executive measures, such as the imposition of  a poll tax on them, or the declaration by the government that all non- Christian marriages were to be construed as invalid. In 1909, on a trip back to India, Gandhi authored a short treatise entitled Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule Where he all but initiated the critique , not only of industrial  civilization, but also of modernity in all its aspects.

Gandhi and India’s Independence

Gandhi returned to India in early 1915, and was never  to leave the country again except for  a short trip that took him to Europe in 1931. Gandhi followed the advice of his political mentor, Gokhale, and took it upon himself to acquire a familiarity with Indian conditions.

In early 1930, as the nationalist movement was revived, the Indian National  Congress, the preeminent body of nationalist opinion, declared that it would now be satisfied only with complete independence (purna swaraj). On March 2, Gandhi addressed a letter to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, informing his that unless indian demands were met, he would be compelled to   break the “salt laws”. Predictably, the British did not meet his demands. On March 12, with a small group of followers, he set out towards Dandi. They arrived there on April 5th. Gandhi picked up a small lump of natural salt, and so gave the signal to hundreds of thousands of people the similarly defy the law, since the British exercised a monopoly on the production and sale of salt.

This was the beginning of the civil disobedience movement Gandhi himself was arrested, and thousands of others were hauled into jail. Lord Irwin agreed to hold talks with Gandhi to break the deadlock and subsequently the British agreed to hold a Round Table Conference in London to negotiate the possible terms of   India  independence. Gandhi went to London in 1931 but the negotiate proved inconclusive. On  his return to India, he was once arrested.

For the next few years, Gandhi was engaged mainly in the constructive reform of Indian society. He had vowed upon undertaking the salt march that he would not return to Sabarma Ashram in Ahmedabad, where he had made his home, if India did not attain its independence, and in the mid- 1930s he established himself in a remote village, in the dead center of India, by the name of Segaon [known as Sevagram]. It was without electricity or running water but India’s political leaders made their way here to talk the Gandhi about the future of the independence movement.

 In 1942, Gandhi issued the last call for independence from British rule. On the grounds of what is now known as August Karn Maidan, he delivered a speech, asking every Indian to lay down their life,  if necessary, in the cause of freedom. He gave them the mantra: “Do or Die”; at the same time asking the British to Quit India’. The response of the British government was to place Gandhi under arrest, and virtually the entire Congress leadership was the find itself behind bars, not to be released until after the conclusion of the war.

The last few months of Gandhi’s life were spent mainly the Delhi. There he divided his time between the ‘Bhangi colony’, where the sweepers and the lowest of the low stayed, and Birla House, the residence of one of the wealthiest men in India and one of the benefactors of Gandhi’s ashrams. Hindu and Sikh refugees  streamed into the capital from what had become Pakistan, and the was much resentment, which easily translated into violence agree Muslims. It was partly in an attempt to put an end to the killing Delhi that Gandhi was to commence the last fast unto death. The fast was terminat6ed when representatives of all the communities signed a statement that they were prepared to live in “perfect amity”

A few days later, in the early evening hours of 30 January 1948, Gandhi met India’s Deputy Prime Minister and his close associate in the freedom struggle, Vallabhai Patel, and then proceeded to his prayers. At 10 minutes past  5 o’clock, Gandhi started walking towards the garden where the prayer meeting was held. It was there that a Hindu fundamentalist by name Nathuram  Godse assassinated him.

Gandhi revolutionized war and its practices. Though thoughts such as loving one’s enemy and non- violence did exist before, he was the first to use them in large scale. By using non- violence, he was able not only to save many lives but also make the Indian Independence Struggle, a mass based struggle.

Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to non- violence and truth even in the most extreme situations. Gandhi was a student of Hindu philosophy and lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self sufficient in its needs. He made his own clothes – the traditional Indian dhoti and towel, woven with a charkha and lived on a simple vegetarian diet. He used rigorous fasts- abstaining from food and water for long periods- for self – purification as    the Father of the Nation by Subhas Bose , and later by the whole nation. October 2nd , his birthday is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, and is a national holiday.

The entire history of the freedom movement is replete with the saga of bravery, sacrifice and political sagacity of great men and women of the country. This struggle, which gained momentum in the early 20th century, raised stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai, Motilala Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, C. Rajagopalachair, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chander Bose. Many prominent women played a leading role in the freedom movement.

The Indian Independence Movement consisted of efforts by Indians to obtain political independence from British, French and Portuguese rule; it involved a wide spectrum of Indian political organizations, philosophies, and rebellions between 1857 and 1947.

Gandhiji Ideologies

Gandhi’s philosophy and his ideologies are truth and non-violence. Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography ‘The Story of my Experiments with Truth’.

Although he experimented with eating meat upon first leaving India, he later became a strict vegetarian. He experimented with various diets and concluded that a vegetarian diet should be enough to satisfy the minimum requirements of the body.

Gandhi spent one day every week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking had brought him inner peace. This influence was drawn from the Hindu principles of mouna(silence and shanty (peace). On such days, he communicated with  other by writing on paper.

Returning to India from South Africa, he gave up wearing Western clothes. He dressed like a common man as to be accepted by the poorest person in India. He advocated the use of homespun cloth (khadi). Gandhi and his followers adopted the practice of weaving their own clothes from the thread they themselves spun, and encouraged other to do so.

Gandhi’s thought can be summed up in four words : “Truth, Nonviolence, Sarvodaya and Satyagraha”. These are indeed the four pillars of Gandhian thought. Einstein, very aptly put it, when he said; “Generations will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” Gandhi was not just a political leader, but a social reformer and spiritual teacher, too.

Gandhi built his life’s mission on the two pillars of non- violence and truth. He said: “ I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non- violence are as old as the hills.” His interpretation of non- violence was not limited to abstaining from physical violence; he maintained that faith without action and suffering injustice were forms of violence.

Gandhi used to say, “ My life is my message”.  By cleansing our body and soul as a homage to the Mahatma on his punya tithi, let us rededicate ourselves to build the India of his dreams. India has lost her soul – but his spirit lives – and that spirit continue to live among us a s long as India survives.    

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