Character Sketch of Mahatma Gandhi

Quick Overview:

  • Full Name: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • Born: October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India
  • Died: January 30, 1948, New Delhi, India
  • Commonly Known As: Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu (Father)
  • Occupation: Leader of the Indian independence movement
  • Key Principles: Nonviolent resistance, civil disobedience, Satyagraha
  • Education: Law degree in London
  • Political Activism: South Africa and India
  • Impact: Instrumental in India’s independence from British rule
  • Legacy: Global symbol of nonviolent resistance and civil rights

Character Sketch of Mahatma Gandhi:

Mahatma Gandhi, born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India, is an iconic figure whose principles and actions transformed the course of history. Fondly known as “Bapu” (Father), Gandhi was not only a leader of the Indian independence movement but also a global symbol of nonviolent resistance, civil disobedience, and the power of moral conviction.

Early Life and Education:

Gandhi hailed from a modest background, born into the Vaishya (merchant) caste. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, was the Diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar, and his mother, Putlibai, was deeply religious. Gandhi’s upbringing was steeped in traditional Hindu values, emphasizing honesty, integrity, and service to others.

In 1888, at the age of 18, Gandhi sailed to London to study law. This journey marked the beginning of his exposure to the Western world and its values. Despite facing challenges and cultural shocks, Gandhi embraced his time in London, developing a keen interest in Western philosophy and literature.

Life in South Africa:

After completing his law degree, Gandhi embarked on a legal career in India but faced challenges securing clients. In 1893, he accepted an offer to work in South Africa, which proved to be a pivotal juncture in his life. In South Africa, Gandhi encountered deeply entrenched racial prejudices, especially against the Indian community. The seeds of his philosophy of nonviolent resistance were sown during his experiences of discrimination, leading him to question and challenge the oppressive systems.

Gandhi’s activism in South Africa commenced when he was thrown off a train for refusing to move from a first-class compartment reserved for whites. This incident became a catalyst for his commitment to fight racial injustice through nonviolent means. Over the subsequent years, Gandhi organized numerous campaigns and protests against discriminatory laws, leaving an indelible mark on South Africa’s struggle for civil rights.

Philosophy of Satyagraha:

Gandhi’s experiences in South Africa laid the groundwork for the development of his unique philosophy of nonviolent resistance, which he termed “Satyagraha.” This concept emphasized the pursuit of truth, coupled with nonviolent action, as a means to achieve social and political change. Satyagraha became the cornerstone of Gandhi’s approach to activism and defined his leadership in the Indian independence movement.

Return to India and Leadership in the Independence Movement:

In 1915, Gandhi returned to India, bringing with him the principles of Satyagraha and a commitment to social reform. He quickly emerged as a prominent leader in the Indian National Congress, advocating for the rights of peasants, workers, and women. His leadership style was characterized by simplicity, humility, and a deep connection with the masses.

Gandhi’s first major campaign in India was the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, where he led protests against oppressive indigo plantation policies. This marked the beginning of his active involvement in India’s struggle for independence. Over the next few decades, Gandhi led numerous movements, including the Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922), the Salt March (1930), and the Quit India Movement (1942).

Ahimsa and Nonviolent Resistance:

Central to Gandhi’s philosophy was the principle of “Ahimsa,” meaning nonviolence or the avoidance of harm to others. He believed that individuals could transform society through self-discipline, moral courage, and a commitment to nonviolent action. This belief guided his approach to political activism and was a powerful force against the British colonial rule.

Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence extended beyond political realms. He advocated for harmony between different religious and ethnic communities, promoting unity and understanding. His emphasis on nonviolence as a way of life continues to inspire movements for civil rights, social justice, and peace worldwide.

Simple Living and High Thinking:

Gandhi’s personal lifestyle reflected his commitment to simplicity. He dressed in traditional Indian attire, eschewing Western clothing, and lived in communal ashrams. His daily routine included manual labor, prayer, and contemplation. This simple lifestyle was a deliberate choice to align with the values of self-sufficiency and equality.

Legacy and Impact:

The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi is profound and enduring. His unwavering commitment to nonviolence influenced civil rights movements around the world, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for racial equality in the United States. Nelson Mandela, the leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, also drew inspiration from Gandhi’s philosophy in the fight against oppression.

Gandhi’s impact extended beyond political boundaries. He addressed social issues such as untouchability, poverty, and women’s rights. His efforts to bridge religious divides and promote communal harmony were exemplary. Gandhi’s teachings continue to inspire individuals and movements dedicated to justice, equality, and peace.

Assassination and Continued Reverence:

On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who opposed Gandhi’s tolerance towards Muslims. Gandhi’s death was a tragic loss, but his principles and teachings endured. The date of his assassination is now commemorated as Martyrs’ Day in India.

Gandhi’s life and legacy continue to be celebrated globally. His birthday, October 2nd, is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence, honoring his commitment to peaceful resistance. Statues and memorials in his honor are found in various countries, symbolizing his enduring impact on the quest for justice and human rights.


Mahatma Gandhi, through his unwavering commitment to truth, nonviolence, and social justice, carved a unique place in the annals of history. His life exemplified the transformative power of individual action and moral courage. Gandhi’s philosophy continues to resonate, reminding the world that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, a single individual armed with the weapons of truth and nonviolence can effect profound change. His legacy lives on, inspiring generations to strive for a more just, compassionate, and harmonious world.

Scroll to Top