Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 - 30 January 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of Satyagraha — the resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence — which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by a Hindu extremist who blamed Gandhi for "weakening" India after the partitioning of Pakistan.
Mohandas Gandhi in Worldwar
Mohandas Gandhi in "The Last Article"
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1947) continued his policy of Satyagraha against the German troops who invaded India in 1947. Unlike his colleague Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi could not believe that the Germans were immune to the pressures of non-violence. He was also heedless of the testimony by a Jewish refugee named Simon Wiesenthal, who had fled from Europe and into India. Thus, he naively believed that the Germans would act as the British had done. His campaign began with a meeting with Field Marshal Walther Model, the commander of the Nazi occupation force, to set a date for German troops to leave. When Model angrily told Gandhi to leave his office, Gandhi returned to Satyagraha.
The day after the meeting with Model, Gandhi led a march up Chandi Chauk, the Street of Silversmiths, toward Qutb Road, in violation of a German ban. When German troops met Gandhi and his people, Gandhi's unflappable response left them puzzled, and so they simply began walking along side the marching Indians.
Once safe, Gandhi began taking stock of events. He realized that this incident, unlike the Amritsar massacre, was not a moment of panic. Nehru agreed, but saw a silver lining in that there would be an immediate work stoppage. Gandhi suffered another shock when he learned that Model had ordered the "mercy" killings of the wounded in Qutb Road. Still, he took for granted that Model would be censured. He was horrified when a radio broadcast by William Joyce announced that Reichminister Reinhard Heydrich congratulated Model on his actions, and issued a price on both Gandhi and Nehru's heads.
Gandhi's self-confidence eroded as Model ordered executions of workers who'd stayed home. Gandhi and Nehru became fugitives, until a Muslim turned them into the authorities. Nehru was promptly executed. Gandhi was given one last audience with Model, who delighted in Gandhi's defeat. It was at this moment that Gandhi understand that his methods were doomed to failure in the face of the inherent immorality of Nazism. After a few angry words with Model, Gandhi was executed.
Mohandas Gandhi in The War That Came Early
Hindu leaders Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were quite vocal about securing India's independence from Britain. This accelerated after the Second World War ended in Europe in 1944, but continued to rage on in Asia.