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Mohandas Gandhi

Important People, Terms, and Events

Context

Timeline

People

Aga Khan III -  (1877-1957) Hereditary ruler of the Muslim Ismaili sect and general Muslim leader. Born into great power and wealth, the Aga Khan supported the British in India, and founded the All-India Muslim League in 1906.
Winston Churchill  -  Prime Minister of England during World War II, and an obdurate foe of Indian independence
Karamchand Gandhi  -  Gandhi's father, and a local politician. When Gandhi's family sent him to England after Karamchand's death, it was with the hope that he would follow in his father's footsteps.
Nathuram Vinayuk Godse -  A militant Hindu nationalist, and Gandhi's assassin
G.K. Gokhale -  A great Indian politician at the turn of the century, who befriended Gandhi
Muhammed Ali Jinnah  -  Head of the Muslim League, and founder of Pakistan. He successfully demanded partition of India into Muslim and Hindu countries, an idea to which Gandhi was fundamentally opposed.
Kasturbai  -  Gandhi's wife. They were married at the age of thirteen.
Lord Mountbatten -  The last Viceroy of India, he presided over the partition of the subcontinent.
Jawaharlal Nehru  -  An Indian nationalist leader and friend to Gandhi, he became the first Prime Minister of India.
Motilal Nehru  -  A leader in the Indian National Congress and Gandhi's ally, he was the father of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Putlibai  -  Gandhi's mother. She died while he was in England.
Raychandra -  A Jain friend of Gandhi's, with whom he corresponded on matters of religion in the 1890s
Jan Smuts  -  The Afrikaner President of the Transvaal, and Gandhi's opponent in his struggle against discrimination
Leo Tolstoy -  The Russian author whose works on pacifism had a profound effect on Gandhi

Terms

Ashram -   · An Indian word for a religiously-oriented, communal farm
Bhagavad-Gita  -   · One of the sacred texts of Hinduism, this long poem helped shape Gandhi's personal philosophy.
Boer  -   · Descendants of the Dutch settlers of South Africa, they struggled with the British for dominance of the region.
Bombay -   · The great port of western India
Brahmacharya -   · The renunciation of sex by a male Hindu. Gandhi committed himself to Brahmacharya, after some struggle, in 1906.
British Empire  -   · The vast collection of British-ruled territories that included, at Gandhi's birth, all of India.
Caste -   · A caste is a social level or class. In Hindu India, the caste system is especially intricate and influential; under this system, a person is born into a specific caste and may never leave it. The castes span a wide range, the highest being the Brahmin caste, the lowest being the untouchables.
Delhi -   · The capital of India under the Raj
East India Company  -   · The British trading company that dominated India in the 18th century.
Hartal -   · In Indian tradition, this is a day of fasting, prayer, and abstention from work.
Hindu  -   · The complex, polytheistic majority religion of India
Indian National Congress  -   · An organization of well-educated Indians, founded in 1885, that fell under Gandhi's leadership and pushed for Indian independence
Jain  -   · A reform movement in Hinduism that emphasized the sacredness of all life, and greatly influenced Gandhi.
Mahatma -   · A word meaning "great soul" that was applied to Gandhi
Muslim  -   · A member of the monotheistic religion Islam. Muslims have long been the largest religious minority in India.
Natal -   · A province of British-ruled South Africa
Natal Indian Congress  -   · Founded by Gandhi, this organization lobbied for Indian rights in South Africa.
Phoenix Settlement -   · Gandhi's communal farm in South Africa
Raj -   · The British term for their dominions in India
Satyagraha  -   · Literally, "soul-force." It was the term given to Gandhi's strategy of nonviolent resistance to oppression
Satyagraha ashram  -   · The name given to Gandhi's ashram in India.
Transvaal -   · A Boer republic in South Africa, ruled by the British after the Boer War
Unto This Last -   · Written by a British author named John Ruskin, this book convinced Gandhi of the virtues of physical labor.
Untouchables -   · The shunned lowest caste, they were embraced by Gandhi.
Viceroy of India  -   · The British-appointed ruler of India

Events

Amritsar Massacre -   · The 1919 slaughter of Indian protesters by British troops that sparked outrage around the world
Boer War  -   · The struggle (1899-1901) between Britain and the Boer republics, ending in British control of South Africa.
Government of India Act  -   · Passed by the British Parliament in 1935, it paved the way for Indian independence.
Rowlatt Act  -   · Passed after World War I, it cracked down on civil liberties in India, and led Gandhi toward rebellion.
The Salt March  -   · Gandhi's march to the sea, in spring 1930, to protest the British government's salt monopoly.

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