Mohandas Gandhi

Key Terms and Events

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.