Gandhi Jayanti


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Gandhi Jayanti (Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday)

October 2
A national holiday in India to commemorate the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who came to be known as Mahatma ("great soul") Gandhi. At this time pilgrimages are made from throughout the country to the Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi where Gandhi was cremated. Many communities also hold spinning and weaving sessions in his honor.
Gandhi, often pictured in a simple white cotton robe at a spinning wheel, was the leader of the movement for Indian nationalism, the 20th century's great prophet of nonviolence, and a religious innovator who encouraged a reformed, liberal Hinduism.
He was born in 1869 in Porbandar, India, and educated both in India and England. He went to South Africa as a young lawyer, was shocked by the racial discrimination, and led the African Indians in a nonviolent struggle against repression. Returning to India, he became a dominant political figure, and, in the struggle for independence, was jailed several times. His protests often took the form of fasts.
In the 1930s, he worked for rural people trying to eradicate discrimination against the untouchable caste and promoting hand spinning and weaving as occupations for the poor and as a way to overcome the British monopoly on cloth. The ashram (a religious retreat center) he established near Ahmedabad became the center of his freedom movement. In the 1940s, he helped heal the scars of religious conflict in Bengal and Bihar; in 1947 his fasting put an end to the rioting in Calcutta. On January 30, 1948, on his way to an evening prayer meeting in Delhi, he was shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic. Albert Einstein was among his great admirers.
CONTACTS:
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
Rm. No 123, Transport Bhawan, No. 1, Parliament St.
New Delhi, Delhi 110 001 India
91-11-23715084; fax: 91-11-23715084
www.tourisminindia.com
Official Mahatma Gandhi eArchive
Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, N.T. Malusare Ln., Irla off S.V. Rd., Vile Parle (West)
Rishiket Apt., Ground Fl.
Mumbai, Mumbai 400 056 India
91-22-26704605; fax: 91-22-26704603
web.mahatma.org.in
M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
Christian Brothers University
650 E. Parkway, S.
Memphis, TN 38104
901-452-2824; fax: 901-452-2775
www.gandhiinstitute.org
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 166
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 2
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 271
(c)
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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