On this day… The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2nd , in honor of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. On June 15th 2007, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 2nd as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Mohandas Gandhi, better known as Mahatma (Great Soul) Gandhi, is commonly referred to as the Father of the Nation in India. With the intent of becoming a lawyer, Gandhi left India at the age of 18 to study law in London. When he first arrived in London, Gandhi worked tirelessly to fit the mold of an English gentleman, buying expensive suits, developing an English accent, and taking up musical and dance lessons. After a few months, he realized this was a waste of time and money and began to live a much simpler and frugal lifestyle.
After three years of studying law, Gandhi passed the bar and sailed back to India. He attempted to practice law in India for two years, but lacked the knowledge of Indian law. He was offered a position on a case in South Africa, and immediately jumped at the opportunity. Soon after arriving in South Africa, Gandhi began the transformation from a quiet, reserved man, to the strong, powerful leader against injustice and discrimination that he later became.
He spent many long years working to fight discrimination in South Africa. It was during the struggles in South Africa that Gandhi developed his concept of satyagraha (Hindi for “insistence on truth”). Satyagraha, a specific philosophy within nonviolent resistance, focuses on seeking absolute truth and protesting evil through peaceful, nonviolent manners. It has been used as a foundation for many civil rights activists throughout history such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Once back in India, Gandhi’s simplistic lifestyle, and virtuous outlook, as well as his now famous background, endeared him to his people. He spent the rest of his life working to remove British rule from India and boost the quality of life of India’s poorest citizens. Much of Gandhi’s remaining time was spent advocating for satyagraha.