A Chronology of Mahatma Gandhi's Life

October 2, 1869 - Born in Porbandar, Gujarat in western India

1869-82 - His youth was dominated by his family's strong belief in a Hindu sect called Vaisnavism whose chief tenets are nonviolence and the belief that everything in the universe is eternal. His schooling and grades were mediocre. He developed a burning passion for self- improvement and philosophies of truth and sacrifice. He married at age 13.

1887 - Joined Samaldas College. He jumped at the opportunity to go to England to study even though it was considered a violation of the Hindu religion.

Sept, 1888 - Sailed to England and joined the Inner Temple, one of the four London law colleges.

1888-1891 - Studied in, England, concentrating more on personal and moral issues than academics. His unusual vegetarian way of life became a strong conviction for him despite and in spite of others' disagreement.

1891 - Returned home briefly and learned of his mother's death. Gandhi found that his law degree was not considered of too much value. He accepted a mediocre year-long contract with an Indian firm in Natal, South Africa.

1891-96 - In South Africa, he was treated horribly and constantly humiliated for being lndian. Gandhi would not accept the injustice as part of the natural or unnatural order in South Africa and defended his dignity as an Indian and as a man. He became quite a proficient political campaigner.

1894 - Ready to return to India, Gandhi learned of a bill to be passed by Natal Legislative Assembly that would have deprived Indians of the right to vote. In response, he founded the Natal Indian Congress and worked to expose the discriminations practiced against the Indian population.

1896 - He went back to India for his wife and daughter and to rally support by the Indian people and the prominent leaders to return to South Africa with him. The Europeans in S. Africa heard of the plan and assaulted and nearly lynched him upon his return.

1899 - At the outbreak of the Boer War, Gandhi organized an ambulance corps of 1,100 volunteers, arguing that Indians who claimed British citizenship rights were also obligated to fight with the crown.

1906 - After the British victory, the Transvaal government passed a ordinance for the registration of the Indian population. Gandhi organized a mass protest meeting and convinced the Indians attending to take a pledge to both defy the ordinance and to suffer all the penalties which came from their defiance.

1913-14 - Gandiii negotiated an agreement with General Jan Christian Smuts which ended the seven-year-long struggle against the ordinance. Hundreds had gone to jail in protest, and thousands had struck work, facing terrible repression. Gandhi had frequent stays in jail, during one of which he made a pair of sandals for Smuts. When Gandhi left for India in 1914, Smuts wrote a friend, "The saint has left our shores; I hope forever."

1915-19 - A time of relative inactivity. Gandhi helped recruit soldiers for the lndian Army, though at the same time he criticized British officials for their treatment of the Indian peasantry. In 1919 after the passage of bills that allowed for the imprisonment of Indians suspected of sedition without trial, Gandhi announced a satyagraha struggle. This shook the continent.

1920-24 - Gandhi led thousands of satyagrahis to defy discriminatory laws as he argued that the main obstacle to home rule was not colonial force but the spiritual imperfections of the Indians themselves. The program of non-violent noncooperation included strikes and boycotts of British manufactured goods. In 1922, Gandhi decided to call off the action after outbreaks of violence. He was arrested and sentenced to six years for sedition. Released after an operation for appendicitis, Gandhi found that suspicion had grown between Hindu and Muslim factions. He conducted a three week fast to encourage people to follow the path of non-violence.

1930-32 - After a period of relative inactivity, Gandhi began a satyagraha campaign to protest the tax on salt. The action resulted in imprisonment of over 60,000 persons. A truce was called in 1931 and Gandhi attended a Round Table Conference in London to presumably discuss Indian independence. Gandhi returned to India to find new measures taken against Indian nationalists. He was arrested and while in prison began a fast to protest against a decision by the British authorities to segregate the untouchables. This created an emotional upheaval in the country.

1934 - Gandhi resigned from the Congress Party after coming to the conclusion that his followers had adopted nonviolence only as a political tactic. He began to concentrate on rebuilding India from the "bottom-up" by promoting social programs that emphasized cottage industries and a style of communal living, education he felt more suited to the peasant population.

1942-47 - In the last phase of British rule, Gandhi was once again politically active in demanding for the immediate withdrawal of British colonialists. The government responded by imprisoning the entire Indian Congress. With the victory of the British Labour Party in 1945, new negotiations ensued which ended in the plan of 1947 to create two new dominions of Pakistan and India. Gandhi felt this was one of the great disappointments of his life. Violence erupted between Muslims and Hindus which Gandhi protested through fasts. These succeeded in stopping the rioting in Calcutta and helped force the city of Delphi into a communal truce.

January, 1948 - While on his way to an evening prayer meeting, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a young Hindu fanatic.