GANDHI AND HIS THOUGHT
Accepting an offer from a firm of Muslims, Gandhi went to Pretoria, capital
of Transvaal in South Africa, in 1893. Influenced by Thoreau’s essay ‘Civil
Disobedience’, in 1909 he started corresponding with Leo Tolstoy whose
Kingdom of God is within you had moved him deeply, as had John Ruskin’s
Unto This Last.
But in 1901 itself he moved to Johannesberg to practise law and soon
became a leader of the Indian community in South Africa. He also
established his Phoenix Farm near Durban. In 1907 when the Transvaal
legislature passed a law requiring all Asians to take out registration cards, he
launched a campaign of passive resistance, coining the phrase, satyagraha.
He also set up Therolstoy Farm (1910) for all those taking part in the
His principal mouthpiece was Indian Opinion ( 1903). The peaceful
march of men, women and children that he led to Transvaal was remarkable.
Despite its initial reign of terror, the government finally yielded ground. A
settlement was reached through the Gandhi-Smuts Agreement (June, 1914)
which enabled Gandhi to return to India.
On his way home, Gandhi raised an Indian ambu-lapce unit in England
for which, on return, he received a Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal. After arriving
in India he established a Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati
near Ahmedabad. During the next two years (1916-18) he organised the
peasant movements of Champaran (Bihar) and Khaira (Gujarat).
To redress the wrongs inflicted by the Rowlatt Act, the Jallianwala Bagh
massacre and the Khilafat, the Gandhian-Ied Congress organised the Non-
cooperation Movement. After a trial in 1922 he was sentenced to 6 years’
imprisonment, but was released in February 1924 for an emergency
appendicectomy. During the next 5 years Gandhi concentrated on the