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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - Oct 2nd 1869-Januaray 30th 1948

A Glimpse of the Mahatma's life.

M.K.Gandhi was born on 2nd Oct, 1869 in the city of Porbander, Gujarat, India. He was the son of Karamchand Gandhi, the diwan of Porbander and Putlibai- a devout mother. Surrounded by jain influences, he learned at an early age the tenets of non-injury to human beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification and mutual tolerance between the various creeds and sects.

He was married to Katurba Makhanji in May 1883, at the age of 13 and later on had four sons - Harilal Gandhi, born in 1888; Manilal Gandhi, born in 1892; Ramdas Gandhi, born in 1897; and Devdas Gandhi, born in 1900.

Study in England- He was a very shy and reserved youth and barely passed his matriculation exam from Bhavnagar, Gujarat. His family wanted him to be a barrister so on September 18 at the tender age of 18, he went to study law at the University College London. He promised his mother to stay away from meat, wine and women and hence went on to become a rigid vegetarian and joined the Vegetarian Society. Earlier he tried adopting English customs like taking dance classes but later on he focused only on his study. During his stay in England he read the Bhagvad Gita which was a source of spiritual strength for him. He returned to India on 12th June' 1891. He had limited success establishing a law practice in Bombay, later applying and being turned down for a part-time job as a high school teacher. He ended up returning to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants but was forced to close down that business as well when he ran afoul of a British officer.

Calling from South Africa- It was then in April, 1893 that he accepted a year-long contract from an Indian firm to a post in Natal, South Africa.One day in court at Durban, the magistrate asked him to remove his turban. Gandhi refused and stormed out of the courtroom. He was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg, after refusing to move from the first class to a third class coach while holding a valid first class ticket. It was through witnessing first-hand the racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in South Africa that Gandhi started to question his people's status, and his own place in society. However, these events by no means explain why he inculcated non-violence instead of revolution.

At the end of his contract, Gandhi prepared to return to India. However, at a farewell party in his honour in Durban, he happened to glance at a newspaper and learned that a bill was being considered by the Natal Legislative Assembly to deny the right to vote to Indians. When he brought this up with his hosts, they lamented that they did not have the expertise necessary to oppose the bill, and implored Gandhi to stay and help them. He founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894, with himself as the Secretary. Through this organization, he moulded the Indian community of South Africa into a homogeneous political force, publishing documents detailing Indian grievances and evidence of British discrimination in South Africa.

In 1913 he started a newspaper called the Indian Opinion. At the onset of the South African War, Gandhi argued that Indians must support the war effort in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship, organizing a volunteer ambulance corps of 300 free Indians and 800 indentured labourers called the Indian Ambulance Corps, one of the few medical units to serve wounded black South Africans. At the conclusion of the war, however, the situation for the Indians did not improve, but continued to deteriorate. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11th September that year, Gandhi adopted his methodology of satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time, calling on his fellow Indians to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means. In May 1915, Gandhi founded an ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India and called it Satyagrah Ashram (also known as Sabarmati Ashram). There lodged twenty five men and women who took vows of truth, celibacy, ahimsa, nonpossession, control of the palate, and service of the Indian people.

The fight for Independence- Gandhi's first major achievements came in 1918 with the Champaran agitation and Kheda Satyagraha, although in the latter he was involved at par with Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who acted as his right-hand and leader of the rebels. In Champaran, a district in the state of Bihar, he organized civil resistance on the part of tens of thousands of landless farmers and serfs, and poor farmers with small lands, who were forced to grow indigo and other cash crops instead of the food crops necessary for their survival. The villages were kept extremely dirty and unhygienic, and alcoholism, untouchability and purdah were rampant. In Kheda in Gujarat, the problem was the same. Gandhi established an ashram there, organizing scores of his veteran supporters and fresh volunteers from the region.

But his main assault came as he was arrested by police on the charge of creating unrest and was ordered to leave the province. Hundreds of thousands of people protested and rallied outside the jail, police stations and courts demanding his release, which the court unwillingly granted. Gandhi led organized protests and strikes against the landlords, who with the guidance of the British government, signed an agreement granting more compensation and control over farming for the poor farmers of the region, and cancellation of revenue hikes and collection until the famine ended. It was during this agitation, that Gandhi was addressed by the people as Bapu (Father) and Mahatma (Great Soul). Gandhi's resulting fame spread all over the nation.

Non-cooperation Movement- In Punjab, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of civilians by British troops caused deep trauma to the nation, and increased public anger and acts of violence. But it was after the massacre and violence that Gandhi's mind focused upon obtaining complete self-government and control of all Indian government institutions, maturing soon into Swaraj. Gandhi was invested with executive authority on behalf of the Indian National Congress in December 1921. Under Gandhi's leadership, the Congress was reorganized with a new constitution, with the goal of Swaraj. Gandhi expanded his non-violence platform to include the swadeshi policy - the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods. Linked to this was his advocacy that khadi be worn by all Indians.

"Non-cooperation" enjoyed wide-spread appeal and participation from all strata of Indian society, yet just as the movement reached its apex, it ended abruptly as a result of a violent clash in the town of Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922. Gandhi called off the campaign of mass civil disobedience. Gandhi was arrested on March 10, 1922, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years. Beginning on March 18, 1922, he only served about two years of the sentence, being released in February 1924 after an operation for appendicitis.

Salt March- In March 1930, he launched a new satyagraha against the tax on salt, highlighted by the famous Salt March to Dandi from March 12 to April 6, 1930, marching 400 kilometres (248 miles) from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat to make his own salt. Thousands of Indians joined him on this march to the sea. This campaign was one of his most successful, resulting in the imprisonment of over 60,000 people.

Quit India- World War II broke out in 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. As the war progressed, Gandhi increased his demands for independence, drafting a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. This was Gandhi's and the Congress Party's most definitive revolt aimed at securing the British exit from Indian shores. Quit India became the most forceful movement in the history of the struggle, with mass arrests and violence on an unprecedented scale. He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline in ahimsa, and Karo Ya Maro (Do or Die) in the cause of ultimate freedom. Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Bombay by the British on August 9, 1942. Gandhi was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. It was here that Gandhi suffered two terrible blows in his personal life - his 42 year old secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack 6 days later, then his wife Kasturba died after 18 months imprisonment in February 1944.He was released before the end of the war on May 6, 1944 because of his failing health and necessary surgery; the Raj did not want him to die in prison and enrage the nation. Although Quit India somewhat succeeded in its objective, the ruthless suppression of the movement brought order to India by the end of 1943.

Freedom and Partition of India- Gandhi was vehemently opposed to any plan that partitioned India into two separate countries. However, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, commanded widespread support in West Punjab, Sindh and East Bengal. The partition plan was approved by the Congress leadership as the only way to prevent a wide-scale Hindu-Muslim civil war. Gandhi's closest colleagues had accepted partition as the best way out, and Sardar Patel endeavoured to convince Gandhi that it was the only way to avoid civil war. A devastated Gandhi gave his assent. So India became independent on August 15th, 1947.

The Assasination- On January 30, 1948, on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was shot dead in Birla House, New Delhi, by Nathuram Godse. Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were later tried and convicted, and on 15 November 1949, were executed. Gandhi's memorial at Raj Ghat, New Delhi, bears the epigraph, Hey Ram, which may be translated as "Oh God". These are widely believed to be Gandhi's last words after he was shot.

Astro Analysis on The Mahatma

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 at Gujarat's well known city by the sea shore, Porbandhar. About his time of birth, various sources have different views, some quote that he was born at 07 hour 12 min, some believe he was born at 07 hour 33 min and the most authentic source says that he was born at 07 hour 50 min. Still keeping controversies apart, here is what Ganesha says of this eminent personality.

Born on 2nd Oct 1869, Gandhiji's Ascendant was Libra. He had a combination of three planets Venus, Mars and Mercury in the Ascendant. Plus his Sun sign as per western system is Libra as well. Combining both the systems, Ganesha finds that Libra the sign of balance and public relations carries too much weight in his chart. Mercury in Libra allowed him to make intelligent and balanced decisions. Also Venus occupying its own sign would attract a lot of people towards him. Such people have very different views for Dharma and Karma. He had almost developed his own philosophy of Karma with this retrograde Jupiter in Aries, which is said to be closer to Jesus Christ's philosophy when he says 'if someone slaps you on one cheek, show him the other'.

His Lagna Lord Mars aspects the seventh house of public, so he almost always influenced Indian Natives. Not only Indian, but Britishers as well were impressed by him to such an extent that they still study and write so much about him.

We are still at his Lagna only because there is so much can be said about his horoscope. Mars and Venus conjunction is almost degree cal. This conjunction indicates his affection with his wife Kasturba at younger age. The same also gave him determination and enduring faith in his own belief system because we also need to see that Mars here is in closer association with Lagna Lord. Mars is Force and Venus is art. Gandhiji was very good at his performance in meetings as well in public. Gandhiji really had the charm which has left a long lasting impact on our brains. Without the power of this conjunction, he probably would not have had such a deep impact on the society. At that point of time, there were other politicians to handle various critical situations but Gandhiji was the one who could actually 'dare' to say to Britishers 'QUIT INDIA'. This is the hidden power of this conjunction.

Retrograde Pluto is in opposition to Mars which gave him strength to fight for the country's rights. His determination (Mars) was supported by wisdom (Jupiter, here in retrograde with Swagruhi in Navmansha making it more powerful). Venus forming Malavya Yoga in his Ascendant made his personality much more powerful to catch hold of the Indian Mindsets.

If we talk about the time of partition, as a Libran, he could clearly see both the sides of the story, Moreover, he exactly knew when to agree with which one. His Vargottami Lagna gave him more strength to stick to his views in a very balanced manner.

As per Chalit chart, Sun moves to the first house in his chart which is the reason for his baldness but in Chalit Chakra, Sun is positioned with Mercury and Mars and Venus are in the second house. Because of this, Gandhiji was intelligently dealing with problems pertaining to India's freedom. With Mars in the second house of Chalit, he could be volatile and aggressive in his speech at one end and sweet like sugar with Venus's influence on the other hand. Both, as a combined force gave him balanced speech - again the factor indicated by Scales (Libra) his Ascendant is projected here.

Planetary positions and everything may confirm quite a bit about his personality but Ganesha believes that Gandhiji is a supreme example of a man of 'Free Will' since the last 100 years and would be for the years to come.

Ganesha's Grace,
Bhavesh N. Pattni