Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Gandhi in London, 1931. "[Hulton Archive]/Getty Images"
Other names: 

Mahatma Gandhi

Locations

20 Barons Court Road
West Kensington, London, W14 9DU
United Kingdom
51° 29' 23.3556" N, 0° 12' 30.4308" W
60 Talbot Road
Bayswater, London, W2 5LJ
United Kingdom
51° 31' 2.208" N, 0° 11' 49.0848" W
Store Street
London, WC1E 7PL
United Kingdom
51° 31' 10.9056" N, 0° 7' 54.8688" W
Date of birth: 
02 Oct 1869
City of birth: 
Porbandar
Country of birth: 
India
Date of death: 
30 Jan 1948
Location of death: 
Delhi
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
29 Sep 1888
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1888-91, 1906, 1909, 1914, 1931

Location: 

20 Baron's Court Road, West Kensington

Store Street, London

Tavistock Street, London

52 St. Stephen's Gardens, Bayswater, London

88 Knightsbridge

60 Talbot Road, Bayswater, London

16 Trebobir Road, West Kensington, London

Kingsley Hall, Bromley by Bow (1931)

About: 

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Kanthiawar, India, to father Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi and his fourth wife Putlibai. In 1882 he married Kasturbai Makanji, with whom he had five children. Gandhi enrolled at Samaldas College, Bhaunagar, in 1887 but left after one term. However, he was encouraged to go to London to study law and he left for London on 4 September 1888.

Arriving on 29 September 1888, Gandhi immediately went to the Victoria Hotel before relocating briefly to the suburb of Richmond and eventually settling in a room in West Kensington for a year. At first, he tried to become an 'English gentleman' but after a few months realized that he had to cut his expenditures and gave up most of his new habits. Besides his law studies he passed the University of London matriculation examination in June 1890. Gandhi did not participate in the newly established British Committee of the Indian National Congress but did attend meetings of the London Indian Society. He also attended meetings of the Anjuman-e-Islam (after 1903 called the Pan-Islamic Society), the National Indian Association, and the Northbrook Indian Society. He passed his Roman law examination in March 1890 and passed the Bar finals in January 1891. Before leaving for London, Gandhi had promised his mother not to eat meat. He found it difficult at first but soon discovered vegetarian restaurants and joined the London Vegetarian Society. He often wrote for their journal the Vegetarian and became a member of the Executive Committee on 19 September 1890. Gandhi had also come into contact with the Theosophical Society in 1889, and was introduced to Annie Besant before he left London on 12 June 1891.

He lived in India until 1893 when he left for South Africa to practice law. It was here he raised his family, established himself as a lawyer and then a political activist fighting the discrimination of Asians in Africa. By 1906, he had emerged as the spokesman of Indians in Natal and Transvaal and in October that year he was once again in London to speak on behalf of the Indian community. In London he met with Lord Elgin to discuss the rights of Indians in South Africa, but upon his return in December 1906, Gandhi was disappointed. Imperial politics brought Gandhi to London again in July 1909. However, what concerned Gandhi the most this time was the status of highly educated Indians. In August, he visited Louth with his friend Pranjivan Mehta; later in August he visited George Allen in the Cotswolds, and on 7 November he spoke to the Indian students at Cambridge.  On his voyage back to South Africa, he wrote his powerful book Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, in which he wrote about his increasing discontent with the West, the power of non-violence and the vision of self-rule.

Between 1909 and 1914, Gandhi received several invitations to return to India, but before doing so he visited London again in August 1914, two days after the outbreak of the First World War. The purpose of his trip was to visit his friend and mentor G. K. Gokhale but he had already left for Paris. With Gokhale gone, Gandhi met the poetess Sarojini Naidu instead. On 8 August, a reception was held for him at the Hotel Cecil. In attendance were, among others, Charlotte Despard, Albert Cartwright, Bhupendranath Basu, Sacchidanand Sinha, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Amir Ali and J. M. Parikh. While in London he established the Indian Volunteer Corps before he left on 19 December 1914.

From 1919 Gandhi became highly politically active in India. It was his belief in satyagraha that made him the leader of the nationalist movement against the Raj. By 1931 he had become integral to Indian national life and the sole representative of the Indian National Congress at the second Round Table Conference (Gandhi was in prison during the first Conference in 1930). He arrived in September 1931 and gave his first speech at the Conference on 15 September. The Second Round Table Conference failed to yield independence for India, and Gandhi left London on 5 December 1931. Back in India Gandhi continued to promote satyagraha and led the Quit India Movement in 1942. On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was walking through the grounds of Birla House, New Delhi, when he was shot at point blank range by Nathuram Godse.

Connections: 

H. O. Ally, B. R. Ambedkar, C. F. Andrews, Annie Besant, Sir Mancherjee Bhownagree, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sir Henry Cotton, Charlotte Despard, G. K. Gokhale, Sir William W. Hunter, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Aga Khan, Shyamaji Krishnavarma, George Lansbury, T. T. Mazmudar, Dr Pranjivan Mehta, Sarojini Naidu, Dadabhai Naoroji, Mansukhlal H. Nazar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Josiah Oldfield, V. D. Savarkar, Dalpatram Shukla, Rabindranath Tagore, E. J. Thompson, Sir William Wedderburn, Marquess of Zetland.

Organizations: 
Published works: 

Hind Swaraj (1909)

Discourses on the 'Gita' (1926)

An Autobiography, or, the Story of My Experiments with Truth, trans. from the original in Gujarati by Mahadev Desai (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1927)

Satyagraha in South Africa ... Translated ... By Valji Govindji Desai (Madras: S. Ganesan, 1928)

The Constructive Programme (1941)

(with Krishna Kripalani) All Men are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as Told in His Own Words (Paris; Unesco, 1969)

The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, 90 vols (New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, 1958-84)

Contributions to periodicals: 

Indian Opinion

Secondary works: 

There are more than two thousand critical works on Gandhi. Below is a small selection of those: 

Arnold, David, Gandhi (Harlow: Longman, 2001) 

Bakshi, S. R., Gandhi and Concept of Swaraj (New Delhi: Criterion Publications, 1988)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi's Rise to Power: Indian Politics, 1915-1922 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1972)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics, 1928-34 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989)

Brown, Judith M., 'Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand [Mahatma Gandhi] (1869–1948)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33318]

Chandra, Bipan, Essays on Indian Nationalism (New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications, 1993) 

Chatterjee, Margaret, Gandhi's Religious Thought (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1983)

Chakrabarti, Atulananda, Gandhi and Birla (Calcutta: General Printers and Publishers, 1955)

Dhar, Niranjan, Aurobindo, Gandhi and Roy: A Yogi, a Mahatman and a Rationalist (India: Minerva, 1986)

Gandhi, Mahatma, and Iyer, Raghavan, The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986-87)

Gupta, Manmath Nath, Gandhi and His Times (New Delhi: Lipi Prakashan, 1982)

Herman, Arthur, Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (New York: Bantam Books, 2008)

Hunt, James D., Gandhi in London (New Delhi: Promilla, 1978)

Krishnan, Asha, Ambedkar and Gandhi: Emancipators of Untouchables in Modern India (Mumbai: Himalaya Publishing House, 1997)

Majeed, Javed, Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity: Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Malhotra, S. L., From Civil Disobedience to Quit India: Gandhi and the Freedom Movement in Punjab and Haryana, 1932-1942 (Chandigarh: Punjab University Publication Bureau, 1979)

Mathur, D. B., Gandhi, Congress and Apartheid (Jaipur: Aalekh Publishers, 1986)

Mehrotra, S. R., Gandhi and the British Commonwealth (New Delhi: Indian Council of World Affairs, 1961)

Nanda, Bal Ram, Gandhi and His Critics (Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Jawaharlal Nehru: An Autobiography. With Musings on Recent Events in India, Etc. [with Plates, Including Portraits.] (London: John Lane: London, 1936)

Parekh, Bhikhu C., Colonialism, Tradition and Reform: An Analysis of Gandhi's Political Discourse (New Delhi; London: Sage, 1989)

Parekh, Bhikhu C., Gandhi's Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989)

Patil, V. T., Gandhi, Nehru and the Quit India Movement (Delhi: B. R. Pub. Corp., 1984)

Ramakrishnan, Padma, Gandhi and Indian Independence (New Delhi: Blaze Publishers and Distributors, 1994)

Roberts, Elizabeth, Gandhi, Nehru and Modern India (London: Methuen, 1974)

Sharma, Shri Ram, Gandhi: The Man and the Mahatma (Chandigarh: Rajan, 1985)

Singh, G. B., Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 2005)

Swan, Maureen, Gandhi: The South African Experience (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985)

Wadhwa, Madhuri, Gandhi Between Tradition and Modernity (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1991)

Zakaria, Rafiq, Gandhi and the Break-Up of India (Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1999)

Archive source: 

Gandhi National Museum and Library, New Delhi, India

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmadabad, India

Home Department Mss, Government of India, National Archives of India, New Delhi

Nehru and Indian National Congress Mss, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi

Current affairs footage and documentaries, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

News and documentary footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

Oral history interview and recorded talk, Sound Archive, Imperial War Museum, London