Timeline of Gandhi

1869- On October 2, 1869 Gandhi was born as the third child of a wealthy Hindu family. His father Karamchand Gandhi, was a high ranking official of the regional Government.

1888- Against the wishes of his family, Gandhi sailed to study law. In London, Gandhi was exposed to new ideas and many elements of British society and culture.

1891- Gandhi became officially licensed to practice law in court. Weary of life in London and having accomplished his goal of becoming a lawyer, Gandhi returned to India.

1893- Gandhi traveled to South Africa to take position as a legal consultant for Indian trading and shipping company. Gandhi's time in South Africa was crucial to his political evolution.The inequality and discrimination of South Africa's colonial society were shocking to him, sharpening his political awareness and spurring his commitment  to anti-colonial politics.

1894- Gandhi worked with other Indian rights activists in South Africa to create the Natal Indian congress, an organization committed to giving Indians a collective voice in South Africa's politics. 

1899- Gandhi organized an Indian ambulance corpse at the beginning of the Boer War (1899-1902) to provide relief to injured British soldiers. Although Gandhi did not support the war in principle, he organized the Ambulance Corpse to send a message to the British that Indians were capable and responsible individuals who deserved the same rights as the other British subjects. 

1904- Gandhi established the Phoenix Settlement, where his followers and friends experimented with living in the community. This included a life of devoted to vegetarianism, fasting, and alternative farming techniques.

1906- Gandhi organized his first satyagraha campaign of peaceful non-cooperation to protest the Transvaal Asiatic Amendments Act, a law that required the registration and fingerprinting of all Indians living in the Transvaal. 

1914- Gandhi returned to India. Once there, he continued to hone and refine the strategies of protests and resistance he had developed in South Africa.

1915- By the time Gandhi sailed to Bombay, news of his fight for Indian equality in South Africa had spread through India and he was welcomed as a hero. Wanting to familiarize himself with the problems of Indian Society, Gandhi spent most of the next year traveling throughout the country by train. The poverty, famine, and government corruption that Gandhi saw on his travels convinced him of the need for social and moral reform.

1919- Gandhi helped to organize nationwide protests against the Rowlatt acts, legislation aimed at suppressing Indian nationalism and activism through the suspension of Indian civil liberties, especially the right to public order. Heavily armed British troops killed more than 350 unarmed Indians who had gathered for a Sikh Celebration, many of them were women and children and took place just outside Amritsar, Punjab, which quickly became known as the Armritsar Massacre. Gandhi responded to the killings with a well publicized three-day fast and began to accelerate his program of resistance to colonial rule.

1920- Gandhi organized a massive boycott of British goods and taxes to protest Western materialism and the British economic exploitation of India.

1922- British authorities arrested and tried Gandhi for serious acts. In this trial, known as "The Great Trial," Gandhi plead guilty to the charges but argued that he had broken the law to protest the gross inequalities in Indian society. He was sentenced to six years in jail but was released after 2 years when he had to undergo an appendectomy. 

1928- Gandhi organized a tax strike in the city of Bardoli, Gujarat Province (Northwest India) to protest the creation of a constitutional reform committee that did not include a single Indian member. While he had originally argued for reform within the British system rather then revolution, it was around this time that Gandhi began to assess the need for complete Indian independence.

1930- In protest of the Salt Act (1882), which forbade Indians from making their own salt, Gandhi led a 200 mile march from his ashram in Ahmedabed to the coastal town of Dandi, Gandhi knelt down and symbolically picked up a piece of natural, unprocessed salt from the shore, thereby violating British law. He inspired thousands of Indians to follow his example from non-violent civil disobedience.

1932- After once again being imprisoned by British authorities, Gandhi began his "Fast until Death" to protest the British proposal to create a separate electorate for the Untouchable Caste. The fast ended when Indian and British leaders came together to negotiate a settlement whereby all Indians would be included in the same electorate regardless of their place in Hindu society. When Gandhi undertook another fast to purify his body British authorities, nervous that he would not survive another fast, released him from custody.

1933- Gandhi was largely absent from national politics for the next 7 years. He spent his time visiting villages throughout India, speaking against the mistreatment of the untouchables, women and children, and campaigning for better and more pragmatic education in rural areas.

 1940- With the eruption of World War II in 1939, Gandhi soon returned to active politics. Great Britain had involved India in the war without its consent and British authorities began to strictly censor criticism of the war. In response, Gandhi launched the Satyagraha campaign, resulting in thousands of arrests of protesters.

1942- Gandhi launched what became known as the "Quit India" movement. The Indian National Congress passed the "Quit India" resolution demanding that the British recognize Indian independence. In support of the resolution, Gandhi launched his last Satyagraha campaign.  Along with other Indian leaders, Gandhi was arrested and imprisoned. 

1945- At the end of World War II, the labor party came into power in Britain. Weary of war and empire, labor politicians worked with Indian leaders to establish India as an independent state. 

1946- With the uncertainty of an independent India on the Horizon, Tensions between Hindu and Muslim leaders began to increase. Both Hindu and Muslims feared they would not receive adequate representation in the new Indian government. Violent conflicts erupted across India between Hindu and Muslims. Gandhi, who had long urged the Indian people to cast aside their religious and ethnic differences, faced the reality of an India divided across religious lines.

1947- On August 14, India declared its independence. The country was partitioned into two separate states; India with a large Hindu population, and Pakistan, with a large Muslim population. Jahwaharlal Nehru became the first president of India. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim leader who had petitioned for the formation of Pakistan, became Governor-General of Pakistan. The Partition launched one of the largest human migrations in history, with over ten-million people forced to relocate. 

1948- On January 30, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist. Gandhi died at the age of 78. 

Legacy of Gandhi:
More than 50 years after his death, Gandhi is still remembered for his legendary Satragraha campaigns and his philosophy of non-violent resistance. Gandhi's philosophy has inspired many of the most famous resistance movements of the 20th century- For example, the U.S. civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi's pro democracy movement against the military junta of Myanmar, and the movement to end the Apartheid in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela.
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