Vinayak Narahari "Vinoba" Bhave was an Indian advocate of nonviolence and human rights. Called Acharya, he is best known for the Bhoodan Movement, he is considered as the spiritual successor of Mohandas Gandhi. The Gita has been translated into Marathi language by him with the name as Geetai means mother Geeta. Vinayaka Narahari Bhave was born on 11 September 1895 in a small village called Gagoji in Kolaba in the Konkan region of what is now Maharashtra. Vinayaka was the eldest son of Narahari Shambhu Rukmini Devi; the couple had five children. His father was a trained weaver with a rationalist modern outlook, worked in Baroda. Vinayaka was brought up by his grandfather, Shamburao Bhave and was influenced by his mother Rukmini Devi, a religious woman from Karnataka. Vinayaka was inspired after reading the Bhagavad Gita, at a young age. A report in the newspapers about Gandhi's speech at the newly founded Benaras Hindu University attracted Bhave's attention. In 1916, on his way to Mumbai to appear for the intermediate examination, Bhave threw his school and college certificates into a fire.
Bhave took the decision after reading the piece of writing in the newspaper written by Mahatma Gandhi. He wrote a letter to Gandhi and after an exchange of letters, Gandhi advised Bhave to come for a personal meeting at Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad. Bhave subsequently abandoned his studies. Bhave participated with keen interest in the activities at Gandhi's ashram, like teaching, studying and improving the life of the community, his involvement with Gandhi's constructive programmes related to Khadi, village industries, new education and hygiene kept on increasing. Bhave went to Wardha on 8 April 1921 to take charge of the Ashram as desired by Gandhi. In 1923, he brought out Maharashtra Dharma, a Marathi monthly which had his essays on the Upanishads. On, this monthly became a weekly and continued for three years. In 1925, he was sent by Gandhi to Vaikom, Kerala to supervise the entry of the Harijans to the temple. Bhave was arrested several times during the 1920s and 1930s and served a five-year jail sentence in the 1940s for leading non-violent resistance to British rule.
The jails for Bhave had become the places of writing. He wrote Sthitaprajna Darshan in jail, he learnt four South Indian languages and created the script of Lok Nagari at Vellore jail. In the jails, he gave a series of talks to his fellow prisoners. Bhave participated in the nationwide civil disobedience periodically conducted against the British, was imprisoned with other nationalists. Despite these many activities, he was not well known to the public, he gained national prominence when Gandhi chose him as the first participant in a new nonviolent campaign in 1940. All were calling him in Vinoba. Bhave's younger brother Balkrishna was a Gandhian. Gandhi entrusted him and Manibhai Desai to set up a nature therapy ashram at Urali Kanchan where Balkrishna spent all his life He was associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, he stayed for some time at Gandhi's Sabarmati ashram in a cottage, named after him,'Vinoba Kutir'. There he gave a series of talks on the Gita, in his native language Marathi, to his fellow prisoners.
These inspiring talks were published as the book "Talks on the Gita", it has been translated into many languages both in India and elsewhere. Bhave felt that the source of these talks was something from above and he believed that its influence will endure if his other works were forgotten. In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be the first individual Satyagrahi against the British rule, it is said that Gandhi envied and respected Bhave's celibacy, a vow he made in his adolescence, in fitting with his belief in the Brahmacharya principle. Bhave participated in the Quit India Movement. Bhave's religious outlook was broad and it synthesized the truths of many religions; this can be seen in one of his hymns "Om Tat Sat". His slogan "जय जगत्" i.e. "victory to the world" finds reflection in his views about the world as a whole. Bhave observed the life of the average Indian living in a village and tried to find solutions for the problems he faced with a firm spiritual foundation; this formed the core of his Sarvodaya movement.
Another example of this is the Bhoodan movement started at Pochampally on 18 April 1951, after interacting with 80 Harijan families. He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their sons and so give him one-sixth of their land which he distributed to landless poor. Non-violence and compassion is a hallmark of his philosophy, he campaigned against the slaughtering of cows. Bhave said, "I have walked all over India for 13 years. In the backdrop of enduring perpetuity of my life's work, I have established 6 ashrams; the Brahma Vidya Mandir is one of the ashrams. It is a small community for women, created in order for them to become self-sufficient and non-violent in a community; this group farms to get their own food, but uses Gandhi's beliefs about food production, which include sustainability and social justice, as a guide. This community, like Gandhi and Bhave, has been influenced by the Bhagavad-Gita and, used to determine their practices; the community per
The Punjab spelled Panjab, is a geopolitical and historical region in South Asia in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. The boundaries of the region focus on historical accounts; until the Partition of Punjab in 1947, the British Punjab Province encompassed the present-day Indian states and union territories of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. It bordered the Balochistan and Pashtunistan regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, Rajasthan and Sindh to the south; the people of the Punjab today are called Panjabis, their principal language is Punjabi. The main religions of the Indian Punjab region are Hinduism; the main religions of the Pakistani Punjab region is Islam. Other religious groups are Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Ravidassia; the Punjab region has been inhabited by the Indus Valley Civilisation, Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Scythians, has seen numerous invasions by the Persians, Kushans, Timurids, Pashtuns and others.
Historic foreign invasions targeted the most productive central region of the Punjab known as the Majha region, the bedrock of Punjabi culture and traditions. The Punjab region is referred to as the breadbasket in both India and Pakistan; the region was called Sapta Sindhu, the Vedic land of the seven rivers flowing into the ocean. The origin of the word Punjab can be traced to the Sanskrit "pancha-nada", which means "five rivers", is used as the name of a region in the Mahabharata; the name of the region, Punjab, is a compound of two Persian words, Panj and āb, introduced to the region by the Turko-Persian conquerors of India, more formally popularised during the Mughal Empire. Punjab thus means "The Land of Five Waters", referring to the rivers Jhelum, Ravi and Beas. All are tributaries of the Sutlej being the largest; the Greeks referred to the region as Pentapotamia. There are two main definitions of the Punjab region: the 1947 definition and the older 1846–1849 definition. A third definition incorporates both the 1947 and the older definitions but includes northern Rajasthan on a linguistic basis and ancient river movements.
The 1947 definition defines the Punjab region with reference to the dissolution of British India whereby the British Punjab Province was partitioned between India and Pakistan. In Pakistan, the region now includes Islamabad Capital Territory. In India, it includes the Punjab state, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. Using the 1947 definition, the Punjab borders the Balochistan and Pashtunistan regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, Rajasthan and Sindh to the south. Accordingly, the Punjab region is diverse and stretches from the hills of the Kangra Valley to the plains and to the Cholistan Desert. Using the 1947 definition of the Punjab region, some of the major cities of the area include Lahore and Ludhiana; the older definition of the Punjab region focuses on the collapse of the Sikh Empire and the creation of the British Punjab province between 1846 and 1849. According to this definition, the Punjab region incorporates, in Pakistan, Azad Kashmir including Bhimber and Mirpur and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In India the wider definition includes parts of Jammu Division. Using the older definition of the Punjab region, the Punjab region covers a large territory and can be divided into five natural areas: the eastern mountainous region including Jammu Division and Azad Kashmir; the formation of the Himalayan Range of mountains to the east and north-east of the Punjab is the result of a collision between the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The plates are still moving together, the Himalayas are rising by about 5 millimetres per year; the upper regions are snow-covered the whole year. Lower ranges of hills run parallel to the mountains; the Lower Himalayan Range runs from north of Rawalpindi through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and further south. The mountains are young, are eroding rapidly; the Indus and the five rivers of the Punjab have their sources in the mountain range and carry loam and silt down to the rich alluvial plains, which are fertile. According to the older definition, some of the major cities include Jammu and parts of Delhi.
The third definition of the Punjab region adds to the definitions cited above and includes parts of Rajasthan on linguistic lines and takes into consideration the location of the Punjab rivers in ancient times. In particular, the Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts are included in the Punjab region; the climate is a factor contributing to the economy of the Punjab. It is not uniform over the whole region, with the sections adjacent to the Himalayas receiving heavier rainfall than those at a distance. There are two transitional periods. During the hot season from mid-April to the end of June, the temperature may reach 49 °C; the monsoon season, from July to September, is a period of heavy rainfall, providing
United Bengal is a political ideology for a unified Bengali-speaking nation in South Asia. The ideology developed among Bengali nationalists after the first partition of Bengal in 1905; the British-ruled Bengal Presidency was divided into Western Bengal and Eastern Bengal and Assam to weaken the independence movement. The United Bengal proposal was the bid made by the Bengali Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose to found a united and independent nation-state of Bengal; the proposal was floated as an secular alternative to the partition of Bengal on communal lines. The initiative failed owing to British diplomacy and communal conflict between Muslims and Hindus that led to the second partition of Bengal; as the Hindu-Muslim conflict escalated and the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan became popular among Indian Muslims, the partition of India on communal lines was deemed inevitable by mid-1947. To prevent the inclusion of Hindu-majority districts of Punjab and Bengal in a Muslim Pakistan, the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha sought the partition of these provinces on communal lines.
Bengali nationalists such as Sarat Chandra Bose, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Kiran Shankar Roy, Abul Hashim, Satya Ranjan Bakshi and Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry sought to counter partition proposals with the demand for a united and independent state of Bengal. In a press statement on 27 April 1947 Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy said: Let us pause for a moment to consider what Bengal can be if it remains united, it will be a great country, indeed the richest and the most prosperous in India capable of giving to its people a high standard of living, where a great people will be able to rise to the fullest height of their stature, a land that will be plentiful. It will be rich in agriculture, rich in industry and commerce and in course of time it will be one of the powerful and progressive states of the world. If Bengal remains united this will be no fantasy. Ideological visions for a “Greater Bengal” included the regions of Northeast India. Suhrawardy and Bose sought the formation of a coalition government between the Bengali Congress and the Bengal Provincial Muslim League.
Proponents of the plan urged the masses to reject communal divisions and uphold the vision of a united Bengal. In a press conference held in Delhi on April 27, 1947, Suhrawardy presented his plan for a united and independent Bengal and Abul Hashim issued a similar statement in Calcutta on April 29. A few days Sarat Chandra Bose put forward his proposals for a "Sovereign Socialist Republic of Bengal." Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the President of the All-India Muslim League and Founding Father of Pakistan, showed his support for the proposal along with Mahatma Gandhi, but the Indian National Congress aggressively opposed it. Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah viewed this plan in a long term geostrategic point in believing that independent Bengal led by Muslim premier would forged a closer alliance with Pakistan than it would with India. With the support of the British governor of the Bengal province, Frederick Burrows, Bengali leaders issued the formal proposal on May 20: Bengal would be a Free State; the Free State of Bengal would decide its relations with the rest of India.
The Constitution of the Free State of Bengal would provide for election to the Bengal Legislature on the basis of a joint electorate and adult franchise, with reservation of seats proportionate to the population among Hindus and Muslims. The seats set aside for Hindus and Scheduled Caste Hindus would be distributed amongst them in proportion to their respective population, or in such manner as may be agreed among them; the constituencies would be multiple constituencies and the votes would be distributive and not cumulative. A candidate who got the majority of the votes of his own community cast during the elections and 25 percent of the votes of the other communities so cast, would be declared elected. If no candidate satisfied these conditions, that candidate who got the largest number of votes of his own community would be elected. On the announcement by His Majesty's Government that the proposal of the Free State of Bengal had been accepted and that Bengal would not be partitioned, the present Bengal Ministry would be dissolved.
A new interim Ministry would be brought into being, consisting of an equal number of Muslims and Hindus but excluding the Chief Minister. In this Ministry, Chief Minister would be the Home Minister a Hindu. Pending the final emergence of a Legislature and a Ministry under the new constitutions and Muslims would have an equal share in the Services, including military and police; the Services would be manned by Bengalis. A Constituent Assembly composed of 30 persons, 16 Muslims and 14 non-Muslims, would be elected by Muslim and non-Muslim members of the Legislature excluding Europeans; the proposal made no mention of Bengal's status in the Commonwealth if it were to become independent or whether it would accept dominion status as was done with the Union of India, the Dominion of Pakistan and Ceylon or sever all ties with the United Kingdom. On May 12, 1947 Abul Hashim and Sarat Bose met Mahatma Gandhi to discuss the United Bengal scheme and received his blessings. However, the day afterward, on May 13, 1947, the president of the Indian National Congress, JB Kripalini, dismissed any notions to "save the unity of Bengal".
In reply to the plea, made by Ashrafuddin Chowdhury, a Muslim nationalist and peasant leader from Tippera, Kripalini wrote: "All that the Congress seeks to do today is to rescue as many areas as possible from the threatened domination of
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was a freedom fighter, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence, he emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India, he was known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru. The son of Motilal Nehru, a prominent lawyer and nationalist statesman and Swaroop Rani, Nehru was a graduate of Trinity College and the Inner Temple, where he trained to be a barrister. Upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s.
He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. As Congress President in 1929, Nehru called for complete independence from the British Raj and instigated the Congress's decisive shift towards the left. Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence, his idea of a secular nation-state was validated when the Congress, under his leadership, swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces. But these achievements were compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British crush the Congress as a political organisation. Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape; the Muslim League under his old Congress colleague and now opponent, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had come to dominate Muslim politics in India.
Negotiations between Congress and Muslim League for power sharing failed and gave way to the independence and bloody partition of India in 1947. Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor; as Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India's transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party system. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia. Under Nehru's leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, 1962, he remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas. Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14 November 1889 in Allahabad in British India, his father, Motilal Nehru, a self-made wealthy barrister who belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community, served twice as President of the Indian National Congress, in 1919 and 1928. His mother, Swaruprani Thussu, who came from a well-known Kashmiri Brahmin family settled in Lahore, was Motilal's second wife, the first having died in child birth. Jawaharlal was the eldest of three children; the elder sister, Vijaya Lakshmi became the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly. The youngest sister, Krishna Hutheesing, became a noted writer and authored several books on her brother. Nehru described his childhood as a "sheltered and uneventful one", he grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at wealthy homes including a palatial estate called the Anand Bhavan. His father had him educated at home by private tutors. Under the influence of a tutor, Ferdinand T. Brooks, he became interested in theosophy.
He was subsequently initiated into the Theosophical Society at age thirteen by family friend Annie Besant. However, his interest in theosophy did not prove to be enduring and he left the society shortly after Brooks departed as his tutor, he wrote: "for nearly three years was with me and in many ways he influenced me greatly". Nehru's theosophical interests had induced him to the study of the Hindu scriptures. According to Bal Ram Nanda, these scriptures were Nehru's "first introduction to the religious and cultural heritage of.... provided Nehru the initial impulse for long intellectual quest which culminated...in The Discovery of India." Nehru became an ardent nationalist during his youth. The Second Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War intensified his feelings. About the latter he wrote, " Japanese victories stirred up my enthusiasm... Nationalistic ideas filled my mind... I mused of Indian freedom and Asiatic freedom from the thraldom of Europe." When he had begun his institutional schooling in 1905 at Harrow, a leading school in England, he was influenced by G. M. Trevelyan's Garibaldi books, which he had received as prizes for academic merit.
He viewed Garibaldi as a revolutionary her
Mysticism is the practice of religious ecstasies, together with whatever ideologies, rites, myths and magic may be related to them. It may refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences; the term "mysticism" has Ancient Greek origins with various determined meanings. Derived from the Greek word μύω, meaning "to close" or "to conceal", mysticism referred to the biblical liturgical and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity. During the early modern period, the definition of mysticism grew to include a broad range of beliefs and ideologies related to "extraordinary experiences and states of mind". In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limited definition, with broad applications, as meaning the aim at the "union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God"; this limited definition has been applied to a wide range of religious traditions and practices, valuing "mystical experience" as a key element of mysticism.
Broadly defined, mysticism can be found in all religious traditions, from indigenous religions and folk religions like shamanism, to organised religions like the Abrahamic faiths and Indian religions, modern spirituality, New Age and New Religious Movements. Since the 1960s scholars have debated the merits of perennial and constructionist approaches in the scientific research of "mystical experiences"; the perennial position is now "largely dismissed by scholars", most scholars using a contextualist approach, which takes the cultural and historical context into consideration. "Mysticism" is derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "I conceal", its derivative μυστικός, meaning'an initiate'. The verb μυώ has received a quite different meaning in the Greek language; the primary meanings it has are "induct" and "initiate". Secondary meanings include "introduce", "make someone aware of something", "train", "familiarize", "give first experience of something"; the related form of the verb μυέω appears in the New Testament.
As explained in Strong's Concordance, it properly means shutting the eyes and mouth to experience mystery. Its figurative meaning is to be initiated into the "mystery revelation"; the meaning derives from the initiatory rites of the pagan mysteries. Appearing in the New Testament is the related noun μυστήριον, the root word of the English term "mystery"; the term means a mystery or secret, of which initiation is necessary. In the New Testament it takes the meaning of the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof, the Christian revelation and/or particular truths or details of the Christian revelation. According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the term μυστήριον in classical Greek meant "a hidden thing", "secret". A particular meaning it took in Classical antiquity was a religious secret or religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals. In the Septuagint and the New Testament the meaning it took was that of a hidden purpose or counsel, a secret will.
It is sometimes used for the hidden wills of humans, but is more used for the hidden will of God. Elsewhere in the Bible it takes the meaning of the hidden sense of things, it is used behind images seen in visions and dreams. The Vulgate translates the Greek term to the Latin sacramentum; the related noun μύστης means the person initiated to the mysteries. According to Ana Jiménez San Cristobal in her study of Greco-Roman mysteries and Orphism, the singular form μύστης and the plural form μύσται are used in ancient Greek texts to mean the person or persons initiated to religious mysteries; these followers of mystery religions belonged to a select group, where access was only gained through an initiation. She finds that the terms were associated with the term βάκχος, used for a special class of initiates of the Orphic mysteries; the terms are first found connected in the writings of Heraclitus. Such initiates are identified in texts with the persons who have been purified and have performed certain rites.
A passage of the Cretans by Euripides seems to explain that the μύστης who devotes himself to an ascetic life, renounces sexual activities, avoids contact with the dead becomes known as βάκχος. Such initiates were believers in the god Dionysus Bacchus who took on the name of their god and sought an identification with their deity; until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria. According to Johnson, "oth contemplation and mysticism speak of the eye of love, looking at, gazing at, aware of divine realities." According to Peter Moore, the term "mysticism" is "problematic but indispensable." It is a generic term which joins together into one concept separate practices and ideas which developed separately, According to Dupré, "mysticism" has been defined in many ways, Merkur notes that the definition, or meaning, of the term "mysticism" has changed through the ages. Moore further notes that the term "mysticism" has become a popular label for "anything nebulous, occult, or supernatural."Parsons warns that "what might at times seem to be a straightforward phenomenon exhibiting an unambiguous commonality has become, at least within the academic study of religion and controversial on multiple levels".
Because of its Christian overtones, the lack of similar terms in other cultures, some scholars regard the term "mysticism" to be inadequ
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist, the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world; the honorific Mahātmā was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa – is now used worldwide. In India, he was called Bapu, a term that he preferred and Gandhi ji, is known as the Father of the Nation. Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat and trained in law at the Inner Temple, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.
Gandhi led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km Dandi Salt March in 1930, in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India, he lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand-spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political protest. Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism, demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. In August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan; as many displaced Hindus and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace.
In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78 had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan; some Indians thought. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest. Captured along with many of his co-conspirators and collaborators and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were tried and executed while many of their other accomplices were given prison sentences. Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 into a Gujarati Hindu Modh Baniya family in Porbandar, a coastal town on the Kathiawar Peninsula and part of the small princely state of Porbandar in the Kathiawar Agency of the Indian Empire, his father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi, served as the diwan of Porbandar state.
Although he only had an elementary education and had been a clerk in the state administration, Karamchand proved a capable chief minister. During his tenure, Karamchand married four times, his first two wives died young, after each had given birth to a daughter, his third marriage was childless. In 1857, Karamchand sought his third wife's permission to remarry. Karamchand and Putlibai had three children over the ensuing decade: Laxmidas. On 2 October 1869, Putlibai gave birth to her last child, Mohandas, in a dark, windowless ground-floor room of the Gandhi family residence in Porbandar city; as a child, Gandhi was described by his sister Raliat as "restless as mercury, either playing or roaming about. One of his favourite pastimes was twisting dogs' ears." The Indian classics the stories of Shravana and king Harishchandra, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood. In his autobiography, he admits, he writes: "It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number."
Gandhi's early self-identification with truth and love as supreme values is traceable to these epic characters. The family's religious background was eclectic. Gandhi's father Karamchand was Hindu and his mother Putlibai was from a Pranami Vaishnava Hindu family. Gandhi's father was of Modh Baniya caste in the varna of Vaishya, his mother came from the medieval Krishna bhakti-based Pranami tradition, whose religious texts include the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavata Purana, a collection of 14 texts with teachings that the tradition believes to include the essence of the Vedas, the Quran and the Bible. Gandhi was influenced by his mother, an pious lady who "would not think of taking her meals without her daily prayers...she would take the hardest vows and keep them without flinching. To keep two or three consecutive fasts was nothing to her."In 1874, Gandhi's father Karamchand left Porbandar for the smaller state of Rajkot, where he became a counsellor to its ruler, the Thakur Sahib.
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire. Congress is a secular party whose social democratic platform is considered to be on the centre-left of Indian politics. Congress' social policy is based upon the Gandhian principle of Sarvodaya—the lifting up of all sections of society—which involves the improvement of the lives of economically underprivileged and marginalised people; the party endorses social democracy—seeking to balance individual liberty and social justice and secularism—asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings. Its constitution states democractic socialism to be its ideal.
After India's independence in 1947, Congress formed the central government of India, many regional state governments. Congress became India's dominant political party. There have been seven Congress Prime Ministers, the first being Jawaharlal Nehru, the most recent Manmohan Singh. Although it did not fare well in the last general elections in India in 2014, it remains one of two major, political parties in India, along with the right-wing, Hindu nationalist, Bharatiya Janata Party. In the 2014 general election, Congress had its poorest post-independence general election performance, winning only 44 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha. From 2004 to 2014, United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of Congress with several regional parties, formed the Indian government led by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister as the head of the coalition government; the leader of the party during the period, Sonia Gandhi has served the longest term as the president of the party. As of December 2018, the party is in power in six legislative assemblies: Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the union territory of Puducherry.
The Indian National Congress conducted its first session in Bombay from 28–31 December 1885 at the initiative of retired Civil Service officer Allan Octavian Hume. In 1883, Hume had outlined his idea for a body representing Indian interests in an open letter to graduates of the University of Calcutta, its aim was to obtain a greater share in government for educated Indians, to create a platform for civic and political dialogue between them and the British Raj. Hume took the initiative, in March 1885 a notice convening the first meeting of the Indian National Union to be held in Poona the following December was issued. Due to a cholera outbreak there, it was moved to Bombay. Hume organised the first meeting in Bombay with the approval of the Viceroy Lord Dufferin. Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was the first president of Congress. Notable representatives included Scottish ICS officer William Wedderburn, Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta of the Bombay Presidency Association, Ganesh Vasudeo Joshi of the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, social reformer and newspaper editor Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Justice K. T. Telang, N. G. Chandavarkar, Dinshaw Wacha, Behramji Malabari and activist Gooty Kesava Pillai, P. Rangaiah Naidu of the Madras Mahajana Sabha.
This small elite group, unrepresentative of the Indian masses at the time, functioned more as a stage for elite Indian ambitions than a political party for the first decade of its existence. At the beginning of the 20th century, Congress' demands became more radical in the face of constant opposition from the British government, the party decided to advocate in favour of the independence movement because it would allow a new political system in which Congress could be a major party. By 1905, a division opened between the moderates led by Gokhale, who downplayed public agitation, the new extremists who advocated agitation, regarded the pursuit of social reform as a distraction from nationalism. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who tried to mobilise Hindu Indians by appealing to an explicitly Hindu political identity displayed in the annual public Ganapati festivals he inaugurated in western India, was prominent among the extremists. Congress included a number of prominent political figures. Dadabhai Naoroji, a member of the sister Indian National Association, was elected president of the party in 1886 and was the first Indian Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons.
Congress included Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Jinnah was a member of the moderate group in the Congress, favouring Hindu–Muslim unity in achieving self-government, he became the leader of the Muslim League and instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. Congress was transformed into a mass movement by Surendranath Banerjee during the partition of Bengal in 1905, the resultant Swadeshi movement. Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915. With the help of the moderate group led by Ghokhale, Gandhi became president of Congress. After the First World War, the party became associated with Gandhi, who remained its unofficial spiritual leader and icon, he formed an alliance wit