07
Jun
09

On This Day, June 7: Mohandas K Gandhi

June 7, 1893

Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience

In an event that would have dramatic repercussions for the people of India, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and is forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg.

Born in India and educated in England, Gandhi traveled to South Africa in early 1893 to practice law under a one-year contract. Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man.

When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launch a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain’s mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. Always nonviolent, he asserted the unity of all people under one God and preached Christian and Muslim ethics along with his Hindu teachings. The British authorities jailed him several times, but his following was so great that he was always released.

After World War II, he was a leading figure in the negotiations that led to Indian independence in 1947. Although hailing the granting of Indian independence as the “noblest act of the British nation,” he was distressed by the religious partition of the former Mogul Empire into India and Pakistan. When violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India in 1947, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas in an effort to end India’s religious strife. On January 30, 1948, he was on one such prayer vigil in New Delhi when he was fatally shot by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims.

Known as Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States.

“Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5073 [accessed Jun 7, 2009]

 

On This Day

1494 – Spain and Portugal divided the new lands they had discovered between themselves.

1498 – Christopher Columbus left on his third voyage of exploration.

1712 – The Pennsylvania Assembly banned the importation of slaves.

1775 – The United Colonies changed their name to the United States.

1863 – Mexico City was captured by French troops.

1903 – Professor Pierre Curie revealed the discovery of Polonium.

1932 – Over 7,000 war veterans marched on Washington, DC, demanding their bonuses.

1939 – King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, arrived in the U.S. It was the first visit to the U.S. by a reigning British monarch.

1942 – The Battle of Midway ended. The sea and air battle lasted 4 days. Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties.

1944 – Off of the coast of Normandy, France, the Susan B. Anthony sank. All 2,689 people aboard survived.

1965 – In the U.S., the Gemini 4 mission was completed. The mission featured the first spacewalk by an American.

1981 – Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers destroyed Iraq’s only nuclear reactor.

1998 – James Byrd Jr., at age 49, was murdered in Jasper, TX. Byrd had been dragged to death behind a pickup truck. On February 25, 1999 William King was sentenced to the death penalty for the racial crime while two other men charged awaited trial.

June 7, 1776

“Lee’s Resolution” presented to Continental Congress

On this day in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduces a resolution for independence to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia; John Adams seconds the motion.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

During the ensuing debates, it became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, but would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on Lee’s Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote.

John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.

“‘Lee’s Resolution’ presented to Continental Congress,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=714 [accessed Jun 7, 2009]

Advertisements

0 Responses to “On This Day, June 7: Mohandas K Gandhi”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


June 2009
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 280 other followers


%d bloggers like this: