An Autobiography Summary By M. K. Gandhi

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An Autobiography is an inspiring and eye-opening book about the life of one of the most iconic political figures in history – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

In its two volumes, it gives an intimate account of Gandhi's childhood, his activism in South Africa, his work with the Indian Independence Movement, and his personal journey towards truth.

The book chronicles Gandhi's rebellious spirit as a child, as well as his unwavering dedication to the cause throughout adulthood.

It reaches all the way up to 1920 and covers vital details such as how he was able to organize a successful non-violent civil disobedience campaign against the British rule.

It is not only an interesting and captivating read but also provides valuable insights into Gandhi's personal philosophy and how he tried to bring peace to India by advocating for nonviolence in both speech and action.

Book Name: An Autobiography (The Story of My Experiments with Truth)

Author(s): M. K. Gandhi

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 29 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the iconic author of this autobiography was a major figure in the Indian Independence Movement in the early 20th century.

He was born on October 2, 1869 and his life was devoted to social justice and non-violence.

His activism began in South Africa when he fought for immigrant rights, then continued upon his return to India in 1915.

His commitment to nonviolent protest eventually led him to become a revered leader until his assassination during evening prayers in 1948.

Through this autobiography, readers are given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Gandhi's principles and ideals that ultimately shaped history.

The Autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: From Rebellious Teenager to Human Rights Visionary

If you’ve ever been inspired by the world-changing power of Truth and nonviolence, then you should certainly read the autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Though he was one of the most influential people of the twentieth century, he was still a man whose life was ultimately guided by his pursuit of Truth.

In his autobiography, we get to peek inside Gandhi’s teenage years as a rebellious young man who experienced doubts and struggles.

Then we get to see how he developed into an inspiring human rights leader in spite of all the corruption and shyness he faced during his earlyyears as a lawyer in South Africa.

It’s amazing how much he persevered despite all these difficulties, finally leading him to the position of an international icon and demonstrating to us the remarkable power of Truth and nonviolence.

Reading Gandhi’s autobiography teaches us that no matter what obstacles lay in our paths, if we follow our lofty ideals then even great things can be achieved.

Mohandas Gandhi’s Humble Upbringing Instilled Moral Values That He Would Later Apply to the Fight for Indian Independence

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India on October 2, 1869 into the Modh Bania Hindu merchant caste.

His upbringing was quite humble, but his parents left a lasting impression by instilling in him a devotion to Hinduism and an inclusive attitude towards different cultures.

When he was just 13 years old, his family organized a wedding ceremony – including the weddings of one of his brothers and a cousin – that included this young boy.

At the time, Gandhi was excited about getting married; however he would eventually criticize child marriage when reaching adulthood.

Gandhi’s Rebellious Youth Reveals How Easily We Can Fall Short of Our Moral Ideals

As a young man, Gandhi had an intriguing rebellious phase that could only be described as marked by jealousy and lust.

During high school, he managed to collect a troubled friend whose reputation was less than stellar.

This new pal’s poor behavior often influenced Gandhi in unexpected ways, such as convincing him to break his family’s religious taboo of being vegetarian by consuming meat.

Despite feeling sick after doing so, Gandhi continued eating meat as he wanted the strength that came with it.

The guilt eventually became too much for him, and he ultimately remained a lifelong vegetarian whom firmly believed that it was a necessary step towards living a nonviolent life abiding by Truth.

Not only did this same friend convince Gandhi to eat meat, but they also visited brothels together – even though Luther’s nervousness prevented any kind of sexual activities from occurring outside of his marriage.

He saw his visit as moral wrongdoing and regretted it all the same.

Other wrongdoings included smoking Indian cigarettes with one of his relatives and stealing money in order to buy them.

Moreover, jealousy and lust were still very much alive in Gandhi when it came to his relationship with Kasturbai during their early years together – feelings which sometimes led him to be jealously demanding upon her fidelity despite having been unfaithful himself – as well as seen in the time when he left the bedside of his dying father just so he could sneak into her bedroom instead!

Gandhi’s College Years Were a Critical Time for Solidifying His Beliefs and Strengthening His Resolve

When young Mohandas Gandhi reached graduation from high school in 1887, his horizons were widened by a friend’s suggestion that he study law in England’s University College.

But the decision to go was not made easily as his mother worried about the temptations of Western culture and his caste threatened to disown him if he left India.

However, Gandhi was determined to expand his knowledge and decided to pursue this plan of action.

Though it caused him to be expelled from his caste, Gandhi risked it all for the opportunity to attend University College and learn more about the law.

This was also significant as it gave him some valuable experience with running an organization when he joined the Vegetarian Society in London and started up a local chapter in the Bayswater area.

Despite the disapproval of others, he persevered through learning how to live frugally on a tight budget and getting an in depth understanding of law and religion while enjoying his time abroad.

Gandhi concluded his studies successfully on June 10th, 1891 when he was called to the bar at courtesy court–two days later he sailed back home with newfound knowledge and wisdom which would help shape him into one of history‘s most notable political figures.

Gandhi’s Fight for Equality Convinced Him to Take Non-Violent Stands Against Discrimination

When Gandhi returned home from university, he was met with the news that his mother had passed away.

Although grief-stricken, one good piece of news awaited him – his caste had split in two, with one side willing to welcome him into their fold.

Gandhi decided to seize this opportunity for professional experience and traveled to Bombay, where he studied Indian law and read books.

When it came time for him to present a case in court though, his shyness got the better of him.

With no money making prospects in Bombay, Gandhi eventually returned to Rajkot in Gujarat and saw firsthand how corrupt the local courts were.

In April 1893 Gandhi found work at a law firm in South Africa, but quickly discovered the severe racial divisions that existed there; between different religious groups, ethnicities, and even employment opportunities.

His experiences ran deep – whilst taking a train ride to Pretoria he was asked to move out of first-class seating despite having purchased a ticket.

He also endured discrimination at a hotel when he was almost forbidden from eating with other guests.

Despite all this treatment though, Gandhi still showed magnanimity when a police officer kicked him – forgiving him and vowing never to take people to court over personal offenses again.

Gandhi Finds Inspiration in South African Racism and Writes the Guidebook for Nonviolent Resistance

In his early days in Pretoria, Gandhi was already becoming passionate about social justice and the fight against oppression.

He continued to take on legal cases and help his clients while simultaneously dedicating himself to public service.

Gandhi was also immersing himself in a deep study of religion.

He set up prayer groups, discussed Hinduism with spiritual authorities, and read influential books like The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Tolstoy which furthered his advocacy for non-violent resistance.

His colleague A.


Baker aided him in learning about Christianity, while Abdulla Sheth helped him understand Islam better.

Gandhi eventually came to question some of the aspects of both Hinduism and Christianity that he believed held people back from achieving true liberation; this realization pushed him to continue with even greater zeal towards becoming an advocate for social change during these formative years in Pretoria.

Gandhi’s Trip Home Ignites His Activism for Indian Rights in South Africa

Gandhi’s work in southern Africa continued with a case in Natal.

In 1893, legislation was passed that barred Indians living there from electing members to the legislative assembly.

Despite this, Gandhi still accepted the opportunity to argue their case in court.

He offered to take off his turban while in court- providing a refreshing insight on equality by showing that “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – and his statement held true when the objection raised against him was ultimately overruled.

To further advance this cause for Indian rights, Gandhi also set up a permanent organization called ‘Natal Indian Congress’, which worked towards providing better job opportunities for indentured workers who were often abused by employers and had their voting rights taken away.

Having been away from home for three long years, Gandhi eventually returned home for six months and did not sit still – he stirred up interest of his new cause back home by writing ‘The Green Pamphlet’, detailing the struggles faced by Indians living in South Africa and Natal.

He further visited cities like Poona and Madras to spread awareness of this issue as well as traveling to Calcutta to meet with press editors and discuss plans on getting out more information.

These actions laid down the foundation for his later activism back home in India.

Gandhi’s Life-Changing Experiences in India Lead to A Resolution and a Mission to Change Society

After offering his services to those wounded in the Boer War, Gandhi chose to return to India and serve in the Indian National Congress.

In a humble effort, he performed menial tasks such as buttoning up an official’s shirt.

When asked about this, he replied that it gave him insight into how the Congress works, something that was invaluable for Gandhi.

Gandhi also had the chance to visit affluent Indians and discuss with them the many struggles of working-class people.

Using Gopal Krishna Gokhale as a mentor during this time, Gandhi gained important knowledge and experiences that would help him better understand the challenges facing Indians.

Finally, he went on a journey throughout India in third-class train compartments so he could observe firsthand what daily life was like for most Indians.

From these events, Gandhi reaffirmed his commitment to helping those living in poverty and other hardships across India—a decision that changed history forever.

Gandhi’s Philosophy of Nonviolence and Self-Restraint Paved the Way for His Revolutionary Legacy

According to Gandhi’s philosophy, violence should never be used against an individual.

He called this principle ahimsa, and it was based on his study of Hindu scriptures.

Additionally, he advocated for noncooperation as well.

Gandhi also believed in the practice of self-restraint.

This became incredibly important for him when he took a vow of brahmacharya, or celibacy, in 1906 after consulting with his wife.

His motivation for taking the vow was that it would free him from the distractions of lust, allowing him to serve the public more fully by focusing solely on them– this included changing his diet to bland foods that wouldn’t create sensory distraction either.

It’s clear that Gandhi was dedicated both to nonviolence and celibacy which helped shape his ideology during his lifetime and ultimately contributed strongly to his legacy and ongoing influence today.

Gandhi’s Satyagraha Movement: How His South African Experiences Led to a Revolutionary Brand of Nonviolent Protest

Gandhi never stopped fighting for equality and justice for those of Indian descent in South Africa.

Even when the Transvaal government tried to control and discriminate against certain members of society with the Asiatic Registration Act, Gandhi stepped up to challenge this law.

In response, he launched a campaign of nonviolent noncooperation using satyagraha – a term derived from Sanskrit meaning “truth” and “firmness”.

This philosophy was an amalgamation of views expressed by authors such as Tolstoy, Thoreau and Ruskin, advocating citizens to confront oppressive governments without violence or harm.

He continued his mission with weekly journal called The Indian Opinion and communal farm known as Phoenix Settlements.

His work over the years certainly made an impact on those facing inequality, in both South Africa and beyond.

Gandhi Champions a Strong Nonviolent Movement Guided by Satyagraha to Fight Social Injustices in India

When WWI broke out two days prior to Gandhi reaching England, he was forced to turn his steps homeward towards India.

As the 45 year-old national hero arrived in January of 1915, he began to take action on what he saw as unjust systems.

A particular target of Gandhi’s ire was the tinkathia system, which forced tenants to plant indigo for their landlords and essentially turned them into serfs of the country’s landowners.

Gandhi reacted quickly and soon was arrested for challenging this corrupt system, but upon his release continued fighting for those who were being exploited until the entire system had been abolished.

His attention then moved onto the Rowlatt Committee and their proposed Rowlatt Act which would give the British army authority to arrest Indians without producing any evidence as cause.

This spurred Gandhi’s call for a day of satyagraha consisting of fasting, prayer and noncooperation which resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response despite being unable to prevent the Act being made law.

Gandhi’s actions showed that even when faced with one of history’s biggest wars, he would not waver from his dedication to justice and equality for all people regardless of race or background – something that has made him an inspirational figure throughout time.

Gandhi Led India on a Path to Independence Through Non-Cooperation, Self-Reliance and Ahimsa

Gandhi was devoted to the principle of satyagraha (nonviolent protest) as a means to achieve independence.

However, when the protests turned violent he suspended this practice.

While this pause in action was necessary given the tragedy of the situation, it did not mean that Gandhi had abandoned his commitment to peaceful activism.

Gandhi’s determination for India’s freedom from British colonial rule ultimately resulted in the passing of a resolution at the Nagpur annual congress meeting in 1920.

This resolution called for an end to cooperation with England and a shift towards constitutional autonomy for India itself.

This included boycotting anything related to British efforts, such as educational institutions, legal ones and also certain goods.

To make up for these losses, Gandhi encouraged Indians to produce their own fabrics using khadi homespun cloths as part of the Independence Movement.

He also requested those employed under British rule resign from their posts in order to demonstrate their dedication to Indian independence.

And while satyagraha may have been suspended following violence on behalf of protestors, Gandhi’s noncooperation resolution served as proof that nonviolence could still be achieved through peaceful vigilance and truth-seeking.

His commitment inspired thousands of people who shared his common goal: justice and equality beyond colonial rule– this is where Gandi’s story concludes but truth-seeking legacy will continue to guide many peace activists into the future.

Wrap Up

The final summary of the book emphasizes the importance of striving for Truth in order to understand and maintain perspective.

Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha was born from his understanding that racial prejudice and unjust actions are hard to break without this driving force, and it is all the more relevant today.

He continually strived to better himself through self-experimentation and regular exercise, as well as maintain a healthy diet as he knew that these habits would not only benefit him physically but mentally too.

This is an example we can all follow in our own lives, pushing ourselves to question what we know for certain and exploring different perspectives so that we are able to recognize injustice when we see it.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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