October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always.”
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
Mohandas Gandhi studied law in London and returned to Indian in 1891 to practice. In 1893 he accepted a one year contract to do legal work in South Africa. At the time South Africa was controlled by the British. When he attempted to claim his rights as a British subject he was abused, and soon saw that all Indians suffered similar treatment. Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 21 years working to secure rights for all Indian people. He developed a method of direct social action based upon the principles of courage, nonviolence, and truth called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. Satyagrha promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals.
In 1915 Gandhi returned to India. Within 15 years he became the leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement. Using the tenets of Satyagraha, he led the campaign for Indian independence from Britain. Gandhi was arrested many times by the British for his activities in South Africa and India. He believed it was honorable to go to jail for a just cause. Altogether he spent seven years in prison for his political activities. More than once Gandhi used fasting to impress upon others the need to be nonviolent.
India was granted independence in 1947 and partitioned into India and Pakistan. Rioting between Hindus and Muslims followed. Gandhi had been an advocate for a united India where Hindus and Muslims lived together in peace. On January 13, 19488, at the age of 78, he began a fast with the purpose of stopping the bloodshed. After 5 days the opposing leaders pledge to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Twelve days later he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who opposed his program of tolerance for all creeds and religions.
(Excerpted from Biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Mkgandhi.org)
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
“Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.” Albert Einstein
This picture is a needlepoint portrait from my “Persons of Interest” series. The title is a play on the phrase because the subjects of these portraits are people who have drawn the negative attention of governments and others who felt threatened by them, as well as being of particular interest to me because of how much they inspire me to be a better person and to dedicate myself to help other people. Portraits are approximate three feet square with 130,000 stitches and require 160 hours to complete.