|Educated at Rajkot, Bjavnagar and London; called to the Bar in 1889, he practiced as barrister and attorney in South Africa for 17 years. This lucrative practice was given up in 1908 to serve the cause of the Indian immigrants in South Africa; he led the Passive Resistance Campaign and made a settlement of the grievances with General Smuts in 1914.|
A life-long influence for peace, during the Boer War he was in charge of an Indian Ambulance Corps and raised a similar corps in the first World War. Returning to India in 1915, for the next 30 years he created and led an agitation for the liberation of the sub-continent of India from the British Raj. It began in 1918 with the Satyagraha Movement and developed into the 1920 non-cooperation campaign directed by the Congress Organisation of which he was the leader. Years of political disturbance, passive resistance and periods of internment followed, until 1931 he med the Viceroy to agree a system of reforms that gave Indian Congress Members their first ministerial powers in provincial legislatures. His one aim and object, he claimed, was the orderly withdrawal of Britain from India in the best interests of both countries and this was the first step.
From this time onwards Indian politicians took increasing responsibility in Government until in 1947 Britain granted full independence which Gandhi declared to be "the noblest act of the British Nation".
He resigned the leadership of the Congress Party in 1934, although he continued to guide its policy and programme, and retired to Sayagram, the little village he had made his Headquarters to promote Rural Reconstruction work. This, probably, was the keynote of his unselfish life. He sought an India free from caste (he led the Anti-Untouchability Campaign, sometimes from internment), free from materialism, based upon the simple life of village craft and agriculture.
This issue of stamps by Cyprus commemorates the centenary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the gentle man of quiet pursuits destined to be murdered by a fanatic.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.