Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi (1869–1948) was a famous leader and peacemaker from India who spent his life fighting for social justice. He helped his country to gain independence from British rule, and taught others to use peaceful protests to get their voices heard. Find out more about this gentle man and his desire for people of all backgrounds to live in harmony together. Then use our collection of printable resources below to test your newfound knowledge.

Mahatma Gandhi

Fun facts:

  • Gandhi was known to have terrible handwriting! Although he tried to improve it  in later life, he encouraged young people to practise writing skills as part of their education.
  • Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times, although he never won the award – which many people think was wrong. His birthday is now a national holiday in India, and is also honoured around the world as an International Day of Non-Violence.
  • Although named Mohandas, Gandhi was honoured with the name Mahatma in 1914 during his time in South Africa. Mahatma is a religious title (rather like ‘Saint’ in Christianity) that means ‘Great Soul’. In India, Gandhi is also called the Father of the Nation or ‘Bapu’ (father).

“Where there is love there is life.”
Gandhi

A Short Biography of Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi was born in 1869 in Porbandar, India. When Gandhi was just 13, his parents arranged a marriage for him. He and his wife Kasturba were married for over 60 years.

When Gandhi was 16, his father died, but he followed his father’s wish that he become a lawyer. At 19, he travelled to London, England, to study at university – even though he had recently become a father himself. When Gandhi returned to India three years later, he learnt that his mother had died while he was away.

Gandhi’s career in India started badly, so he took a job in South Africa where he lived with his family for 21 years. It was here that Gandhi experienced first-hand the mistreatment of people of colour. On his first appearance as a lawyer in court, Gandhi was asked to remove his turban. Another time, he was asked to leave a train carriage, despite his first-class ticket. When Gandhi refused, he was forcibly removed at the next station. These experiences left Gandhi determined to fight for social justice.

Gandhi became a political activist, drawing attention to the plight of Indian people in South Africa. When he returned to India in 1915, he helped his countrymen, too. India was ruled by Britain and Gandhi disliked the way that Indians were treated. He soon became leader of the Indian National Congress party, campaigning for independence.

Gandhi organised a series of peaceful protests. In 1930, for example, he led a 250-mile march to protest against a salt tax imposed by Britain. Thousands of Indians walked to the coast to make their own salt from evaporated seawater. He also encouraged people to strike and to stop buying British goods.

Gandhi was imprisoned many times and would often refuse to eat in prison to get more attention. The people loved Gandhi, and the authorities couldn’t risk him dying from starvation in their care.

When Britain became involved in World War II (bringing India into the conflict), the desire for independence became stronger than ever. Gandhi called for Britain’s immediate withdrawal from India, but the war complicated matters and it was another five years before independence came.

India was free at last, but was now partitioned into (mainly Hindu) India and (mainly Muslim) Pakistan. Gandhi was a Hindu but he wanted people to live together, whatever their religion. When violence broke out over the partition, he tried to bring peace.
 
Gandhi was greatly loved, but also had enemies. Some people thought Muslims and Hindus shouldn’t live together, and disliked Gandhi’s views. In 1948, Gandhi was on his way to morning prayers when he was shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic. Over two million people attended his funeral, joining a five-mile long procession.

Gandhi showed it was possible to fight injustice without resorting to violence. His actions soon sparked other civil rights movements and were an inspiration to leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr in the USA, and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Our Gandhi Resources

A Letter From Gandhi Worksheet

A Letter From Gandhi Worksheet

Here's a worksheet that asks the kids to use their persuasive writing skills and learn some facts about Gandhi too. Can they imagine they are Gandhi, writing a letter to the British Prime Minister requesting Indian independence?

Describing Gandhi Worksheet

Describing Gandhi Worksheet

Here's an interesting worksheet to get the kids thinking. Can they choose three words from the word cloud in the picture to describe Gandi, and explain why they chose these words?

Design an Award for Gandhi Worksheet

Design an Award for Gandhi Worksheet

Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on several occasions but never won, even though many felt he should have. Our template lets you design your own award for Gandhi to recognise his achievements.

Gandhi Comprehension

Gandhi Comprehension

Our Gandhi comprehension worksheet is aimed at older children. They need to read the information text all about Gandhi then answer a few questions at the end. 

Gandhi Factsheet

Gandhi Factsheet

Read our factsheet to learn a little information and some facts about Gandi and his achievements. 

Gandhi interview worksheet

Gandhi Interview Worksheet

This fun worksheet lets the kids imagine they are a talk show host interviewing Gandhi. Can they think of some good open questions to encourage him to talk?

Gandhi Newspaper Writing Prompt

Gandhi Newspaper Writing Prompt

Ask the kids to put pen to paper with our Gandhi writing prompt. Maybe they can write about how he freed India from British rule by peaceful protests.

Gandhi Notebooking Page

Gandhi Notebooking Page

This notebooking page has a photograph of Gandhi. The children can find out about his interesting life and record it on this handy page, and maybe draw a picture in the space provided. We have a version with just lines too. 

Gandhi Poster

Gandhi Poster

Here's a simple poster of Gandhi drawn in a simple cartoon-style, for use in projects and topic work.

Gandhi Quote Poster

Gandhi Quote Poster

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Print this quote poster featuring the wise words of Gandhi and use a part of displays and project work. 

Gandhi Quote Worksheet 1

Gandhi Quote Worksheet 1

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." This interesting Gandhi quote worksheet asks the children to say what they think his quote means, and to rewrite it in their own words.

Gandhi Quote Worksheet 2

Gandhi Quote Worksheet 2

Can the kids write about what the quote by Gandhi on this worksheet means, then rewrite it in their own words to show they understand its meaning?

Gandhi Story Paper

Gandhi Story Paper

This story paper is perfect for writing about Gandhi. The kids can write about his interesting life or collect some facts. Choose from either our lined or handwriting lined versions.

Gandhi Timeline Worksheet

Gandhi Timeline Worksheet

Ask the children to fill in some of the important events in the life of Gandhi on this timeline worksheet.

Gandhi Worksheet

Gandhi Worksheet

This simple Mahatma Gandhi worksheet is aimed at younger children and asks them to answer a few factual questions about him. We have both colour and black and white versions available below.

Gandhi Writing Page

Gandhi Writing Page

Here's a simple writing page for Gandhi, ideal for younger children and available in colour or black and white. 

Gandhi's Peaceful Protest Poster

Gandhi's Peaceful Protest Poster

Gandhi led India to independence through peaceful protests. Can the children design a poster persuading Indians to stop buying goods from the British Empire?

Learn to Draw Gandhi

Learn to Draw Gandhi

Our step by step guide is an easy way to learn to draw Gandhi. You can colour in the picture when you've finished too...

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