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CHRONOLOGY > CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS > Early Life
Year
Month
Date
Event
1869
October
2
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born of a Bania (Vaishya or trading caste) family at Porbunder, Kathiawar, the youngest of the three sons of Karamchand alias Kaba Gandhi, Prime Minister successively in Porbunder, Rajkot and Vankaner States, and his fourth wife Putlibai
1876
Goes to Rajkot with parents; attends primary school there till twelfth year; is betrothed to Kasturbai, daughter of Gokuldas Makanji, merchant.
1881
Enters High School at Rajkot
1883
Marries Kasturbai
1884-85
Takes to meat-eating in secret, but abandons habit after about a year to avoid deceiving his parents.
Father dies, aged 63.
1887
Passes Matriculation examination; joins Samaldas College at Bhavnagar (Kathiawar), but gives up studies at close of first term.
1888
September
4
Sails for England.
October
28
Reaches London.
Lives on vegetarian diet. Takes lessons in dancing and music for a short time, thinking they are necessary parts of a gentleman’s equipment.
1889
Reads books on simple living and decides to reduce expenses by half; studies religious literature; reads Gita for first time and is deeply impressed
1890
Cultivates contacts with vegetarian movement; for short while conducts vegetarian club.
June
Passes London Matric.
September
Joins Vegetarian Society.
1891
June
10
Called to the Bar.
12
Sails for India.
July
Reaches Bombay.
November
Applies for admission to Bombay High Court.
1892
Struggles with legal practice at Rajkot and Bombay; later settles down at former place as legal draftman.
1893
April
Leaves for South Africa, being engaged by a Muslim firm for legal work.
May-June
Experiences colour bar in various forms; decides to remain and fight race prejudice.
1894
August
22
Founds Natal Indian Congress.
September
Enrolled as Advocate of Supreme Court of Natal, being first Indian to be so enrolled.

Studies religious literature including the Bible, he Koran and Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You.
1895
Gets more committed to South African Indian cause. Issues The Indian Franchise: An Appeal to Every Briton in South Africa.
1896
July
Returns to India and starts agitation on behalf of South African Indians.
August
14
Publishes The Green Pamphlet at Rajkot.
Tours Bombay, Madras, Poona and Calcutta educating Indians in regard to grievances of South African Indians.
November
30
Sails for South Africa with wife and children.
1897
January
13
Mobbed on landing at Durban by crowd excited by reports of his speeches in India on conditions of indentured Indian labour in South Africa.
20
Declines to prosecute assailants.
April
6
Submits long memorial to Chamberlain, Secretary of State for Colonies, regarding landing incidents, background.
Carries on programme of petitioning local and Imperial authorities, as well as of communicating with British and Indian public men regarding discriminatory laws.
1898-99
Represents to Indian National Congress, Colonial and Imperial authorities, against Locations and restrictions on Indians’ trading rights.
1899
Raises Indian Ambulance Corps in Boer War, which goes into action and is mentioned in dispatches; awarded war medal.
1900
Sends Dadabhai Naoroji draft resolution on South African Indian problem for Congress session.
1901
October
18
Sails for India.
December
14
Reaches Rajkot via Porbunder.
27
Moves resolution on South Africa at Congress.
1902
Jan28-Feb
1
Visits Rangoon.
Stays for a month with Gokhale at Calcutta.
Returns to Rajkot, settees down to practise.
July

Shifts to and sets up practice at Bombay.
November
Is called to South Africa to champion Indians’ cause against anti-Asiatic legislation in Transvaal.
December
Arrives in Durban: leads delegation to Chamberlain.
1903
Enrolled as Attorney of Supreme Court of Transvaal; founds Transvaal British Indian Association.
Sends weekly statements regarding situation to Dadabhai Naoroji.
June
Indian Opinion commences publication.
1904
Reads Ruskin’s Unto This Last : founds Phoenix Settlement near Durban (Natal); organizes hospital during outbreak of plague in Johannesburg; writes series of articles in Gujarati on dietetics which are later translated into English and published under the title Guide to Health.
1905
Opposes Bengal Partition, supports boycott of British goods. During Gokhale- Lajpat Rai deputation to Britain, appeals to Colonial statesmen to treat India, ‘an integral part of the Empire’, with consideration.
1906
May
12
Support ‘home rule’ for India ‘I the name of justice and for good of humanity’.
27
Writes to brother, Lakshimidas, declaring disinterestedness in worldly possessions.
June-July
Raises Indian Stretcher-bearer Corps in Zulu Rebellion; takes vow of brahmacharya for life.
Sept
11
Addresses mass meeting of Indians at Johannesburg, which takes oath of passive resistance against newly promulgated Transvaal Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance.
Oct 21-Nov
30
In England on deputation to present Indians’ case to Colonial Secretary.
December
18
Returns to South Africa
1907
Jan-Feb
Writes series of 8 articles in Gujarati on "Ethical Religion", published weekly in Indian Opinion and later, as a book.
March
Asiatic Registration Act passed in Transvaal Parliament. Indians hold protest meetings.
April
Sees Smuts at Pretoria, acquaints him with resolutions adopted at mass meetings. Pledges, in Indian Opinion, opposition to ‘Black Act’.
August
Writes to Smuts criticizing Registration Act, suggesting amendments.
Passive resistance, picketing of Permit Offices; defends passive resisters in court.
December
Smuts decides to prosecute Gandhiji.
1908
January
8
Asks Government for suspension of Registration Act, offers voluntary registration.
10
Adopts word : ‘Satyagraha’ in place of ‘Passive Resistance’.
Sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment for failure to leave Transvaal.
21
Agrees to settlement on basis of voluntary registration, if Registration Act is repealed.
30
Summoned to see General Smuts at Pretoria and released, on reaching a compromise.
February
10
Nearly killed by Pathans who regard the compromise, under which Indians are expected to give their finger-prints voluntarily, as a betrayal of Indian interest; refuses to prosecute his assailants.
March-June
Negotiates with Smuts for fulfillment of promise of repeal of Act which Smuts denies.
July
Correspondence with Smuts released; Indians in mass meeting decide to refuse thumb impressions and burn registration certificates.
August
Declares use of violence ‘harmful, even useless to uproot British rule’ in India.
Appeals to Smuts to repeal ‘Black Act’.
Registration certificates burnt at meetings; passive resistance resumed.
September
Royal assent is given to amended Registration Act.
Smuts refuses Indian terms for settlement.
October
15
Arrested and sentenced to 2 months’ rigorous imprisonment.
December
12
Released from Volksrust Gaol
Indian National Congress adopts resolution on South Africa, criticizing the harsh, humiliating and cruel treatment of British Indians in South Africa as injurious to British Empire.
1909
January
16
Arrested at Volksrust for failing to produce registration certificate; on deportation, returned and is re-arrested, but released on bail.
20
Writes to Press calling on Indians to prepare for final phase of struggle.
February
25
Arrested at Volksrust; sentenced to 3 months.
May
2
Transferred to Pretoria Central Gaol.
24
Released.
June
21
Leaves with Haji Habib, on deputation to England to represent Indian case.
July
10
Arrives in London.
With the assistance of Lord Ampthill, works ceaselessly to educate influential British leaders, the public, and to move Imperial authorities.
October
1
Writes to Tolstoy regarding Passive Resistance movement.
November
9
The Times reports failure of Gandhi Government negotiations on Transvaal laws.
10
Replies to Tolstoy, sends his biography by Doke.
13
Leaves England for South Africa. Writes Hind Swaraj on board "s. s. Kildonan Castle".
30
Reaches South Africa.
December
29
Congress at Lahore adopts resolution praising Indians’ struggle in South Africa, urging ban on indenture.
1910
April
4
Sends Tolstoy copy of Indian Home Rule, seeks comment.
May
8
Tolstoy replies: question of Passive Resistance of greatest importance not only for India but for humanity.
30
Founds Tolstoy Farm.
December
4
Pays memorial tribute to Tolstoy.
1911
January
Communicates with Smuts regarding amendments to Immigrants’ Restriction Bill; latter assures; no colour bar taint in laws.
March
27
Interviews Smuts at Cape town.
April
22
Smuts agrees to assurances demanded by Indians in reciprocation of suspension of Passive Resistance movement.
May
3
Meets Smuts: ‘Provisional Settlement’ arrived on Smuts’ promise of repeal of Asiatic Registration and Immigrants’ Restriction Acts.
June
24
Pledges loyalty to King-Emperor on coronation.
December
8
Invites Gokhale to South Africa