Biography of Mahatma Gandhi: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sarah Meers

Sarah has taught elementary education for 10 years and has a master's degree in Education Leadership.

Learn about a civil rights leader who changed a nation by using peaceful protests to gain equal rights for the people of India. See how Mahatma Gandhi, better known as Gandhi, dedicated his life to improving the life of others.

Making a Change in India

Have you ever been treated unfairly? What did you do about it? When Gandhi, and other Indian citizens, were treated unfairly, he did not just sit back and take it. He used peaceful protests to make a change.

Mahatma Gandhi in 1929
Mahatma Gandhi in 1929

Early Life

In 1869, Mahatma Gandhi was born in India into a wealthy family. His parents arranged for him to be married at the young age of 13. At the age of 19, Gandhi followed his parents' wishes and went to college in England to study law.

After graduating with his law degree, Gandhi eventually became a lawyer in South Africa. This path led this unforgettable man to become one of the most celebrated civil rights leaders in history.

While in South Africa, Gandhi experienced prejudice firsthand. Prejudice is when you are treated unfairly because you are different. South African people, who were mostly white, treated Indians differently because they had darker skin. The South Africans thought they were better than the Indians. Gandhi did not think this was fair.

When Gandhi returned home, he realized Indians were not only treated differently in South Africa, but were also treated differently in India. This was when he decided to do something about this injustice.

Civil Rights Work

Gandhi dedicated his life to fight for equal treatment of Indians through the use of peaceful disobedience campaigns. This means that Gandhi and his followers would refuse to follow certain laws and rules the government made. By using these types of protest, Gandhi was able to change the rules in India that impacted poverty, women's rights, and religious freedom. Although he was successful in changing some laws, Gandhi did have consequences for his actions. He was arrested many times for his protests.

One of Gandhi's most famous protests is called the Salt March. The British Empire decided to make a rule that the citizens of India could not get salt anywhere except from the government. Then, they decided to charge a lot of money for it. Salt was a very important ingredient to the people of India. Gandhi protested this by walking over 240 miles, across the country, to the sea to collect his own salt. Many Indian people marched alongside Gandhi to stand up against the new rule.

Gandhi, in the middle with his head down, is leading the Salt March in 1930.
Salt March

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