January 30, 1948: Mohandas Gandhi killed by a Hindu fanatic
The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere…Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more—Jawaharlal Nehru.
Saddened by the death of the Mahatma, Nehru spoke those words 65 years ago. Since then, the inspiration drawn by leaders as diverse at Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi have proven Nehru wrong. The resilience shown by such fighters for freedom and their commitment to non-violent action proves that the light continues.
While Gandhi has been almost universally revered, he considered himself quite an ordinary person. In his autobiography, he describes himself as buffeted by unrestrained carnality. Recent works have cast doubts on other aspects of his moral character. Nonetheless, he remains an exemplar of the finest in the human spirit because of his unremitting struggle to reform himself so that he might reform the world. He confronted racism in South Africa. He confronted the injustices of British colonialism in India and ultimately gave his life in a confrontation with sectarianism in independent India.
He shows that through the very struggle for self-sufficiency one can reform ourselves and by doing so lead us to become an inextinguishable light in the world. On this day 65 years ago Gandhi lost his life but his light was preserved for the world.