This Day In History: March 10

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After years of being repeatedly arrested and detained by his country’s British colonial government for his leadership activity in India’s independence movement, activist and spiritual leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is arrested on March 10, 1922 in Bombay on his most serious charge yet: sedition. Gandhi—nicknamed Mahatma, which means “the great-souled one”—is sentenced to six years in prison for protesting the British colonial government.

Gandhi had led a mass campaign of nonviolent protest against the British Raj, a period of direct British rule over the Indian subcontinent that began in 1858. While the British nominally wanted Indians to participate in government, they imposed direct rule, rendering Indian citizens powerlessness to make decisions about their own future without British oversight and consent. Simmering resentment over that power dynamic led to an increasingly passionate independence movement in the early 20th century, of which Gandhi was a dominant figure. He served as an inspirational leader, organizing acts of large-scale civil disobedience, including boycotts of all things British—from imported consumer products to educational institutions to paying taxes.

Both India and Pakistan shook off the yoke of colonial rule with the 1947 Indian Independence Act. Gandhi lived to see Indian home rule, but he died the next year when he was assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu extremist on January 30, 1948.

As to the 1922 sedition sentence, thanks to a bout of appendicitis, Gandhi was released from prison for medical reasons after serving two years. For the rest of his life, he continued to promote nonviolent resistance in fighting oppressive colonizers.

Many of Gandhi’s most memorable quotes are often repeated today. Favorites include: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”; “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”; and “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”