Mahatma GandhiMohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: ??????? ?????? ????? , pronounced [mo??? n? d? a? s k? r? m?? n? d? ?a? n? d?? i? ] ( listen); 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence, which helped India to gain independence, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma Gandhi ([m?? ? t? ma? ]; Sanskrit: ??????? mahatma or “Great Soul”, an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore), and in India also as Bapu (Gujarati: ???? , bapu or “Father”). He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi first employed civil disobedience while an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, during the resident Indian community’s struggle there for civil rights.
After his return to India in 1915, he organised protests by peasants, farmers, and urban labourers concerning excessive land-tax and discrimination. After assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance. Above all, he aimed to achieve Swaraj or the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led his followers in the Non-cooperation movement that protested the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (240 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930.
Later, in 1942, he launched the Quit India civil disobedience movement demanding immediate independence for India. Gandhi spent a number of years in jail in both South Africa and India. As a practitioner of ahimsa, he swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same. Gandhi lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun himself. He ate simple vegetarian food, experimented for a time with a fruitarian diet, and undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.
Contents [hide] 1 Early life and background 2 Civil rights movement in South Africa (1893–1914) 2. 1 Racism and controversy 2. 2 Role in Zulu War of 1906 3 Struggle for Indian Independence (1915–1945) 3. 1 Role in World War I 3. 2 Champaran and Kheda 3. 3 Non-cooperation 3. 4 Salt Satyagraha (Salt March) 3. 5 World War II and Quit India 4 Freedom and partition of India 5 Assassination 6 Gandhi’s principles 6. 1 Truth 6. 2 Nonviolence 6. 3 Vegetarianism 6. 4 Brahmacharya 6. 5 Simplicity 6. 6 Faith 6. 7 Swaraj 7 Literary works Legacy and depictions in popular culture 8. 1 Followers and influence 8. 2 National holidays 8. 3 Awards 8. 4 Film and literature 9 See also 10 Notes 10. 1 Further reading 11 External links Early life and background A young Gandhi c. 1876 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, India. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), who belonged to the Hindu Modh community, served as the diwan (Prime Minister) of Porbander state, a small princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of British India. 3] His grandfather was Uttamchand Gandhi, fondly called Utta Gandhi. His mother, Putlibai, who came from the Hindu Pranami Vaishnava community, was Karamchand’s fourth wife, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth.  Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the region, the young Mohandas absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in his adult life; these included compassion for sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance between individuals of different creeds. citation needed] The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and Maharaja Harishchandra from the Indian epics, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood. The story of Harishchandra, a well known tale of an ancient Indian king and a truthful hero, haunted Gandhi as a boy. Gandhi in his autobiography admits that it left an indelible impression on his mind. He writes: “It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number. ” Gandhi’s early self-identification with Truth and Love as supreme values is traceable to his identification with these epic characters. 5] In May 1883, the 13-year old Mohandas was married to 14-year old Kasturbai Makhanji (her first name was usually shortened to “Kasturba”, and affectionately to “Ba”) in an arranged child marriage, according to the custom of the region.  Recalling the day of their marriage he once said that ” As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives. ” However, as was also the custom of the region, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents’ house, and away from her husband. 8] In 1885, when Gandhi was 15, the couple’s first child was born, but survived only a few days; Gandhi’s father, Karamchand Gandhi, had died earlier that year.  Mohandas and Kasturba had four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900. At his middle school in Porbandar and high school in Rajkot, Gandhi remained an average student academically. He passed the matriculation exam for Samaldas College at Bhavnagar, Gujarat with some difficulty.
While there, he was unhappy, in part because his family wanted him to become a barrister. Gandhi and his wife Kasturba (1902) On 4 September 1888, less than a month shy of his 19th birthday, Gandhi travelled to London, England, to study law at University College London and to train as a barrister. His time in London, the Imperial capital, was influenced by a vow he had made to his mother in the presence of the Jain monk Becharji, upon leaving India, to observe the Hindu precepts of abstinence from meat, alcohol, and promiscuity.