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Famous leaders

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi wore a dhoti as a sign of abandoning riches. Gandhi wore a dhoti as a sign of abandoning riches. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948) was a leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, and an advocate of non-violent protest. Considered the "father" of India, Gandhi is a spiritual leader to Hindus—their Mahatma ("Great Soul"). His life and work had a huge influence in the fight against colonialism, racism and violence. He provided inspiration for the work of the black civil rights leaders in the United States, notably Martin Luther King, who also employed the strategies of non-violent direct action. His concern for the poor still has great relevance in today’s world.

Gandhi aged 14Gandhi aged 14

Early life and marriage

Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat which was then part of British India. His father was the dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar. His mother was deeply religious, and Gandhi grew up in a household where ahimsa (non-violence to living things), vegetarianism and fasting were all central to everyday life.

Gandhi married Kasturba at the age of 13, in an arranged marriage. Kasturba was a devoted and supportive wife to Gandhi throughout her life (she died in 1944), enduring many spells in prison, and joining with Gandhi when he fasted. The couple had four surviving children, all boys.

When he was imprisoned in South Africa in 1913, Gandhi spent nine hours a day at hard labour, breaking stones and digging a water tank.

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