Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was a major spiritual and political leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of satyagraha-resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence-which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi . He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday,is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Gandhi first employed non-violent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers in protesting excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, increasing economic self-reliance, but above all achieving Swaraj-the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led Indians in the Non-cooperation movement in 1922 and in protesting the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India. He was imprisoned for many years, on numerous occasions, in both South Africa and India. (more…)