Mahatma Gandhi's Life and Legacy

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What is the most important aspect of Gandhi's philosophy?

What was the goal of Gandhi's Dandi Salt March in 1930?

What was the indirect goal of Gandhi's last hunger strike in 1948?


  • Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in a Hindu family in coastal Gujarat.
  • He trained in the law at the Inner Temple, London and was called to the bar at age 22.
  • After two uncertain years in India, he moved to South Africa in 1893 to represent an Indian merchant in a lawsuit.
  • He went on to live in South Africa for 21 years.
  • It was here that Gandhi raised a family and first employed nonviolent resistance in a campaign for civil rights.
  • In 1915, aged 45, he returned to India and soon set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination.
  • Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding womens rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and, above all, achieving swaraj or self-rule.
  • Gandhi adopted the short dhoti woven with hand-spun yarn as a mark of identification with Indias rural poor.
  • He began to live in a self-sufficient residential community, to eat simple food, and undertake long fasts as a means of both introspection and political protest.
  • Bringing anti-colonial nationalism to the common Indians, Gandhi led them in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930 and in calling for the British to quit India in 1942.
  • He was imprisoned many times and for many years in both South Africa and India.
  • Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism was challenged in the early 1940s by a Muslim nationalism which demanded a separate homeland for Muslims within British India.
  • In 1947, Britain granted independence to India and the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan.
  • As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal.
  • Abstaining from the official celebration of independence, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to alleviate distress.
  • In the months following, he undertook several hunger strikes to stop the religious violence.
  • The last of these, begun in Delhi on January 12, 1948, had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan.

Mahatma Gandhi was a successful lawyer and political ethicist who used nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for Indias independence from British rule and to later inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is best known for his philosophy of non-violence and his campaigns against untouchability and religious violence.


Learn about the life and achievements of Mahatma Gandhi, a renowned lawyer and political ethicist who used nonviolent resistance to lead India to independence from British rule. His philosophy of non-violence and campaigns against untouchability and religious violence have left a lasting legacy.

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