Mahatma Gandhi

Early life

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was one of the most important leaders of the Indian independence movement against British rule and inspired numerous other civil rights and independence movements around the world.

Gandhi was born in 1869 in a Hindu merchant caste. As his family was not rich, they were mostly against Gandhi receiving education in London. He ignored his family’s opposition and studied law in London. After that, he tried to get employment back in India as a lawyer but failed. Eventually, he found a job in South Africa.

He lived for some time in South Africa where he used civil disobedience to fight for the Indian community’s civil rights in the country. His activism made him known both in South Africa and the UK.

Party membership and the civil disobedience movement 

At the request of leaders of the Indian National Congress, he returned to India in 1915 and started to organise villagers and city workers to protest against taxes and discrimination. Gandhi quickly became popular among Indian people and a strong voice in the Congress Party. However, he did not believe a radical, violent break from the British Empire was the solution.

When the Viceroy of India passed the Rowlatt Act in 1919, Gandhi appealed to Indians to start a civil disobedience movement. The Rowlatt Act made it possible for the police to use ‘preventive indefinite detention’ as a reaction to the perceived threat of revolutionary nationalist organisations in Bengal. This effectively meant that peopl...

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