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MOHANDAS Karamchand Gandhi was born in Gujarat in 1869 while Queen Victoria was still Empress of India, and devoted his life to winning independence from the British.

Raised as a vegetarian Hindu, he left India aged 18 to study law in London, then moved to South Africa where he began campaigning for civil rights.

Although he was married and had four sons, he became celibate at the age of 36.

On his return home he led the Indian National Congress and dedicated his life to securing independence, as well as women's liberation, religious tolerance and alleviation of poverty.

He led marches, staged sit-ins and held fasts, and his methods of passive resistance inspired Dr Martin Luther King in the US, Steve Biko in South Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma.

Gandhi was repeatedly jailed but built the INC into a leading political party. Labour granted independence to India in 1947 but civil strife broke out between Hindus and Muslims. He was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic in 1948.

Revered as Father of the Nation, he was given the title Mahatma, meaning Great Soul.


Icon... The spiritual and political leader is revered
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2006
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