Who Is Mahatma Gandhi?

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Mahatma Gandhi, a civil rights leader in India, helped lead the country's movement for independence. His work on behalf of Indians took place both in India and South Africa. He was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic, in 1948.

Born Oct. 2, 1869 in Porbandar, India, Gandhi studied law at University College London in London, England. Following his studies, he traveled to South Africa to advocate on behalf of Indians. After 20 years of opposing discriminatory legislation in the country, he returned to India where he became a leader in the Indian National Congress, which supported Home Rule. He pushed for a policy of non-violent protest as the means to gain independence. His work also stretched to ending poverty, liberating women and ending caste discrimination.

Gandhi spent two years in jail from 1922 to 1924 for conspiracy. In 1930, he marched 200 miles to collect sea salt in a show of defiance against the Indian government's monopoly on salt. This march landed him in jail once again, but his release in 1931 coincided with this appearance at the London Round Table Conference on Indian constitutional reform. In 1946 he worked with the Cabinet Mission to form a new constitutional structure. The fruits of his labors showed in 1947 with India's independence. His final social work, ending Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal, led to his death in 1948.