By trade, Mahatma Gandhi was educated as a lawyer, but he is best known for his role in the Indian independence movement and his tireless efforts to promote civil rights through his philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience. Gandhi led national campaigns to advance causes he believed in, including anti-poverty campaigns and campaigns to expand the rights of women, and particularly to achieve self-rule for India.
Mahatma Gandhi, whose name literally means "the great one," was heavily involved in the civil rights movement in South Africa, and he spent 21 years there working as a lawyer on behalf of the Muslim Indian Traders in Pretoria. Jailed for fighting for the end of discrimination against India in South Africa, Gandhi read "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau while imprisoned. He would implement the philosophy of Thoreau when he later returned to India and joined the Indian National Congress. He began to call for an end to British rule in India and was jailed on numerous occasions on various charges related to his protests. He was eventually sentenced to 6 years in prison for his efforts to "excite disaffection" in 1922. He served 2 years of that sentence. India finally achieved its independence in 1947, and Gandhi was assassinated just 5 months later.