Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India, Mahatma Gandhi studied law and advocated for the civil rights of Indians, both at home under British rule and in South Africa. Gandhi became a leader of India’s independence movement, organizing boycotts against British institutions in peaceful forms of civil disobedience. He was killed by a fanatic in 1948.
Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar, India, which was then part of the British Empire. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, served as a chief minister in Porbandar and other states in western India. His mother, Putlibai, was a deeply religious woman who fasted regularly. Gandhi grew up worshiping the Hindu god Vishnu and following Jainism, a morally rigorous ancient Indian religion that espoused non-violence, fasting, meditation and vegetarianism.
Young Gandhi was a shy, unremarkable student who was so timid that he slept with the lights on even as a teenager. At the age of 13, he wed Kasturba Makanji, a merchant’s daughter, in an arranged marriage. In the ensuing years, the teenager rebelled by smoking, eating meat and stealing change from household servants.
In 1885, Gandhi endured the passing of his father and shortly after that the death of his young baby. Although Gandhi was interested in becoming a doctor, his father had hoped he would also become a government minister, so his family steered him to enter the legal profession. Shortly after the birth of the first of four surviving sons, 18-year-old Gandhi sailed for London, England, in 1888 to study law. The young Indian struggled with the transition to Western culture, and during his three-year stay in London, he became more committed to a meatless diet, joining the executive committee of the London Vegetarian Society, and started to read a variety of sacred texts to learn more about world religions.
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