Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British rule, and in turn inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: "great-souled", "venerable"), first applied to him in 1914 in South Africa, is now used throughout the world.Born and raised in a Hindu family in coastal Gujarat, western India, Gandhi trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, and was called to the bar at age 22 in June 1891. After two uncertain years in India, during which he was unable to start a successful law practice, he moved to South Africa in 1893 (to represent an Indian merchant in a lawsuit), where he stayed for 21 years. It was in South Africa that Gandhi raised a family and first employed nonviolent resistance in a campaign for civil rights. In 1915, aged 45, he returned to India. He set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.The same year Gandhi adopted the Indian loincloth, or short dhoti and, in the winter, a shawl, both woven with yarn hand-spun on a traditional Indian spinning wheel, or charkha, as a mark of identification with India's rural poor. Thereafter, he lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community, ate simple vegetarian food, and undertook long fasts as a means of self-purification and political protest. Bringing anti-colonial nationalism to the common Indians, Gandhi led them in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India.
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The acquisition of the spirit of nonresistance is a matter of long training in self-denial and appreciation of the hidden forces within ourselves. . . . It puts different values upon things and upsets previous calculations. . . . It is the greatest force because it is the highest expression of the soul.
I should love to satisfy all, if I possibly can; but in trying to satisfy all, I may be able to satisfy none. I have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that the best course is to satisfy one's own conscience and leave the world to form its own judgment, favorable or otherwise.