Few people have had as much of an impact on the world as Mahatma Gandhi. This remarkable man was the preeminent political and spiritual leader of India during the country’s struggle for independence from British rule. He is also celebrated for his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, which he used to great effect in his campaigns against injustice.
Gandhi was born in 1869 in what is now Gujarat, India. He was a member of the Hindu minority community in a country that was then ruled by the British. As a young man, he studied law in London and later returned to India to begin a successful law practice.
In 1915, Gandhi embarked on a political career, joining the Indian National Congress, a organization that was committed to Indian self-rule. He quickly rose to prominence within the Congress, and by 1920 he was one of the party’s most influential leaders.
In 1930, Gandhi launched a massive campaign of civil disobedience to protest the British government’s decision to impose a new tax on salt. The tax was particularly burdensome for the poor, who could not afford to pay it. Gandhi’s campaign of nonviolent resistance ultimately led to the withdrawal of the tax and helped pave the way for Indian independence.