Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1875-1949) Indian sociopolitical leader.

Trained as a barrister in London, Gandhi practiced law for some years in South Africa. On his return to India in 1917, he led the National Congress in its fight for India's freedom. Drawing upon India's religion and culture, Gandhi inspired many groups, including youth, women, urban professionals, and rural peasants, to employ the method of nonviolence in resisting British rule. He urged people to lead simple and truthful lives, and set an example for others in this respect. He also sponsored cottage industries for India's economic self-reliance and is widely regarded as a great leader of the masses in India, with an influence well beyond that country's borders (e.g., the civil rights movement in the United States). He was assassinated by a right-wing Hindu.

C. N. Venugopal


M. K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiences with Truth (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1940).

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