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Gandhi also known as Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandar in the present state of Gujarat on October 2 1869 and educated in law at University College London In 1891 after having been admitted to the British bar Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay now Mumbai with little success Two years later an Indian firm with interests in South Africa retained him as legal adviser in its office in Durban Arriving in Durban Gandhi found himself treated as a member of an inferior race He was appalled at the widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa He threw himself into the struggle for elementary rights for Indians Gandhi remained in South Africa for 20 years suffering imprisonment many times In 1896 after being attacked and beaten by white South Africans Gandhi began to teach a policy of passive resistance to and noncooperation with the South African authorities Part of the inspiration for this policy came from the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy whose influence on Gandhi was profound Gandhi also acknowledged his debt to the teachings of Christ and to the 19th-century American writer Henry David Thoreau especially to Thoreaus famous essay Civil Disobedience Gandhi considered the terms passive resistance and civil disobedience inadequate for his purposes however and coined another term Satyagraha Sanskrit truth and firmness During the Boer War Gandhi organized an ambulance corps for the British army and commanded a Red Cross unit After the war he returned to his campaign for Indian rights In 1910 he founded Tolstoy Farm near Johannesburg a cooperative colony for Indians In 1914 the government of the Union of South Africa made important concessions to Ghandhis demands including recognition of Indian marriages and abolition of the poll tax for them His work in South Africa complete he returned to India Gandhi became a leader in a complex struggle the Indian campaign
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