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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar India on October 2 1869 Although his father was a chief minister for the maharaja of Porbandar the family came from the traditional caste of grocers the name Gandhi means grocer His mothers religion was Jainism a Hindu religion which ideas of nonviolence and vegetarianism are very important Gandhi said that he was most influenced by his mother whose life was an endless chain of fasts and vows When in the company of boyhood friends he secretly smoked ate meat told lies or wore Western clothing he had an intense feeling of guilt These feelings forced him to make resolutions about his moral behaviour that were to stay with him for the rest of his life Ghandi married at the age of 13 When he was 18 he went to London to study law He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and for a while he was attorney in Bombay From 1893 to 1914 he worked for an Indian firm in South Africa During these years Gandhis humiliating experiences of open official racial discrimination and aphartheid propelled him into agitation on behalf of the Indian community of South Africa He started protest campaigns and organized provocating demonstrations but never used violence His philosophy was to never fight back against the atrocities but still never retreat This he said would decrease the hate against him and his fellow believers and increase the respect felt towards him Gandhis one aim was that everybody - hindues muslims sikhs jews christians black and white - could live together in peace and harmony Under the banner We are citizens of the empire he gathered Indians from all over South Africa to a march for freedom He gradually developed his techniques and tenets of nonviolent resistance and when he returned to India in January 1915 he was celebrated as a national hero He was soon asked to participate in and organize Indias fight
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