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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the town of Porbander in the state of what is now Gujarat on 2 October 1869 He had his schooling in nearby Rajkot where his father served as the adviser or prime minister to the local ruler Though India was then under British rule over 500 kingdoms principalities and states were allowed autonomy in domestic and internal affairs these were the so-called native states Rajkot was one such state Gandhi later recorded the early years of his life in his extraordinary autobiography The Story of My Experimentswith Truth His father died before Gandhi could finish his schooling and at thirteen he was married to Kasturba or Kasturbai who was even younger In 1888 Gandhi set sail for England where he had decided to pursue a degree in law Though his elders objected Gandhi could not be prevented from leaving and it is said that his mother a devout woman made him promise that he would keep away from wine women and meat during his stay abroad Gandhi left behind his son Harilal then a few months old In London Gandhi encountered theosophists vegetarians and others who were disenchanted not only with industrialism but with the legacy of Enlightenment thought They themselves represented the fringe elements of English society Gandhi was powerfully attracted to them as he was to the texts of the major religious traditions and ironically it is in London that he was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita Here too Gandhi showed determination and single-minded pursuit of his purpose and accomplished his objective of finishing his degree from the Inner Temple He was called to the bar in 1891 and even enrolled in the High Court of London but later that year he left for India After one year of a none too successful law practice Gandhi decided to accept an offer from an Indian businessman in South Africa Dada Abdulla to join him as a legal adviser
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