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Report on Mahatma Gandhi  

Monhandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the small town of Porbandar, on the west coast of India, on October 2 1869. He belonged by birth to the Vaishya, or trading caste. His father died when he was 15 years old, and apart from that time, his mother became the greatest influence in his life. Her spiritual teacher was a Jain devotee. Among the Jains in India the central doctrine is the "sanctity of all life," or Ahimsa, which is often translated as "non-violence." This teaching remained paramount with Gandhi.

In South Africa
When 19, he came to London, qualified as a barrister (being "called" at the Inner Temple), and, returning to Bombay in 1892, set up a practice.

In 1896 he went to the Transvaal to help a client in a legal suit. That visit changed the whole course of his life. Seeing the social and political disabilities of his fellow-countrymen in South Africa, he decided to stay and help them and soon he had become their political leader and adviser.
Meanwhile a religious conflict was taking place in within him. He read Tolstoy and corresponded with him: the result was an experiment in the simple communal life conducted by a small band of enthusiasts whom he had gathered together. He became an ascetic of the most rigorous type, setting great store by fasting and every form of self-denial. To the end of his life he remained a devout Hindu, but declared if ever "untouchability" were made part of Hinduism he would cease to be a Hindu. Perhaps the greatest religious effort of his life was to break down "untouchability."