by David Krieger, October 2, 2003
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who was born on October 2, 1869, was one of the great spiritual and peace leaders of the 20th century. He was a staunch advocate of non-violent social change, first in South Africa and later as the leader of the movement for Indian independence from British colonial rule.
Throughout his life, Gandhi stood for the dignity of all people, even those who fought against him. He was a champion of the rights of the “untouchables” in India and a persistent opponent of the Indian caste system. Gandhi also worked to peacefully resolve the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims and prevent the break up of India into Hindu and Muslim countries.
Gandhi believed that non-violence has great spiritual power and that spiritual power is reflected in non-violence. He was influenced in his philosophy of non-violence by the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy and, in turn, influenced the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
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