January 31, 2008
Mohandas "Mahatma" (Great Soul) Gandhi is widely respected and revered as the father of non-violent political resistance. Gandhi was born in India and studied law in England, then spent 20 years defending the rights of immigrants in South Africa. He returned to India and became a leading figure against the struggle for independence against the British Colonial Empire of which India was considered the so-called Shining Jewel. Gandhi urged non-violence and civil disobedience as a means to independence. His public acts of defiance landed him in jail many times as the struggle continued through World War II. In 1947 he participated in the postwar negotiations with Britain that led to Indian independence. He was shot to death by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, 1948.