Mahatma Gandhi was the fore front eminent political and ideological leader during the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha, resistance to tyranny through mass civil resistance. His philosophy was firmly founded upon truth and ahimsa (nonviolence). His philosophy and leadership helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi first employed civil disobedience while working as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa. He fought for the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he organised protests by peasants, farmers, and urban labourers concerning excessive land-tax and discrimination. After assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women's rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance. Above all, he aimed to achieve Swaraj or the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led his followers in the Non-cooperation movement that protested the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (240 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930. He launched the Quit India Movement in 1942, demanding immediate independence for India. Gandhi spent a number of years in jail in both South Africa and India.
The nationalist movement grew into a wide spread mass anti-imperialist movement at the end of the First World War. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came into prominence at this time and became the undisputed leader of the nationalist movement. Powerful mass movements were launched under his leadership. These involved defiance of laws, peaceful demonstrations, boycott of educational institutions, boycott of courts, picketing of shops selling liquor and foreign goods, nonpayment of taxes and the closing of vital business. These non-violent but revolutionary methods influenced millions of people belonging to all sections of society...
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