"Be the change that you want to see
in the world."
In 1893, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a 24- year old lawyer, was traveling through South Africa via train. Along the way, he was repeatedly the victim of racial harassment, eventually being thrown off because he refused to move to third class. The trip changed his life, for his experience of discrimination led him to take up the fight for the civil and human rights of the oppressed.
What was different about Gandhi was the radically new way he pursued his goals: without violence. Inspired by Hindu traditions and Christian teachings, Gandhi pioneered the use of non-violence, or in the Sanskrit, ìahimsa.î Rather than attack the oppressor, Gandhiís technique was to draw attention to the oppression through mass civil disobedience. He called this ìsatyagraha,î Sanskrit for ìtruth and firmness.î
After 20 years of effective protest in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India, working to end oppression of the poor, women, and the untouchable classes. Above all, he fought for independence from the British Empire. Gandhi is considered the father of modern India and the inspiration for great leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and non-violent movements for social justice and civil rights around the world.