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GANDHI, MOHANDAS

GANDHI, MOHANDAS (1869–1948), political leader, social reformer, and religious visionary of modern India. Although Gandhi initially achieved public notice as a leader of India’s nationalist movement and as a champion of nonviolent techniques for resolving conflicts, he was also a religious innovator who did much to encourage the growth of a reformed, liberal Hinduism in India. In the West, Gandhi is venerated by many who seek an intercultural and socially conscious religión and see him as the representative of a universal faith.
RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES ON GANDHI. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born into a bania (merchant caste) family in a religiously pluralistic area of western India—the Kathiawar Peninsula in the state of Gujarat. His parents were Vaisnava Hindus who followed the Vallabhācārya tradition of loving devotion to Lord Krnsa.
His father, Karamchand Uttamchand, the chief administrative officer of a princely state, was not a very religious man, but his mother, Putalibai, became…