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Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most recognizable figures in history. Many of us have seen the movie starring Ben Kingsley and the image of Gandhi dressed in a shawl and sandals, leading a crowd of thousands.

Gandhi's principles lead him to campaign for justice in the world. Civil right leaders like Martin Luther King was influenced by his teachings and he was greatly admired by Albert Einstein. But just who was Gandhi and why was he known as the "Father of the Nation?"

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1. Early Life and a Religious Upbringing

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India. Gandhi’s mother was very devoted to Vaishnavism, worshiping the Hindu god Vishnu. She instilled in her son the beliefs of self-discipline and nonviolence.

In 1883, aged just 13, Gandhi’s parents married him off to Kasturba Makanji. Although they did not get along at the beginning, the couple would go on to have four children.

Carl Court / Getty Images
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