(Last Updated on : 31/01/2014)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in a Hindu Modh family of Porbandar, Gujrat India. He was born to the diwan of Porbandar Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai, a Hindu of the Pranami Vaishnava and fourth wife of Karamchand. Gandhi was born into the vaishya, or business, caste. From a very early age the tenets of non-injury to living beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification and mutual tolerance between the members of various castes, Gandhi learnt from his devout mother and the jain influences. At the age of 13, in May 1883 through his parents' arrangements was married to Kasturba Makhanji known as 'Ba'.
They had four sons: Harilal Gandhi, born in 1888; Manilal Gandhi, born in 1892; Ramdas Gandhi, born in 1897; and Devdas Gandhi, born in 1900. A mediocre student barely passed the matriculation exam. To fulfil his family's wish Gandhi went to University College London at the age of 18 on 4th September 1888 to train as a barrister. Before leaving India he had made a vow to his mother to the Hindu precepts of abstinence from meat, alcohol, and promiscuity.
In London while experiencing English customs like taking dancing lessons, he joined the Vegetarian Society and was elected to its executive committee. Gandhiji completed his Law degree in 1891 and returned to India. He decided to set up legal practice in Bombay but could not establish himself. Gandhiji returned to Rajkot
but here also he could not make much headway. At this time Gandhiji received an offer from Dada Abdulla & Co. to proceed to South Africa on their behalf to instruct their counsel in a lawsuit.
Gandhiji accepted a yearlong contract from an Indian firm to a post in Natal, and sailed for South Africa in April 1893. When back in London in 1895, he happened to meet Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, the Radical-turned-ultra-Tory, whose son Neville became Prime Minister in the 1930s and helped suppress Gandhi. Chamberlain Snr. agreed that the treatment of Indians was barbaric but appeared unwilling to push through any legislation about this however.