Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869– 30 January 1948) was the leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: “high-souled”, “venerable”)—applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa—is now used worldwide. In India, he is also called Bapu (Gujarati: term of endearment for “father”) and Gandhiji. He is unofficially called the Father of the Nation. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhiji led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability and above all, to achieve Swaraj, or self-rule. He attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn that was hand-spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as a means of self-purification as well as social protest. Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence.