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Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) is generally known in the West as Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma being an honorific meaning “great soul” in Sanskrit. Often considered the greatest statesman in modern Indian history, he was the political and spiritual leader of the movement that culminated in India's independence. He did not live to enjoy the fruits of his work, however, as he was assassinated by an extremist Hindu nationalist. Gandhi is primarily known as a political leader and social reformer, and influential figures including Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama have acknowledged a debt to Gandhi. Unlike them, he was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was nominated several times. Gandhi's significance is that he developed a philosophy that encompasses both social and ...

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