Gandhi, born in Porbandar in 1869, was an Indian activist and leader of the Indian Independence Movement against British rule, inspiring movements for civil rights and liberties across the world. The honorific Mahatma, meaning great soul, was first given to him whilst in South Africa and is now used worldwide. Born and raised in a Hindu merchant castle family in Gujarat, India, he travelled to London in 1888, studying Law at UCL, and in 1893 he set off for South Africa, where he would spend 21 years developing his political and ethical views. Gandhi was a lifelong campaigner for social justice, though some felt he was too accommodating. One of these was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi in 1948. Gandhi is celebrated worldwide on International Day of Nonviolence.
Gandhi visited Ruskin during a brief stay in Oxford in 1931. He came to visit as he was so inspired by the writings of John Ruskin on workers’ education.