Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi was a lawyer, trained in Britain. He went to South Africa in 1893 and resided there for twenty one years. The treatment of the Indians in South Africa by the British provoked his conscience.

He decided to fight against the policy of racial discrimination of the South African Government. During the course of his struggle against the government he evolved the technique of Satyagraha (non-violent insistence for truth and justice). Gandhi succeeded in this struggle in South Africa.

He returned to India in 1915. In 1916, he founded the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad to practice the ideas of truth and non-violence. Gopal Krishna Gokhale advised him to tour the country mainly in the villages to understand the people and their problems.

His first experiment in Satyagraha began at Champaran in Bihar in 1917 when he inspired the peasants to struggle against the oppressive plantation system. He also organised a satyagraha to support the peasants of the Kheda districts of Gujarat. These peasants were not able to pay their revenue because of crop failure and epidemics. In Ahmedabad, he organised a movement amongst cotton mill workers.