Mahatma Gandhi is often considered to be the pioneer of nonviolent protest for his movements against British rule in India throughout the first half of the 20th century. As a teenager, however, he rebelled against many of the rules of his Hindu upbringing. He was reported to take part in forbidden activities, such as eating meat, smoking and even petty theft. Witnessing his father’s tears after the confessions of his teenage transgressions is reported to have been what inspired Gandhi to use nonviolent means, such as hunger strikes, to incite social change.
More about Gandhi:
- At 13, Gandhi married a fellow teenager through a marriage that had been arranged since he was 7. Even after taking a vow of celibacy, he stayed married until her death at age 74.
- Although Gandhi is historically known for his peaceful means of social protest, he was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize despite being nominated four times. In 2006, the Nobel committee officially stated its regret over never having awarded Gandhi.
- As a child, Gandhi was so fearful of interacting with his classmates that he would run home from school each day.