Mohandas Gandhi was born the youngest son of his father, Karamchand Gandhi's, fourth wife, Putlibai, in a small village in western India called Porbandar. He grew up in a strict Hindu household, for his father was the chief minister, or dewan, of the town. Although Karamchand was not well educated, he was a good leader and politician. His mother, Putlibai was a very religious housewife, and spent most of her time at home or in the temple. She spent much of her time caring for the large family, so she was not interested much in jewelry or other possessions.
He was brought up as a good Hindu, in the particular branch called Vaisnavism, which centered on the worship of the god Vishnu. His family also followed the strict moral values outlined by Jainism, which included the practice of ahimsa (non-injury to all living things), vegetarianism, lots of spiritual fasting, and great tolerance for other cultures. As for his education, the schools in Porbandar were very poor, but his father became dewan of another, richer, province called Rajkot, where he got a proper schooling.
His adolescent years were of great turmoil. He wasn't excellent at school or at sports, and to make matters worse, he missed a year of school at age thirteen, when he got married. He had been taught to follow elders' instructions without questioning them, so he did not dispute his mother's requests for him to help her take care of his sick father.
In 1887, he started college at the University of Bombay. He was uncomfortable there and decided to go to England to become a barrister and then return for a job like his father's. His mother was slightly hesitant to send him there, so he had to vow not to touch women, wine, or meat while he was away. With help from his brother, he was able to raise the money necessary and set off for England. Ten days after arrival, he joined the University College, in London. He had a painful time switching from east to western cultures, and one of the most difficult obstacles he had to overcome was the fact that he was vegetarian. At first, he had felt embarrassed and alone, but after discovering a vegetarian restaurant and book, he became zealous and enthusiastic about it, and joined a vegetarian society. This was one of the major turning points in his life, and it could be noted as the event that turned him from a timid, shy boy, into an outspoken grown man. After this, he returned to India for a short period and then went to South Africa
In 1891, he decided to return to India and begin his legal career, but many horrible surprises awaited him. To his great sorrow, his mother had passed away while he was in Great Britain. This was followed by another blow almost as bad: He could not get a job anywhere. The Indian legal system was already overcrowded, and he was even turned down for a part time teaching job. Dismayed, he returned to Rajkot in search of better opportunity, but found only a low paying job at drafting petitions. He was even fired from...