Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. A pioneer of satyagraha, or resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience-a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence-Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi first employed non-violent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights.