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Gandhi and His Spinning Wheel

Gandhi and His Spinning Wheel, 1946

There is a kind of evocative power in the most famous pictures of Mahatma Gandhi that immediately calls to mind the era in which he lived, and the deeds and words that elevated him from the merely great, or celebrated, to the realm of the iconic. No single picture of Gandhi has become more closely associated with his life, and his way of life, than LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White’s 1946 portrait of the civil-disobedience pioneer reading newspaper clippings beside his cherished — and enormously symbolic — spinning wheel.