Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi beat John Lennon to the iconic glasses[wp]. He is best known for waging a long campaign against British Imperialism in India through primarily non-violent means, notably prolonged, repeated hunger strikes and a series of mass campaigns that included his famous "salt rebellion."
It is, however, unknown if any of this would have worked on its own if not for the Indian Army and Navy mutinies or without the significant armed insurgency scaring the British into supporting a moderate for fear of revolution.
While Gandhi showed how religious beliefs could be used in a positive way, giving an intellectual framework within which to pursue social and political change, in the end religion bit him in the ass when he was assassinated by Hindu fundamentalist Nathuram Godse for giving too much to the Muslims.
 Notable criticism
Gandhi was also was a little on the odd side, and certainly not a flawless saint. To test his ability to resist the temptations of the material world, he would sleep beside his two nieces. Naked. He also published articles in South Africa supporting racial separation and bargained for rights for Indians, but not blacks. He also engaged in smallpox vaccine denialism. These criticisms of Gandhi were brought up in the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode Holier Than Thou.