Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi travelled to South Africa to practise law and spent 21 years in the country. After facing discrimination due to his heritage and skin colour in South Africa, Gandhi protested against racial segregation in the country
One of the tallest leaders of the Indian freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi, propounded the ideals of ahimsa (non-violence) and truth, which have been the inspiration for non-violent movements for civil rights and social change across the world. Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi travelled to South Africa to practise law and spent 21 years in the country. After facing discrimination due to his heritage and skin colour in South Africa, Gandhi protested against racial segregation in the country.
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After returning to India in 1915, Gandhi joined the Indian National Congress and went on to become its president. It was under his leadership that Indians took part in several peaceful civil disobedience movements, including the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement. Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. To honour the Father of the Nation his birthday on October 2 is celebrated across the country as Gandhi Jayanti.
Here are some important facts about Gandhi.
Gandhi studied law in London
In June 1891, Gandhi was called to the bar at age the age of 22, having studied law at the Inner Temple, one of the four law colleges of London. Prior to moving to South Africa, Gandhi tried to start a successful law practice in India.
Gandhi was married at a young age
Gandhi was married to Kasturba Gandhi when he was 13 years old. His bride was 14 years. Together, they had four sons before he took a vow of celibacy for a lifetime.
Gandhi’s parents and siblings
Gandhi’s father Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi hailed from a Hindu Modh Baniya family. He married four times. His first two wives died young and his third wife remained childless. His fourth wife Putlibai gave birth to three sons and one daughter. Gandhi was the youngest son in the family.
Gandhi loved football
Gandhi was a football aficionado even though he never played the game professionally. While in South Africa, Gandhi formed two football clubs in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The two clubs were named the Passive Resisters – a name inspired by the political philosophy of Henry Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy.
Getting the name Mahatma
It is widely believed that poet Rabindranath Tagore gave Gandhi the title Mahatma. Explaining this, Tagore wrote that Gandhi approached people dressed like one of their own and spoke to them in their own language.
“Here was living truth at last, and not only quotations from books. For this reason, the ‘Mahatma’, the name given to him by the people of India, is his real name,” Tagore wrote.
The one without a shirt
A child once approached Gandhi and asked him why he did not wear a shirt. To this Gandhi replied that he did not have the money. The boy then told him that his mother made clothes for him and would be able to stitch one for Gandhi too. However, Gandhi said that he had a large family of 40 crore brothers and sisters. “Till every one of them has a kurta, how can I wear one?” he said.
Gandhi’s diet plan for Netaji
Gandhi experimented with food and also wrote books on food and health such as The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism and Key to Health. In 1936, Gandhi drafted a diet plan for his political opponent Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In the diet plan, he asked Bose to take leafy vegetables and less of potatoes and starchy tubers. He recommended the use of garlic and onion in the raw state. Gandhi said he took raw garlic regularly for blood pressure as it was the best antitoxin for internal use. He also suggested the use of dates and raisins. “Tea and coffee I do not consider essential to health,” he said.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)