Once, in a gathering, a little boy approached Gandhiji. He was distressed to see the way Gandhiji was dressed. Such a great man, yet he didn’t even wear a shirt, the boy wondered. ‘Why don’t you wear a kurta?’ he questioned Gandhiji. ‘Where’s the money, child?’ Gandhiji asked him gently. ‘I’m very poor and I can’t afford a kurta,’ he went on to add. The boy’s heart was filled with pity. ‘My mother makes all my clothes. I will ask her to sew a kurta for you,’ he said. ‘How many kurtas can your mother make?’ Gandhiji asked. ‘As many as you need,’ came the reply. ‘One, two, three . . .’ Gandhiji muttered for a moment and said, ‘But I’m not alone, child. I have a large family. And it wouldn’t be right for me to be the only one to wear a kurta.’ ‘Just how many kurtas do you need?’ insisted the child. ‘I have forty crore brothers and sisters,’ Gandhiji explained. ‘Till every one of them has a kurta, how can I wear one? Tell me, can your mother make kurtas for all of them?’ The boy became thoughtful at this question. But Gandhiji was right. The whole nation was his family and he was their father.
- Gandhi spoke English with a tinge of an Irish accent; because one of his first English teachers was Irish.
- During his campaign from 1913 to 1938, he walked around 79,000 km, equivalent to encompassing the Earth twice.
- Gandhiji was a huge football lover Although he never played the game professionally, he was a great football aficionado.
- Gandhi experimented with smoking with his elder brother, but he soon quit smoking; finding it distasteful. Then he experimented with meat-eating with a Muslim friend; as he was convinced that the English were able to rule India because they ate meat.
- Gandhi’s method of charkha, or the spinning wheel, represented interdependence, self-sufficiency and a quiet revolution against British control of indigenous industries.
- Used to make textiles, the wheel is a staple of cotton growers and weavers. It gave employment to millions of Indians. Gandhi was a master of spinning himself. He encouraged his fellow Indians to make homespun cloth.
- Gandhi demanded fair treatment for people in lower castes known as Dalits or the ‘untouchables,’ who he referred to as Harijans, or the children of God. Now, the term Harijan is considered offensive. Until the Indian Constitution of 1949, Dalits made up 15 to 20 percent of India’s population.
- Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times but he never won. As one the strongest symbol of nonviolence in the 20th century, later members of the Nobel Committee publicly regretted this. He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and a few days before his assassination in 1948.
- Gandhi supported Britain during the First World War and, as late as 1918, joined a government campaign for Indians to volunteer for the British Army.
- Gandhi’s views changed and he decided that India must achieve full independence. He led the mass protests of 1919-22 and then the salt march of 1930. This caused the British to promise India a measure of self-government in 1931, but not full independence.
- Gandhi wrote to directly to Hitler to appeal for peace, addressing the Fuehrer as “Dear Friend” in a letter on December 24 1940. “We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents,” wrote Gandhi. “But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in universal friendliness.”
- Gandhi opposed the British war effort and launched the “Quit India” campaign in 1942. However, when independence came in 1947, it coincided with India’s partition and the birth of Pakistan. Gandhi refused to celebrate the event, devoting Independence Day to prayer and fasting.
- During his 40 years of struggle, Gandhi wrote around 10 million words, i.e., around 700 words every day, which covered from politics to social issues like abolishing child marriage, prohibition of alcohol, untouchability, cleanliness, and nation-building.
- Gandhi had a strange co-incidence with Friday, as Gandhi was born on Friday, India got its independence on Friday, and he was assassinated on Friday.
- As he was timid by nature, his servant advised him to chant the sacred name of Lord Rama to get rid of his fears. As a result, he succeeded all his fears. It was a rebirth of his spiritual side.
- Around 53 major roads in India and 48 roads around the other parts of the world are named after him.
- Mahatma Gandhi was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1930 and was also the runner-up for Time’s Person of the Century.
- Gandhi was arrested 14 times and spent a total of 6 years in prison.
- Bose once said: If I give a call then 20 lakh people would come, but if Gandhiji gives a call then 20 crore would come. Gandhi’s title “Father of the Nation” was first used by Subhas Chandra Bose on 6th July,1944 when the Indian National Army started its march to Delhi
- Gandhi wrote his autobiography in Gujarati. His personal assistant, Shri Mahadev Desai, had translated it into English. The autobiography titled “An Autobiography of My Experiments With Truth” was declared as one of the ‘100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century’ by HarperCollins Publishers.
- In the mid-years of his life, he fell for Saraladevi Choudhurani, niece of legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore and a Bengali nationalist activist. Gandhi’s attraction to her was such that he even confessed that he was toying with breaking his own rules. Gandhi wrote to a friend calling her ‘My Spiritual Wife.’
- Though he always traveled in a Third Class, Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival at any Railway Station was a source of rejoicing.
- For his so-called celibacy test, Mahatma Gandhi used to sleep with nude women and nubiles. Once, he also took his grandniece, Manu, to bed to test his experiments.
- Gandhi took an early vow to avoid milk products (including ghee), however, after his health began to decline, he relented and started drinking goat’s milk. He sometimes traveled with his goat to ensure that the milk was fresh and that he wasn’t given cow or buffalo milk.
- Mahatma Gandhi, who shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point blank range in New Delhi on 30 January 1948 by NATHURAM GODSE.