He was not born a courageous, outspoken leader. In fact, in his autobiography, he says that, as a boy, he was so shy that he would run home from school because he could not bear to talk to anybody.
He was a walking enthusiast. Walking, he said, “is justly called the prince of exercises". He began enjoying long walks in high school, preferring lengthy rambles to organized sports. As a law student in London, he saved money by walking as many as eight to ten miles a day. It was primarily those long walks, he said, that “kept me practically free from illness throughout my stay in England and gave me a fairly strong body". All those years of walking served him well during the Salt March of 1930 when, at the age of 60, he walked 241 miles from his ashram to the sea at Dandi.
Once during a train journey a British asked Gandhi to get out of the train as he was considered as a ‘black’. But Gandhi refused as he had the ticket with him. The British and the Railway officer cruelly pushed Gandhi out of the train. This is a sample of Gandhi’s bitter experiences with British.
While in England in 1931, Gandhi made his first radio broadcast for the United States. The first thing the people of the United States heard the Mahatma say was, “Do I have to speak into this thing?”
Gandhi was basically very helping and concerned about others. Once while he was boarding train one of his shoes slipped and fell on to the track. He instantly removed the other shoe and threw it near the first one. His intention was to help the person who would find the pair and help himself.
His life aims were truth, non-violence, spiritualism, religiousness, honesty, discipline, loyalty, aspiration and so on. All these excellent high qualities made him the Mahatma which means a great soul.
Gandhi was extremely punctual. One of his very few possessions was a dollar watch. Just before he was assassinated, on January 30, 1948, Gandhi was upset because he was ten minutes late getting to a regular prayer meeting.
Time Magazine, the famous U.S. publication, named Mahatma Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930.
He was a lawyer, but what a lawyer! He said, “I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.” Thus, he spent his twenty years in practice “bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby—not even money, certainly not my soul.”
The year that Gandhi arrived in London to study law was 1888, the same year that Jack the Ripper and his horrific murders dominated the British headlines.
Gandhi was funny! One example: When asked by a reporter what he thought of Western civilization, Gandhi replied, “I think it would be a very good idea.”
He corresponded regularly with Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.
While in England in 1931, Gandhi made his first radio broadcast for the United States. The first thing the people of the United States heard the Mahatma say was, “Do I have to speak into this thing?”5
The same caisson, or gun carriage, that bore Gandhi’s body during his funeral in 1948 was used in 1997 for Mother Teresa’s funeral.
In the Zulu war of 1906, Mahatma Gandhi commanded the stretcher-bearer corps, which comprised of Indian volunteers formed to treat the British soldiers injured in this war.
He worked as an editor for several English, Hindi and Gujarati newspapers in India as well as South Africa, including the Harijan, Indian Opinion (South Africa) and the Young India.
Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography titled An Autobiography of My Experiments with Truth, which gives a detailed account of his life till 1920, was published in 1927. In 1999, HarperCollins publishers declared it one of the '100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century'.
Mahatma Gandhi was chosen for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948, but he was assassinated before it was conferred to him. In response to this, the Nobel Committee decided not to award the Peace Prize for that year.
In 1999, Gandhi was declared the runner-up for Time magazine's 'Person of the Century' title (which eventually went to Albert Einstein.)
He had a set of false teeth, which he carried in a fold of his loin cloth. He put them in his mouth only when he wanted to eat. After his meal, he took them out, washed them and put them back in his loin cloth again.
Mahatma Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent, for one of his first teachers was an Irishman.
During the freedom struggle, he wore nothing but a loin cloth , but for years he lived in London and used to wear a silk hat and spats and carried a cane.
He was educated at London University and became an attorney. But the first time he attempted to make a speech in court, his knees trembled, and he was so frightened that he had to sit down in confusion and defeat.
As a lawyer in London, he got nowhere at all. He was practically a failure there. Years before, when he first came to England, his Irish teacher made him copy the Sermon on the Mount, over and over again, purely as an exercise in English. Hour after hour, Gandhi wrote “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,” and these words made a profound impression on him.
Later, he was sent to South Africa to collect some huge debts; and he tried to apply there the philosophy of the Sermon on the Mount. And it worked. Clients flocked to Gandhi because he settled their claims peacefully out of court and saved them time and expense.
His income during those days in South Africa touched fifteen thousand dollars a year! Something still a dream for most Indians !
However, despite this worldly success he was not happy. On seeing the untold misery of millions of his fellow countrymen; on seeing thousand of them dying of starvation; the worldly success seemed cheap and unimportant to him. He gave up all his money and ‘took the vow of poverty, and since that time, he consecrated his life to helping the poor and the downtrodden.
On seeing the hopeless condition of one tenth of India which was living in a hungry and half-starved state, Mahatma Gandhi pleaded with them to cease bringing children into a world filled with so much misery and want.
Mahatma Gandhi experimented with diets to see how cheaply he could live and remain healthy. He started living principally on fruit and goats’ milk and olive oil.
Mahatma Gandhi never visited the US, but he had many American fans and followers. One of his more unusual admirers was Henry Ford. Gandhi sent him an autographed charkha (spinning wheel) through a journalist emissary. During the darkest days of the Second World War, Ford, who was struck by the charkha’s “mechanical simplicity and high moral purpose,” would often spin on “the symbol of economic independence that Gandhi had sent.
Mahatma Gandhi inspired millions of people world over to take the path of non-violence and civil disobedience. 5 world leaders who got Noble Peace prize viz. Martin Luther King Jr. (USA), Dalai Lama (Tibet), Aung San SuuKyi (Myanmar), Nelson Mandela (S. Africa) and Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina) have acknowledged the fact that they were influenced by the philosophy of Gandhi. Yet, Mahatma Gandhi; the man who inspired these Nobel Peace Prize winners, never got a Noble Prize !
We think it is a loss for the Noble - the prize; not for Gandhi - the man who is above all prizes.
Gandhiji loved his Mother tongue Gujarati very much. He wrote his autobiography, in Gujarati. His personal assistant ShriMahadev Desai had translated it into English.
He condemned the procedure of untouchablility and rejected the theory of downtrodden in the name of ‘thazhthappattavargal’. He said, ‘untouchability is a crime against humanity’. To make them proud, he called them ‘Harijans’.
He hates photographers and taking photos. But the fact is, at that time, he was the only person hugely photographed.
He hated cinema. He doesn’t think, cinema is a medium to propagate his ideals. But in his last years, he fervently used Radio.
Gandhiji thought, postal cards are cheap and simple communication mode.
Jesus the Christ was crucified on Friday. Gandhiji was born on Friday. India got its independence on Friday. Gandhiji was assassinated on Friday.
Once in 1915, Gandhiji went to Santiniketan and wished Rabindranath Tagore as, ‘NamestheGurudev’. Immediately Rabindranath replied, ‘If I am Gurudev you are Mahatma,’ Then, the prefix of ‘Mahatma’ used before the name of Gandhiji.
He never travelled in Plane. Although he had many powers, he lived very simply. Throughout his life he followed simplicity.
The first person in the world who produced a documentary on Gandhiji was A.K.Chettiar, a Tamilian, who was also an ardent devotee of Gandhiji. He had visited Japan and known the techniques of cinema producing by spending his own expenditure and toured many places in South Africa and India for this cause and had obtained many exclusive video and added that in his documentary.
Before 1921, the father of our Nation Gandhiji used to wear a good and full dress. In his Tamil Nadu tour in Madurai, he saw many people wearing single length dhoti as their full dress. After seeing the poor plight of Indians, he avoided rich or European dresses and used to wear single length dhoti. His simple attire and hand charka were treated as his identities.
Gandhiji had not celebrated India’s first independence day of 1947, August 15. He didn’t sent greetings also. And more he was on fast to condemn the communal riots and the partition of country into India and Pakistan.
Gandhiji very much worried about two things. One is for his bad hand writing and other was massaging. He liked massaging his body by other.
When Gandhiji was assassinated on January 30 1948, the Sri Lankan radio didn’t broadcast programme for 24 hrs.
For our independence Gandhiji, was kept in jail for 6 years and 5 months. NethajiSubash Chandra bose used to call Gandhiji as ‘Desapitha’ (Father of our nation).
The third national holiday of India is Gandhiji’s birth day which falls on October 2. The other two days are, Republic day and Independence day.
He used to stitch the shred clothes by himself. And he was interested to wear neatly washed cloths.
The United Nations announced October 2 as the day of internati-onal day of Ahimsa.
Gandhiji was a great Sudeshi all the way through his life, but his first postal stamp was printed in Switzerland. Till 1925 the first and last abroad printing of stamps was that only.
The service stamp issued to the value of Rs.10 is the too little in number, which was printed only 100 copies.
We can see in all Indian currencies, Gandhiji’s facial image being printed. The Smiling Gandhiji is very popular among the countrymen. Many of us think that image is a drawn picture. But, in fact it was a photo shot and picturised in 1946 by an unknown photographer. The original photo is displayed here. In the original photo Gandhiji smiles to some person nearby. That hollow smile picture had been developed into a mirror image and then the same has been imaged in the Indian Rupee currencies.
Picture 1: Gandhiji is with Frederic Pethic Lawrence, who was then British secretary for India and Burma. The photo was shot at the former Viceroy House, Which is now the Rashtrapathy Bhavan.
Picture 2: The mirror image of the original picture
Picture 3. The image taken from the picture is being printed in the Rupee Currency notes
Picture 4, 5. The picture of Gandhiji is being used in the currencies.
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