Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential leaders of the Indian independence movement and a champion of nonviolence. He inspired many other leaders and movements around the world that advocated for peace, justice, and human rights. His birthday, October 2, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India. It is also observed as the International Day of Nonviolence by the United Nations. Here we are going to explore facts about Mahatma Gandhi
But how much do you know about this great soul? Here are 10 amazing facts about Mahatma Gandhi that you may not have heard before:
1. He was not born with the name Mahatma
Mahatma means “great soul” in Sanskrit, but it was not his birth name. He was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat. His father was the chief minister of Porbandar State and his mother was a devout Hindu. He was also called Bapu, which means “father” in Hindi.
A friend of his, who was impressed by his moral and spiritual qualities, gave him the title of Mahatma in 1909. However, Gandhi himself did not like the title and preferred to be called simply as Gandhi.
2. He got married at the age of 13
Gandhi had an arranged marriage with Kasturba Gandhi when he was 13 years old and she was 14 years old. They had four sons together: Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas, and Devdas. Gandhi later took a vow of celibacy in 1906 as part of his spiritual discipline. He also practiced brahmacharya, which means living like a monk and abstaining from sexual relations.
Gandhi later said that he did not know much about marriage and it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives. He also admitted that he was jealous and possessive of his wife and often mistreated her in his early years. However, he gradually learned to respect her and appreciate her sacrifices .
3. He studied law in London and became a barrister
Gandhi went to London in 1888 to study law at the Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court in England. He became a barrister in 1891 and returned to India to practice law. However, he could not find much success as a lawyer in India and decided to move to South Africa in 1893 to work as a lawyer for an Indian merchant.
It was in South Africa that he faced racial discrimination and oppression from the British authorities and the white settlers. He began to fight for the rights of the Indian community there using his philosophy of satyagraha, which means “truth force” or “soul force”. It is a form of nonviolent resistance based on civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and peaceful protest.
4. He suffered from stage fright and had a bad handwriting
Gandhi was not a natural orator or writer. Mahatma Gandhi suffered from stage fright and had a bad handwriting. He once gave up a case and returned his fee to his client because he was too nervous to cross-examine a witness. He also had his arguments read out by someone else at a debate at the London Vegetarian Society.
Gandhi improved his public speaking skills by practicing in front of a mirror and reading aloud from newspapers and books. He also wrote extensively on various topics such as politics, religion, ethics, health, education, etc. He published several newspapers and journals such as Indian Opinion, Young India, Harijan, etc. His teachers at his law school complained about his handwriting.
5. He was in London at the time of Jack the Ripper killings
Gandhi arrived in London in 1888, the same year that Jack the Ripper terrorized the city with his gruesome murders of prostitutes. Gandhi lived in a boarding house near Whitechapel, where most of the killings took place. However, he was not aware of the crimes or the panic that gripped the city.
Gandhi spent his time in London studying law, taking dancing lessons, joining the Vegetarian Society and serving on the executive committee with Arnold Hills, who founded the football club that became West Ham United.
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6. He experimented with food and nutrition for decades
Don’t Be skip here more Interesting facts about Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi was a strict vegetarian since his childhood and followed the principles of ahimsa (nonviolence) towards all living beings. Gandhi ji experimented with food and nutrition for decades and wrote a book named The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism. Mahatma Gandhi Ji ate fruit, nuts and seeds for five years but switched back to a balanced diet after suffering health problems. He took an early vow to avoid milk products but later started drinking goat’s milk. He Sometimes traveled with his goat to ensure that the milk was fresh and that he was not given cow or buffalo milk.
Mahatma Ghandi also advocated for natural healing and hygiene and avoided medicines and doctors as much as possible. He used home remedies such as honey, lemon, ginger, garlic, etc. for common ailments. He also practiced fasting, enema, sunbathing, massage, etc. for cleansing and rejuvenating his body and mind.
7. He led the famous Salt March in 1930
Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and joined the Indian National Congress, a political party that sought self-rule for India. He became its leader in 1921 and launched several campaigns for various causes such as the abolition of untouchability, women’s empowerment, communal harmony, and economic self-reliance.
One of his most famous campaigns was the Salt March in 1930, where he and thousands of followers walked 240 miles from Ahmedabad to Dandi to make salt from seawater, defying the British monopoly on salt production and taxation. The British authorities arrested and imprisoned him several times for his civil disobedience.
8. He supported the Quit India Movement in 1942
Gandhi supported the Quit India Movement in 1942, which demanded an end to British rule in India. He also advocated for a united India that would include Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and other religious groups. However, after India gained independence in 1947, it was partitioned into two countries: India and Pakistan, based on religious lines. This resulted in widespread violence and displacement of millions of people.
Gandhi tried to stop the bloodshed and promote peace and harmony among the people. He fasted several times to appeal for calm and reconciliation. He also visited the riot-hit areas and met with the leaders of both countries to urge them to resolve their differences peacefully.
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9. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948
Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who blamed him for the partition of India, assassinated Gandhi on January 30, 1948. While he was on his way to a prayer meeting in New Delhi, someone shot him three times at point-blank range. His last words were “Hey Ram”, meaning “Oh God” in Hindi.
His death shocked and saddened the world. Millions of people attended his funeral procession and paid their respects to him. They scattered his ashes in various rivers and seas across India and abroad.
10. He inspired many other leaders and movements around the world
Gandhi’s life and legacy have inspired many other leaders and movements around the world that advocated for peace, justice, and human rights. Some of them include Martin Luther King Jr., who led the civil rights movement in the United States; Nelson Mandela, who fought against apartheid in South Africa; Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism; Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the leader of the democracy movement in Myanmar; and Barack Obama, who was the first African-American president of the United States.
Also read: Mahatma Gandhi Quotes
They all acknowledged Gandhi’s influence on their thoughts and actions and expressed their admiration for him .
These are some of the amazing facts about Mahatma Gandhi that show how he lived a remarkable life of courage, conviction, and compassion. He is widely revered as the Father of the Nation in India and a global icon of peace and nonviolence.
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Some of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotes are:
- “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
- “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
- “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
- “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
- “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
- “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
- “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
- “God has no religion.”
- “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
- “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”