Mahatma Gandhi: Little known facts most of us don’t know about him

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Today is 2nd October the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation or Bapu as he was lovingly called in India. This day is the third and the last national holiday in India (the 26th January – the Republic day and 15th August- the Independence day are the other two).

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A debate on the relevancy of Gandhi in today’s time has become a routine affair on every 2nd October. For some people Gandhi is still relevant today whereas some think that India (& the world at large) has changed so drastically that there is no role of Gandhi in it.

No matter what exactly the truth is, the biggest truth of all is that if you go to any corner of earth and ask any stranger to name two Indians he has heard of in his lifetime; the answer in all likelihood will be (1) Gautam Buddha and (2) Mahatma Gandhi.

Among all Indians born during the span of last 2600 years, these two mans are the most popular, most loved and worshiped by millions. There is some kind of charisma in them which simply fails to fade.

I reserve my thoughts on Buddha for one of my future posts. Today, on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, I would like to share some little known facts about him which most of us don’t know.

(1) 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.

(2) Mahatma Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent, for one of his first teachers was an Irishman.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) His income during those days in South Africa touched fifteen thousand dollars a year! Something still a dream for most Indians !

(8) 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.

(9) 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.

(10) 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.

(11) Mahatma Gandhi got inspiration of Civil Disobedience by reading a book of an American ! He had been greatly influenced by the teachings of an American by the name of David Thoreau. Thoreau was graduated from Harvard University ninety years ago, and then spent twenty-eight dollars building a cabin for himself on the lonely shores of Walden Pond, in Massachusetts. He lived there like a hermit, and refused to pay taxes; so he was thrown into jail. He then wrote a book on Civil Disobedience, saying that no one ought to pay taxes. People didn’t pay the slightest attention to his book then; but, seventy-five years later, Gandhi read that book, away out in India, and decided to use Thoreau’s tactics. He felt that England had not kept her promise to give India self-government; so, in order to punish England, Gandhi urged the people of India to go to jail rather than pay taxes, and he also urged his followers to boycott English goods. When the British placed a tax on salt, Gandhi led his follower to the sea and they made their own salt.

(12) 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.

(12) 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 Suu Kyi (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 !

I think it is a loss for the Noble – the prize; not for Gandhi – the man who is above all prizes.

(13) The great Scientist Albert Einstein once said about Gandhi :

“Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this (Gandhi) walked the earth in flesh and blood.”

He also once said,

” I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil.”

The more I read about Gandhi, the more I become humble to the greatness of this man who was seeking nothing for himself but was willing to die in order that others may live.

Sources of my article : Little known facts about well known people; by Dale Carnegie, The Times of India, some article on Internet and some books from my collection.

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103 Responses

  1. Karan Singh

    08/07/2010, 03:00 am

    I do not believe that he was great man . i can only say that he was politician like other phonetician. whatever he had done in his life frame other phonetician r doing the same.
    Mahatma Gandhi got popularity because he was killed. Suppose he was not killed could he become a father of nation of India.
    I believe that truth has been buried.
    its never reveal because it was buried under billions of tone soil.

    Reply

  2. Mahesh Punhani

    09/06/2010, 03:28 am

    He was killed ny nathuram Godse… i have heard that he used to beat his wife.. but dont know whether its a truth or not..I agree with karan that he was just a politician. He was also responsible for the partition…He was a congressman so after congress came into power in 1947 they just exaggerated everything and made him the great man..and mahatma gandhi…he always said non-violence but the last indian movement i.e. Quit India, he gave the slogan Do or Die…

    Reply

  3. shashidhar thakur

    09/07/2010, 10:48 am

    well i heard the lots of comment of various people about mahatma gandhi . In openion of some people gandhi do all this as a politician but according to me he is the person who have the guts to stand infront of britishers who never allow any Indian to do this but he he stand their because his weapon for fighting is totally different from the others AHINSHA .He have an IDEA that make him different from the otherS. so always think about the positive aspects frome the negative things ……..

    Reply

  4. kishor patil

    09/26/2010, 11:54 pm

    as each coin has two side in the same way every great person have to face criticism and flattery, i dont think that mahatma gandhi was a bad person . He was a noble person with affluence values and ethic. The person who criticise mahatma gandhi they should have to remember his sacrifice snd devotion for the country and think over what they have done for the sake of country.

    Reply

  5. SNEHA

    09/27/2010, 12:04 am

    Mahesh, non – violence is not killing or hurting anyone else… By do or die he ment do or let your own slef be m,artyered… So that is not violence….

    And yes, if he was responsible for the partition, then it is good only na…. Just think you a citizen of Pakistan… You’de be dying of hunger (Cos your not a muslim)

    Reply

  6. t.sivaram

    09/27/2010, 03:32 am

    excellent to know many facts. a nice collection. all should have access to this facts.

    thanks for your efforts

    Reply

  7. manikanta

    10/02/2010, 01:12 am

    those people who are criticising should think ones the life of indians of britishers hands
    how dare you talk bad about gandhiii
    he is rolemodel of all the people throught out the world

    Reply

  8. Vikrant

    10/03/2010, 01:29 am

    I dnt think wise to comment on Gandhiji but as well Gandhiji was a afterall a human being,and human beings are never perfect,2ndly he was a leader and I think what leaders say and preach is often interpreted by their followers,that too in a wrng way than a right way.I think it needs a very big heart to do all that thing when u knw that u can b heavily criticised for what u r going to do.Either it was the matter of giving 55crores to Pakistan to stabilise its people or matter of controlling riots at Noakhali,I suppose no leader except him could have done. He was a humanitarian and some times these humanitarian upset their country people and world too.

    Reply

  9. Vikrant

    10/03/2010, 01:41 am

    Also I think it to say some thing in haste about his decisions and on other scandals (as available on internet)would be total Idiocy and is not a wise thing because what historians and other learned people say is something they have come to know by ears and not eyes,same goes for our generation too.I m just 24 and neither my father nor my mother had born when he died in 1948. SO only avialable information was the thing recorded in History.Actual truth always remains hidden.Suppose NEtaji still lives or not no one knws it correct similarly the person hanged in 1860 was TANATYA TOPe or not who knws.It is quite easier to give commentary from outside than to look inside the truth.

    Reply

  10. Archana

    10/08/2010, 08:11 am

    after reading all the facts its difficult to judge his character.As we go through the statement that only he had the guts to face britishers i would say it a part of great politics which was played by the renowed people of that time.And poor india was forced to follow them coz of its pity condition.

    Reply

  11. Harsha Kovil

    10/09/2010, 05:46 am

    Well, now I am studying in VIII std .This is the first time I saw one who is criticising Gandhiji. It’s so pity that you are criticising Him,the Father of Our Nation. It is clear that He didn’t played any political role in British India during the olden days and from His great innocence and simplicity shows that He is great that all those who followed Him and His pathways also became Great . Respect Our Father of Nation ever and ever. Otherwise, insulting our GANDHIJI will be as equal as a crime against India according to me……..

    Reply

  12. Jitendra Dave

    11/14/2010, 10:28 am

    The above article is very good. Some of the unknown facts about Mahatma Gandhiji came to be known. However, Mahatma Gandhi was
    such an unsual personality that he always had something to say about evrything. He was not only champion of nonvioleance, he himself
    practised nonviolrence and insisted that all those who claim to be
    his followers should follow nonviolence.

    Reply

  13. lucky

    11/18/2010, 10:37 am

    gandhiji was nothing.he is famous due to media hype.this is bcz media is not allow to criticise him.bhagat singh,chandrashekhar was real leader and we r free today bcz of them not due to gandhi.

    Reply

  14. Preethy

    11/23/2010, 12:16 pm

    Me tto agree that he was little selfish. But cant blame him fully. There are positives also.

    Reply

  15. chinnu

    12/27/2010, 08:12 am

    I AM CHINNU
    WHEN I READ THIS I UNDSRSTOOD SO MANY THINGS ABOUTGANDHIJI
    I LOVE GANDHIJI SO……………………………MUCH

    Reply

  16. Mansha upadhyay

    01/23/2011, 04:55 am

    What a fantastic research i loved reading this article and this even helped me in my class activity thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  17. Nagaraju

    03/11/2011, 02:40 am

    Though some of the people said gandhi is bad , I still believe that gandhi is a very great person who fought very hard for the sake of liberty . We are living here in india because of great freedom fighters like gandhi .

    Reply

  18. saarth

    04/02/2011, 03:59 am

    meh,…i was looking for facts like how gandhi slept naked with his grand niece and how he was a racist,.. oh well….

    Reply

  19. notgivinghaha

    09/10/2012, 11:04 am

    this didnt really help me with my homework and why would people write sad stuff on hear, this is such a ribbish blog but i do love gandhi but you people are weird anyway im not going to waste anymore of my life writing this when i have 30 minutes to finsh my homework so goodbye!

    Reply

  20. Follower of Gandhism

    10/01/2012, 04:43 pm

    God can be found in every human being who can be selfless, righteous, truthful, honest. To be one such kind, you may take Gandhi’s life as an example. Everyone dies one day or the other.Be a human, stay a human and help human kind, you can see God in yourself.

    Reply

  21. brijesh chauhan

    11/05/2012, 03:12 am

    soory, gandhi was not right, if always followed his own way because according to him
    he was only person who can remove britishers and listen one more fact if he was right, then moh. ali jinaha was p.m of india and nehru for pakistan.

    Reply

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