150 years ago, a man was born who gave all of us our most prized possessions – political freedom and social equality. These changed the history of India forever. With his round-rimmed glasses, white dhoti and walking stick, he is an enduring symbol of non-violence, freedom, peace and simplicity. He is the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
Here are 6 facts about Gandhiji that you may not have known from Arthy Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy’s Gandhi in 150 Anecdotes:
Observing Gandhiji’s compassion towards those in need and his empathetic response towards the suffering of his people, poet Rabindranath Tagore gave him the title ‘Mahatma’.
In his early years, Gandhiji was deeply moved by the mythological tale of King Harishchandra who sacrificed his kingdom and family to follow the path of truth. Inspired by this story, Gandhiji resolved to be unwaveringly truthful throughout his life.
According to the custom of the region at that time, Gandhiji was married at the young age of thirteen to a spirited young girl called Kasturba Makhanji, whom he affectionately called ‘Ba’. However, as an adult, Gandhiji objected to the tradition of child marriage.
Despite being born into a strictly vegetarian Hindu family, young Mohandas surrendered to the temptation offered by a friend who encouraged consumption of meat as a source of strength required to win against the mighty British. Gandhiji enjoyed eating meat dishes but his guilt at the dishonourable act of cheating on his devout parents brought this episode to an end. His resolve to eat vegetarian food continued during his time in England where he depended on raw, unsavoury vegetables and bread for sustenance till he bought a cooker and learnt to cook his own food, especially his favourite carrot soup!
Gandhiji refrained from indulgence in food to focus on his spiritual goals. But there was one luscious fruit that Bapu had a special weakness for – mangoes!
A fact about Gandhiji not known to many is that he was a great football enthusiast. During his time in South Africa, he formed two football clubs – both named the Passive Resisters – inspired by the political philosophy in the writings of Henry Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy.
German physicist and Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Albert Einstein, once expressed his admiration for Gandhiji in a letter. He wrote: ‘You have shown [that] it’s possible to succeed without violence, even with those who have not disregarded the method of violence. We may hope that your example will spread beyond the borders of your country and will help to establish an international authority, respected by all, which will take decisions and replace war conflicts. I hope that I will be able to meet you face to face some day.’
‘You can open any page in this book and go back to an exciting time in our country’s history, when one man made a life-changing difference to millions of lives,’ write Arthy Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy.
Peppered with fascinating trivia and rare insights into the life of a man who inspired not just a nation but the greatest minds in the world, Gandhi in 150 Anecdotes offers its young readers an opportunity to know more about their beloved Bapu.