Mahatma Gandhi, respectfully referred to as “Bapu” meaning father in India, was a freedom fighter, a lawyer, and a dogmatic ethicist, whose major contribution was the initiation of a nonaggressive confrontation against the British rulers of India and eventually motivating freedom and civil rights movements throughout the world.
His birth took place in Porbandar, a city in Gujarat state, India on the 2nd of October, 1869, from a Hindu family during the British Raj. He initiated several movements and fought for the rights of women as well as untouchables. His deeds made him one of the most respected individuals in the world whose assassination on the 30th of January, 1948 brought tears to most of the world.
In association with his deeds, there are some interesting and rarely known things about him that can leave you astounded. Mahatma Gandhi was a huge fan of Khalil Gibran philosophy like, “Everything will be done. Do nothing.” So below are some astounding facts about Mahatma Gandhi that you may not even know about.
Interesting Facts about Mahatma Gandhi
1. “Great Soul”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the name given to him at birth, whereas his middle name Karamchand was his father’s name at birth. After his legal studies in London, unable to develop a career in India, he moved to South Africa, where he was granted the honorary title “Mahatma,” meaning “Great Soul,” in 1914. Only after that was he globally referred to as Mahatma Gandhi.
2. Vegan Nature
At an early age, Gandhi vowed to not consume milk or other products containing milk and meat. He strongly respected animal rights and was determined to remain vegan until he faced some health issues, which compelled him to start consuming milk from a goat, which he often travelled with because it guaranteed fresh goat’s milk and not the milk of others.
3. Pen Pal
Mahatma Gandhi used to exchange letters with Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author on major social issues such as equality, state laws, religious beliefs, etc., and ask Leo to provide his thoughts on decency. Gandhi being an activist had a common background as that of Leo’s and thus was greatly influenced by Leo’s works. However, Gandhi was deeply touched by Leo’s “The Kingdom of God is Within You,” which pressed him to question the sacred truths behind Hinduism.
4. “The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism”
Gandhi strongly believed that vegetarianism not only meant denying the meat and its products, but also the milk and its products. He only consumed seeds, nuts, and fruits for about five years until he got sick and was mandated to drink milk to preserve his health. He wrote a book on his beliefs titled “The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism”, where he believed each individual should find their own diet and went on experimenting with the food to achieve his best diet.
He was an antagonist of discrimination against lower caste people in the name of untouchability. People then called Dalits or Untouchables were mistreated and were not allowed to have the same rights as those of higher caste people. Gandhi then stood up against such cruelty and fasted on supporting equality, calling those untouchables “Harijans” meaning “Children of God.”
6. “Dear Friend”
During the Second World War, Gandhi addressed Hitler as “Dear Friend” in his letter requesting that the war be ended. However, the first letter written by Gandhi to Hitler did not find its way to Adolf because of some intrusion by the British government. Then, about a month later, Gandhi re-wrote a letter to Hitler after Poland was invaded by Germany, clarifying his own tactics against British colonialism. In that second letter, Gandhi also pointed out that he and Hitler protested in completely opposite manners, whereby Gandhi took the path of nonviolence, and Hitler took the path of violence.
Gandhi took an oath of celibacy only after he reached the age of 38 and being married for 25 years to Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia, who is a year older than him, gave birth to five of his children, where the first one only survived for few days and was born three years after his marriage. Then, after being a father to four healthy sons, Mahatma Gandhi took an oath of celibacy.
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8. True Leader
Mahatma Gandhi was a true leader whose actions expressed his visions and idle and won the trust of his followers. He showcased emotional, spiritual, and mental strength to answer all his critics and fight against the brutal British Empire.
Gandhi was always a leader by example and had a vision of the world centered around peace and compassion. His teaching included a dedication to peace and non-violent protest.
Certainly, it was very difficult to tackle the brutal British Empire with non-violence. But showcasing his leadership quality Gandhi was a good strategist always thinking and analyzing peaceful and effective methods for protest.
9. Nobel Peace Prize
Although it seems obvious for Mahatma Gandhi to be nominated as well as win the Nobel Peace Prize, many are unknown that Gandhi was chosen for five-times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but couldn’t win a single one. During that time, it was a tradition of prizing only those of America and Europe. This was the decision that the Nobel Committee regretted.
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10. United India
Mahatma Gandhi believed that all the Hindus and the Muslims of India should be united regardless of their religious disputes. However, some leaders divided the nation, causing bloody disputes throughout the country. The result was chaos and many lost their families and homes, and thus Gandhi decided to go fasting till all the communities were together again, which eventually worsened his health. Seeing this, Muslims and Hindus came to him and swore peace, hoping to restore his health, which was the spark for his assassination by a fellow Hindu.
After being shot three times by a fellow Hindu, Nathuram Godse, on 30 January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi achieved martyrdom. His funeral was something never seen before, with more than two million people covering the roads of New Delhi over eight kilometres of the city. The Gandhi Memorial Museum, built-in 1959, was structured in Tamil Nadu, India, and comprised of garments worn by Gandhi on the day of the assassination stained with his blood.