Gandhi Jayanti: Lesser Known Facts About The Father Of The Nation
By- Md. Mojahid Raza
Bhubaneswar: Observed every year on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who is revered as the ‘Father of the Nation’. Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat, Gandhiji or Bapu is the apostle of peace and an epitome of wisdom and simplicity.
Gandhiji was a national icon who led the struggle for India’s independence from British colonial rule, empowered by tens of millions of common Indians. He was a man who did what he said and led an exemplary and a transparent life. He believed immensely in the traditional Hindu beliefs of Satya (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-violence).
From the time he took charge of the freedom struggle in 1918, he was lovingly called as “Mahatma” meaning “Great Soul” by millions of Indians. By virtue of satya, ahimsa and non co-operation, Gandhi helped bring about India’s independence from British rule.
Gandhi Jayanti is observed as a public holiday in India. Celebrations of Gandhi Jayanti include special prayer meetings at the Raj Ghat where he was cremated. School students organise special programmes to commemorate Gandhi Jayanti. People pay homage to Gandhiji wherever his statues are erected. Verses and prayers are read out from the holy books of all the religions and Gandhi’s favourite song- Raghupati Raghava- is sung at all the meetings associated with him.
As we celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Bapu, here is a look at some of the lesser known facts about the father of the nation.
- Gandhiji featured as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1930
Not many know that Mahatma Gandhi featured on the cover page of Time Magazine in 1930 as ‘Man of the Year’.
- He spoke English with an Irish Accent
All thanks to his Irish teachers, Gandhiji spoke English with an Irish twang.
- He learnt to Dance and play Violin while studying in England
Gandhiji was fond of violin. He learnt dance while studying in England but he gave up everything and adopted a basic lifestyle to fight for the freedom of India.
- Gandhiji was 13 when he married a 14-year-old Kasturba
During his marriage to Kasturba, Mahatma Gandhi was just 13 years old while his bride Kasturba was a year older to him.
- He was nominated 5 times for the Noble Peace Prize
It has been claimed that Mahatma Gandhi was supposed to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948. However, he was assassinated by extremist Nathuram Godse that year in January. And Nobel Prize Committee does not award posthumous awards.
- Gandhiji’s nickname as a child was Moniya
Bapu was affectionately called Moniya by his parents during childhood.
- He wrote his Autobiography in Gujarati
Mahatma Gandhi penned his auto-biography in his mother tongue Gujarati. The book titled ‘My Experiments with Truth’ was later translated into almost all the regional languages of India and major languages in the world.
- He was a Walking Enthusiast
Gandhiji was fond of walking and he called ‘Prince of Exercise’. This is testified by the Dandi March during which he walked 241 miles at the age of 60.
- Gandhiji’s picture on Indian Currency was taken by an unknown photographer
The smiling picture of Gandhiji was taken by an unknown photographer in 1946. The original picture has Gandhi smiling to something. The picture was developed into a mirror image and used in the Indian currency.
- He stitched his own clothes
Mahatma Gandhi stitched his own clothes. He used to make indigenous khadi fabric using the charkha (spinning wheel).