The term ‘Bapu‘ which means father in English, reminds us of an old man in white Dhoti (traditional garment worn in India) with round spectacles holding a stick widely known as ‘Lathi’ and had a bald head. We all know Bapu who was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat, the man who played a dominant role in India’s freedom struggle, the man without whose picture our currency’s originality can be questioned, the man who is known as Father of our Nation and lastly, he is the one who was given the title Mahatma (A great soul) out of respect!
We all know our Bapu, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi so well, but there are some unknown facts about him which many of us are unaware of. As we commemorate his 150th Birth Anniversary today, let’s find out some:
- We can say that ‘Friday‘ had a considerable role throughout Gandhi Ji’s life, He was born on Friday, India got its freedom on Friday, and Gandhi Ji was assassinated on Friday.
- The famous U.S. publication, Time Magazine named Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘Man of the Year‘ in the year 1930.
- Gandhi Ji used to speak English with an Irish accent because one of his English teachers was Irishman.
- Gandhi Ji was famous among his law school faculty in London due to his bad handwriting.
- Did you know our Bapu was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but he never received the Award?
- Gandhi Ji ate fruit, nuts, and seeds for five years but shifted back to strict vegetarianism after experiencing health issues. He stated that each person should find their diet that serves best. Gandhi had spent decades experimenting with food, logging the results, and twitching his eating choices. He wrote a book titled ‘The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism’.
- Gandhi Ji took an early pledge to avoid milk products (including ghee). However, after his health began to weaken, he complied and started drinking goat’s milk. He sometimes travelled with his goat to ensure that the milk was fresh and that he wasn’t given cow or buffalo milk.
- Gandhi Ji disliked being photographed. However, in those days, he was the only person who was photographed the most.
- Gandhi Ji learned to perform dance and play the violin while he was studying in England. However, he gave up both as he felt he had no flair and also failed to learn violin.
- Gandhi Ji got married at the age of 13 to Kasturbai Makanji Kapadia. It was an arranged marriage, and he had been engaged to her since he was seven. Did you know Kasturbai was one year older to Gandhi Ji? and they were married for 62 years?
- Kasturbai died in1944 while being imprisoned in the Agra Khan Palace. The day of her demise (February 22) is marked as Mother’s Day in India. Gandhi was in prison at that time and was released because he infected with malaria and British officials feared an uprising if he too died in prison.
- Gandhi Ji served voluntarily in the British Army in the Zulu-war and Boer-War as the stretcher bearer. He also supported the British in their war efforts during the First World war.
- Even though Gandhi has spent his entire life pushing Britishers to leave India, a stamp was released in Britain honouring Gandhi Ji’s 100th birthday. PM Narendra Modi released another set of two Commemorative Postage Stamps on 100 YEARS OF MAHATMA GANDHI’S RETURN in 2015.
- Gandhi Ji established three football clubs in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg; all of which were given the same name: Passive Resisters Soccer Club. He had a keen interest in the game.
- Lastly, the most astounding fact about his life is that he walked the entire Earth twice. Well, not literally! He used to walk around 18 km every day; nearly for 40 years. During his campaign from 1913 to 1938, he walked around 79,000km, equivalent to encompassing Earth nearly twice.