There are few historical figures with as much impact on society and controversy around his ideas than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was commonly called Mahatma Gandhi and led a revolution in spirit, thought, and personal commitment to peaceful, non-violent movements and the freedom of India. Born October 2, 1869, Gandhi got his first taste of fame through his support of civil rights in South Africa, more specifically supporting Muslim and Hindu Indians.
His educational background was in law where his studies took him to London. With his father having served in government, Gandhi was exceptionally in tuned with the rhythms of of how things worked and with his own personal beliefs, he developed an approach to disobedience that was centered around non violent acts.
As Gandhi grew in his influence he took over the top post at the Indian National Congress in 1921 and from that point on became a thorn in the foot of the British while advocating his stands on poverty, the rights of women, excessive taxation, and eventually an independent state of India. Truly an inspirational figure towering over all attempts to minimize his influence which included numerous imprisonments, Gandhi feats of bravery and commitment to his causes is legendary.
In his final years Gandhi sought to end the awful violence in the region of Pakistan and India borderlands where Sikhs and Hindus and Muslims clashed and differed on various views. Gandhi died by an assassin who believed he was too supportive of the Muslims of India. This took place in 1948, January 30 and shocked the world and his followers.
While it is impossible to describe all of the things that Gandhi was about and touched in his life and acts here on earth, here is a list of some amazing things that are believed to be true about Gandhi or associated with him.
- Gandhi believed in doing what you believed, so in that sense he was one of the world’s most infamous “practice what your preach” philosophers. As a result, he had by as early as 1914, become the recipient of the title “Mahatma” which means “GREAT SOUL”.
- The British leader, Winston Churchill, was so befuddled and frustrated with Gandhi that he called him a “half naked fakir”. Meant to be an insult, a fakir refers to one who is a beggar and a wandering Dervish.
- Though Gandhi had multiple opportunities to take advantage of resources and riches given his influence, he lived on the edge of poverty wearing a Indian dhoti and shawl.
- Gandhi once fasted 17 separate times in his support of a movement for freedom of state for India. One of the fasts lasted 21 days.
- Gandhi in 1883 at the tender age of 13 years of age married Kasturba Gandhi who was 14 years old. It was an arranged marriage as was the custom.
- When in South Africa, Gandhi was thrown off a train at the demand of a white person due to racial and religious discrimination even though Gandhi was in full possession of a first class ticket.
- In his younger days when studying law in London, Gandhi flirted with the notion that he could be like an Englishman and took up studies on how to dance and began lessons on the violin.
- From 1937 to 1948, the great Gandhi was nominated by the committee for the Nobel Prize, but never won.
- In 1906, Gandhi pledged a vow of celibacy.
- Gandhi decided to remove all of the hair on his head and took to wearing only a loin cloth in 1921.