He was elected president of the Indian National Congress session in Belgaum in 1924

Mahatma Gandhi was the president of the Indian National Congress only once, in 1924, and the annual session of the Congress that year was held in Belgaum. Gandhiji came to stay in Bangalore for a long stretch in 1927 to recoup from an illness.

Rajmohan Gandhi, scholar and grandson of the Mahatma, recalled incidents connecting the Father of the Nation with Karnataka, after the launch of the Kannada translation of his book, Mohan Das: A True Story of a Man, his People and an Empire, here Friday.

Witty aside

As a witty aside, he said that he owes his very existence to Bangalore since his father Devdas Gandhi had proposed to his mother Lakshmi, daughter of C. Rajgopalachari, in Bangalore. Rajaji himself was a student at the Central College in Bangalore and cherished his stay here.

“Gandhiji had many connections with the Kannada country,” he said. Though many language publications came forward to bring out the book in translation when it first came out, the Kannada book is the first Indian language translation to be out in print.

Do we know?

Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi said that though the image of Gandhiji was all-pervasive (“on all currency notes whether used honestly or not”), schoolchildren in India know far less about the Father of the Nation than in the distant U.S.

“We seem to think we will know about him by osmosis since he is so much in the environment,” he said, hoping that the book would be read and spark a discussion on Gandhiji’s relevance today.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who released the book, said he would issue an order to ensure that all libraries and public institutions have a copy of the book. The values Gandhiji stood for need to be revived today, he added.

The book in Kannada, Mohan Das: Ondu Satya Kathe, has been translated by writer and journalist G.N. Ranganath Rao and published by Loka Shikshana Trust.