Memories of the Mahatma

A witty side

Much is spoken about Gandhiji’s teachings and values, but did you know that he possessed a great sense of humour? For example, when a reporter once asked him why he always travelled by third class in trains, he replied that it was simply because there was no fourth class yet! In another instance, he was in England to attend the Round Table Conference when a reporter asked him if he was dressed properly to meet the King (referring to his loin cloth). Gandhiji replied that the King had enough clothes on for both of them. Some of his witty statements have endured even today, proving that his humourous side was as compelling as his inspiring side.

When stalwarts meet

Memories of the Mahatma

What happens when two luminaries from completely different fields cross paths? They make history of course! The world knows Charlie Chaplin as one of the most iconic figures in film history, but at that time Gandhiji did not know who he was. Though Chaplin was already a famous actor by then, Gandhiji was not an ardent film fan. Nevertheless, the two legends met in London in 1931. Amidst other things, it is said that they discussed why Gandhiji opposed the use of machines. Now, while Chaplin got the chance to meet Gandhiji, another illustrious figure never did. Albert Einstein famously expressed his admiration for Gandhiji but never got to meet him in person.

What’s in an outfit?

Memories of the Mahatma

Today Gandhiji’s loincloth attire is instantly identifiable with him, but have you ever wondered when and where he made the momentous decision to forever change his clothing? Though he had for quite some time been contemplating wearing clothes that reflected the attire of the masses, it was in Madurai in 1921 that he firmly made up his mind. In the house of one of his followers, he first appeared in his iconic loincloth – the dress of the common man – and never again wore anything else for the rest of his life.

No cheating

Memories of the Mahatma

As a young boy, Gandhiji was faced with a situation where he had to choose between being honest and getting the right answers in a test. He was in school when the Educational Inspector came on a visit. He set a test where the students had to spell five words. As it turns out, Gandhiji got everything correct except the word ‘kettle’. His teacher tried to prompt him to copy the answer from his neighbour, but Gandhiji couldn’t bring himself around to cheat on the test. Eventually, all the boys except him had got all the words correct. Gandhiji could never learn how to copy from others.

Pen tales

Memories of the Mahatma

If you are the type to lose your pens and pencils often, you will probably relate with this anecdote. The story goes that Gandhiji had an expensive fountain pen that ended up being stolen from him. That’s when he decided not to use expensive things that would tempt others to steal them. He began to use a pen-holder and nib instead. Pretty soon he realised that the nib would get bent and so he sharpened the end of the wooden holder so that the nib would never get curved. He now had a pen that would neither get stolen nor spoilt! In fact, it is said that the first letter he wrote with this newly fashioned writing device was to Lord Mountbatten.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 2:03:52 PM |

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