Jawaharlal Nehru called Mahatma Gandhi the eternal beacon which led India towards independence.
In his famous speech after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948, Nehru said, ‘The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere’.
Indeed, there was darkness all around when this great leader left the nation. He was a man of the people, who not only guided them but also walked with them. He lived the same way as common people did.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, was a lawyer, social activist and leader of India’s national movement. Popularly known as ‘Bapu’, he made India’s independence his dream. Gandhi fought the struggle with his world-recognized weapon of non-violence and satyagraha. He was a man who didn’t follow any ideology but made his own ideals.
Mahatma Gandhi’s life is like an open book which always teaches us something new every time we read it. On his birth anniversary, let’s look at him from another perspective. Here are some hidden and uncommon facts about Mahatma Gandhi:
- Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize five times: Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times. Nobel peace prize is one of the five prizes created by Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel. The peace prize is presented to the one who contributes in maintaining peace between nations. Foreign Policy has listed Gandhi as one of the people ‘who never won the prize but should have.’ The Committee confirmed that he was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and, finally, a few days before his assassination, in January 1948.
- Britain issued a stamp of Mahatma Gandhi: It is interesting to note that the country against whom Gandhi fought the freedom struggle issued a stamp to honour him on his 100th birth anniversary. He was also the first Asian person to be featured on Britain’s stamp.
- Gandhi was not present during Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech: ‘Tryst with Destiny’ was the speech which was delivered by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the eve of Indian independence. However, Gandhi was not present to celebrate the day as he went to Bengal to control the communal atrocities caused by partition of the country. He went there to save the lives of millions of Muslims and Hindus.
- The funeral procession of Mahatma Gandhi was 8 kilometers long: No leader was revered as much as Mahatma Gandhi. His death left people in darkness and the whole nation mourned him. Gandhi’s funeral procession was 8 kilometers long and it took 5 hours for it to reach Raj Ghat from Birla House, the place where he was assassinated.
- Gandhi never held any political position: Throughout his life Gandhi fought for his nation. He was a true leader with his own set of ideals. He unified India as one. He opposed the caste system and referred to dalits as ‘harijans’. But Gandhi never held any official position in the Indian government. He truly fought for freedom.
We wish you all a very happy Gandhi Jayanti. On this day, don’t just read about him but implement his philosophies in your lives. Follow his path of truth and non-violence. Achieve the freedom from your problems the way the father of nation taught us.
Gurleen Sethi is Executive – Marketing with Viva Books. She believes in ideas rather than in ideology. Writing is her passion and a great stress buster.