Gandhi Jayanti – our Bapu’s birthday is commemorated with prayer for peace, various ceremonies and a feeling of pride in every Indian’s heart. It begins with singing “Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram,” Gandhi’s favorite song and the thought “Be the change you want to see in the world” echoes in everyone’s heart.
2nd October – A day to remind all of us that truth, courage and non-violence are stronger than empires of money, violence and power. This Gandhi Jayanti, we bring to our readers some ten lesser known interesting facts on Gandhi ji.
- Gandhi was arrested 14 times and had spent a total of 6 years in jail. He was generally released before completion of his jail term. However, if Gandhi ji had to complete all his jail terms; he would have spend 11 years in jail in total.
- The honorific title Mahatma means “Great Soul” and was given to him in 1914. He was first referred to as ‘Mahatma’ by Sri Rabindranath Tagore, whom he addressed to as Gurudev.
- No official photos were allowed to be taken while Gandhi was fasting for fear of further fueling the push for independence. Government nutritionists were called in to explain how Gandhi ji could go on for 21 days of fast without food.
- Gandhi’s wife died in prison in 1944. At that time, he was also in prison. But soon Gandhi was released from prison only because he contracted malaria and officials feared an uprising if he also died while in prison.
- Known for non-violence and independence movement, surprisingly Gandhi had recruited Indians to fight for Britain during World War I. He then later opposed India’s involvement in World War II.
- Bapu walked almost 18 kilometers each day which if summed will be approximately 80,000 kilometers during his campaigns from 1913 to 1938. This distance is enough to walk the world twice over the equator.
- Harilal Gandhi, who was the first son of Gandhi rebelled against his father and renounced all family ties in 1911. He then got converted to Islam and adopted the name Abdullah Gandhi.
- Mahatma Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent because one of his teachers was an Irishman.
- There are 53 major roads (excluding the smaller ones) in India, and 48 roads outside India that are named after him. Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, France, Iran, and South Africa too have several roads named after him.
- In honor of Gandhi’s message of nonviolence, the United Nations declared October 2 to be International Day of Nonviolence. The official day went into effect in 2007.