Back | Next

ONLINE BOOKS > THIS WAS BAPU > "Gandhi Cigarettes"

 

48. "Gandhi Cigarettes"

A friend sent Gandhiji a label of a cigarette packet bearing his portrait, and the cigarettes were called "Mahatma Gandhi Cigarettes". Gandhiji's annoyance at such an abuse of his name could be seen from the remarks he made on the incident :

"Of all the abuses to which my name has been put, I know nothing so humiliating to me as the deliberate association of my name with cigarettes. A friend has sent me a label purporting to bear my portrait. The cigarettes are called "Mahatma Gandhi Cigarettes". Now I have a horror of smoking as I have of wines. Smoking I consider to be a vice. It deadens one's conscience and is often worse than drink in that it acts imperceptibly. It is a habit which is difficult to get rid of when once it seizes hold of a person. It is an expensive vice. It fouls the breath, discolours the teeth and sometimes even causes cancer. It is an unclean habit. No man has received my permission to associate my name with cigarettes. I should feel thankful to the unknown firm were it to withdraw the labels from the market or if the public would refuse to buy packets bearing such labels."