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Inspiring facts about Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi's statues of him walking with a stick for support is quite popular. This is attributed to his fondness for long walks, which were an integral part of his life. Terming it as the 'prince of exercises', he enjoyed them right from his high school days. Even when he was studying in London, he would save money by walking eight to ten miles a day. According to him, it was these walks that kept him away from illnesses throughout his stay in England and gave him a strong body. This habit served him well during the Dandi March in the year1930, when he embarked on a walk from Sabarmati ashram to Dandi at the age of 60.
It is also believed that he walked around 79,000 kilometers between the year 1913 and 1938, as a part of his campaigns. That is enough to encompass the earth, twice.
European suits or traditional Gujarati attire, Gandhiji was always known to be well-dressed. But during a visit to Madurai in the year 1921, which was struck by extreme poverty at the time, he noticed many people wearing only a single length dhoti. Deeply affected by the plight of the common man, he decided on making dhoti his permanent outfit. Since then, the dhoti, a pair of glasses and hand-charkha has become synonymous with his personality.
Gandhi took great interest in football. While he was working as a lawyer between 1893 and 1915 in South Africa, he helped establish three football clubs in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg that were all named Passive Resisters Soccer Club. He used the game as a means ofpromoting his ideology of non-violence and passive resistance and that is where the clubs derived their names from. At the time, the concept of team was stronger than the idea of individual star players. This idea of team-work appealed to him and he used it as means to encourage people to join social activism by distributing pamphlets during matches. Through these matches, he also aimed to achieve equal rights in the country for the non-white community. While there is no proof that he actually played the game, it is said that he often delivered speeches to the team or the crowd at half-time.
According to a popular anecdote, when Gandhiji visited Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan in the year 1915, he greeted him with a 'Namaste Gurudev'. On hearing this, Tagore's reply was, "If I am Gurudev, you are Mahatma". Since then Mahatma, which means a great soul, has become popular as his first name.
'Father of the Nation' might not have been officially accorded by the Indian Government, but it still has come to be associated with him. The origin of the term dates back to a radio address by Subhash Chandra Bose on Singapore radio on July 6, 1944 as the Indian National Army that was headed by him started its march in Delhi.
While it may seem that Gandhiji was one of the most ideal candidates for a Nobel Peace Prize, fact remains that he never won the prize even once. Known for encouraging non-violent means in India's struggle for freedom, he was nominated five times in the same category in a period of 11 years - 1937, 1938, 1939,1947 and lastly in 1948, the year he was assassinated. In 1948, the committee opted against honouring him with the award posthumously and instead declared that there was `no suitable living candidate' that year. Years later, they expressed regret on not giving the prize to him.
Mahatma Gandhi maintained a regular contact with many great names by means of letters. Some of these great personalities who he wrote to, included great historical figures like writer Leo Tolstoy, Adolf Hitler and the genius, Einstein. In these letters, they would speak of issues affecting them on an everyday basis, writing words of admiration to each other and inspiring each other's works. Often, they would also discuss ideas on issues of national and international importance. In one of the letters to Adolf Hitler, Gandhi expressed his disappointment on his wrong doings to the other people.
Courtesy: Complied by Garvita Sharm and adopted from The Times of India, dt. 2nd October 2015