On October 2nd, India comes together to celebrate the 154th birth anniversary of one of its most revered figures, Mahatma Gandhi. Known as the Father of the Nation, Gandhi’s legacy continues to inspire millions worldwide. His life was a testament to the principles of non-violence and the pursuit of truth, ideals that have left an indelible mark on humanity. This article delves into the life and lesser-known aspects of this iconic figure whose impact extends far beyond India’s borders.
The Birth of the Mahatma
Mahatma Gandhi, born Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi, was affectionately referred to as “Bapu” by the people. His birth took place on October 2, 1869, in the coastal town of Porbandar, Gujarat. To honor this remarkable leader, Gandhi Jayanti is observed as a national holiday, with schools, colleges, and both private and government offices remaining closed. The day is marked by special programs in political party offices and dignitaries, including the President, Prime Minister, and Union Ministers, paying their respects at his Samadhi at Rajghat.
The Man Behind the Titles
Gandhiji was bestowed with various titles, including Mahatma (Great Soul), Bapu (Father), and Father of the Nation. But have you ever wondered who gave him these titles? While these names have become synonymous with Gandhi, it’s essential to trace their origins.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Quest for Non-Violence: Gandhi’s life’s work primarily focused on promoting non-violence. His unwavering commitment to this principle led to the celebration of October 2nd as the International Day of Non-Violence worldwide.
- Nobel Prize Nominations: Surprisingly, Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Prize five times but never received the prestigious award.
- Quiet Childhood: Contrary to his later public life, Gandhiji, in his childhood, was of a very calm nature and did not engage in much conversation.
- Times Magazine Recognition: In 1930, he was named the ‘Person of the Year’ by Times Magazine.
- The Title “Bapu”: The title “Bapu” was given to Gandhiji by a farmer from Champaran district in Bihar, where he raised his voice against the British atrocities against farmers.
- Champion of the Underprivileged: Mahatma Gandhi fought relentlessly for the rights of the untouchables and lower-caste people. He referred to them as ‘Harijan,’ meaning ‘children of God.’
- Titles from Renowned Figures: Poet Rabindranath Tagore bestowed upon him the title of “Mahatma,” and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was the first to call him the “Father of the Nation.”
Gandhi’s Personal Life
Before embracing celibacy, Mahatma Gandhi had four sons. He was married at the tender age of 14 to Kasturba Gandhi, who played a pivotal role in his life.
The Legacy Lives On
On January 30, 1948, the world mourned the tragic assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in the east garden of Birla House. His last rites were performed with profound respect and reverence, with a multitude of people accompanying his body for 8 kilometers during the funeral procession. This poignant moment highlighted the deep love and respect that the people had for him, a sentiment that endures to this day.
As we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 154th birth anniversary, it’s an opportunity not only to remember his life and teachings but also to reflect on the enduring relevance of his message of non-violence and truth. Gandhi’s principles continue to inspire individuals and movements worldwide, emphasizing the power of peaceful resistance and the pursuit of justice. On this day, let us pay homage to the man who guided India to its independence and left an indomitable mark on the world stage.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1: Why is October 2nd celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti? A1: October 2nd is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and honor his legacy as the Father of the Nation.
Q2: What are some of Mahatma Gandhi’s notable titles? A2: Mahatma Gandhi was known by titles such as Mahatma (Great Soul), Bapu (Father), and Father of the Nation.
Q3: How did Mahatma Gandhi contribute to non-violence? A3: Gandhi dedicated his life to promoting non-violence as a means of social and political change, which is why October 2nd is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Q4: Did Mahatma Gandhi receive the Nobel Prize? A4: No, despite being nominated five times, Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Prize.
Q5: What was the significance of the title “Bapu”? A5: “Bapu” was a title given to Gandhiji by a farmer from Champaran, Bihar, where he protested against British atrocities on farmers.