Adyar Gopal Parivar
OF MAHATMA GANDHI
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had written
a book "An Autobiography or the Story of My
Experiments with Truth" in Gujarati language
prior to 1927. The Mahatma was 58 years
old in 1927. The Gujarati book was
translated by his close friend and personal
assistant Mahadev Desai into English and
published by him in 1927. After this the
second edition came out in 1940. The
second edition was reprinted many times and
what I write here are extracts from the 1976
reprint, in which 25,000 copies were printed.
This book is a 'must-read' for all our people
of GSB community. This book is important
with its historical point of view and with its
moral value. For every human being to study
the lives of men that have made a name in
the society is the best way to select their
own path in life. M.K.Gandhi wrote thus
about the experiments: "The experiments
narrated should be regarded as illustrations,
in the light of which every one may carry on
his own experiments according to his own
inclination and capacity."
"Uttamchand Gandhi alias Ota Gandhi, my
grandfather, must have been a man of
principle" says the Mahatma in this book.
"The Gandhis belong to the bania caste and
seem to have been originally grocers". So do
the GSBs, most of whom were grocers in the
19th and in the first half of the 20th Century
in what was then known as the Canara
region under British rule.
About Ota Gandhi he writes, " State intrigues
compelled him to leave Porbundar, where he
was Dewan, and to seek refuge in
Junagadh. There he saluted the Nawab with
the left hand. Someone, noticing the
apparent discourtesy, asked for an
explanation, which was given thus: 'The right
hand is already pledged to Porbundar".
M.K.Gandhi was born at Porbundar,
otherwise known as Sudamapuri, in a land
ruled by Lord Krishna from Dwarka in the
Mahabhaaratha days, on the 2nd October,
1869, that is 139 years ago today. "I recollect
having been put to school. It was with some
difficulty that I got through the multiplication
tables," he says in his book. "I used to be
very shy and avoided all company. My books
and my lessons were my sole companions."
"But somehow my eyes fell on a book
purchased by my father. It was Shravana
Pitribhakti Nataka, a play about Shravana's
devotion to his parents. I read it with intense
interest. 'Here is an example for you to copy'
I said to myself."
"... play -Harishchandra- captured my heart. I
could never be tired of seeing it." writes the
Mahatma in his book. " Both Harishchandra
and Shravana are living realities for me."
"I was not regarded as a dunce at the high
school. I always enjoyed the affection of my
teachers. Certificates of progress and
character used to be sent to the parents
every year. I never had a bad certificate."
"For if I had not acquired the little Sanskrit
that I learnt then, I should have found it
difficult to take any interest in our sacred
books. In fact I deeply regret that I was not
able to acquire a more thorough knowledge
of the language, because I have since
realized that every Hindu boy and girl should
possess sound Sanskrit learning."
Today, the structure of education in India is a
matter of debate and the parents in the 21st
Century do not have many children like the
parents in Mahatma's era did. The parents of
the 21st Century would have only one child
and it is important for them to chose the best
education for their children. Let us see what
the Mahatma has to say about education of
"When I landed at Durban in January 1897, I
had three children with me, my sister's son
ten years old, and my own sons nine and five
years of age. Where was I to educate them?
I could have sent them to the schools for
European children, but only as a matter of
favour and exception."
"I could have sent them to the schools for
European children, but only as a matter of
favour and exception."
"I was loathe to send them back to India, for I
believed even then that young children
should not be separated from their parents.
The education that children naturally imbibe
in a well-ordered household is impossible to
obtain in hostels. I therefore kept my children
"I am of the opinion that, if I had insisted on
their being educated somehow at public
schools, they would have been deprived of
the training that can be had only at the
school of experience (experience obtained
by living with the parents-Ed), or from
constant contact with the parents. I should
never have been free, as I am today, from
anxiety on their score, and the artificial
education that they could have had in
England or South Africa, torn from me, would
never have taught them the simplicity and
the spirit of service that they show in their
lives today, while their artificial ways of living
might have been a serious handicap in my
"Often have I been confronted with various
posers from friends: What harm had there
been, if I had given my boys an academical
education? What right had I thus to clip their
wings? Why should I come in the way of their
taking degrees and choosing their own
careers?... There are within my knowledge a
number of young men today
contemporaneous with my sons. I do not
think that man to man they are any better
than my sons, or that my sons have much to
learn from them... Had I been without a
sense of self-respect and satisfied myself
with having for my children the education
that other children could not get, I should
have deprived them of the object-lesson in
liberty and self-respect that I gave them at
the cost of the literary training. And where a
choice has to be made between liberty and
learning, who will not say that the former has
to be preferred a thousand times to the
The term 'liberty' that M.K.Gandhi has used
here I believe is liberty to chose the subjects
and the syllabi of education of the children.
In fact the Mahatma wanted his children to
pursue an education that made them not
clerks and officials, but persons with
self-respect and independent attitudes.
The book is of historical value and like all
history lessons, Mahatma's autobiography
gives us ideas we should apply in our life
whenever there are choices to be made by
Continued in the right column
|BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF MAHATMA GANDHI
Edited by Mohan Shenoy
Continued from left column
What decisions the great men took when
they encountered different situations,
and what direction they turned to, when
they came to a crossing in their lives,
would be valuable to us in our pursuit of
a better life. The present is different from
the early 20th Century, no doubt, but the
principles of life and concepts of morals
are everlasting and applicable at all times.
A copy of the book "An Autobiography or
the Story of My Experiments with Truth"
must be kept in every home for ready
The world celebrates the 2nd October
every year as the International Day of
Peace, and the birth anniversary of the
great Mahatma Gandhi of India.
Mahatma Gandhi is regarded as the
Father of the Nation. He is internationally
known as the Apostle of Peace and of
Non-Violence. But he is known as a
stubborn Sathyagrahi also.
He was born on the 2nd October and this
date is observed as the national holiday
every year. It is a day which makes us
think of the freedom struggle and the role
of the Mahatma in the British exodus.
If Mahatma did not take part in and
become the leader of the freedom
movement in India then we can not
imagine what would have been the fate
of the British Jewel in the Crown.
It is possible that Mr. Jinnah would not
have been the kind of politician he
became. Mr. Jinnah would not have
become the leader of the Muslims in
India because it was the Mahatma who
challenged the thinking of Mr. Jinnah off
and on, and set him on the path of
success as the chief spokesman for the
India would not have won the
Independence from the British in 1947
but the event would have taken place
sometime in the 1960s, when the general
trend was to give independence to the
colonies, as demanded by the public
opinion prevailing in USA and Europe,
and also in USSR, China, Japan etc.
If and When the British wished to grant
independence to India in the 1960s India
might have progressed well in social and
technical fields and there would not have
been the necessity for the Muslim
League to ask for a separate Pakistan
and India would not have been broken
into two countries. Pakistan would have
remained just a dream for the Muslims.
The Muslims in British India might have
preferred to keep India as it was and
continue to hope for greater power in the
But these are only unfounded
speculations, because Gandhi did take
part in freedom struggle with such
vigorous earnestness and focus that the
British exodus came sooner than later,
after the World War II ended. The military
campaign of Subhash Chandra Bose
added force to the demand for
independence. India was too large for the
British to control against the wishes of
the Subjects and the Subjects were
easily aroused by Mahatma Gandhi for a
constant and continuous pressure on the
British Parliament to ignore. Although
one can imagine that the British were
more than just generous to hand over the
reigns of a valuable colony to the locals,
their action of dividing the country into
two nations was a blatant mischief. When
Muslim League asked for a separate
country for the Muslims they were not
thinking of the two people, Hindus and
Muslims as brothers. If Muslims behaved
like the Christians did with Hindus then
there would not have been a demand for
a separate country for Muslims. It would
not be out of place to suggest that the
Sikhs, Jains, Pharsees and even
Christians considered Hindus to be
brothers, but not the Muslims. Hence
there is no chance that Pakistan would
ever behave in a friendly way with India.
Our neighbour in the west will always be
a thorn in our side.
The Congress party has been trying to
woo the Indian Muslims to make them
friendly to India. In other words the Indian
Muslims who still consider Pakistan as
their darling are expected to support the
policies of Indian government actively.
The main injury the Indian Muslims would
be inflicting on India would be supporting
the terrorists from across the border.
There are very few Indian Muslims that
take part in the Lashkar-e-toiba
movement, I guess, because otherwise
there would have been many more terror
acts in India than what is seen.
The Indian Constitution protects Muslims
equally and Indian Muslims do not have
any complaints regarding the
opportunities they get in India in
education and jobs etc.
It is not impossible to win over the Indian
Muslims to co-operate with the
administration at all levels because they
are given equal opportunities in election
and governing bodies.
It is also not possible for the Hindus to
win over the Indian Muslims to
accommodate some of the Hindu
demands such as the building of a Raam
temple in the site where the Babri
structure stood. If Jinnah was alive today
I would not be surprised if Jinnah
convinced Muslims to facilitate the
Hindus to build such a temple. Like most
of the Indian Muslims, Jinnah had the
Hindu community around him in mind and
considered the welfare of the Hindus as
essential for the welfare of the Muslim
community. But I am not sure if Gandhiji
would have supported the Hindus and
insisted on building a temple at the site.
Both Jinnah and Gandhi wanted to play
the role of a benevolent leader and there
was a tussle as to who was more
generous and accommodative. Gandhi
would have made Hindus suffer in order
to win the Muslims to his side but in vain.
|Adyar Gopal and Radha Bai
By Mohan Shenoy
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We decide our fate. We make choices that will
turn out to be our fate. If our choices suit the
Nature then our fate will be bright all the way.
Our fate has grown around our choices.