Nation remembers Mahatma Gandhi
Strains of his favourite 'bhajans' played and an all-religion
prayer service was conducted as the nation's leadership gathered
Tuesday to remember the apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi. »
New Delhi: ahatma
Gandhi has returned to Gen Next with an account of his early life.
He originally wrote it 80 years ago.
"My Early Life," a book Gandhi wrote in 1932, appears now in a new
edition published by Oxford University Press under the title, "My
Early Life: An Illustrated Story", to mark Gandhi's 143rd birth
The book, first edited by Gandhi's close associate Mahadev Desai,
has now been annotated by Gandhian scholar Lalita Zackariah.
Saurav Chatterjee has provided black and white illustrations.
The book offers young readers funny asides from Gandhi's essays,
and covers the period between 1869-1914 in his life.
"I have tried to make the book interesting for today's boys and
girls. Children want to see pictures in Gandhi's original writings
because today's young readers are much more clued into various
other things other than the printed word. They are adult
children," Lalita Zackariah, annotator of the book, told IANS.
Zackariah said the book was relevant today as it throws light on
the values that "Gandhi held dear for children".
"It teaches children to grow up with a purpose in life, understand
the importance of taking a vow, and instils the virtues that
influenced Gandhi," Zackariah said.
"Gandhi spoke about the value of self-cooking so that children
could stand on their feet later in life. He urged children to use
their own hands, and warned against smoking while also advocating
vegetarianism," she said.
Zackariah said she has tried to give Gandhi a down-to-earth
character in the new edition by demystifying his concepts of
"Today's generation might find the concept of Satyagraha an
abstraction. But he was very humane and had a terrific sense of
humour. I have tried to highlight what was funny in his life,"
Gandhi in his book writes that he was married to Kasturba when he
was still in high school. Around this time, he befriended one of
his brother's associates who told him that many important people,
including Gandhi's teachers and some high school boys in Rajkot,
were eating meat and drinking wine in secret.
"I asked my friend the reason and he explained it thus: 'We are
weak people because we do not eat meat. The English are able to
rule over us because they are meat-eaters... Meat-eaters do not
have any boils or tumours and even if they have any, they heal
quickly," Gandhi writes in his book. The thought stayed on with
the young Gandhi till one day he decided to eat meat to overcome
his fears of darkness and grow stronger.
However, the vegetarian from a Vaishnavite family could not eat
goat's meat and baker's bread. "Every time, I would drop off to
sleep, it was as though a live goat was bleating inside me. And I
would jump up full of remorse. But then I would remind myself that
meat-eating was a duty, so take heart," Gandhi wrote.
In one of the funny references to Gandhi's goat from his own
essays, the book reproduces an anecdote:
When Gandhi was travelling from New York to Mexico by car, the car
halted at a wayside service station for supplies. The attendant
scanning Gandhi's Indian costume could not restrain himself:
"Which country do you come from?" the attendant asked.
Gandhi said, "India".
"India eh, How is good ol' Gandhi?"
"Fine", said Gandhi.
"Is he still fasting?"
"How's the goat?"