“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We all know Mahatma Gandhi as the man who led our country to freedom. But we know little about some smaller and more astonishing facts about his life. The following are 16 facts about Mahatma Gandhi that are mostly unknown:
#1 Through a prearranged marriage, Gandhi was wed at age 13; his wife was one year older. ‘Child Marriage Amm-hmm’. But Gandhi was not comfortable with Kasturba during his initial days of marriage
#2 Gandhi and his wife had their first child when he was 15 years old. That child died a few days later, but the couple did have four sons before he took a vow of celibacy.
#3 A bit of a faddist and food reformer, he spent 35 years experimenting with his dietary regime in an effort to find the perfect vegetarian diet. He ate fruit, nuts, and seeds for five years but switched back to strict vegetarianism after suffering health problems.
#4 Gandhi took an early vow to avoid milk products, however, after his health began to decline, he relented and started drinking goat’s milk. He sometimes traveled with his goat to ensure that the milk was fresh and that he wasn’t given cow or buffalo milk.
#5 Mahatma Gandhi walked/traveled almost 18 kilometers a day throughout his lifetime
#6 As a young man, Gandhi was extremely shy, even when he began practicing law in 1891. His first law practice in Bombay failed, because he was too overwhelmed by stage fright to publically present cases in court. Gandhi overcomes this fear during his time in South Africa where he practices law for more than 20 years.
#7 He regularly practiced sexual abstinence within his marriage.
#8 He would invite naked young women and girls, including his grandniece, to his bed to test his “chastity.”
#9 He used fasting and threats of suicide during India’s freedom movement to force the British controlled government to meet his demands. His longest fasts lasted twenty-one days. Government nutritionists were called in to explain how Gandhi could go 21 days without food. No official photos of Gandhi were allowed while Gandhi was fasting, for fear of further fueling the push for independence.
#10 Mahatma Gandhi corresponded with a lot of people – Tolstoy, Einstein and Hitler were among the many
#11 He was thinking of dissolving the Congress a day before he died
#12 Gandhi’s wife died in prison in 1944; he was also in prison at the time of her death. Gandhi was released from prison only because he contracted malaria, and British officials feared an uprising if he, too, died while in prison.
#13 The funeral procession of Mahatma Gandhi was 8 kilometers long