Who was Mahatma Gandhi?
When I asked this question to the students in our face to face live Gujarati class, here are the answers I got from the kids who are second and third generation in the United States:
Is he the bald guy with glasses? Didn’t Ben Kingsley play him in a movie? Didn’t the movie Munnabhai with Sanjay Dutt mention him? He was the first prime minister of India? He was Indira Gandhi’ dad? He used a cane and walked around without any clothes? He invented Yoga?
I am so disheartened to hear their response as they know who Ben Kingsley is or who Munnabhai is but have no real understanding of this great human being who was not only Indian, but was also Gujarati.
It is not their fault as they were never introduced to him or his ideas. So we start slowly at the beginning.
Did you know India was ruled by the Britishers for over 200 years?
Their eyes pop open and they shake their heads.
How did India become an independent nation? Who helped India become a democracy?
There are certain things one should know as being of an Indian decent and one of them is to know who Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, lovingly and respectfully known as Gandhiji. He was born in Porbandar, Gujarat.
By education, he was an attorney who was once thrown out of a train for sitting in the whites-only section in South Africa. He practiced, preached and lived simplicity, nonviolent civil disobedience and truth.
He inspired many nations under the Commonwealth British rules and others to become independent nations along with the civil rights movement in the U.S. He went to Jail numerous times, held fasts to prove his rebellion against the Britishers, he refused to wear anything but cotton and home-grown fabric to show his love for his country of India. He was the leader that brought India to its independence along with others.
Take this time and help your children learn who Gandhi was?
Share: What do you know about Gandhiji?