The name of Gandhiji will go down through ages as the name of one of the greatest men of the world, not only of his time, but of all times as well.
In his long span of eventful life, his childhood days were not devoid of remarkable events. Let us see how the childhood of Gandhiji proved the dictum- ‘Morning shows the day’.
Gandhiji was born in a Gujurati Kayastha family on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar in Kathiaward. His father Kaba Gandhi was the Dewan of Rajkote, a small feudatory State of Gujurat. Gandhiji’s mother Puttalibai was a virtuous lady who spent most of her time in observing Hindu religious fasts, in visiting the temple and in praying and meditating. She was very much sincere to the religious vows and never broke them in any circumstance Gandhiji’s childhood was very much influenced by the religious rigours of his mother’s daily life.
During the four months of rainy season, Puttalibai used to eat one meal a day and that too, only after seeing the sun. But during this season the sun is very often behind the clouds and so is not visible to any one below. This situation, generally continues for many days at a stretch. So, Puttalibai had to starve all this time but never broke her vow. Gandhiji was very much sorry at his mother’s plight. He kept outside and gazed at the sky. Whenever the sun peeped out he ran to tell it to his mother. But by the time his mother came out, the sun had gone behind the clouds. Gandhiji felt very sad at this. But his mother consoled him saying that God wished her to keep on the fasting. Puttalibai’s influence on Gandhiji’s childhood worked well. In the later period of his life Gandhiji undertook hard fasting and broke no vow at any circumstance.
At his seventh ear of age Gandhiji was put to school. he was very shy by nature. He did not take part in games and sports. But he was diligent and truthful. Once, his game’s teacher punished him as he did not attend the games class that took place generally after the school hour. Gandhiji did not mind the punishment. But he was sorry that the teacher did not believe his words, that he was serving his sick father for which he could not come.
Once, the school Inspector came on a visit for inspection to the school where Gandhiji read. He asked the students to write some words that he called out for spelling exercise. One of these words was ‘Kettle’. The teacher stole a sight and spied that Gandhiji wrote wrong spelling of it. He at once gave hint to Gandhiji to copy the right spelling from his neighbor’s slate. Gandhiji was too honest to do this vile. But his respect for that teacher never diminished for this. Because he knew that it would be wrong to scan the actions of his elders.
In his childhood, Gandhiji happened to see two plays called “Shravana Kumar” and “Harichandra” and was very much impressed by them. An itinerant show-party came to his town and made these performances. Gandhiji, with his father’s permission, went to see these plays. Shravana Kumar was very much devoted to his parents who were blind. In two baskets slung across his shoulder, he carried his blind parents from pilgrimage to pilgrimage and served them with full devotion of heart. Gandhiji was moved by Shravan’s great devotion to his parents. In the play harischandra. Gandhiji was very much amaze at the great sacrifice of the king Harischandra for the sake of truth. Later, truth and non-violence become the motto of Gandhiji’s life.
In his childhood, Gandhiji was haunted by a kind of fear-complex. He felt alarmed with fear whenever he found himself alone in dark. Once Rambha the maid servant of his house asked him why he looked so frightened. Gandhiji told her the truth, Rambha told him to utter the name of Ram to keep away all kinds of fear. Since then Gandhiji sang the holy name of Ram and never felt any kind of fear.
Gandhiji’s childhood was a period of preparation in truth and non-violence. He was honest to his backbone. The little failing that he happened to commit, though very negligible, magnified appeared to his saintly eyes. he confessed his guilt before his dying father and his agony of mind was washed away by his tears of repentance.