The childhood of Gandhi
Porbandar is an old seaport on the coast of Kathiawar western India. It was here that a greet saint was born on 2 October 1869. The name of this saint was Mohandas Gandhi whom we now call Mahatma Gandhi. His parents were Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai. He was small and dark, and looked no different from the other children of his age. Yet this was no ordinary child. He became the first warrior in his history that fought without arms. He won his battle against the British and freed his country.
Mohandas was the youngest of the six children of karamchand Gandhi. He was the favorite child of the family. He was called Moniya by his parents and others in the family.
Moniya adored his mother who was a deeply religious lady. He loved his father also, but he was a little afraid of him.
A child Moniya was very fond of playing. He seldom liked to stay at home. He would come home for meals, and then run away again to play outside. Sometimes one of his elder brothers would tease him playfully. Moniya would run home and complain to his mother.
`` Why don’t you hit back if anyone teases you?’’ the mother would say, laughing.
``Mother!’’ Moniya would say. ``how can I hit my brother? It is bad to hit anyone, isn’t it?’’
The mother would then take Moniya in her arms, and kiss him. She wondered how her little son got such ideas.
Moniya was sent to a primary school. He was very shy. He did not mix easily with the other children. Every morning he went to school in time. He would run back home as soon as the school was over. His books were his only companions. He spent almost all his time in reading books.
Moniya had a friend named Uka. He was a sweeper-boy.
One day the mother gave Moniya some sweets. He at once ran out and shared them with his friends. The mother saw all this. She was very angry. She at once called Moniya back into the house and said angrily: ``don’t you know Uka is an untouchable.
``Mother,’’ said Moniya respectfully, ``I don’t think Uka or anybody is untouchable. Is Uka in any way different from me?
The mother had no answer to give.
The story of Shravan was once read by Moniya. He was a very obedient and devoted son. His parents were old and blind. Shravan carried them from one place to the other. Moniya was deeply touched by Shravana’s devotion to his old parents. ``I must be like Shravan,’’ he said to himself.
About the same time he saw a play about Harichandra who was a king, and was famous for his love of truth.
``All men should be truthful Harichandra,’’ Moniya would often say.
Moniya was only thirteen when his parents chose a bride for him. Her name was Kasturiba. She was a pretty girl Moniya now began to be called Mohandas.
Mohandas and his wife often played to gather. Sometimes Mohandas tried to teach his young wife. But she was, more interested in household work than in reading books.
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