On June 7, 1893, Gandhi performed his first act of civil disobedience when he was ejected from a South African train for refusing to comply with rules on racial segregation. See how much you know about the man known in India as the “Great Soul.”
Gandhi Was Married at 13. Through a pre-arranged marriage, Gandhi married Kasturba, who was 14 years old at the time. She remained at her parents’ home in Indian fashion until she was old enough to live with Gandhi as his wife. They had five sons, one of whom died at birth, and were married for 62 years.
Over the Years, Gandhi Went on 17 Hunger Fasts. Fasting was a part of Gandhi’s way of protesting using non-violence, and he went on 17 fasts during his lifetime. The first was in South Africa in 1917 and lasted one week, while the last was in 1948 and lasted six days in an attempt to restore peace between Hindus and Muslims. The longest fast undertaken by Gandhi lasted 21 days in 1924 at New Delhi, which was his first in an effort to unite Hindus and Muslims in India.
He Lived a Life of Austerity. With time, Gandhi came to believe that owning possessions interfered with his inner peace and made his life more complicated. Eventually, the only possessions he owned were his steel-rimmed eyeglasses, a bowl, a songbook, a watch, a set of dentures, a pair of sandals and his loincloth. The watch was stolen in 1947; however, the remorseful thief returned it a few months later.
Gandhi Was Killed by a Hindu Nationalist. Nathuram Vinayak Godse shot Gandhi three times when he was staying at Birta House in New Delhi in 1948 because he felt that nonviolence in the conflict between Muslims and Hindus left the Hindus vulnerable to attack. Gandhi was carried back into the house where he passed away about 40 minutes later.
Gandhi Was Nominated For, But Never Won, the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated five separate times for the prize between 1937 and 1948 but never won. The final nomination was made a short time before his murder in 1948, and no prize was awarded by the committee that year. The secretary of the Nobel Committee stated in 2006 that their greatest omission was never awarding the prize to Gandhi.