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FAQ 3: Gandhi's Hobbies

Q

I would like to know the hobbies and great achievements of Mahatma Gandhi.

  

A

As we would understand "hobbies", we can probably say that Mahatma Gandhi did not have any hobbies as such.
 
He undertook many activities which some may regard as being less important in his life than others, for example, daily spinning on his spinning wheel (or "charkha"), nature cure work, where he tried to bring about cures to ailments without the use of modern medicines, and his many other experiments in the areas of health and diet. He may have derived enjoyment from these activities,
however he did not regard them as mere hobbies but as important activities with important messages. We can say that Gandhi had a rather serious type of personality and mind (although he also possessed a good sense of humour) and that he was not given to frivolous activity undertaken simply for his own amusement.

With regard to the "great achievements" of Gandhi, this is a difficult question to answer. There were just so many. One could consider every one of his nonviolent campaigns in both South Africa and India as great achievements, even though not every campaign fully achieved the ends he sought. One could consider his one-man crusade against untouchability a great achievement. This achieved a lasting impact although it did not end untouchability. And one could go on... Perhaps his greatest
achievements can be summarised as three. He showed that it was conceivable and practical for a people to mount a long-term campaign against oppression and injustice using nonviolent means only and, in the end, to succeed. This alone was an incredible achievement. He also showed, in a broader sense, that it is possible to attempt to resolve any form of conflict, from inter-personal to inter-national, without the use of violence. This is a powerful idea with profound implications for all human society. And in a still broader sense, he pointed the way to a future in which whole societies, in economic, political and other ways, could be regulated by principles of truth and nonviolence. In our view it is no wonder that Mahatma Gandhi is being considered by many now as the greatest person of the 20th century.

 

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