Who gave the title of Mahatma to Gandhiji?

Date: 04/05/2013

Who gave the title of Mahatma to Gandhiji?

By Kruthi Gonwar, ENS - HYDERABAD

26th June 2012 11:02 AM

Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn, in late 1920 (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons).
Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn, in late 1920 (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

The RTI Act is a powerful weapon to get information on anything that is in public interest.

A few RTI activists in the city are keen to know when and on what grounds was the Father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, given the title of the Mahatma!

The Sanskrit word Mahatma, which means a great soul, is often taken to be Gandhi’s given name in the West. History books tells us poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore bestowed the title on Gandhi in 1915 while writing his autobiography after the latter called him Gurudev. But our RTI activists are not convinced.

One such RTI activist Raju Malthumkar shot off an RTI query to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking to know how, when and why MK Gandhi was given the honour of being called Mahatma. He also sought to know when he was called the Father of the Nation.

Officials at the PMO forwarded the request to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and the National Archives of India (NAI), Archeology Department. “The ICHR addressed a letter to me, in which it mentioned that it does not have any documentary information on this case. Even the National Archives of India also said that it had no information on this. They also mentioned in the letter that I am welcome to make use of their library and archival facilities on any further information I wish to know,” Raju said.

Wasn't this man, who tragically corrupted our Freedom Movement, brought our nation as fragmented, weak and into this sorry state under which even a frog dares to kick us from across the borders. By taking revenge upon our real Father of the Nation Netaji Subhas, doesn't this hugely overrated face of MKG behind a saintly mask deserve a proper place in our History Books to be rewritten by true dedicated scholars and patriots? Which place was that, reserved for the treacherous, politicking agents of the British & the unscrupulous businessmen?