"Whatever purity you see in me’, recalled Gandhiji at 62 years of age, ‘is derived from my mother, not my father"
Originally grocers, the Gandhijis were bania by caste. The youngest offspring of Karamchand Gandhi alias Kaba Gandhi, Mohandas belonged to families who for three generations from his grandfather had been Prime Ministers in several Kathiawar states.
Mohandas, the future MAHATAMA, was born on Oct 2,1869. When Mohan was seven years old his parents moved 120 miles East to Rajkot. Rajkot became the Gandhis’ second home though the family link with Porbander remained.
Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi as a child was very shy and avoided all company. His daily habit was to rush to school on time and to rush back home as soon as the school closed as he was afraid of talking to anyone in case someone made fun of him.
To be truthful was a passion with him. Till his 12th year in School, Gandhiji doesn’t remember having told a lie. He could not bear it when he was convicted of having lied to the headmaster of Alfred High school in Rajkot, Dorabji Edulji Gimi, and cried helplessly. He brooded on the incident until he came to the conclusion that a ‘man of truth must also be a man of care’. He promised never to put himself in a position where his explanation would be dismissed as lies.
Quiet, shy and retiring, he was tongue-tied in company. Rated mediocre in studies and games, he was proud of the fact that he never told a lie to his teachers or his classmates and the slightest aspersion on his character hurt him to tears. Moral sensitiveness, an inherent trait of Gandhiji since childhood, was a part of the tradition of the Gandhi family. Mohan’s father Karamhchand, and his grandfather UttamChand, had been known for their integrity and for the courage of their convictions. ‘Whatever purity you see in me’, recalled Gandhiji at 62 years of age, ‘is derived from my mother, not my father’. Gandhiji’s mother Putlibai’s boundless love, her endless austerities and her iron will left a permanent impression on him. These qualities inspired him to battle for self-mastery, and the maternal love he imbibed from her grew in ever-increasing measure till it embraced the whole of humanity. Gandhiji’s love for nursing which made him wash lepers’ sores in his Ashram and also the technique of appealing to the heart through self-suffering can be attributed to his mother’s influence.