BENGALURU: On Wednesday morning, Mahatma Gandhi’s almost 90-year-old granddaughter, Sumitra Gandhi, entered South City, Bannerghatta Road, with a wide smile on her face. Gandhi was here to initiate the activity of planting 150 saplings to celebrate the sesquicentennial birth anniversary of her grandfather.
The event was kick started with the Father of the Nation’s favourite song: Vaishnava Janato.
She then addressed the audience gathered and said everyone in this country are Mahatma Gandhi’s children. “I know I am his granddaughter but that does not mean that he is not related to you. He is as much as yours as much he is mine, the only difference is I am 90 years old and you all are quite young,” she explained.
Mahatma Gandhi is well-known for the path of non-violence and truthfulness he followed. Speaking about the significance of this in one’s life today, she said being truthful is the easiest thing one can do. “The best part is that you don’t have to remember any lie you would have said,” she laughed and added, “Ahimsa, however, is difficult. You have to be mentally prepared for it. It is about convincing yourself that you cannot hurt anyone, whether you like it or not.”
The former member of parliament, social activist and author also revealed that Mahatma Gandhi was a ‘strict grandfather’ who taught her the importance of politeness and good manners. She recalled having difficulty studying due to her poor eyesight. Her grandfather then spoke to her parents to allow her to stay with him so that he could take care of her studies at home. She had around 12 teachers, one for each subject, who came home to guide her in academics.
Gandhi added that she also learnt the important of cleanliness from Bapu. Recalling another instance, she said, “Once when Bapu found out that I was carrying a dirty napkin, he advised me to never use a dirty napkin as its not good for health. So just like him, I also carry two handkerchiefs with me.”