15 Mahatma Gandhi Stories That Show What A Great Man He Was

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Last updated on June 3rd, 2024


Real Stories About Mahatma Gandhi That Will Change The Course of Your Life


Real Stories About Mahatma Gandhi: Born on 2nd October 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is revered as the Father of the Nation for his immense sacrifices for India. He served as a lawyer, politician, and activist in the struggle for social justice and for India’s independence from British rule.

Stories About Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi launched and directed three major campaigns in the Indian Independence Movement: Noncooperation in 1919-1922, the Civil disobedience movement, the Salt Satyagraha of 1930-1931, and the Quit India movement from about 1940-1942.

He not only ushered India towards freedom, but he also became an inspiring figure for many independence struggles and rights movements across the world. Gandhiji had a soft heart like that of a child but he was as firm as a rock in following his ideals and principles.

He never told people to follow him or regard himself as a leader. He never intended to lead but he chose to follow. Gandhi followed the truth and that brought happiness to his people.

His simplicity, self-confidence, truthfulness, and empathetic nature made people admire him. Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest (satyagraha) to achieve political and social progress.

From famous scientist Albert Einstein to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi inspired hundreds of influential personalities of the 20th century. These wonderful stories show us what a remarkable man he was.

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1. Inspiring Childhood Story of Mahatma Gandhi

When he was just a child of about fifteen, Mohandas Gandhi was guilty of stealing a bit of gold from his brother’s armlet. No one could discover it but he couldn’t bear to live with that guilt. He decided to confess to his father but did not dare speak.

So, he wrote a letter in which he confessed his crime, asked for punishment for it with special mention not to punish himself, and pledged never to steal in the future. With trembling hands, he handed that letter to his father.

After reading it, tears were trickling down his father’s cheeks. He tore up the note and remained wonderfully peaceful. For Mohandas who expected him to get angry and scold him, it was a lesson that he would never forget. In his own words:

“Only he who is smitten with the arrows of love, knows its power. This was, for me, an object lesson in Ahimsa. Then I could read in it nothing more than a father’s love, but today I know that it was pure Ahimsa.”

“When such Ahimsa becomes all-embracing, it transforms everything it touches. There is no limit to its power.”

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2. A Story About Gandhi And His Youngest Son

This incident happened when Mahatma Gandhi was working as an attorney in South Africa. He used to insist on the inmates of his Phoenix Ashram in South Africa to observe Aswad Vrat (a vow in which neither sugar nor salt is consumed) for many days.

Some inmates used to make high-sounding commitments, but with time, their resolutions weakened. Once Devdas Gandhi, the youngest son of Mahatma Gandhi, undertook Aswad Vrat (A type of fasting in which no salt or sugar is taken) for eight days.

But he was tempted to break it by taking curry, containing salt. Gandhiji tried to dissuade him, but he started weeping instead. Gandhiji recollected that earlier even he had been tempted to break his resolution.

He thought: “What is the fault of the son? The fault is mine. I should be punished.” Thus he started slapping himself forcefully and said, “Devdas! This is the consequence of my relapse that you are fickle-minded. I and not you should bear the punishment.”

This behavior of Gandhiji left such an impression on Devdas that he became resolute in sticking to the Aswad Vrat.

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3. A Story About The Stubbornness of Mahatma Gandhi

This incident occurred when Gandhiji was practicing law in the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. His office was three miles from his house. One day a colleague of his, Mr. Polak, asked Gandhi’s thirteen-year-old son, Manilal to fetch a book from the office. But Manilal completely forgot until Mr. Polak reminded him that evening.

Gandhiji heard about it and sent for Manilal. He said, “Son, I know the night is dark and the way is long and lonely. You will have to walk nearly six miles but you gave your word to Mr. Polak. You promised to fetch his book. Go and fetch it now.”

Gandhi’s wife Kasturba and the family were upset when they heard of Gandhi’s decision. The punishment seemed far too severe. Manilal was only a child. The night was dark and the way was lonely. He had only forgotten a book after all.

It could be brought the next day. This was what they all felt, but no one dared to say anything. They knew that once Gandhiji’s mind was made up, nobody could change it. At last, Kalyan Bhai gathered courage, “I’ll fetch the book,” he offered.

Gandhiji was gentle but firm, “But the promise was made by Manilal.” “Very well, Manilal will go but let me go with him,” Kalyan Bhai pleaded. Gandhiji agreed to this and Manilal set off with Kalyan Bhai to fetch the book.

The kind and gentle Gandhiji could be firm as a rock at times. He saw that Manilal kept his word and did as he had promised.

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4. A Story About Gandhi And Indian Maharajas

This story about Mahatma Gandhi is not very famous but is sure to generate interest. Most of the people in India accuse Mahatma Gandhi of being extremely cordial with the British and trying to appease them most of the time. This story about Mahatma Gandhi’s address at BHU says otherwise.

Apparently, Mahatma Gandhi was invited to the opening ceremony of BHU in 1916. The guests included dignitaries like Viceroy Lord Hardinge and the many Maharajas of Indian princely states. Gandhi, in his speech, admonished the Maharajas for their extravagance when millions in India were starving.

He criticized the use of the English language and told the British to leave India in the presence of the Viceroy. This was probably his first speech in India so we cannot credit his emboldened demeanor to the support of the masses.

However, it is hard to believe that such strong words could be a part of the debut speech of the man who was critiqued mercilessly over his support for the British war effort but this incident is verified by almost all the notable biographers.

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5. A Story About Gandhi’s Affection For His Belongings

Soon after Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa, a meeting of the Congress was held in Bombay. Famous freedom fighter Kaka Saheb Kalelkar was also there. One day Kaka Saheb found Gandhiji anxiously searching around his desk.

He asked Gandhi, “What’s the matter? What are you looking for?” “I’ve lost my pencil,” Gandhiji answered. “It was only so big.”

Kaka Saheb was upset to see Gandhiji wasting time and worrying about a little pencil. He took out his pencil and offered it to him.

“No, no, I want my own little pencil,” Gandhiji insisted like a stubborn child.

“Well, use it for the time being,” said Kaka Saheb. “I’ll find your pencil later. Don’t waste time looking for it now.”

“You don’t understand. That little pencil is very precious to me,” Gandhiji insisted.

“Natesan’s little son gave it to me in Madras. He gave it with so much love and affection. I cannot bear to lose it.”

Kaka Saheb didn’t argue anymore. He joined Gandhiji in the search. At last, they found it – a tiny piece, barely two inches long.

But Gandhiji was delighted to get it back. To him, it was no ordinary pencil. It was the token of a child’s love and to Gandhiji, a child’s love was very precious.

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6. True Story of A Peasant And Mahatma Gandhi

A peasant, who was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, went to see him when the Mahatma was traveling by train which was halted for a short while at a station near his village. He was visualizing Gandhiji on the way.

He presumed Gandhiji to be a person of grand splendor. He bought a ticket and got on the train. There was a big crowd in a bogie. A gentleman was reclining on a berth. He seemed quite exhausted.

The farmer entered the bogie and approached him, held his hand, made him get up, and said: “Get up and sit up. You are reclining as if it were your own train.” The gentleman got up.

Sitting down in the vacated place the peasant started saying, “Gandhiji is great, he is the one who alleviates the afflictions of the distressed.” All the people in the bogie were smiling.

When the train finally reached its destination, people rushed to receive Gandhiji. The peasant was astonished and also anguished when he came to know that the person whom he admonished to sit up to was none other than Gandhiji.

Moral of The Story: Simplicity and even-mindedness are attributes of greatness.

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7. A Story About Gandhi And Religious Leaders

The following incident occurred in 1936. Mahatma Gandhi was touring the country in his campaign for the removal of untouchability. During his stay in an Orissa town, a group of Pandits (learned in scriptures) came to him for a discussion on the matter.

Their point was that untouchability had the sanction of scriptures. Gandhiji accorded the visitors due respect and said, “Learned Sir, I have not studied the scriptures. Hence, I readily accept defeat.”

“But I do believe that all the scriptures of the world combined cannot falsify the principle of equality and fraternity of mankind. Humanity outweighs your scriptures. It is to this Dharma that I subscribe, and I will remain unmoved in this belief till death.”

The Pandit delegation felt ashamed by Gandhiji’s irrefutable conviction and returned without answering.

Moral of The Story: Mankind is Above Any Religious Scripture.

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8. A Story About Mahatma Gandhi And The Serpent

Gandhi narrated to a colleague an incident that had happened the night before. “Yesterday I could not sleep till late at night,” he said. “When I went to sleep last night, I heard sounds coming from the fence on the rear side. When I looked, I saw something that looked like a serpent and I naturally thought it was a snake.”

“Did you call the warden to kill it?” the colleague interrupted. “If I had called him, he would have definitely killed the serpent.” I thought that, if the serpent came inside and bit me, with regard to my life I wouldn’t mind, therefore I made a decision not to call the warden.

Later on, though I thought what if it was a poisonous snake and instead of biting me, it bites the warden and he dies? And that I was not going to allow it to happen. If I don’t tell the warden, his life will be in danger, and if I tell the warden then he will kill it.

Gandhi continued, “I was confused, and then the moon rose in the sky and the brightness of the moonlight spread over the fence. Then I saw that the serpent was not a snake, but a lizard. Thereafter, I went to sleep.”

The colleague smiled at the happy ending of his story, but then asked, “What is wrong in killing a poisonous snake, which can be dangerous to people?”

Gandhi replied, “As much as we love our own lives, likewise animals love their own. True ‘Ahimsa’ (practice of respecting the life of all living beings, even the smallest ones such as insects) is practiced when one should not kill animals out of fear of being harmed.”

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9. A Story About Mahatma Gandhi And His Shoes

Mahatma Gandhi understood the service ethic better than most. In one memorable story from his life, he was traveling across India by train. As he left the car he had been riding in, one of his shoes fell to a place on the tracks well beyond his reach.

Rather than worrying about getting it back, he did something that startled his traveling companions: he removed his other shoe and threw it where the first one rested.

When asked why he did this, Gandhi smiled and replied: “Now the poor soul who finds the first one will have a pair that he can wear.”

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10. A Story About The Simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi

Once Gandhi’s dhoti (his garment) was torn, and someone said, ‘Bapu, your dhoti is torn.’ So Gandhi goes into the bathroom, adjusts his garment a little bit, and then says, ‘See now, and tell me where it is torn? There is a lot of it left to get torn.’

So his idea was not to waste resources; not to be a consumerist by nature. This was the message he used to give often to the masses – “There is enough for everybody’s needs but not for everybody’s greed.”


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11. A Story About Mahatma Gandhi And Reporters

Here’s a funny story exhibiting the witty side of Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi. In the year 1931, Gandhi was on a tour of England to discuss important political matters at the Round Table Conference. There he met with the then-emperor of England, King George V.

After the meeting with the King of England, a reporter asked him if he didn’t feel cold and ashamed to stand in front of the Emperor in his simple dress (Gandhiji was wearing a Dhoti and Shawl).

Without being perturbed Mahatma Gandhi said with a smile on his face, “Why should I feel ashamed? The Emperor was wearing enough clothes for both of us.”

Every reporter was stunned by this reply. After that question, another reporter asked, “What do you think of Western civilization?”

Mahatma Gandhi replied, “It’s a good idea….”

12. A Story About Gandhi And His Pathan Supporters

Mahatma Gandhi was fearless, brave, and a straightforward man. The following story reflects this fact. When he was on a tour of the western part of undivided India (Now Pakistan).

When he visited the Northwest Frontier to meet his Pathan supporters, he was dwarfed by their height.

They were tall and robust, and all carried guns. Gandhiji said to them, “Are you afraid? If not why else would you carry guns?”

They kept staring at him, stunned and silent. No one before today had ever dared to question their courage.

“I have no fear,” continued Gandhiji, “That is why I’m unarmed. That is what non-violence is about.”

The leader of the group, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan popularly known as Frontier Gandhi, threw down his gun, and the others followed him as well.

13. A Story About His Compassion Towards Animals

Mahatma Gandhi was a great advocate of non-violence and compassion towards animals. Once he saw a cow being milked so hard that her udders started bleeding.

From that day, he left drinking cow’s milk and would only have goat’s milk. He said the right to cow’s milk goes to the calf first.

He was so sensitive to the cow and unfortunately today, India is among the top exporters of beef.

Millions of cows are slaughtered annually to satisfy the lust of the taste buds of the cruel people.


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14. A Story of Mahatma Gandhi And His Wife Kasturba

Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi was a teacher to Mahatma Gandhi whom he taught the Bhagavad Gita. Gandhi used to call him Bangalori, since he was from Bangalore. Once, he was lodged in Yerawada jail in Pune with Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhi’s wife Kasturba Gandhi.

There were only three of them in the prison cell. This incident is about the last day of Kasturba Gandhi. She was on her deathbed. When Gandhi realized that she may not survive the day, he came out of the room and asked Pt. Chaturvedi to read the second chapter of the Gita.

There is a verse in it that describes the qualities of one who is established and centered in knowledge – Sthitapragna. Gandhi further said, “Bangalori, today is the day of my trial. Today is the day to see how I can maintain my equanimity. How I can see everybody in the same way.”

“Today is the day of my test. Today, I have to say goodbye to my wife and partner for over 50 years. I have done much injustice to this woman. I often forced her to do things she did not want to do. I’ve been so cruel to her and her children.”

“But she stayed with me till her last breath. She was my strength, she was my inspiration, and she was the one who took all my garbage, all my weaknesses, and who swallowed it and stood by my side. She is the real saint, not me.”

He made this admission in her last moments. As he was saying these words, drops of tears were flowing down his eyes. Later Sudhakar Chaturvedi said, ‘I have never seen him in that state ever before. But those drops of tears said it all.’

15. A Story About Mahatma Gandhi And Copper Coin

Gandhi went from city to city, village to village collecting funds for the Charkha Sangh. During one of his tours, he addressed a meeting in Orissa. After his speech, a poor old woman got up. She was bent with age, her hair was grey and her clothes were in tatters.

Her clothes and overall appearance indicated that she was very poor. The volunteers tried to stop her, but she fought her way to the place where Gandhi was sitting. “I must see him,” she insisted and went up to Gandhi to touch his feet.

Then from the folds of her sari, she brought out a copper coin and placed it at his feet. Gandhi picked up the copper coin and put it away carefully. The responsibility of managing all funds for the movement was under the charge of his associate Jamnalal Bajaj.

Bajaj, who had witnessed the scene, later on, asked Gandhi for the coin. But Gandhi refused. “I handle Charkha Sangh’s cheques worth thousands of rupees and yet you won’t trust me with this petty coin?” Bajaj exclaimed.

Gandhi then replied, “This petty copper coin is worth much more than those thousands of rupees. If a person has several lakhs [thousands] of rupees and gives away a thousand rupees to someone there’s nothing extraordinary about it.

But this coin from the poor old lady was perhaps all that she possessed. Thus it is worth much more. She gave me all she had. Just imagine how generous she is, giving away such a big part of her fortune!

What a great sacrifice she has made. That is why I value this copper coin more than a million rupees.”

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