BA English – Playing the English Gentleman by Gandhi – Comprehension

Playing the English Gentleman

About the author, M. K. Gandhi.. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) had a very modest start in his life. Born in a Gujarati family, he went to an ordinary village school, but made the most of it by not only acquiring modern knowledge, but trying hard to imbibe high moral values. He went to England to train as a barrister, and then landed up in South Africa where he fought a years-long battle to win equal rights for his fellow Indians. With the successful experience of fighting the white people in matter of racial rights, he returned to India where he had to confront layers and layers of malaise like an oppressive caste system, abject poverty, and an intransigent ruling class. As his weapon, he adopted two potent weapons that cost nothing, but hit the British colonizers very hard. The two weapons were truth and non-violence that underpinned his mass agitation against the colonizers. He clung to his principles with doggedness and grit, and could finally compel the British to leave India. Gandhi was assassinated by a fanatic, but lived in the hearts of millions as ‘Bapu’ –the Father of the Nation.

Gandhiji’s autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ continues to be read by people young and old in all corners of the world. It remains a beckon of morality, and spiritual rigour.

About the lesson.. It’s the fourth part of Gandhiji’s autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’.It deals with Gandhiji’s initial infatuation and later disillusionment with the British life style.  

The lesson is too simple to need an explanation, so we are skipping it.

Comprehension check..

1. How did Gandhiji’s faith in vegetarianism grow in England?

Ans: Gandhiji read Salt’s book on diets rekindled his desire to read more about dietetic studies. Later, he rea Willam’s ‘The Ethics of Diet’. This seminal book details the many works related to human diets from the earliest period to today. It emerged from the book that iconic intellectuals like Pythagoras and Jesus were both vegetarians. Gandhiji was also profoundly influenced by Dr. Anna Kingsfrd, and Dr. Allinson. Slowly but steadily Gandhiji became an avowed vegetarian.

2. What did his friend do make Gandhi a non-vegetarian?

Ans: His friend invited him to the posh Holborn Restaurant. He presumed that overwhelmed by the imposing interior of the hotel, Gandhi would drop his inhibition. But, the plot failed, and Gandhi remained a vegetarian.

3. In what various ways ………………….English gentleman?

Ans: Gandhiji wanted to learn English cultural practices like music, attires, Eloquence, but gave then up in quick succession.

4. What made him give up the attempt?

Ans: Gandhi quickly realized these activities were impinging on her studies. For him, becoming a lawyer was the primary goal then.

5. What does Gandhi …………………. a student?

Ans: Gandhiji quickly realized that chasing British cultural ways at the expense of studies was a wasteful way of utilizing time as a student in England.

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