Q. 65.0( 2 Votes )

Winston Churchill described Mahatma Gandhi as a “Seditious Middle Temple Lawyer now “posing as a half naked fakir”.

What provoked such a comment and what does it tell you about the symbolic strength of Mahatma Gandhi's dress?

Answer :

Mahatma Gandhi’s life and his experiments with clothing sum up the changing attitude to dress in the Indian subcontinent. As a boy from a Gujarati Bania family, he usually wore a shirt with a dhoti or pyjama, and sometimes a coat. Soon he decided that dressing ‘unsuitably’ was a more powerful political statement. In Durban in 1913, Gandhi first appeared in a lungi and kurta with his head shaved as a sign of mourning to protest against the shooting of Indian coal miners. He consciously rejected the well-known clothes of the Indian ascetic and adopted the dress of the poorest Indian. Khadi, white and coarse, was to him a sign of purity, of simplicity, and of poverty. Wearing it became also a symbol of nationalism, a rejection of Western mill- made cloth.

At this time, Winston Churchill said for Mahatma Gandhi 'seditious middle temple lawyer now posing as a half naked fakir”. This comment by Churchill asserts and confirms the power of symbolic strength of Mahatma's dress.


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