Ghosts scared the wits out of Bapu!
While his wife Kasturba knew no fear of ghosts, Bapu did not dare to stir out of doors at night, claims Rajmohan Gandhi's book.india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 12:37 IST
He gave the Britishers many a sleepless night, but few know that Gandhi was scared of ghosts and spirits so much so that as a teenager, he "did not dare to stir out of doors at night and could not sleep without a light near him."
"Haunted by fears of thieves, ghosts, serpents and robbers, the boy-husband (after marriage to Ba) did not dare to stir out of doors at night and could not sleep without a light near him," says the book "Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, his People and an Empire" by Rajmohan Gandhi.
This was in contrast to Kastur (Ba), who the book says, "knew no fear of serpents and ghosts" and "could go out in the dark."
When Gandhi was just four, "Monia, as his parents called him, terrified of spirits and ghosts, was told by Rambha (his nurse) that the divine name of Rama would drive his fears away. Having more faith in her than in her remedy, Mohan recited the name but the terrors did not disappear," he says.
Even at seven, when his family moved from Wankaner to Rajkot, he "took his fears with him."
His terrors continued into his teens, even after his marriage to Kastur. "Mohan felt ashamed of himself," notes his grandson Rajmohan, in the book.
However, Mehtab, a friend of Gandhiji's brother, and a 'rakish youth of strength, speed and daring', mounted a campaign that played on Mohan's (Gandhiji's) eagerness to repair his male pride. Mehtab knew from Karsan of Mohan's cowardly fears and of his frustration at Kastur's independence.