India – Pitch Dark

Father of a Nation

I could never go on a hunger strike. I love food and enjoy eating way too much to ever stop. Plus, I really don’t care about anything passionately enough to drop my utensils and lose inches from my waistline. In this way (and many others), Mahatma Gandhi and I differ. Gandhi, striving for the independence of India and looking to achieve it through non-violent means, advocated for social disobedience, as opposed to baring arms. Let’s learn a little more about the Father of India:

Mahatma isn’t actually Gandhi’s first name, as that is an honour that was bestowed upon him as early as 1914. It means “High-Souled” or “Venerable” in Sanskrit. He has also received the title Bapu, which translates to “Father” or “Papa” in Gujurati. Ghandi’s actual given name is Mohandas.

Hunger Games

At the young age of 13, Ghandi was married to Kasturba Makanji. Of course, the nuptials were of the arranged variety, as the two had been engaged to one another from the age of seven. The two stayed together through four children and even Gandhi’s vow of celibacy, until Makanji died in 1944 at the age of 74.

Ghandi was hardly on the path to lead an entire nation as a youngster. He was so shy that he would run home from school every day, just to avoid speaking to anyone. Gandhi actually spoke English with a slight Irish accent, as one of his first teachers was from Ireland.

It was in South Africa, not India, that Ghandi first gained a reputation as a fighter for social justice. A lawyer by trade, Ghandi found work in the British- and Dutch-controlled country, where discrimination against Indians was rampant. Ghandi joined the cause for improved civil rights for Indians in South Africa, also developing his theory of “Satyagraha” (“Firmness in Truth”) and nonviolent protest. Ghandi was arrested multiple times before leaving the state in 1914 and returning to India to fight for India’s independence.

Ghandi loved to walk, which served him well for the Salt March of 1930, a 241 mile trek to the sea at Dandi. This was one of Gandhi’s most important actions on his rise to power and was triggered by the British levying a tax on salt. More than 60,000 Indians were arrested for their involvement with the protest.

Gandhi - Yoda

On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was shot three times in the chest by a fellow Hindu, Nathuram Godse. Godse was upset by Gandhi’s acceptance of a plan to split India into two separate countries: India and Pakistan, feeling the leader catered to Pakistan too much. Godse was hung for his crime on November 15, 1949, along with co-conspirator Narayan Apte. Ironically, on the day of his death, the extremely punctual Ghandi was 10 minutes late for a prayer meeting. Following his death, Gandhi’s ashes were spread throughout the India, with one urn now residing at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles (this would mark Gandhi’s only trip to North America).

Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize five times, Gandhi never received the award. He was being considered again in 1948, the year he was assassinated. That year, no Peace Prize was handed out, with the Nobel committee announcing that there was “no suitable living candidate.” Later winners of the Peace Prize, Martin Luther King Jr., Aung San SuuKyi, Nelson Mandela, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, and the 14th Dalai Lama all credited Gandhi as an inspiration. The Gandhi Peace Prize has been given out by the Indian government a total of 13 times since 1995, with Mandela being a former recipient.

Gandhi was named Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1930 and was runner-up to Albert Einstein for ‘Person of the Century.’ Gandhi’s birthday of October 2nd has been granted the distinction of being ‘International Day of Nonviolence,’ while his death date of January 30th has become ‘School Day of Nonviolence and Peace.’

A movie based on Gandhi’s life was released in 1982. The film starred Ben Kingsley (aka The Sexy Beast) as the activist and politician. Gandhi won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Kingsley. An interesting upcoming work called Welcome Back Gandhi will look at how Gandhi might approach modern day India and its issues.

Ghandi Super

Gandhi is a character in the cartoon Clone High, which takes numerous historical figures and puts them back in a high school being run as a secret U.S. government operation. He is joined by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, and others. This version of Gandhi, however, is a party animal, as opposed to the real Gandhi, a fact which upset Indians when they learned of the short-lived series.

After being influenced by Leo Tolstoy’s book, ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You,’ Ghandi became pen pals of sorts with the Russian author. Similarly, Henry Ford was an admirer of Gandhi and Gandhi even took the time to send Ford an autographed charkha. One other interesting note: the same carriage that held Gandhi’s body for his funeral was used again nearly 50 years later, in 1997, for Mother Teresa’s memorial.

India: Pitch Dark

Pitch Dark Cocktail

I was going to discuss India’s reputation as a call center hub, but I got put on hold and went in the Gandhi direction, instead. In his honour, I will have a massive feast tonight and pour one out for my homies!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
It was quite difficult finding recipes specifically for Royal Challenge Whiskey. This is a pretty plain and simple cocktail, but it was one of the better drinks I could find that utilizes this specific whiskey. It was a good cocktail and exactly what you’d expect from the classic combination of ingredients. I only wish that more options for Royal Challenge existed.

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