What Gandhi did on returning to India

Amid grand welcome receptions, he started creating crucial networks, meeting Gokhle, Tilak, Tagore, Jinnah, Thakkar Bapa, Swami Anand

GN Bureau | January 9, 2015

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to India. Here is a brief outline of his first few days after the return.

January 9: The Gandhi family arrives at the Apollo Bunder of Bombay at 7.30 in the morning. Gandhi is dressed in the traditional Kathiyawadi style: angarakhu, dhoti, khes and phento. They are welcomed by crowds on the way to Sheth Narottam Morarji Gokuldas’s home, where Gandhi meets Gopal Krishna Gokhle. He also meets Shrinivas Shastri there. Gives press interviews to the Bombay Chronicle and the Times of India. Night stay at Revashankar Zaveri’s home in Santa Cruz.

January 10: Gandhi meets family members at Bazar Gate. In particular, Swami Anand, who was to be his long-time key associate, introduced himself to him here. His representatives of his modh bania caste welcome him, and he also visits a modh boarding house. Mulji Asharam, who runs a theatre group, takes him to a staging of a play called ‘Buddhadev’ and garlands him before the audience.

January 12:
Goes to Versova in the morning, meets Dadabhai Navroji. Attends a public reception organized by Mr Petit, presided by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta. The party is full of glitz, Gandhi is in his traditional attire.

January 13: The ‘National Union’ holds a felicitation ceremony in Madhavbag where Lokmanya Tilak is present.

January 14: The Gurjar Sabha organizes a get-together in Gandhi’s honour. Presiding over the event was Mr Jinnah. In the evening, a meeting at the Servants of India Society, where he first meets Amrutlal Thakkar (‘Thakkar Bapa’), who will be another crucial life-long associate.

January 15: Meets Gokhle again. Leaves by train for Rajkot, Porbandar and other places in Saurashtra. Since plague is prevailing, and Gandhi is also suffering from slight fever, he is subjected to Viramgam customs checking (compulsory for all third-class travelers like him, in any case). Is asked to report to the judicial officer in Rajkot on arrival. Spends next few days attending community receptions in Saurashtra.

January: Rabindranath Tagore writes to Gandhi to send the ‘Phoenix boys’ to stay for a while at Santiniketan.

February 8: Arrives in Poona, holds discussions with the Servants Society of India.

February 15: Leaves for Santiniketan.

Compiled from: ‘Mahatma Gandhi: A Chronology’ (Publications Division), and Gandhiji-ni Dinvari by C.B. Dalal (Government of Gujarat).
Both available online courtesy:  The Gandhi Heritage Portal




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