Was Mahatma Gandhi a devotee of Lord Jagannath? Here’s what the researchers say

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Puri: One often wonders if Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, was an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath.

While many believe that Gandhi never visited the famous Jagannath Temple here in his entire life, being unhappy with the “restriction” on the entry of Dalits inside the temple, few researchers have purged the air. .

According to evidence-based research on Mahatma Gandhi by writer Gouranga Charan Parida, the freedom fighter used to set the example of Lord Jagannath by preaching on unity, long before he visited the temple. In his book he mentioned how Gandhi cited the example of “non-discrimination” within Puri Srimandir while addressing Indians during a conclave in South Africa and called on them to get rid of all kind of discrimination (Region, caste and class) and unite as Indians.

Gandhi had also mentioned the same thing in his journal ‘Indian Opinion’. In an article published in the newspaper on August 29, 1904 under the title “The Uses of Adversity,” Gandhi had described the Lord as the epitome of cultural integration.

During his visit to Puri on March 27, 1921 for a conclave, Gandhi visited Srimandir with his wife Kasturba and other family members. After paying homage, he signed into the devotee register and expressed how immensely blessed he felt to have the darshan of gods.

However, he could not accept the fact that Dalits were not allowed to enter the temple during Harijan Padayatra. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi – Volume 66, mentions that since Gandhi had expressed his displeasure at the “discrimination” in Srimandir, a high servant of the temple attended a conclave held in the village of Beraboi in the district of Puri and told Gandhi Ji that he had been misinformed about the temple.

Stating that the Harijans (Dalits) were also in the service of the Lord inside Srimandir, the servant invited Gandhi Ji to visit the temple with the Dalits. However, the veteran freedom fighter could not have time to visit the temple as it was his last day in Puri. After that, he never visited the state.


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