Up to now , we have been told that it was Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who gave MK Gandhi the title of Mahatma (the Supreme Soul) in 1919.
A new book titled “The Mahatma & the Doctor: The Untold Story of Dr Pranjivan Mehta, Gandhi’s Greatest Friend and Benefactor (1864-1932)” (Here is eBook Version), by a former Himachal University and JNU History Professor, Dr. Sriram Mehrotra disputes this piece of history.
According to Dr. Mehrotra, it was Dr. Pranjivan Mehta who addressed Gandhi as Mahatma for the first time in 1909.
In the book, the History professor says that Dr. Pranjivan Mehta in his letter to Gopal Krishna Gokhale at Rangoon on November 08, 1909 referred MK Gandhi as Mahatma Gandhi. The JNU historian has published the letter in his new book.
Dr. Pranjivan Mehta not given the due weightage in Indian History
The author seems unhappy with Mehta being side-lined in Indian history writing.
To emphasize the role played by Dr. Pranjivan Mehta in India’s freedom struggle and the surge of Gandhi; the professor states that MK Gandhi in his lifetime had acknowledged the monumental role played by the monetary assistance provided by Dr. Mehta.
It’s no one’s fault !
We can see a deliberate attempt here to rob Dr. Mehta of the credit due to him. A deliberate attempt by some historians. The fact of the matter is, it’s no ones’s fault. History is written by humans , hence personal biases do creep in. That apart, titles are like gifts. The greatness of the giver is as important as the greatness of the receiver. Dr. Pranjivan Mehta may have addressed MK Gandhi as Mahatma for the first time but the more renown of Tagore gave Tagore the credit.
To understand this better, let’s see a more recent example.
Recently BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi is compared with Lord Shiva. If Shankaracharya wouldn’t had reprimanded BJP for comparing a mortal to a God, then ten years later we would be looking for some well known person, who called Narendra Modi the Lord Shiva for the first time!