the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation,
Contactno. – 9404955338
Banana in perspective of Gandhiji
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar, otherwise known as Sudamapuri, on the 2nd October, 1869. He passed his childhood in Porbandar. He must have been about seven when my father left Porbandar for Rajkot to become a member of the Rajasthanik Court. There he was put into a primary school. He could have been only a mediocre student. He never told a lie. He used to be very shy and avoided all company. His books and his lessons were his sole companions. He passed matric from Alfred High School. He completed one semester in Shamadas College in Bhavnagar. His family adviser Maoji Dave advised him and his parents to send him England for study of law. Completing his study in England to India. He did not success in law practice. Then he went to South Africa to assist in a case of Dada Abdulla.
In South Africa he started his practice on agriculture. He set up two ashram that is Phoenix Ashram and Tolstoy Ashram. In that Ashram he had done many experiment on banana, as dietary and agriculture experiments. When he returns to India, he set up two ashram that are Sabarmati and Sewagram ashram. These two ashram have many acre agriculture lands. In that ashram he did experiment on banana. He experiment banana as medicines.
To prevent fragmentation and to fix economics holdings; Countrywide trapping and harnessing of our water resources; Improvement of soil and its productivity through natural as well as scientific treatment of manures, seeds, crop desises, prevention of soil erosion etc. He wrote in Harijan that the need of providing irrigation facilities to all the villages cannot be emphasized too greatly. This is foundation upon which agriculture depends for its progress, in the absence of which it remains a gamble. A drive for sinking wells, enlarging and dreading tanks and building canals has to be launched. The power engines used. No proper manuring can be done without water facilities, as manure in the absence of water is harmful.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Maganlal Gandhi on dated 9 September 1911 that at noon, whenever fruit is available, they get banana, pieces of apple with olive oil and the juice of sour lemons from the Farm, and bread Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Umiyashankar Mehta on dated 25 March, 1912 that Condensed milk should not be taken as it is. It should be diluted with hot water and banana should be mashed into it. Try a quarter of a banana in four teaspoons of milk. Do not be scared. You may continue giving it if it agrees.
Banana is a very nutritious food. Mr. Polk’s Waldo used to be given a banana and Mellin’s Food. Rami are being given bananas. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to owner of Tolstoy farm that we are planting banana plants. His holes were not in a line. I think of you continually during all the gardening operations and often wish you were near to advise me. I relate the incident also to show how we two would have acted in the matter. I knew the holes were wrong and allowed them to be proceeded with. You would never have allowed it.
You would have had the wrong holes filled in. I do not attach any permanent value to this work. To me it is useful only in so far as it trains those who are engaged in it. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Indian Opinion on dated 31 May, 1913 that when the patient’s tongue has become clear, the banana diet should be started, the banana being prepared in the manner described earlier. If the patient is constipated, rather than a purgative he should be given an enema of hot water mixed with borax to clear his bowels. Olive oil in the diet will thereafter help to keep the intestines clear. Mahatma Gandhi wrote again in Indian Opinion on dated 19 July, 1913 to indicating Maganlal Gandhi who was manager of the ashram that if the mother eats a diet of wheat, banana and olive oil, sufficient heat will be generated in her body and she will have plentiful supply of milk.
He wrote that as long as the mother has a plentiful supply of milk, it is unnecessary to give the infant any other food. When the supply decreases, the child should be given the flour of roasted wheat, mixed with warm water and a little jiggery and this will have the qualities of milk. Alternatively, half a banana mashed and well mixed with half a spoon of olive oil will prove very beneficial. Banana flour is made here. There is ample facility for getting it made and bananas are always available. I believe if we have biscuits made of banana flour with us on our voyage, nothing else would be required and we can carry on even if bananas are not available. We should get carpets made out of gunny bags for all of us. They will be useful in India also.
Gandhi ji wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi that Ba behaves wonderfully. She gives no trouble about food. She has reduced the intake of wheat to a minimum. She lives for the most part on raw banana, boiled groundnut and milk. After the Wheat bati brought from there has run out, she is inclined to give up even wheat for the present. About his diet Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Maganlal Gandhi from London on 10 December 1914 that my diet is as follows: In the morning, I have soup with two or three tea-spoonful of dry banana brought from there and ground-nut, with tomatoes and a spoonful of oil added.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote about banana planting in Navjivan on 7 June, 1925 that, they moisten a bamboo rod and bend it, and in many cases make the bowstring out of banana fiber. Gandhi suggests a station master on 11 April, 1926 that the station-master’s son, a child of two years, had an attack of typhoid. This gentleman too knew about my curative methods, and sought my advice. On the first day I gave the child no food at all, and from the second day onwards only half a banana well mashed with a spoonful of olive oil and a few drops of sweet orange juice. They may, for instance, believe that clothes should be made from fibers extracted from banana leaves.
Gandhi suggested a addressee on 5 February, 1928 that twice I take half a coconut grated and squeezed so as to get the milk out of it with banana. Gandhi wrote a letter to Kuvalayanand on 3 February, 1928 that he would have started his dietetic experiment after returning to the Ashram on December 31, 1927. From the reference to his having carried on the experiment for “nearly a month” it appears this letter was written on February 3, 1928. Stewed unripe banana.
Gandhi wrote a letter to Premabehn Kantak on 12 august, 1932 that an unripe banana is pure starch, and I saw in Gopal Rao’s experiment that starch should not be eaten uncooked. Hence, one should not eat bananas which have not become soft or ripe. They will become ripe if kept aside for two or three days.
Hindustan times reported on dated 11 December, 1933 that about 5,000 labourers and others attended the meeting held in the Birla Mills. A purse of Rs. 2,000 and an address on a banana leaf were presented to Gandhi. He remarked: “The idea of presenting the address on a banana leaf is very good, but you should have given me some fruit to eat.” Soon after a basket of fruit was brought. Gandhi suggested to his associates Ram Narayan Chaturvedy on dated 8 September, 1941 that at night if you feel very hungry then take one banana.
Gandhi wrote in Harijan on 18 January, 1942 that every inch of space in the banana garden and every drop of water that was being given to it had been made careful use of. The banana yielded a yearly crop. The Sardar’s labour had yielded the Ashram several thousand rupees and set an example to others. As a result dozens of people had taken to banana-growing. Banana is a good fruit. But as it is very rich in starch, it takes the place of bread. Milk, banana and leafy vegetable make a perfect meal. Mahatma Gandhi wrote to farmers of banana you can use it’s leaf in different ways on dated 18 December, 1942 that Banana or any other leaves can be used to cover up the head and face and thus further help in keeping the head cool and well protected. The head should never be exposed to strong sunlight.
Mahatma Gandhi advised those patients, who are interested in nature cure on dated 30 March, 1946. He advised to take milk mixed with fruit-juices. Sun-bath only in the nude; the head must always be covered. Banana or papaya leave can also be put on the head. At 30 January 1948 Gandhi told to his secretary Pyarelal to prepare a note on how to meet the threatened food crisis in Madras in the light of my experience and experiment in Noakhali. The Food Ministry is feeling nervous. But I maintain that a province like Madras that is blessed by nature with cocoanut and palm, ground-nut and banana in such plenty, not to mention roots and tubers of various kinds, need not starve, if only the people know how to husband their resources in food. Thus we can say that Mahatma Gandhi is very aware about Banana. He knew it very well that by this fruit; we can able to solve the food problems of India and abroad.