The Making of Gandhi - The Traits / Sentiments: Vanity

The Traits / Sentiments: Vanity


  • Gandhi went to England and joined the University College, London, to study law.
  • Before leaving India he made a vow in front of his mother and wife that he would abstain from meat, alcohol and women.
  • He remained true to his vows, but decided to cultivate other accomplishments which could help him fit in the English society.
  • To overcome his shyness, he joined a public speaking practice group.
  • He changed his old clothes of the Bombay cut for new ones at the Army and Navy stores in London and bought a chimney-pot hat, an evening suit made in Bond Street, and got a double watch-chain of gold from his brother.
  • He learnt the art of wearing a tie and stood every day for ten minutes before a huge mirror to arrange his tie, part and comb his hair in the correct fashion.
  • He learnt to put his hat on and off in polished society, when his hand would automatically move towards the head to adjust the hair.
  • He decided to take dancing lessons at a class and paid £ 3 as fees for a term.
  • To get the correct rhythmic motions in dance he bought a violin and hired a teacher to learn to play it in order to cultivate an ear for Western music.
  • He hired a third teacher to give him lessons in elocution, bought Bell's Standard Elocutionist as a text-book, and started out by practicing a speech of Pitt's.
  • However, he soon realised that he was only a student and studies were his main concern, and so he gave up his dancing, violin and elocution classes.
  • However, his meticulous concern for dress persisted and he continued wearing western attire for many more years.