NEW DELHI – A grandson of Mohandas Gandhi has declined to head a university established by his grandfather, saying he fails to adhere to a school code requiring the wearing of only simple cotton clothes, a news report said Tuesday.
Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the governor of West Bengal state, said in a letter to the vice chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith (university), that he did not always wear a hand-spun or woven cotton "khadi" — mandatory for anyone associated with the institution, the Hindustan Times reported.
Cotton spun into threads on a spinning wheel, or "charkha," became a symbol of the 1940s independence struggle against British colonialists led by Mohandas Gandhi — also known as "Mahatma" or "Great Soul."
His followers diligently wore "khadi" — hand-spun or hand-woven cotton clothes.
"I was greatly honored by the offer and I even accepted it initially. But on reading the university constitution I withdrew as I realized that I am not a 100 percent khadi user ... I wear a lot of khadi but also other fabrics such as woolens and handlooms," he said.
Mohandas Gandhi founded Gujarat Vidyapith in Ahmadabad, a key Gujarat city, in 1920 to promote educational institutions run by Indians for Indians and outside the financial and governing control of British colonialists.
He led India to independence in 1947, but was assassinated by a Hindu hard-liner a year later.