Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Abusing Gandhiji’s name

And those who see tarnishing and criticizing reports on Gandhiji’s life and his image need not panic at the least for one reason. ‘Cause, these are not the only days when some articles and books sound unpleasantly on Mahatma. Even during his lifetime, his name was abused for petty gains and gratuitous publicity. Gandhiji’s annoyance at such abusing of his name never ceased to emerge as he made strong offensive statements.

Once a friend sent Gandhiji a label of a cigarette packet bearing his portrait, and the cigarettes were called "Mahatma Gandhi Cigarettes".

Gandhiji remarked, "Of all the abuses to which my name has been put, I know nothing so humiliating to me as the deliberate association of my name with cigarettes. A friend has sent me a label purporting to bear my portrait. The cigarettes are called "Mahatma Gandhi Cigarettes". No man has received my permission to associate my name with cigarettes. I should feel thankful to the unknown firm were it to withdraw the labels from the market or if the public would refuse to buy packets bearing such labels."

In addition to issuing a strong warning notice to the concerned person, he also stated the evils of cigarette smoking:

“…Smoking I consider to be a vice. It deadens one's conscience and is often worse than drink in that it acts imperceptibly. It is a habit which is difficult to get rid of when once it seizes hold of a person. It is an expensive vice. It fouls the breath, discolors the teeth and sometimes even causes cancer. It is an unclean habit.”

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