'Gandhi' is a family name. The Gandhis had been merchants for many years. They lived
in a town called Porbandar. It now belongs to Gujarat State. The town had stone walls
around it. As the stones shone in the sun, the town was known as 'Shwetapuri' (the White
Uttamchand Gandhi was the grandfather of Gandhiji. He was the Diwan or the Prime
Minister or the Rana (ruler) of Porbandar. His son Karamchand Gandhi was Gandhiji 's
father. Gandhiji's full name was Mohan- das Karamchand Gandhi. He was born on October 2,
Karamchand Gandhi was the Diwan of Porbandar State for some time, and later became the
Diwan of Raikot State. Like his father, he too was an honest and a courageous man. His
wife's name was Putlibai. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was their youngest son.
Karamchand Gandhi was a very practical man. Gandhiji describes his
father in his
autobiography as follows: 'My father was a lover of his clan, truthful, brave and gene-
rous.'Often there used to be readings from the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha in his
house.There used to be religious dis- cussions also among Jain,Parsi and Muslim scholars.
Young Gandhi listened to all this with attention.
Putlibai was in the habit of visiting temples every day. She used to take Gandhi also with
her. She used to keep stern vows and fasts. Religious practices were her very life breath.
Her influence on the son was great. Many years later,Gandhiji, recollecting his early
years, said, 'If there is any purity in me, it is all due to my mother.' The son imbibed
from his mother the qualities of service, sacrifice and affection for others.