An image of Mahatma Gandhi photographed with the British Army is being shared on social media with claims that he was employed as a Sergeant Major in the army and fought in the second Boer war and Zulu war during the pre-independence era. The post also claims that he was even awarded two medals for it.
The image is being shared with the caption, "क्या आप जानते हैं महात्मा गांधी कभी ब्रिटिश आर्मी में सार्जेंट मेजर थे और उन्हें ब्रिटिश सेना में शानदार काम करने के लिए दो पदक भी मिले थे"
[Translation: Did you know that Mahatma Gandhi was a Sergeant Major in the British Army, and he was awarded two medals for the brilliant work he did in the army.]
There are other images being shared with the same claim, like a photo of young Gandhi with the title of Sergeant Major over it, and another which shows him with a group of people, all wearing the same uniform. People are also sharing these as a way to mock the 'non-violent' stance that Gandhi had, and claiming that Congressmen even then call Veer Savarkar the traitor.
A Twitter user shared the image with the viral caption.
A Twitter user shared the image with the caption, "Meet Sergeant Major Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (#Mahatma Gandhi) of the British Army during the Second Boer War in 1899-1902 and Zulu War in 1906 to 1914. Congress did not tell you this and I hope you never read about this in school.
Another Twitter user wrote,"What Gandhi ji doing in British Army ??? Why british gave him medal of war ???"
These images and claims have been going viral on Twitter and Facebook, and the same can also be found here, here, and here.
Mahatma Gandhi was employed as a Sergeant Major, and fought in the British Army as a soldier during two wars, and got two medals for the work he did.
The Logical Indian Fact Check Team verified the claims and found all of them to be misleading.
We conducted a reverse image search on all the images, which led to The Times of India article from October 2, 2019 and a Livemint article from June 27, 2010. Both of the articles spoke about Gandhi's involvement with, and love for, football. Gandhi had started two football clubs, in Tshwane and Johannesburg, during his 20-year stay in South Africa. They were both named Passive Resistors, after a political philosophy which was inspired by Leo Tolstoy and H. Thoreau. This image is a photo with the clubs' players from 1913, and is credited to image source Dinodia. The image is not with the British Army.
When we reverse searched the second image, we were led to an article by Deccan Herald, dated September 27, 2014. The image had Gandhi along with other members of the Indian Stretcher-Bearer Corps, commonly known as the Indian ambulance Corps, which had helped in raising funds for the wounded during the second Boer war from 1899-1902 and the Zulu War of 1906.
We also found this image, and the same image in colour, on Alamy, a stock photo agency, with the same description. Gandhi was given a temporary title of Sergeant Major due to his voluntary service, and him and other leaders had won those medals because of their voluntary help in the war, and not because he was a soldier in it.
Thus, The Logical Indian Fact Check team has found the claims to be misleading. One of the photo is with a football club that Gandhi started, and the other is with the Ambulance Corps during the wars, the voluntary service for which he was awarded medals for.
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