The boy in the story was born in the Gujarat region of India. Gujarati was the language he spoke at home with his parents. When he went to school he learned English and Sanskrit. These languages were mandatory there. The boy was shy and often afraid. He was a mediocre student during his years in primary school. His father did not have any formal education beyond high school.
The family wanted the boy to become a lawyer. He started to study Latin and French, thinking it could help him with Roman law. And he learned Hindi and Urdu, languages necessary to communicate with people in his country. He became a lawyer, but got in trouble with the government.
He was called an agitator and went to prison. While in prison, he studied Tamil and Telugu. In his desire to help, he found it easier to do his work if he spoke the language of the people. As his language learning abilities grew along the number of friends he made, he added Arabic and Persian to his language repertoire.
This man saw learning languages as a way to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with people.
This man said every child should learn several languages.
This man inspired many people to follow the principles of non-violence he stood for.
This man is Gandhi.
(Picture Marguerite L.)