Harilal Gandhi. Ever heard of him? Well, at least I hadn’t.

He was the oldest son of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Mahatma. The latter, a person of seemingly infinite wisdom and compassion, lost all ties to his own son when his son was 23.

“Harilal had always wanted to go on to higher studies, including becoming a barrister as his father had been. His father was firmly opposed to this, and disallowed him from pursuing it, believing that receiving this Western styled education was not helpful in the struggle against British rule over India. Eventually Harilal rebelled against his father’s decision. He renounced all family ties in 1911 and embarked upon a tragic, lifelong path of self-destruction.” (Taken from the Wikipedia article.)

Here are a few (hopefully correct) quotes from the two (taken from this site):

“Dear Bapu,” wrote Harilal to his father once. “In your laboratory of experiments, unfortunately, I am the one truth that has gone wrong… Yours Harilal.” Elsewhere, he said, “He is the greatest father you have… but he is the one father I wish I did not have.” As for Gandhi, he once said, “The greatest regret of my life…. Two people I could never convince – my Muslim friend Mohammed Ali Jinnah and my own son Harilal Gandhi.

This “black spot” adds a facet which I wasn’t aware of before to a fascinating person.