I saw the following story on truthbook and wanted to know if it is true.

(This one was found on the internet. We cannot corroborate its accuracy, but it is an amusing story...)

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhi, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their "arguments" were very common.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, "Mr Gandhi: you do not understand... a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat," to which Gandhi replies, "You do not worry professor, I'll fly away, " and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhi responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question, "Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?"

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, "the one with the money, of course."

Mr. Peters, smiling, said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don't you think?"

"Each one takes what one doesn't have," responded Gandhi indifferently.

Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word "idiot" and gives it to Gandhi. Gandhi takes the exam sheet and sits down. A few minutes later, Gandhi goes to the professor and says, "Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade."

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    The Ghandi anecdotes turned me suspicious, for instance I wonder if at the times Ghandi was studying in London, students and professors used to take their food on a tray and sit down together. I find the argumentation on Ghandi shyness much more convincing, besides, it is based on a written source.
    – user25673
    Apr 3, 2015 at 21:16
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    @BeatrizCenci FYI, his name is spelt Gandhi*. Apr 4, 2015 at 8:19
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    Story is about Mr. Jinnah. Someone has switch the mainstay to Gandhi
    – user28727
    Aug 29, 2015 at 2:24
  • I have seen the same story but different people like Swami Vivekananda and others in place of Gandhi, So do not know which one is true or any story is true at all.
    – Ajay
    Aug 22, 2019 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


I saw the following story on truthbook and wanted to know if it is true.

(This one was found on the internet. We cannot corroborate its accuracy, ...

Probably not true

This degree of zinging repartee seems very unlikely from someone who described himself as shy and tongue tied at that time.

If you read Gandhi's autobiography "The Story Of My Experiments With Truth" you will see that, during his studies in London he was rather shy and had trouble speaking in public

I was at a loss to know how to express myself

enter image description here p81

This shyness I retained throughout my stay in England ...

the presence of half a dozen or more people would strike me dumb

enter image description here p82

I can find nothing about a Professor Peters.

I can find no original source for the anecdote in the question. There are plenty of copies in the Internet but they all seem very recent and lack firm attribution - it seems unlikely that this anecdote was only passed by word of mouth between 1898 and 2014.

Of course, this doesn't mean the anecdote is untrue, but it does seem not to fit well with Gandhi's account of his own confidence in English at the time.

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    I thought as much. Someone suggested the following quote to show that Gandhi was quite quick witted - “What Do You Think of Western Civilization?” “I Think It Would Be a Good Idea”. But even this might have been falsely attributed to Gandhi. Thank you for your answer, I will wait for a few days and accept it if something else doesn't turn up.
    – Aamil Syed
    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:47

The story is false and circulated as a joke on Facebook first and somebody took it too seriously ... https://www.facebook.com/jokeoftheday999/posts/10152389120818465

..read more about false story research done by... https://www.indiacurrents.com/articles/2014/10/12/my-experiment-truth

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    I don't think this is necessarily proof that there's no truth to the story.
    – HDE 226868
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:36
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    We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations.
    – Sklivvz
    May 2, 2016 at 16:59

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