The Gujarat High Court on Friday declared that Rabindranath Tagore gave the title to "Mahatma" to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, reported India Today. The court was hearing a petition filed by one Sandhya Maru challenging the answer key of an examination held by a Rajkot local body, which said an "unknown journalist" came up with the title. The examination was for the post of panchayat talati.
Maru said she lost marks because of the ambiguity about who gave the title to Gandhi – the examination followed a system of negative marking. She also challenged the answers to two other questions — which is the longest river of India and which article comes before the word Mt Everest. The answer key suggests the Brahmaputra is the longest river and the article 'a' is used with Mt Everest. The court told the Rajkot District Panchayat Sikshan Samiti to correct the answers immediately as the longest river in the country is the Ganga and Mt Everest doesn't take an article before it.
An RTI activist from Hyderabad had filed a query with the Prime Minister's Office in 2012 seeking to know how, when and why Gandhi was given the title of Mahatma. The PMO had forwarded the request to the Indian Council of Historical Research and the National Archives of India, Archeology Department. However, the ICHR informed RTI activist Raju Malthumkar in a letter that neither the NAI nor the Council had any documentary information on the subject. The New Indian Express reported that the ICHR, in its letter, also extended an invitation to Raju to use their library and archival facilities to find out more about the topic.