This Is a Photo of Gandhi With South African Soccer Team, Not British Army

MK Gandhi is seen posing with the players and staff of the Passive Resisters Soccer Club, which he started.

3 min read
This Is a Photo of Gandhi With South African Soccer Team, Not British Army
Hindi Female

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

An old group photo of MK Gandhi is going viral on social media with a claim that it shows Gandhi posing with the British Army when he served as a sergeant major under them.

However, the photograph is from 1913 and shows Gandhi along with the Passive Resistors Football Club players and staff in South Africa. This was one of the soccer clubs that was founded by Gandhi himself.



The caption along with the photo takes a dig at the Congress party, claiming that Gandhi can be seen as a sergeant major for the British Army in the viral picture.

It also states that the British presented Gandhi with two awards – Boer War Medal and Service Medal – for his service in the army.

An archived version of the post can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Similar posts can be seen here, here, here and here.



On conducting a reverse image search on the photograph using Google, we came across a stock image website, Alamy, which had posted the same photo in 2019.

The description of the image stated that it shows Gandhi, standing in the back row, sixth from the left, with Passive Resisters Soccer Club, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1913.

The photo also includes Secretary Miss Sonia Schlesin.

Gandhi posed for a picture with Passive Resisters Soccer Club in South Africa, in 1913.

(Source: Alamy/ Screenshot)

Several news reports like The Times of India and The New Indian Express also carried the same image and mentioned about Gandhi's interest in football.

A report by Live Mint published on 27 June 2010 stated that Gandhi was passionate about football. When he stayed in South Africa, from 1893 to 1915, he started two football clubs, in Johannesburg and Pretoria (Tshwane), and both of them were named the Passive Resisters.


In his autobiography An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Gandhi wrote that he was appointed to the temporary rank of a sergeant major during the 1906 Zulu rebellion in South Africa.

A photograph on Alamy shows Gandhi as a sergeant major in South Africa in 1906.

Gandhi as a sergeant major in 1906.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot)

In an article published by Hindustan Times in 2008, historian Ramachandra Guha has been quoted as saying that Gandhi was never employed by the British forces but was only raised a voluntary ambulance corps, which only included non-combatants who rendered medical help to the British troops.

Senior journalist Andrew Whitehead also writes in an article for The Wire that Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Ambulance Corps to help the wounded British soldiers with their treatment and evacuation. Later, he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal for serving the British empire.


(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and webqoof

Topics:  Congress   British Army   Mahatma Gandhi 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More