This book is my autobiography for the period 1942 to 1956. Even then, it is not a full biography. Ihave selected an important phase of my life, which shaped my life later on. In this phase, my educationtook place in India because I was stranded in this country on account of the Second World War. Thisperiod was also momentous for India in many ways and I happened to be a mute witness to it all. The year1942, when I arrived from Nairobi, Kenya to this country, is famous for the Quit India Movement of theIndian National Congress. The period 1943 to 1944 was a sad one, when more than a million or twopeople died during the Bengal Famine due to starvation. In the year 1945, the Congress leaders includingNehru and Sardar Patel came out of the Jail. I saw Nehru and Sardar for the first and the last time inPoona. In 1946, the Great Calcutta Killing took place along with the genocide of Hindus in Noakhali. Thefire that was lighted then engulfed a large part of North India and it hasn’t died down fully even today. In1947, India gained her independence. The country was partitioned then and what happened to the peopleof Punjab, Sindh and Bengal is too well known. It needs no recapitulation. On January 26, 1950, theIndian Constitution came into force and the last relationship with the British Empire was ended. In 1952,the First Indian Election of the Parliament and of the States Legislatures took place. India now had at theCenter the President, the Prime Minister and the Parliament. Some of these events promised bright future.In 1956, India was reorganized into linguistic States. Many sad incidents took place then and doubtssurfaced about the bright promised future. During this period I grew from a boy of 14 to a man of 28.Imperceptibly, all these events have shaped my mind and I have expressed my feelings about these fully.Whether I am right or wrong is not important. The fact remains that these events have shaped my mind. Iam basically a physicist and a mathematician—not an important one. My mind searches for causes for theills in the country. I am not a politician or a historian or a writer. I have my own limitation in expressingmy innermost feelings, which need an unusual command on languages. This I do not possess. Then, aquestion may be raised: Why do I attempt to write an autobiography? The answer is, throughout my lifefriends wanted my autobiography. At the age of 82, I haven’t any inclination to write my fullautobiography because I haven’t the writer’s skill. I have written here an incomplete autobiography,which tells a little about my life and what I saw during that period. It shows the impact of the period onmy life.I have ended my autobiography in 1956. It was for the first time I realized that I am an Indiangenetically but not spiritually. During the period 1942 to 1956, I lived for two years in Poona and sevenyears in Bombay. I was feeling then that this was my new home. This feeling was fully shattered in 1956when Gujaratis claimed Bombay immorally. For the first time I saw the enmity between Gujaratis andMarathas. I openly blamed Gujaratis. I gave up my job in Bombay and began the preparation for leavingthe country. It took five more years to obtain a fellowship from United States. During intervening period Idid some part time job to meet my expenses and did research in theoretical (mathematical) chemistry athome, which fetched me a fellowship from the present day Carnegie-Mellon University. In 1961, I wentto New York by a cargo boat.As for the title of this book I had two choices before me. The one title was Life of An AfricanNilgai. I realized that no one would understand the title except me. Some would think that the book isabout the wild life of Africa. I thought of this title because when I was staying in the hostel of the D. N.High School, Anand, the Gujaratis called me African Nilgai (Africanu rozdu =
, ronchu =
, roncho =
). At that time I did not understand what they were calling me. Later, when I saw the IndianNilgai for the first time I understood the meaning. It should be noted that Nilgai do not exist in Kenya orperhaps in the whole of Africa. This shows that to Gujaratis I was an animal not fit to be an Indian. I wasa shy boy who did not trouble any one and lived a natural life of a boy who was learning to adjust to anew life. The second title, which appears on the cover of this book, is My Life with Gandhi Jan. This titleseemed to me appropriate because I went to a Gandhian School in Anand, whose name I have alreadymentioned above. It so happened that I came to live among the Gandhians in the very first year of my lifein India. I gathered there the rudiments of Gandhism.