This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Khadi Cap & Earth Poultice : Kamalnayan Bajaj Boyhood Memories : Ramkrishna Bajaj The Last Journey : Melville de Mellow Bapu & My Father : Narayan Desai Lessons-Big & Small : Kantilal Gandhi My Grandfather : Sumitra Gandhi In London & Delhi : John Haynes Holmes At Sabarmati : Prema Kantak Small Things I Learnt From Him : K. G. Mashruwala
10. Sweet & Sad : P. G. Mavalankar 11. Since 1915 : Hansa Mehta 12. How He Taught Through Letters : Margarete Spiegel 13. Four Anecdotes : Jack C. Winslow 14. Lessons From His Life: J. C. Kumarappa 15. A Glimpse Of Gandhiji : Gurdial Mallik 16. His Daily Life : Mirabehn 17. Light And Shade : Sushila Nayyar 18. Gandhiji And Women : Rameshwari Nehru 19. In The South African Days : Millie Graham Polak 20. With Gandhiji On Deck : Edmond Privat 21. Reminiscences : Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas 22. Gandhiji And Romain-Rolland Meeting : Miraben 23. His Visit To Romain Rolland : Madeleine Rolland 24. Gandhiji And Medicine : G. R. Talwarkar
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Khadi Cap And Earth Poultice - Kamalanayan Bajaj
IT was in 1920 that Bapuji came to Wardha for the first time. I was about 5 or 6 then. For the day my elder sister, and I had been dressed, in silk clothes with gold embroidery. Bapuji had his. bath, and was having his breakfast when we were taken to him. We bowed to him. After giving us his blessings and a couple of fondling slaps on the cheeks, he smiled and asked us whether we liked our dress better, or his. (He then used to wear a dhoti, a shirt and a whitecap.) We remained quiet, But when he repeated the question, Kakaji (my father, Shri Jamnalal Bajaj) encouraged, me to answer him. I told him with a childish pride that I liked my dress better: He took my cap in one hand and placed a white khadi cap in the other, and told us how the white cap was simple and beautiful. The point that appealed to me most was that it could be washed and could be kept clean. He asked me whether my cap could be washed. I nodded "No". Then he put the question again: "Now will you tell me which is better-the one which can become dirty, or the one which is washable?" I agreed with him that the white cap was better. The next question was that, if it was better, whether I would.1iketo exchange my cap with the one he had in his hand. I knew I was caught. I agreed to the exchange. As I was returning with my sister, Bapuji called us back and asked us to sit down near him. He told us that the cap I had given to him in exchange was such as only the rich could wear. He pointed a finger towards Kakaji, and told us that only Jamnalalji could afford, a cap like that for his children; that there were many children in the country who could not get such a cap; and that what other children could not get, we our- selves should not wear. "Children's clothes, he
added, should be simple, "beautiful, cheap, and yet washable. He pointed to our dress and said that, though our dress" appeared to be bright and colorful, it was in fact not beautiful. He said that the colour hit the dirt and the brightness, was only a show. In December, 1928, on his way to Calcutta for the annual session of the Congress, Bapuji came to Wardha for convalescence and also for a stay at Shri Vinoba's Satyagraha ashram, on the site of the present Mahilashram. He was housed on the upper storey of the central building. A temporary bath room was put up on the terrace. He had a quiet rest for a few weeks, and his health" improved. With the exception of Mahadev Kaka, Kakaji (my father), Mirabehn, and a few personal attendants, no one, was allowed to see Bapuji unless the matter was very urgent. Kakaji ,himself had taken charge of the gates, and no one could go in without his permission. National leaders and other visitors, who came to Wardha, remonstrated and sometimes even got annoyed with Kakaji. But he was very strict, and did not allow anybody even a couple of, minutes more than the allotted time. Even after Bapuji completely recovered and resumed his normal work, Kakaji did not relax the strictness about the interviews; and the leaders and visitors affectionately began to call him a jailor. One fine morning a group of leaders collected near Bapuji's residence; expecting him to come out for the morning walk. Among those who had come were Pandit Jawaharlalji, Sardar Patel, Dr. Ansari, Shri Shankarlalji Banker, Seth Ghanshyamdasji Birla and a few others. It seemed most of them had sought an interview directly, in disregard of the jailor's authority; and everyone had been given an appointment, individually, at the time of the morning walk. Kakaji could not imagine how any interview could be arranged without his knowledge; and the leaders top were very much surprised as to how they were given the same time when every one of them had specifically asked for a separate interview! Everyone thought that his own appointment was the fixed one, and that there was some mistake about the others. Someone said his interview had been fixed through Mahadev Kaka; others said they had got their appointments through Mirabehn or some other member of Bapuji's entourage. Kakaji, on the other hand, said emphatically that none of these had any business to fix up any appointment without consulting him, and that any appointment fixed up in this manner was not valid. While the leaders were
joking, gossiping, discussing, arguing, and some of them even boasting that whatever happened their own appointments had been fixed, and that they were surely going to have a private talk with Bapuji. Some said they had to leave Wardha that evening or the following morning. Presently the laughter and the heat of the argument both increased. Every one of those present was in a state of eager animation. Then Bapuji descended the steps and loudly said: "I have heard you all. Everybody is right in his own contention. Jamnalalji is right in saying that interviews cannot be fixed without his consent. At the same time everybody else is also right in saying that his interview has been fixed. Come on, I shall now hear no grievance or complaint!" (I have paraphrased his words.) Having said this, he discarded his sandals and began to walk very fast, and told them that only those who could keep pace with him would have the interview that morning. There was practically a race among the leaders to keep pace with him. The sandals which were left by him were immediately picked up by Mirabehn. The road was unable even and strewn with small pebbles. Mirabehn followed Bapuji with a singular devotion; and although tears flowed from her eyes, she was very calm. We children also were running after the leaders! In those days Bapuji used to go for a walk from the Ashram on the Sevagram road up to the railway crossing and then return. So far as I recollect, only Jawaharlalji, .Ghanshamdasji and Mirabehn kept company with Bapuji till the end of the walk. Others tried for a while. For some time they kept actually running. Even Bapuji and Jawaharlalji why, practically everybody else-ran! .. But when the others found the distance between Bapuji and themselves considerably increased, they slowed down; and when Bapuji and the advance guard returned, some of these, taking a roundabout turn, jocularly remarked: "Look here, we are actually ahead of you!" By the time they all returned to the Ashram. most of them had perspired, and they were all laughing and talking and passing remarks about one another's style of running. Everybody was trying to show as if his own effort was practically the best, taking everything else into consideration. It was a scene we youngsters enjoyed immensely! For us it was a great fun!. That morning passed off in joy and laughter. No one had imagined that Bapuji would play such a practical joke with them all. In spite of the fact 'that additional hours were given that evening for interviews, some leaders and others had to postpone their departure for a day or two.
After the Dandi March Bapuji went and stayed at Karadi on the sea-coast with his batch of salt satyagrahis. I wanted to join them at Sabarmati but could not do so because of high fever. When I joined the party later, I had a temperature of 1040; yet, because of my insistence, he took me into the party. Previously for a year and a half I was on milk and fruit diet. I had malignant malaria, which still persisted. Bapuji asked me to continue my own diet in spite of the rules laid down for members of the party. But I refused to take any special food or treatment. He also advised me not to walk, and said he would arrange for some conveyance for me. But I refused to avail of the concession. In about two weeks my fever was gone, my weight increased, and I felt much better. I had to report to Bapuji every day as to my temperature, diet, activity, etc. By the time we reached Karadi my body could not bear the strain any longer, and I was down with high fever. My eyes were severely affected. They became very sticky and swollen. Bapuji made me fast, and earth poultices were applied to the eyes. The fever got under control, but the eyes kept going from bad to worse. He became very anxious, and informed my father about my illness. The latter was busy with the salt satyagraha at Vile Parle. He replied that whatever treatment Bapuji thought best should be given to me; and that, if necessary, he would send some,. body to take me to Vile. Parle. I declined to go home, for we were under' a pledge. Meanwhile Kakasaheb, ac- companied by an- eye-specialist from Ahmedabad, had come to . see Bapuji. He got my .eyes examined by the doctor" who thought that I had, lost my left eye, or at least it was beyond repair, and if. proper care was immediately taken, I might lose the right .one also. Bapuji asked me to go with Kakasaheb to the Gujarat Vidyapith and put myself under the treatment .of the eminent doctor. I said to Bapuji: "Though I respect the doctor's opinion, I have complete faith in you and your treatment." Bapuji said: "I am ready to experiment on you, but are you ready to lose your eyes? Though the earth poultices have not given any encouraging results as far as the eyes are concerned, your general health has improved, and if you have faith in nature care, you should continue it even after going to the Gujarat Vidyapith, get yourself periodically examined by the doctor, and send me regular reports about your health." I went to the Gujarat Vidyapith with Kakasaheb: For nearly three weeks I lived an milk and thereafter an a liquid diet .of curd and fruit juice, and applied earth poultices to the eyes and the stomach. In nearly 'six weeks I completely recovered. The eyes were as
good as, .or perhaps better than, they were ever before; and the malignant malaria, which had persisted for about two years, also left me. It had arrested my growth when I was just 16 or 17. But after my arrival at the Vidyapith, during the first month I put on 33 lbs., and in six months I gained 70 lbs. Before that I used to weigh bet- ween 80 and 85 lbs. Within six months I went upto 155 to 160 lbs. I have narrated this incident as a personal testimony to the I efficacy of nature cure methods, and especially the 'earth treatment' on which Bapuji pinned his faith to such a great extent.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Boyhood Memories - Ramkrishna Bajaj
My parents lived for a time in the Ashram at Sabarmati when I was about five years of age. The only memory I have of these days is that Bapuji walked very fast during his evening strolls, and that we youngsters had practically to run all the time to keep pace with him. It was a coveted privilege to become his ' walking sticks' and we used to long for it; but it was not an easy task because of his speed. Next I remember of him is when he went to stay at Maganvadi, Wardha. in 1935. My father sent me to Maganvadi to stay with him. He took personal interest in me as he did in everybody else. Every one of us felt the warmth of his affection. In those days I used to collect postal stamps as a hobby. I had never spoken to him about it. But to my agreeable surprise he told me one day that he had preserved two stamps for me for the last eight or ten months! He asked his personal assistant to give them to me. The latter did not remember where they had been kept. Then Bapuji tried to remember it himself. After a few minutes he took out one of the many envelopes in his portfolio, and told me that the stamps must be in that envelope. Oh yes! they were there!
Maganvadi is situated in a garden. I was about eleven at the time l am speaking of. I was allotted the task of climbing up the trees every morning and collecting fruits like roseapples, jujubes, etc. After collecting them, I took them to Bapuji, and he would ask me to distribute them equally among the inmates of the ashram. At the time of the individual satyagraha in 1941, I was but 17. After the arrest of my father, my young enthusiasm took me to ,Bapuji to get permission to offer satyagraha. I had little hope of my request being grant- ed, because I was underage, .the requisite age being 18. It seems, however, that he did not want to discourage me. He therefore specially called me three or four times to Sevagram and had long talks with me. I hardly realized that he was testing my capacity to stand the rigours of prison life. It was only after he felt certain about it that he allowed me to court arrest. Indeed he went further, and wrote out the notice I was to send to the Deputy Commissioner, Wardha, of my intention to offer satyagraha. He also wrote out a fairly long statement which I had to make at my trial in the court. He was busy and tired. It was night-time, and the next day I was to offer satyagraha. He called me, read out the statement he had written for me, explained the meaning of it in detail, and asked me whether I understood it properly and agreed with it. He told me specifically that, if I did not agree with anything that was said in the statement, he would change it. He also insisted on my spending that night, along with my mother, at Sevagram. . The following letter, received by me in prison, would show how particular he was about even the smallest things in life (the original is in Hindustani, and in his own handwriting):
I often read the letters which Mother gets from you. . . . . . I am writing this letter, because today I was given to understand that I too can write to you. From your letter I see that you have asked for an underwear. I would advise you to do without it. It is not at all necessary in our climate. If, however, its use has become a habit with you, you can certainly have it. Does not our duty lie in deliberately reducing our expenditure to the minimum and to cultivate the highest kind of life? I wish you to try for an all-round development. Love. Bapu (M. K. Gandhi) Apart from the lesson which he wished to teach me, there is another thing worth noting about the letter. He wrote it only when I informed my mother that I had got permission from the Superintendent, Nagpur Jail, to receive a letter from Bapuji. Even then he took care to see that the letter might not be delivered to me without the knowledge that it was from Gandhiji. Therefore, below the signature, he put into brackets" M. K. Gandhi" He utilized the blank portions at the back of letters he received. There was a small and very ordinary portfolio in which he preserved those papers (pastis as we call them). The portfolio got dirty, and he asked one of the assistants to clean it. The cleaning was not properly done. Bapuji never put up with any slovenliness. He explained to the assistant at length like an expert how to do it-how to wash the ,cloth with soap, and then put the whole thing under some equally distributed pressures that the inner cardboard which though wet does not get dishevelled. I was with him during his tours in Bengal, Assam and South India after his release from the Agakhan Palace prison. I often felt as if we, the younger members of his entourage had been sent by God to take his patience and forbearance. Our behaviour at times was bad enough to annoy him, but- forgiving as he was-he would but gently remonstrate with us. Indeed he would spend hours in explaining the smallest things to us. We sometimes felt that it was unpardonable to take so much of his valuable time which could otherwise be utilized for more useful and important work. But what qould have been a headache for
others seemed to be a pastime with him. During this tour we stayed for a time at the Khadi Pratisthan in Sodepur. It was about 4 O'clock one afternoon, and Bapuji was spinning. Khan Abdul Gafar Khan was sitting by his side. A batch of ten or twelve friends and relatives of mine came into have darshan and blessings of Bapuji. They all came in one by one; made an obeisance. to Bapuji, and sat down in front of him. He said nothing at the moment, but called me after the prayer was over: and told me that Khansahab was also sitting by his side when my friends came to see him, that it was not right of them to bow to him alone, and that thereafter whenever such occasions arose I should take care to give a hint to the friends to give due respects to others also, and especially to Khansaheb when they were with him. I met him for the last time in company with some friends, a few months before the faithful 30th of January, 1948, at Bhangi Colony, Delhi, in order to see his guidance on Students' problems. We explained to him our scheme about the formation of the National Union of Students. He said that the scheme was very good, but that we should not expect much support for it because people were Interested more in exploiting the students politically; that, however, he said, should not deter us from doing the work. "You should keep one thing in mind," he added. Whether you get any. support or not, you, must never lower the standard of your principles for the sake of accommodating others."
Reminiscences Of Gandhi The Last Journey - Melville de Mellow
HOW does one write about a saint? Ever since I was asked to contribute an article on the passing away of Mahatma Gandhi. I have asked myself that question. As I sit down to fulfill my promise I am still not sure of the answer. I am a radio commentator, and I was flung by fate an9 circumstance into a ringside, seat from where I was destined to see the last heart-breaking days, hours and minutes of Bapu's last journey. To me it was a long night of tears-a nightmare of sorrow and tragedy which even to this day defies description. As time goes by and the pain of the moments slowly subsides, certain pictures register more clearly on my mind than others; These are the pictures I am going to write about - unusual pictures perhaps-but pictures I shall never forget none the less. It was the morning of the cremation. I reached Birla House at 6 o'clock to .take Bapu's darshan before the crowds arrived, but already there was a long twisting line of mourners slowly filing past the windows of his room. I met a member of the household who took
me by a private entrance into the room. there lay the great Mahatma, his fine broad chest uncovered. I shuddered when I saw the bullet-wounds-dark ominous patches of hate and madness. And then I saw his face'. What a wonderful face it was in death! As I looked; the face of the mourners melted into hazy nothingness, the smell of incense may have been reaching me from some distance, garden in Paradise-the chanting, likewise; may have been the chanting of angels as Bapu's spirit climbed heavenwards. Only the face held me-the face among the flying rose-petals that cascaded through the open window. As I gazed at that face, words raced through my mind slowly penetrating the numbness of body and soul-words I had learnt so well in my childhood. Words that Jesus Christ used on (he Cross: "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Bapu's lips seemed to be moving and saying just that. His was the most forgiving countenance I have ever looked upon. As I stood there in silence, someone near me tried unsuccessfully to hold back a sob. I turned my head to look straight into the tortured face of India's Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The look on his face was also something I shall never forget. I left quietly, left behind for a moment the greatest man of our age in that room of tears, tragedy and rose-petals.
FAREWELL, WITH ROSE-PETALS
It was during the State funeral cortege. My radio- van crawled slowly along Queensway, Kingsway, Hardinge Avenue and Bela Road on its way to Rajghat. Just behind us, slowly moved the trailer on which lay the body of Mahatma Gandhi, exposed to public gaze. Around the body like figures in marble stood Pandit Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Devadas Gandhi, Sardar Baldev Singh, Acharya Kripalani and Dr. Rajendraprasad. Millions lined the route-millions sang his favourite hymns-millions shouted his name-and all wept-nowhere did I see a dry eye. We neared the District Jail-where two months earlier Bapu had addressed a meeting of convicts -and it was here that I was to witness the biggest demonstrations of love and affection along that sad and solemn road which led to the cremation ground. The heavens were raining rose-petals-Dakotas streaked across the sky and showered rose-petals and garlands on the bier-dipping their wings reverently as they flew away-fistfuls of flowers were flung from tree-tops and neighbouring buildings-"Mahatma Gandhi ki jai", thundered from a million parched lipsthe millions of the city who had taken up their stand at this point from an early hour. .
The cortege stopped here for a few minutes as the crowd surged forward to take a last darshan. Our radio-van pulled up also, and as I gazed at the agonized faces of the people lining the roads I heard a woman whisper: "It doesn't seem possible. It seems to me that he will be back tomorrow at the prayer gathering, reassuring us all that it was just a mistake." And then I realized she was talking to herself-trying to convince herself, for her neighbour was a beggar-a decrepit old man, with swollen tearful eyes, blue lips, bristling rags and unclean sores. One who had looked too long, poor soul, over the hopeless landscape of an empty life of poverty. I saw him weep unashamedly, and the well-dressed woman wept too. And I thought, how wonderful, tragedy has brought these two people closer than they have ever been before! Gandhiji was all India that has toiled and suffered. His simplicity drew a world of hearts. As our van moved slowly onwards I heard a child innocently ask her mother: "Has he gone for ever? Is he never coming back?" The mother's reply was drowned by the clip clop of the horses, the rhythmic scuffing of marching men and the sound of sobbing.
I reached Raj Ghat five minutes before the funeral cortege arrived. Our second radio-van was already in position about thirty yards from the cremation spot. I scrambled on to the roof of the van to get above me crowds. One of the first things that struck me was the elaborate arrangements made for keeping the crowds in check. Long lines or R.I.A.F. personnel surrounded the cremation spot-standing shoulder to shoulder and reinforced by the police. Then the cortege arrived, and a great wailing went up from the millions that had packed themselves tightly into that green saucer like piece of hallowed earth called Rajghat. The sun went down as the first flames leapt skywards from the sandalwood pile. A great moan went up from the crowds as they surged forward. 'It was as if a storm had broken over Raj Ghat. This was a storm of the spirit. On they came-these tragic men and women-ironing out barricades, ropes, wire, guards and police. They milled around the sandalwood pile as the flames leapt higher and higher and the smell of sandalwood filled the twilight. Soon Raj Ghat was a sea of moving heads. Governors, Ambassadors, Cabinet Ministers-all were one here on this green patch of earth by the sacred waters of the Jumuna. Looking out over the heads of this continuous unbroken mass of humanity, I felt as helpless as an ant adrift on a leaf in the middle of a whirlpool. As the flames rose higher and higher and darkness approached, the crowds pressed forward and the dust of a million moving feet filled the air over Raj Ghat. These millions had begun to realize fully that the future that lay before them would be a lonely one without the Father of Liberty and Love to guide them. In the flames they saw their last hopes die-their hopes of seeing him smile again or of hearing him say: "Brothers and Sisters". Many would have been happy to fling themselves on to the bier and say goodbye to this world of meanness and corruption. Many would have been happy to mix their ashes with the Apostle of Truth and Nonviolence who was born into a world of Untruth and Violence. As I looked out over the heads of these tragic people, I suddenly felt a lump in my throat-a lump that I had been trying hard to swallow all day. I made a few incoherent remarks about listening to the crowds-put the microphone above my head, and gave vent to my feelings under the cloak of some violent nose-blowing. After that, I no longer felt like an ant adrift on a leaf in a whirlpool-I felt one with the heart-broken,
tragic millions that groaned to the Heavens under the silver pepper of the starsbeseeching the Unknown to return the known-the loved, the tried and the true. I sat on the hood of my van many hours after the commentary was over, waiting for the crowds to diminish. By this time I was in strange company. A woman, who had fainted had been lifted to the hood for safety, as also a little girl and a boy who had almost been trampled to death. And then, I noticed a hand trying to take hold of the edge of the hood. 'I looked over and saw it was the Prime Minister-Pandit Nehru-I grasped the groping hand and lifted him to the roof of the van, "Have you seen the Governor-General?" he asked. "He left half an how ago," I replied. "Have you seen Sardar Patel?" "He left a few minutes after the Governor-General," I replied. I soon realized that in the general chaos friends had lost friends. As the crowd recognized. Pandit Nehru they surged round our van expecting him to speak. A wonderful thought passed through my mind as I knelt near this great man. How logical it seemed! There the flames leapt over the body of the Departed Father; here stood a son of India, his closest follower, taking up the Torch of Freedom and rededicating himself to the Nation. At 2 o'clock next morning on my way back home. I drove to Raj Ghat. The embers were smoldering, the crowds had melted, and the restless dust had settled back. A guard had now been placed on the site. As I looked out over Raj Ghat, I reconstructed the scene all over again. Through the darkness I thought I saw the upright figure of a man in spotlessly white khadi, with a grim look of determination on his face, looking out over the heads of his countrymen. He was a figure I had knelt near, a few hours before-it was the figure to which all eyes turn in these days-for hope and succour-the figure of Jawaharlal Nehru.
The last journey. New Delhi: February 11th-and the time is 4-30 a.m. I am standing opposite the green asthi special opposite the compartment in which the urn containing Gandhiji's ashes was placed. It was me middle carriage of a special train composed of third class carriages because the Mahatma always travelled third class. The middle carriage-what a blaze of colour! The rectangular table, on which the palanquin with the urn was laid, was covered with a handspun tri-coloured national-flag over which was a chaddar of flowers woven in green murraya leaves, white phloxes and saffron-coloured calendulas. On this rested a beautiful wreath of snow-white phlox. At each end of the change hung carpets of multi-coloured phlox worked into a picturesque design. Wreaths of phlox decorated each side mixed with candy tuft and sweet sultans. The ceiling was completely covered with a huge national tricolour. Floodlights illuminated the central wreath, and it was into this wreath that, the urn carrying the sacred ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, was placed. The dark green of the cycas palms added to the solemnity of !lie
occasion., It was a fairy land of flowers-purple, pink, red, white and saffron, but saffron predominated. Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile, and some have a ,sad and lovely expression. Outside, on the platform, thousands of people filet past for a last darshan. At 6-30 a whistle blew, and the green coaches pulled out of New Delhi station-people wept as the train carried away the last mortal remains of Bapu-others threw handfuls of rose-petals and garlands chanting mantras-others just stood in silence-bowed their heads and placed their palms together reverently, too broken to look up-too grief-stricken to do aught but bow in grief-adoration-and homage to the one who had taught them how to hold their heads high.
Cold dawn broke deep-red over Delhi as the long green coaches pulled slowly away. Early crows flew silently by our side-flying high, then low--dipping their wings as it were
in homage. Our compartment was next to the middle carriage containing the urn with Gandhiji's ashes. As I looked out across the fields and at the faces of the mourners who lined the railway track my heart was heavy. It was Spring, and the fields were gold with mustard. Like a rippling blanket they stretched to the horizon intermittently touched by wind-on and on till the end of time-and yet something was lacking. All this beauty seemed out of key-the heart could not leap with joy at the sight of Nature, because, down each little pathway dividing field from field, one saw the ghostlike. footprints of a man who had carried his blistered feet over the length and breadth of rural India-preaching to the peasants, who now wept silently as the asthi special sped by. Many were covered with dust and dirt indicative of miles and miles of trekking. Outside, the engine threw wreaths of black smoke over the yellow fields. Gentle breezes carried these smokechaplets solemnly over fence and field. And so the asthi special continued on its last journey. The crowds that came for darshan at Ghaziabad, Khurja, Aligarh, Hathras, Tundla, Ferozabad, Etawah, Phaphund; Kanpur, Fatepur and Rasoolabad were gigantic. At Tundla our carriage became a dispensary for fainting women, trampled children and injured soldiers. The crowds came in their thousands, and none left without throwing his or her offering of flowers or taking a last darshan. And all the way, the music of the rnantras was in our ears, and beautiful voices, full of sadness, yet full of hope. Or, on and on, like the steady relentless rhythm of the wheels below us, the voices read from the Gita. And I wondered as I listened, as the wind tossed the words over the golden mustard, I wondered if they were saying: Be who shall say, " I have slain a man!" He who shall think, " I am slain!" those both Know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never.
A RED ROSE
"Would you like an orange?" I suddenly remember- ed I had not eaten anything, and I looked into the kind face of the bestower who had moved to the window next to mine. I liked him immediately, and soon I was being told all the lovely intimate sides to Bapu's character--his love of children and of the small things of life that really make life worth living. My friend was V. A. Sundaram, Gandhiji's disciple for thirty-two years. I remember we had just left Fattepur. Men and boys had raced along with the train for almost a mile outside the station, with hands outstretched for flowers from the urn, or their shirts held out in front of them. Now, as the train picked up speed, they fell back, and their shouts of "Long Live Mahatma Gandhi" faintly reached us as we pulled farther away. My friend was preoccupied with a deep red rose. He looked up with tears in his eyes as if anticipating the question. "This was the rose that I had placed on one of the bullet-wounds,"-he whispered. No more conversation passed between us. Outside the sun went down in a blaze of scarlet and gold. I touched the rose and thought it looked lovelier than ever as its faint per- fume filled the twilight. As I gazed out of the window the train
slowed down to pass through a minor station. Above us, on a house overlooking the track stood a soldier, on guard and in full battle-dress, silhouetted Against the stars. He bowed reverently as the special passed by. It was the homage of the warrior to the martyr.
"THEY CAME TO A RIVER"
Millions en route paid their last homage-millions wept, millions filed past the carriage shouting or whispering "Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai". Millions prayed, millions sobbed unashamedly-and these millions belonged to all walks of life. The feelings, of Indians found expression in shouts of "Long live Gandhiji", in streams of floral tributes, or in tears. And so at last the journey ended at Prayer, King .of the holy places-when they came to a River. At the holy Triveni, the mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed. The ashes of the holiest and saintliest of human beings of our age were immersed at the confluence
regarded as the most sacred by Hinduism from time immemorial. I saw the ashes being immersed in the sacred waters by Mr. Ramdas Gandhi. I was standing in an open boat about forty yards away from the sacred "duck". Thousands of people had waded-in to get a closer view. As the urn was emptied thousands cupped the waters of the river and drank long and deep. Barrels of milk were emptied into the river-and the water was shining white. At that moment starlings flew across the sky like handfuls of black confetti. It was the journey's end. He had touched the Infinite and shared the divine current that thrills all high souls. As for those who witnessed this last sacred ceremony-maybe they felt as I did when I said a few days later "on the air": "0 Lord, I do not serve in the temple: mine is no solemn office nor critical station, but I thank thee that the River of God flows through the streets of the city and whosoever willmay drink!" Darkness fell over Prayag, and the lamps were lit. We prepared to. leave and took one last look at Triveni Sangam. Now the lamps multiplied-like the slow punctuation of fireflies in the garden. The stars leaned close, and some lost their hold and fell away. The stars and the lamps. Bapu was amongst the stars, and his memory was like the myriad lamps that shone through the darkness. Yes, the lamp still shines, and its light will penetrate far into space and time and continue to shine; as long as our civilisation lasts. Delhi, 2-10-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Bapu And My Father - Narayan Mahadev Desai
I WAS nine then. It was my first stay with Balm for a month. We had long since been great friends, out, I never had an opportunity till now to stay with him for such a long period. He had just finished his 21 days fast at 'Parnakuti' in Poona. My father was busy the whole day, mostly in requesting visitors to spare Bapu as much as possible. I had a severe attack of malaria, and the temperature remained high for two days. Father was very anxious about m~, .but he was unable to sit by my side for long. Whenever he came to me I asked him to send for my mother who was at Sabarmati. He did not consider it necessary to do so, for he felt it would be a useless: expenditure of the nation's money. The temperature did not come down even on the third day, and I became delirious. In my delirium too I raved for my mother's presence. Manu, Bapu's granddaughter, chanced to see my father trying without success to restrain his tears. $he carried the report to Ba, who, in her turn, conveyed it to Bapu. He at once called my father and asked him to bring a telegraphic form and take down a message he would
dictate. Father imagined it was some ordinary 'business' telegram. When, however, Bapu dictated the text asking my mother to come soon, Father was amazed and argued against sending the wire. "There are several friends here who can attend to BabIa, and Dr. Dinsha is always available," he said. "It is quite unnecessary, therefore, to call Durga." "Well," replied Bapu, "I have only asked you to take down my message. I never asked your opinion on it. I ask you to send this wire now, and you must send it." Mother came in response to the telegram. I came to know of this incident only when Father related it to me after. a couple of days with a smile on his face. Bapu was to go to Madras to attend the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan to be held there in March 1937. I was eager to go with him as I had never been to Madras before. l knew he would take me with him for the asking; but I was afraid he would then refuse to take me later to the Gandhi Seva Sangh Conference to be held at Hudli next month. Bapu had shifted, about a year previously, to Sevagram; but we still lived at Maganvadi in Wardha, as - Sevagram had no post office then. On his way to the station Bapu came to Maganvadi Just for a peep, as the train was late by a few minutes. He asked me With a touch of humour. "Don't you feel like going with we?". "I do feel like it, but I have not spoken, for fear that you would refuse later on to take me to Hudli." "The promise to take you to Hudli stands. Now would you like to go to Madras?" I still hesitated to say yes. So he cut the gordian knot by saying: "Let us have a toss." He asked my mother to give him a pice. She was infected by his jocular spirit, and brought a pice at once. Bapu then asked me with a smile: "Come on, say: King or cross'?" It was Wholly a question of chance, but in-a childish spirit I preferred the cross to the King who was a foreigner. Bapu tossed the pice, and I won! Bapu said: "Hurry up, Durga, get together his clothes for the journey. I must leave this place in five minutes." Just then my father, who was to accompany Bapu as usual, arrived on the scene. He said to me: "It is not proper for you, Babla, to prepare to go just because Bapu made the offer as a fun." To Bapu he said: "Why do you waste so much money in this way?"
"It is not a waste," replied Bapu. "He will be very useful to both of us." "But he is not indispensable to either of us." "That is not a sound argument, Mahadev. We are not going to send him to a regular school. If he does not accompany us in our tours, when will he get a chance to be trained?" Father still opposed the proposal. Bapu said: "But I have given him a promise, and you won't wish me to break it, would you?" Father had no reply to this. Since then I formed part of Bapu's entourage in all his journeys. On our way back from Madras Shri Jamnalalji spoke to Bapu about the serene atmosphere at Shri Raman Maharshi's ashram. Bapu said: "Mahadev, why don't you go and see the place? The' sooner the, better." I began to pack Father's luggage, .as it was decided" that he would take the train back from Bezwada. When the luggage was packed and the train was passing over the Kistna bridge, very near to Bezwada station, Bapu said, as if in continuation of his previous sentence, "and you can as well stay on for two or three months, if you find the atmosphere peaceful" To our amazement Father unpacked his things! "Bapu," he said with a serious voice, "one Master is enough for me. I need not see the place." The train moved on. Father's health broke down in April 1942, and he had frequent attacks of giddiness. Doctors advised him to take complete rest, but he did not like to leave Bapu when there were talks of the coming struggle, the gravity of which was foreshadowed in Bapu's writings and utterances. "How can I take rest at. this juncture?" Father said to his friends. But he had to yield to Bapu's own pressure, and agreed to go to Nasik for about a fortnight's rest. He started for the place one evening.
In about an hour a telephone message from Wardha came to Sevagram saying that Father had an' attack of giddiness at the station and was in a serious condition, and that the Civil Surgeon had taken him to his own bungalow. Bapu sent word in reply, asking Father to be removed at once to Sevagram. I t was Sunday evening, and Bapu had already started his weekly silence. On Father's arrival, ,however, Bapu broke the silence, and gently asked: "How are you, Mahadev?" Father lay his head at Bapu's feet and said: "Bapu, I should like to meet death, when it Gomes, with my head in your lap." He could say nothing more. Tears were streaming from his eyes. Bapu put him into the bed which was ready. He then sat by Father's side and began to fan him. "I know this quite well," he then said. "Therefore I asked the Civil Surgeon to send you here at once, and told him that you would be cured nowhere else, and that there is every chance of your being cured if you are near me." On the 8th of August, 1942, after Bapu returned late at night from the A.I.C.C. meeting, those who were near him began to guess what would happen next. Bapu said emphatically: "Surely they won't arrest me after the speech I made this evening. I have said therein that I will still carry on correspondence with the Viceroy for about a fortnight; they won't, therefore, arrest me for that period at least." Father was of the view that Bapu would be arrested immediately. The air was thick with rumours about Bapu's destination after the arrest. Bapu, however, was firm in his opinion that he would not be arrested just then. After a while he went to bed, and asked others to do so. But there were two persons who could not sleep-Ba (Kasturba) and my father. At two o'clock in the night when I suddenly awoke, I heard the following conversation taking place between them: Ba M.D. Ba M.D. : Mahadev, how many strokes did you hear just now?. : Two. : Do you still feel that Bapu will be arrested? : I do feel, Ba, that he will be arrested. But perhaps after all he may not be.
Hitherto whenever our own readings have differed from those of Bapu, he has always in
the end proved to be right.' This may happen even now, though I have no doubt he will be arrested. The talk ended there. During the next two hours Ba several times asked my father: "Are you not asleep, Mahadev?". "How can I get sleep?" Father replied. When it was four, even Father began to feel that the arrest won't take place just then; but in a few minutes the police arrived. The police officer had warrants far Bapu, Mirabehn and my father, and had instructions to. take Ba and Pyarelalji with him if they wished to. accompany Bapu. They were; however, free to. decide far themselves. Father was happy because he was being taken along with Bapu. But far Ba it was a testing time. It was quite likely that Bapu would undertake a fast in the jail. Ba asked him: "What shall Ida?" Bapu smiled a little, and then seriously said: "It is far you to. decide. You are free to. came with me. But I should like you to. remain free just now, and court imprisonment later by same act of civil disobedience." - Ba was in a dilemma. She was very eager not to. be separated from Bapu, as there was every fear of the Government allowing Bapu to. die in prison if he undertake a fast an going there. Bapu, an the other hand, wished her to. remain out far the time- being. However, she did not take long to. make up her mind. She said to. Bapu: "I should have very much laved to. go. with you, but I will keep back since you wish me to. do. so." "I knew," said Bapu with an air of satisfaction, "that you would take this decision. I had no doubt about it."Vedchhi, 10-10-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Lessons - Big And Small - Kantilal Harilal Gandhi
WE were travelling in a third class railway compartment during Bapu's tour in the D. P. in 1929. Even in a moving train he used to attend to his' correspondence or write for his weeklies, Young India and Navajivan. It was about five o'clock in the evening. His watch was lying among the papers in front of him. I was sitting with a watch on my wrist just opposite to him. He asked me what the time was. I looked at my watch and told him it was five o'clock. He also saw my watch through his spectacles and noticed there was still one minute to five. Even looking at a watch for time was not a trivial thing for him. He would not do that in a cursory way. But in this case it was not lack of proper observation on my part. I had also noticed that there was one minute to five. Only I did not attach much value. to that minute. He stopped writing and exclaimed: "Is it five?" I replied with a guilty conscience: "No, Bapu, it is one minute to five." "Well, Kanti," he said, "what is the use of keeping a wrist watch? You have no value of time. Do you know how many days or months thirty crores of minutes would make? What a colossal waste of time it would mean for our poor country? It seems you have not even understood why I talk of
the Charkha. Again, you don't respect truth as you know it, Would it have cost more energy to say: 'It is one minute to five,' than to say: 'It is five o'clock'?" Thus he went on rebuking me for about fifteen, to twenty minutes till it was time for his evening meals. It was in Juhu, sometime in 1935, that the following incident took place. Bapu and party had planned to leave for Wardha by the evening train. I was one of the party. ~y maternal aunt had come down to Bombay from Rajkot for meeting me. We had not met for the past several years., Bapu asked me after the morning prayer if I was accompanying him to Wardha that evening. He had thought I would like to stop for a day or two more in Bombay in order to have some time with my aunt. But I could not catch his purpose in asking me this question. Moreover, I myself did not think of my aunt and said: "Yes, I am going with you." After the prayer, at my aunt's request, I agreed to stay on for a couple of days more, and went to inform Bapu accordingly. He was in the bathroom. I announced to him the change of my decision across the closed doors. He gave me the permission, but added: "Now listen. Why did I ask you after the morning prayer whether you were going with me or not? 1 knew your aunt would like to have some time with you. Could you not think of this before answering me that you were going with me to Wardha? And if you had thought about it, you should not now change your mind. Once you make in your mind you should carry out the resolve at any cost unless of course you feel that to do so would be p sin. Don't think I am scolding you. I" tell you this for your future guidance. You can never achieve great things if you neglect this advice. You must cultivate the habit of sticking to your decisions and learning from your mistakes." "Yes, Bapu, I understand what you say, and I shall. . . " "No," Bapu at once interrupted, "You can stay on with your aunt. This is a matter now between you and her. But you can't serve people if you don't develop the habit of thinking well and acting with courage upon your decisions." Once while going to Bombay from Poona Bapu asked the headmaster of Bombay high school, who had come to see him at Kalyan, who was more intelligent among the two boys studying in his school and in whom Bapu was interested. The headmaster gave the name of one of them, whereupon Bapu enquired about the character of ~he two, and said:
"Yes, character is more important in my view. We have no dearth of intelligent men among our educated classes; but we are very short of men with character. " It was sometime in 1935 just after the establishment of the All India Village Industries Association by the Congress. Whenever Bapu placed before the Congress any new scheme the work had to begin with his ashram. So village industries began with Maganvadi at Wardha. Bapu called Mahadevbhai, Kanubhai and myself, and entrusted to us the work of organising the grinding of flour which we required in the kitchen. At 'this time he used to look carefully into everything we did in Maganvadi. Once Kanubhai and I were cleaning vessels at a well.. Bapu happened to pass that way and saw us pouring, water profusely over a small vessel to wash it. He came to us and said: "Look here, Kanti, how much water you are wasting! Even now you don't know how to lean vessels." It was not that we did not know how to clean vessels. We had several lessons from the same guru at Sabarmati. It was our carelessness, or rather our inability to think of our actions in terms of millions of people, He continued: "How much water you are wasting!" "Well, Bapu, it is our energy that is spent in drawing more water, and in the well the water is inexhaustible," we argued. He gently said: "Quite right, but why do you forget that here we live for the service of others? Can you waste your energy like this? No, you must preserve it for the service of our country." Then he sat down and showed us how to clean vessels with a minimum quantity of water. As he went on cleaning another vessel he said: "See, take a small quantity of wet earth and rub all over the vessel; then pour plenty of dry earth in the vessel and clean the vessel dry; after this you don't require a large quantity of water to wash it. Now, will you do like this?" he said finally. We promised to do so thence- forth. But Bapu did not leave us until he saw that we could perform the operation well. In Wardha I was one of his stenographers. He dictated to me letters which I took down in shorthand. Sometimes I could not hear a word here or a word there, but I filled the gap. by looking at the context. Once I could not do so, and there were some bad mistakes. For this he rebuked me so severely for nearly an hour that I went to Mahadevbhai at night ,and told him with tears in my eyes that I did hot want to stay with Bapu. Mahadevbhai tried to pacify me for a long time, and promised to speak to Bapu. Next day when he
asked Bapu not to rebuke me so much for mistakes which even the professional typist, who was employed there, made. "Besides," he added, "now Kanti is more afraid and commits more mistakes! I have to correct a lot of them. So the purpose of your rebuke is not served." Bapu said: "Mahadev, don't .compare him to the typist employed by us. We pay the latter for his work, and there the matter ends. It is not so with Kanti. I want to train him up. I can't tolerate any mistake in his work. He can sit very near me and ask me if he cannot follow me. He should be more vigilant in his work." Only once did I see him losing his temper. It was at Sabarmati in 1926. The second bell at 4-20 in the morning had gone. The prayer had to begin. Bapu looked by his side. Lakshmi, the Harijan girl who stayed with us, was not present.. He asked: "Where is Lakshmi? Has she got up?" "Yes," I said. The prayer could not begin unless Lakshmi came there. In those days Bapu used to make her sit by his side. We all sat silently for several minutes. At last Lakshmi came and took her seat by Bapu's side. Bapu inquired why she was late. The girl was of a very shy nature. She would not open her mouth. Bapu repeated the question several times. Each repetition was exhausting Bapu's patience. In the' moonlight we were observing Bapu's face. Even the voice was getting firmer and stronger. But the girl wouldn't reply. Guilty conscience had aided her shyness to seal her lips. Bapu never knew defeat. After asking . her. half a dozen times why she was late, he got very angry when she did not reply. He lifted his hand in the attitude of giving a slap, but the hand did not come down. For me it was a surprise to see Bapu about to slap someone! Then, fortunately, the girl murmured that she was combing her hair. That was enough for Bapu. He swallowed 4all his anger. The prayer began. Soon after the prayer we went to our house. Bapu called Lakshmi and gently explained to her the need of removing her hair which came in the way of her attending the prayer in time. Lakshmi was too young to be given a chance to decide. A pair of scissors was sent for, and Lakshmi's hair was bobbed by Bapu himself! This reminds me of another incident at Maganvadi, Wardha. I was late in the prayer. .Of course the prayer did not wait for me. But I was asked by Bapu after the prayer why I was
late. I said I was waiting to ease my- self and the latrine was not vacant. In Maganvadi we had no brick-wall latrines. They were shifting superstructures made of bamboo-mat and placed over a small, narrow and long trench. Hearing my reply he said: "You could have dug out a small pit by hand somewhere in the field where the place was ploughed and eased yourself. after all, the night soil should not lie uncovered and outside the field. It should be made into manure. The darkness of the night dispenses with the need of any screening. We should use our common sense in all that we do. Don't do anything without thinking why you do it." Bapu's hosts during his tour had always a hard task to look after his party which consisted of an assorted lot. Often we wouldn't go in time for meals. The kitchen would have to run all the day long. As if we were smaller "Bapus", some of us would have their idiosyncrasies in the matter of food. Some invalids also swelled the party occasionally. Bapu could realise the difficulties of his hosts. So he saw to it that we gave the minimum of trouble to them. Once during his tour in the U.P. in 1929, we were guests of Rajasaheb of Kalakankar. Several rooms were placed at our disposal. Even though our host had many servants Bapu went round all the rooms we had occupied, at the time of our departure. He was sorry to note in one of the rooms flowers, bits of paper, and the skin of oranges scattered here and there. He said with sorrow: "Look at this, Kanti, you have made this room look like a third class railway carriage." I promptly replied: "No, Bapu, I did not do it." He said, "Yes, I know you may not have thrown those skins of oranges there. But whosoever has done this belongs to our party, and we have all to share the blame." Then he asked me to take up the duty of inspecting our lodgings wherever we went, during the rest of the tour, before starting off for another place. At Sabarmati when my younger brother, Rasik, and I were yet children, I remember Bapu taking us on his shoulder and throwing us into the trough in front of a well. Once during the rainy season the Sabarmati was in spate. We used to jump into the river at a ghat up the stream and would be carried by water to the ghat down the stream. Then we would walk along the bank back to the first ghat. Our house was. just on the bank of the river between the two ghats. The path joining the two ghats passed through our compound. Bapu used to, sit in the open verandah facing the path. One morning. we, brothers, were
performing our trips in swimming from one ghat to the other as usual. Rasik just called out, while passing across our compound: "Bapuji, come on with us to jump into the river; it is so pleasant to swim on the waves of the flood." It was just the time for Bapu's bath also. He left off writing, got up and said: "Come along, let us see who swims better. Don't think I am old." (He was over fifty five then.) All the inmates of the Ashram who were staying along the bank came to know this and ran to have the unique sight of Bapu swimming in the flooded river. I had the good luck to witness a similar incident of Bapu's ride on a bicycle while going from the Ashram to the Gujarat Vidyapith in 1928. We had reach- ed half .way to the Vidyapith when Bapu asked one of the inmates of the Ashram, who was returning from the Ahmedabad city, to give him his cycle because it was getting late for him to reach the Vidyapith. He got on the bicycle and asked me to follow him slowly. Once at Maganvadi I was about to take a vow of eating only three things and only thrice, for a year or so. Ba came to know of this. She of course could not dissuade me. She therefore complained to Bapu about my pro- posed vow. He was walking after the evening meals on the terrace. He called me, and exchanged one of his 'sticks' for me. (Bapu often used to support himself on shoulders of two persons while having his walks. These were known as his 'sticks'.) Then he exclaimed: "Kanti, is Ba's complaint about you true?" I said: "Yes." "No, no," said Bapu, "you should not take such. vows, and that too at this age. (I was about 25 then.) We in the ashram do not cook anything for our taste. Our food is quite sattvika, and meant for body-building. I don't want you to practise such asceticism now. You must have an ideal of eating well and then serving well. Do you know I used to take a dozen plaintains, besides other things, in break- fast alone, and then used to walk 8 to 10 miles for my work, in South Africa? Don't take such vows. I may understand your doing such things when you are old but' not now. All right, go, don't take such vows." There was no scope for argument. I had to obey him. In January 1936 he went. to the Gujarat Vidyapith Ahmedabad, to recoup his health. The party included, be- sides Mahadevbhai and Ba, Kanu Gandhi, Prabhavati Devi Mrs. Jayaprakash Narayan-and myself. My birthday fell during this period. I made my obeisance to Bapu, Ba, and other elders and got their blessings. After the morning walk
as I was massaging Bapu's feet with ghee as usual, I said to him: "Bapuji, half my life is over. When I look back across all these years I do not feel very happy, for I have rendered little service to anybody. I don't know what I shall be able to do in the coming years." Bapu said: "Oh, you think half of your life is over! No, no, I think only a quarter of it is over. Why should you think it to behalf?" ~'Is not India's average longivity much less than 50?" I asked. Bapu said: "It certainly does not apply to you! You should always expect to live as long as you can and serve." Afterwards I went to the city for some work. When I came back to the Vidyapith rather late, Prabhavatibehn served me my meals, and to my surprise there were two small sweet balls in the plate. It was almost impossible for us to have such delicacies while we were with Bapu. On my inquiry Prabhavatibehn told me how Bapu had asked her to prepare those sweet balls from his own wheat flour and jaggery with a sprinkling of milk. It had been always a rare thing to have such indulgence from Bapu. Therefore whenever it came, it was all the more welcome and was long remembered. Mysore, 27-9-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi My Grandfather - Sumitra Ramdas Gandhi
I WAS about five years old when Bapuji came and stayed in a building near Mahilashram at Wardha. Our house too was near by. My eyes had been a source of anxiety to my parents and grandparents since my early childhood. I had beautiful curls on my head, and it was a difficult task for my mother to tidy them and comb them. I was a naughty child, and used to play recklessly, dishevelling my neat curls. They spread on my face and eyes. I looked through the locks, and that weakened my eyes still further. This added to my parents' worry. I did not like the idea of cutting my hair, and opposed the proposal whenever it was made. Then Bapuji played a trick with me. During the Divali festival that followed, Mother prepared a number of sweets and sent them through me to all her friends. The day after the Divali is our Gujarati New Year Day. As is customary for youngsters to pay their respects to the elders and receive their blessings, I went to Bapuji. After making an obeisance to him I boast- ed to him that I had distributed sweets to all our friends.. Bapuji said with a twinkle in the eye: "But you did not give me any!" I was nonplussed. Presently, however, I gathered courage and
replied: "Yes, I forgot to do so earlier, but I will bring some now for you." He cunningly said: "No, now it is too late. Now I won't take sweets; I will ask for something else from you!" I asked him: "What do you want?" He said: "Do you promise to give me whatever I ask for?" How could I imagine what he had in mind? I therefore said: "Yes, certainly!" He said: "Then give me your hair!" For a while I was shocked find became speechless, but gradually I calmed down and replied: "Well, you may have it, but on the condition that you ,yourself must cut it. I won't allow anyone else to touch it." He agreed and there and then asked Kanubhai to get him a clipper. He cleaned the machine, and closely cropped my hair. I felt like weeping, but restrain ed myself. Then I went to my mother and narrated the whole incident to her. Later I often got my hair cropped or bobbed, but never regretted it. Older persons admire me for it, and remarked: "She is a clever child, for she has caught Bapu to do this job for her!" Later, when I was, eleven, I had to undergo an eye operation, and was asked by the doctor. to give complete rest to the eyes, for one whole year. During that period I accompanied Bapuji and Ba (my grandmother) to the Congress session at Haripura in February, 1938. We stayed in' a special tent put up for Bapuji. At night 1 slept near him. One morning he ,asked me to bring his chappals. I put them on and brought them to him. He immediately told me that children should not put on the chappals or shoes of elders and that they should bring these in their hands. He then asked me to take back the chappals to their original place and to bring them again in the proper manner. In 1942-43 when Bapuji and my grandmother (whom we children addressed as 'Motilal were in detention in the Agakhan palace, my grandmother was ill, and during one of the visits to her I accompanied my father, as grand- mother loved to hear children's talk and laughter. My mother gave me two handkerchiefs daily for use at school, but to me they seemed more of an encumbrance. But in Poona, for the sake of dignity, I took care to have one of these with me whenever I went out. The day on which I went to see my grandparents was Monday, Le. Bapuji's day of silence. We started from our place at 10 a.m., and reached the Agakhan palace at 2 p.m., after paying a few visits on the way. By this time my kerchief got crumpled and soiled. I was indifferent" about it; nor had I
another 'to replace it. But it did not, escape Bapuji's notice and by his facial expression he showed his disapprobation of my dirty handkerchief. He asked me to get it washed. When I said that I had not got another with me and that I badly needed it, he gave me another kerchief, and I washed the offending one. Next day the kerchief I had left behind was returned to me with the remark: "Now your kerchief is clean." In July 1945 I was staying at Simla with my uncle and aunt, when Bapuji came there for the conference convened by the Viceroy. We, children, joined him in his daily prayers and walks. Once while talking .in Gujarati I used an English word 'education' about which he reprimanded me. He said nothing to me directly, but turning to his secretary nonchalantly asked him: "What does Sumi mean? Is it a horse or a bull? I am unable to follow her. Do you know the meaning of the English word she used?" I realized my mistake and corrected it. After that, whenever I was at a loss to find 'an appropriate Gujarati expression, I apologised to him, and he gave me the correct word. What he disliked was a hotchpotch of words, and he was keen on our using the correct words in the language which we for the moment were using. He also corrected' the mistakes in our letters and pointed these out to us. . He never liked my studying in a college, and said it was a showy type pf education, and that it was not related to practical life. As, however, I was obstinate he had to give in. When I went to him after my first year examination, he minutely inquired into my hostel life and studies at college. He wanted girls to be as sturdy and bold as boys. During his 21 days fast at the Agakhan palace in March 1943 I travelled alone from Wardha to Poona; and when I saw him and bowed to him he had no strength to speak, but he smiled and gave me a thump on the back in appreciation of my pluck and courage. Banaras, 16-9-1948
Reminiscences Of Gandhi In London And Delhi - John Haynes Holmes
I first heard of Gandhi in 1922-more than a' quarter of a century ago. I had at that time never heard his name, but found it by chance in a magazine article which told the story of his achievements in South Africa. From the moment I read this epic tale, Gandhi became the hero of my life, the saviour of my soul. I proclaimed him, in a sermon which unexpectedly went to India and beyond, "the greatest man in the world". How abundantly was my faith vindicated in all that the Mahatma did and! said in the crowning glory of his career! Of course, I got into touch with Gandhi. Thus, I wrote him letters-very presumptuous on my part, it now seems. But Gandhi responded, and I became his friend and follower. Soon I was receiving and reading the weekly copies of Young India. How excited I was when the chapters of his autobiography began to appear in the columns of this paper. I at once cabled- Gandhi, asking if I might have the rights to publish this work in the pages of a weekly paper, called Unity, which I was editing at that time. He agreed at once, and the
autobiography was thus printed in full here in America. I later secured its publication in an abbreviated form as a single volume edited by C. F. Andrews. The publisher argued that Gandhi was not well enough known in this country to justify the printing of the original text of so extended a work. Now there is a spate of volumes about the Mahatma, and among them is the autobiography in full. All this while I was close to Gandhi, but had never seen him. It happened, by mere chance, that I was in Europe in the summer of 1931, which will be remembered as the year of the Indian Round Table Conferences in London. Picking up a German newspaper one day I read, to my vast astonishment and delight, that Gandhiji was on his way to attend the Conference. Instantly I abandoned all my plans of travel on the continent, and hastened to England. I could not miss this unexpected opportunity to meet one whom I had so long revered! There, in Eng- land, I met Charlie Andrews and Reginald Reynolds, and together we went to Folkestone to meet the distinguished traveler from India. It was a cold, foggy, rainy September day-typical English weather in the fall. I can remember shivering as I stood on the pier-partly from the chill which penetrated my bones, and partly from sheer nervousness at the prospect of at last coming face to face with the great Indian, my friend. The Channel boat was delayed by the fog. But suddenly we saw her nose pointing through the heavy curtain of mist and rain. At last she was made fast to her moorings, the gang-way was down, and I was the first aboard. As I entered the cabin I saw Gandhiji sitting cross-legged on his bunk. Instantly he arose to greet me,. and held me in. his embrace. Then, as his first word, he said: "Why didn't you meet me at Marseilles?"-the port where he had disembarked to cross the continent by train. He laughed with eager merriment as I tried to explain that I felt I had no right to intrude upon him unduly. "You should have come," he said. "Then we could have talked." But the train for London was waiting, so we must hurry. I remember my consternation as I watched Gandhi going out unclad, as it seemed to me, into the cold and wet of one of the worst days I had ever seen in England. He wore only a loin cloth, a cotton shawl over his shoulders, and leather sandals on his bare feet. Someone, as solicitous as I, had raised
an umbrella over his uncovered head. I trod behind him as we made our way from boat to train, and thought how grotesque he looked. This was a very different figure from that presented centuries be- fore by Julius Caesar and William of Normandy, when they landed on these shores to conquer England. But here was a greater and nobler conqueror, destined for mightier deeds. Yes, how little did I know that, in less than sixteen years, India would be free and Gandhiji's victory won! On arriving in London we went at once to the Friends Meeting House, where a good audience had gathered to receive the distinguished visitor. Then there was the long drive out to the East End, to Kingsley Hall, where Gandhi was going to stay, as the guest of Muriel Lester, during his attendance on the Round Table. With this there began a week when I was with Gandhi at intervals each day. Certain memories stick right out! Thus there was the bright, sunny Sunday morning when I talked alone with Gandhiji on the terrace of Kingsley Hall. I recall how he enjoyed the warm sun, and how happy he seemed to be. Later on, I spent a late afternoon with him on the same terrace as he ate his frugal but nourishing supper. Then there is the Sunday evening when a group of us, including tenement mothers from the neighbourhood, gathered about the Mahatma while he talked to us about prayer as an exercise of the spiritual life. I think also of our meeting in St. James's Palace, where the Round Table sessions were being held, when we discussed pro and con the question of his coming to America. " It was after this discussion that Gandhiji took me in his automobile for the long ride out to Kingsley Hall. There were other occasions when I saw him. I shall 'tell them in detail some day. But all too soon there came my sailing date for America, and I had to say good-bye. As I look back upon this week in London, I am amazed that I saw so much of the Mahatma, and came so close . to him. Here was one of the busiest men in the world. Upon him lay the burden of India in her quest for national independence. Here in England he was attending the dally lessons of a conference of momentous significance. In this conference he was grappling with the world's greatest empire and, therewith was challenged to make decisions, interpret policies, and offer leadership which affected the
fate of millions of human beings. Gandhi sat at the centre of the council table. He was pressed upon from every side-there was no incident or instant which was, free of responsibility. Yet he seemed to find it easy to meet and talk with this unimportant clergyman from America, and to show him a hospitality which seem- ed to spring from a heart which had not a care in the world. A part of the explanation lies in Gandhiji's humility, his utter lack of pretension or pose. He had no need of spending time to maintain his dignity or parade his importance. He was as simple as a child, and thus free to do what he would. Along with these qualities, of course, went an affection, a love of people, a concern for courtesy and kindness, which made him accessible to all who would know his spirit and walk in his way. In all that week in London, there was not a moment of hurry, not a trace of impatience. On the contrary, there was a constant serenity and calm, a sweetness of temper, an unquenchable good humour, which made him the most attractive and lovable of men. In all that seething city, with its noise, confusion, and hurrying crowds, there was at least one man who, in Matthew Arnold's phrase, was "selfpoised and independent still". . Years passed, and I could reach Gandhiji only by letters. The correspondence continued at long intervals. I had a feeling that I had no right to bother the Mahatma with frequent communications. I must write only when I had something definite to say. He always answered my letters, sometimes by his own hand, sometimes by dictation to a secretary. I hoped that I might see him again, but this seemed more and more unlikely as time went. The war imposed a kind of final veto upon Gandhi's travelling west, or my travelling east. Then came to me, right out of a clear sky, the invitation of the Watumull Foundation to go to India on a lecture-trip to the schools and colleges. I accepted at once--and wrote joy- fully to Gandhiji of what had happened. I shall never forget his reply-the precious letter in which he wrote: "You have given me not only exciting but welcome news. The news appears to be almost too good to be true, and I am not going to believe it in its entirety unless you are physically in India."
I left America for India on September 18, 1947, and arrived in Bombay, after ten days in England, on Sunday, October 5th. On the Saturday following, I addressed an enormous mass-meeting at Chowpatty beach in celebration of Gandhi's birthday. On the following day, I went to New Delhi, and there met the Mahatma twice. The first time was on the very day of my arrival in the capital. To my astonishment and delight, I learned that he had already arranged an appointment in anticipation of my coming, and I must go round at once to Birla House, to see him. I was ushered promptly into his presence-in the little room where he was tragically fated to die within a few weeks. He seemed to be troubled by a bronchial cough, and was wrapped in a cotton shawl, high about his neck. This fell away as we talked, and I saw his chest and arms. I was amazed at what seemed to be his superb physical condition. His skin was like a baby's, his muscles firm and stout. I told him that he looked better than when I saw him last in London, seventeen years before, and was pleased to be told that he was ten pounds heavier than he had been at that time. We talked easily and in formally together. I did not press him on the great and distressing events of the hour. Of course I expressed my deep sympathy over the disorder, violence and bloodshed which had been raging in the land, and could see how great was the grief in his own heart. But he was not overborne. His courage was as great as ever. And he trusted still in God. I t was an amazing experience to see this man whose single influence was bringing peace again to his stricken land, and all so quiet and simple. Here was the pure spirit, burning as a clear flame upon an altar, to shed light in darkness. The night of this first day I went to the six o'clock prayer-meeting in the garden. The thought came to me, as I saw no police or soldiery in the place, that assassination would be easy. But surely there could be no violence in this lovely place and on this sacred occasion. Nor would Gandhi seek the protection of arms. The hundreds of persons present were all worshippers, of different races, religions and languages, but one in the spirit of the Mahatma. Their reverence was a beautiful thing to see. I saw Gandhiji a second time at the end of the week. I was leaving for South India, and then for a long trip east- ward to Calcutta. I confidently expected to return, and see
Gandhiji for one last, long communion of mind and heart. So this was just a good-bye, and to me a kind of benediction. Gandhiji was tired that afternoon-he received me without appointment, and to the interruption, I fear, of important work. But he was never more gentle and kind, and his conversation was full of vigour. But I did not stay long. As I rose to go, he told me that I must surely see him again. I promised to come back, if my schedule permitted. But, alas, I never saw him again, but had to content myself with a long letter of farewell, written from Calcutta. . I had a leisurely journey, flying the vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean. I stopped a few days in Tokyo, a week in Honolulu, five days in Los Angeles, then by train across the continent to New York. I went promptly to my study, to take up the work which had long been awaiting my return. And there, right on top of my great accumulation of mail, was a long letter from Gandhiji, placed there reverently by my secretary, that this might be my welcome home. A few days later-the assassination! And the greatest chapter of my life was closed. New York, 1-10-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi At Sabarmati - Prema Kantak
IT was on, the 26th of May, 1929, that I first entered the Satyagraha ashram at Sabarmati along with Gandhiji. Here are a few memories of the days I spent under his care till he started on the Dandi March next year. He liked to sleep under the sky, unless it was actually raining. The other inmates of the ashram, who lived near him, generally liked to sleep in the open, but in the chilly winter they, took shelter of the roof and shifted their beds to the verandah. But he never flinched. There lay his cot in the open, in winter as well as in summer. I followed suit, and placed my cot outside at a respectable distance from his. He would often bid me good night with his favourite saying: "Now sleep the sleep of the innocent." There was a parijat tree in front of his residence, at the ashram, which was known as Hridaya kunj (i.e. the Bower 'of the Heart). In the rainy days of July and August the tree put forth all its floral glory. Early morning one day I gathered all the delicate, fragrant
red- white flowers with which the ground had been strewn . overnight, wove them into a garland, put it into a basket, I and covering it with the upper skirt of my sari, approached Gandhiji as he sat writing in his room. "Mahatmaji, may I garland you?" I asked with some hesitation. He looked up. "Why, is there any special occasion today?" he asked. "Today is a grand holiday," I playfully replied. "I have gathered these lovely flowers of parijat from the garden, and made a garland for you." "Where is it?" "Here!" I showed the garland to him.
"Very fine! Now do this much for me. There are two patients in the ashram. When you have the satisfaction of garlanding me, take the garland at once, cut it I into two pieces, give one each to both the patients, and let me know afterwards how they fare. Do you agree?" "I do," I said, and carried out his instructions. Once there was a sport competition on the ashram grounds between students of the Gujarat Vidyapith and those of the ashram. The Iatter were beaten by a small margin. Gandhiji was present on the occasion for nearly In hour and a half. At the end of the match all the players gathered round him and asked him to say something to them. "I would say only this," said Gandhiji, that the defeated party should not be disheartened, and the victorious one should not feel elated." The remark was hailed with joy and laughter. A month or so before the Dandi march in 1930, a smallpox epidemic 'broke out in the ashram. Gandhiji was opposed to vaccination, and parents in the ashram had not got their
children vaccinated in deference to his opinion. When the epidemic broke out some children got severe attacks. Gandhiji ,took all possible preventive and curative measures which were approved of by competent doctors. Many of the patients were cured, but a few succumbed.
Gita was a girl of nine. Her soul flittered away while she was listening to her father who was reading the Gita at her bedside. That night at 12 I suddenly got up. Gandhiji was sitting in his bed and was writing letters. The lantern was burning. "Why are you writing at such an odd hour? Is it something very important? May I help you?" I asked him. "No, no, you may sleep on. Let me go on writing," he replied drily, without turning his head. I had no alternative but to sleep again. That light passed on. A few days later it was little Vasant's 'turn. He passed away while his father, Pandit Narayan Khare, was conducting the evening prayer of the ashram. That night I again happened to wake at about mid- night, and saw Gandhiji sitting on his bed and writing, as on the previous occasion. And again when tiny Meghji followed suit, some days later, and as before I saw Gandhiji burning the midnight oil, I could not keep to my bed, but got up, and approaching him straightaway asked: "Oh, Mahatmaji, why do you get so much disturbed on the nights of these deaths? Every time a child passes away, you get up at dead of night and bury yourself in writing!" "What else can I do?" he replied with a sigh. "I can't sleep. These kiddies are fading away like little buds. I feel the weight of their deaths on my shoulders. I prevailed upon their parents not to get them vaccinated. Now the children are passing away. It may be, I am
afraid, the result of my ignorance and obstinacy; and so I feel very unhappy." "Is it the Mahatma who is uttering these words?" I said with a taunt. "You have made the correct diagnosis. You have applied correct remedies. Doctors have approved of your method of dealing with the disease. Now no one can resist death. If, after all, children die, who can help? But why should you, of all persons-you who always teach us to look to death as a friend and act in a dispassionate manner-should give way to attachment? It does not become a Mahatma. Why should your heart be so weak as that?" "True," he replied," I admit my weakness." He mused for a few seconds, then looked up, and said: "However brave and dispassionate a man may be, can he not be tender-hearted as well?" Next evening he poured out his heart before the ashramites and declared that, while he himself had no faith in vaccination, he did not wish to impose his opinion on others. If any parents wished to get their children vaccinated, he added, they were free to do so. No one availed of this liberty, and after that day there was no fatal case in the ashram. It was a strict rule at the ashram that after 9 p.m. there should be quiet everywhere and lamps should be put off. Talking after 9 p.m. was prohibited. Occasionally, however, I saw Gandhiji himself breaking the rule. Mirabehn came to bid him good night, and at times Gandhiji talked to her for several minutes, even beyond the prescribed time limit. No one dared to speak about this or to give a timely hint to either of them: One night I heard a sister, who was my neighbour, talking loudly to a guest of hers after the bell was gone. When I drew her attention to the fact, she expressed her regrets, stopped the conversation, and went to bed. I then left my room and came to the compound to go to bed, when-lo and behold-there lay Gandhiji on his cot, talking to Mirabehn who was standing in front of him! "Mahatmaji, the bell has gone," I told him. "Ah! is it? I had no idea!" he exclaimed.
"Can a satyagrahi be so negligent?" I said. "behn too was chatting just now, when I had to pull her up." "She ought not to have, one so," he said. "And what are you doing?" I asked, and added: "When you break the rule, others follow suit." "If I break the rule, you must pull me by the ear and bring me to my senses," he said quietly. "I too must obey the rules, for my responsibility of abiding by them is greater than that of anyone else." He at once put an end to the conversation, and went to sleep. Sasvad, 23-10-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Small Things I Learnt From Him - Kishorelal Mashruwala
DO not exactly remember the occasions on which I learnt several small things from Gandhiji. I shall just mention what they are. 1. This was perhaps when I met him for the first time in Champaran in 1917. He asked me to copy out a passage from the Indian Year Book on a sheet on foolscap paper. As the paper was larger than I needed I folded it up, made a crease by passing my fingers over it, and began to tear it along the crease. Gandhiji stop- ed me, and asked me to cut it with a knife. "When you tear along a crease with your hands," he said, "fibres appear along the edges. They jar upon the eye. You should make it a rule always to divide the paper with a paper-cutter or an ordinary knife." 2.Once he showed' me how to open up the flap of an envelope, the gum of which had got stuck. He introduced a fountain pen into a slight opening under the flap, and quickly rolled it round the edge. He said: "Do you see how it opens up without injuring the paper? This is a method which everyone should know."
3. He was displeased if he saw a letter placed in an envelope with irregular folding.
He said: "When you fold your letter you must see that the edges coincide properly and the fold is regular. An irregular folding creates a .bad impression upon the receiver about you. It looks slovenly." 4. One of my young nephews lived with me at Sabarmati. He once. tore his clothing during play and then went straight to Bapu's. room. Bapu saw the torn condition of the cloth, and when he saw my wife later he showed his displeasure at it. He said: "One need not be ashamed of clothes repaired with sewing or patches. Poverty in itself is not a matter for shame. But there is no excuse for a person to put on unmended or dirty clothes. A cloth must be repaired as soon as it is torn, and washed if it has become dirty.'.' 5. I may also mention a habit which I developed, under his influence, to a greater extent than commendable, as it verges on miserliness and disorderliness. It is that of preserving and using bits of paper written on one side, wrappers on book-post packets etc., and used envelopes. Perhaps the instinct of thrift was inherent in me, and it got encouragement by his example. I am not at all proud of it; I rather feel ashamed of the extent to which it has grown. But it seems to have got hardened in spite of my own mental protest against it. Wardha, 31-8-1948
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Sweet And Sad - P. G. Mavalankar
WHEN I was studying in the English sixth standard, I contributed an article to the school Annual, wherein I stated that my life-ambition was to advance culture, through work in the field of education. All seemed to like my writing. Thereafter my father went to Sevagram for the first time in 1944, after his release from jail, for a meeting of the Kasturba Trust Fund. I insisted on his taking my article and give it to Bapu for his opinion. My joy knew no bounds when I got, through my father, a letter in Bapu's own handwriting: Dear Purushottam, . You have selected the best but a difficult ideal. May God help you. Do come here some time. Love. BAPU
It was May 1944. Bapu was at Juhu. I went to him with my father. After the talks (between him and my father) were over, I placed in Bapu's hands my autograph- book for his autograph. He took the book with the five- rupee note, and asked for a fountain pen, which was then offered to him by my father. But he returned it, stating that it was of foreign make. He even rejected my pen, which was known as 'Gooptu's Perfection' and was made at Calcutta, under the impression that it was of foreign make. He signed his autograph with a pen lying near him. While signing his autograph, he gave us, in a romantic manner, the history of his own pen. He said: "Once I had been to Banaras. Mahadev was with me. I lost my . pen there. Mahadev was naturally upset. So our host, the late Shivaprasad Gupta, presented a pen to me. He gave one to Mahadev also. I am still using that pen. It is entirely Indian-made,-manufactured in Banaras-and it works well." After saying this, he said with a smile: "I was told the story (of the manufacture of the pen) by Shivaprasad. I do not know anything about it. But what he stated must have been true." It was the month of May in 1945. There was a meeting of the Kasturba Fund Trustees in the cool climate of Mahabaleshwar. Bapu presided over it. During the discussion on a certain subject, Shri Devdas (youngest son of Gandhiji), who is a trustee of the Fund, said: "Bapu, I wish to say something about this." Bapu said: "Surely, say whatever you like." "But it is something against the view you propound," said Devdas. Bapu smiled and said: "An obedient son may feel shy of speaking to the face of his father. But you need have no such feeling. Say frankly what you want." Pointing to Shri Thakkar Bapa, he added with a hearty laughter: "But look here, here are two instead of one Bapa (father). I can appreciate, therefore, your embarrassment." Shri C. Rajagopalachari happened to be there at the time, and he caused addition to the peals of laughter by saying: "But, Bapu, here there are three fathers instead of two! This was quite correct; as Shri Rajaji is the father-in-law of Shri Devdas. Bapu had all along joined in the laughter. I was in Delhi in October 1946, and one day (on 24th October) accompanied my father to the Bhangi Colony at prayer time. As we approached the place, we noticed some turmoil
from a distance. We were afraid that we were a bit late for the prayers. Instead, we saw a different situation. Bapuji was standing on the plat- form, with others, and was talking to the crowd, some among whom were raising some slogans. The situation appeared to me from a distance to be strange and sad. Bapuji was standing and was saying something with a sad heart as appeared from his face. It was not possible to know what exactly was happening. I imagined that he might be saying .good-bye with a heavy heart, to the crowd, on the eve of his departure for Bengal next day. We entered the premises with curiosity, and stood on the left side of the prayer platform. We saw some young and angry faces, among the crowd, carrying boards displaying the following slogans: "Down with Bengal Ministry", Save Bengali Hindus from mass slaughter", "Expel Ben- gal Governor", "Remove Suhrawardy Ministry", "Rescue abducted women". They were very vocal, with slogans against the Muslim League and the League Ministry in Bengal. We learnt afterwards that they were local Bengali Hindus. Bapuji was appealing to all of them to be quiet. He said to the angry crowd: "Prayers will begin if you keep quiet. You have come here for prayers. You can go elsewhere, if you do not wish to join these. There is no obligation on anyone here (to remain present); but if you choose to stay, you must keep quiet." For a while nobody complied with his request. The slogans continued. He was patiently trying to have his say; but Who would- hear him in such a tumult? At last one voice angrily said to him: "Gandhiji, we want the Central Government to intervene in this matter. We want that our people must be saved from this calamity. We want you to intervene. Why don't you immediately go to Bengal?" I also felt moved at the piteous appeal of the man to the Father of the Nation. What could helpless people do in such a situation? Whom else could the afflicted appeal to, but to the Father of the Nation? Did Bapuji not know the situation in the country? . But his hands were tied in many ways. At last he showed great presence of mind and abandoned a large part of the prayers. He took up only Ramdhun. He saw that it was
impossible to induce the excited crowd to keep quiet for fifteen - to twenty minutes. The 'Ramdhun' brought about a sweet silence. Cheerfulness and patience replaced irritation. and anger. Bapu then began his address to the crowd. He had felt the pulse of the distressed people. This was not a new experience. He did not attempt to find fault with people who had gone mad with rage. On the contrary he spoke to them with sympathy: "All leaders are fully alive to the situation in Bengal. The Congress Cabinet is at present considering the very question, and I am also preparing to go to Bengal. All of us are moved, when we read or hear the Bengal atrocities; but you should all keep some patience, have some courage, and trust in God. Solid work and not mere slogans are essential on such occasions. First decide whether you want to kill or to die. Empty slogans will serve no purpose. I can only show to you the way to die, to sacrifice all that you have, not the way to kill. I have been preaching this in India for the last thirty yearsin fact, since the South African days and therefore for the last fifty years." Bapu spoke to this effect. His voice showed the deep sorrow of his heart. He even referred to the Interim Government and said: "Pandit Jawaharlal; Sardar Patel and other leaders have been very much grieved at the Bengal atrocities; but leaders cannot afford to sit silent in grief. What an amount of responsibility Jawaharlal is bearing today! He carries the burden of . anxiety for the entire nation. He is overburdened with work. He could not sleep till two o'clock last night. But what is the remedy? Everyone must discharge his duty. If Members of Government feel convinced that the Bengal conflagration can be put down by their sacrifice, none of them will fail to act accordingly." Bapu then turned to the atrocities against women. While explaining that, though our sisters in Bengal might keep with them knives for self-defence if necessary, the knives would be of no avail against crowds, he said: "I have told women long ago that it is better to end one's life by poison than suffer insults. I wish our sisters become brave." At the end, congratulating the crowd for maintaining peace, he said: "I am very grateful to you: all for having given a patient hearing to' me, after participating in Ramdhun." Ahmedabad, 21-11-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Since 1915 - Hansa Mehta
THE first glimpse I had of Gandhiji was in December 1915 when he attended the session of the Indian National Congress held in Bombay:' He had returned from South Africa in the beginning of that year, and gave an account of the position of Indians in that country and the battles he had waged to improve it. He was hardly audible. Clad in his Kathiawadi dress he looked unimpressive and out of place in the midst of the frockcoated and top-hatted gentry who formed the bulk of the Congress members in those days. Years passed. I went" abroad, and as students we discussed the happenings in India. The non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhiji in 1920-21, came in for, much.' criticism, in particular Gandhiji's appeal to students to leave colleges. Some of the
students who had left colleges in India came to England to join the universities there, and we could not understand this action on their part. In 1921, I returned home and landed the very next day after the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, had reached Bombay. At Gandhiji's bidding this visit of the Prince of Wales was to be boycotted. The boycott. resulted in a terrible clash in Bombay 'between the loyalists, mostly Parsis, and the Congress people. The Government of India was very much annoyed with Gandhiji, I, . .especially as the boycott was a great success., They waited for the Prince Of Wales to leave the shores of India before they arrested Gandhiji. When the news spread about his arrest there was. terrible tension in the country. I remember to have written an article later f-or a paper in England under the caption "Peace of the Grave!" Gandhiji was removed to the Sabarmati Jail, and people from all parts of the country poured in Ahmedabad to have a last darshan of him before he was thrown into prison or transported. I remember to have joined a batch of women from Bombay. We were taken inside the prison walls where Gandhiji was sitting. Shrimati Sarojini Naidu was there and introduced me to Gandhiji. This was the first time I met him face to face. He sat talking and laughing while all those around him looked sad and miserable. Nobody knew when we would see him again. It I was a most pathetic scene. I was moved to tears and could hardly speak or reply to questions he was asking. There must have been something terribly pathetic about him, for I always felt deeply moved .in his Reference whenever I was with him. In 1930 his march to Dandi made history. Every day during the march he held crowded meetings of men and women to whom he explained the meaning of his movement. I t was at one of his halts in a village that he called a special meeting of women whom he wished to harness in the service of the country. He had different plans for women, and called this special meeting to explain them to those who were anxious to I serve. Women from all over the country were invited. Some of us had gone from Bombay. He sat on a raised platform under a huge tree bunyan or mango tree I forget which-and we all sat round him. His face was I exultant with the joy of action. He spoke for an hour asking women to take up the picketing of foreign cloth shops and of liquor shops. After his speech he invited questions in order to clarify and solve our difficulties if any. We had many questions to ask. Why boycott all foreign cloth and not British cloth only-that was a question in the
minds of most of us. Gandhiji explained that our fight was for principles. Swadeshi Dharma meant encouragement of all indigenous products and boycott of I foreign goods. We were asked to begin with foreign cloth . first as much money violated the very principle of ahimsa on which our fight was passed. British goods and other foreign goods came under the same category, and we should not single out British goods only. Then came questions about picketing liquor shops. How could women do it? These liquor shops were frequented by low people, They might insult women, they might attack them. How could women talk to such ruffians and persuade them not to drink? Gandhiji smiled his bewitching smile, He had a way with women and knew how to handle them. He desired women to be brave and face all these difficulties., He gave examples of women, who had done heroic deeds in the past and asked us to emulate them. Did not women wish to see India free? How could they daunted by such imaginary fears? He won in the end as usual. His persuasive powers were wonderful, and we agreed to do the picketing. I remember when we had promised to do!
He always attracted large crowd wherever he went. It was obvious to most of us that these men and women who came for his darshan came only to satisfy their religious hankering or out of curiosity. There were few among them who really understood his message or what he stood for. I wished to know how he felt about these crowds. We were travelling in the same compartment from Poona to Bombay. He had come down from Panchagani, and on his way had met with such big crowds at Wai that it was with great difficulty that he could get away. To my question as to what he felt about this madness on the part of the people he said that he was not at all happy about it. He deplored the lack of discipline and lack of consideration shown by the people. He confessed to the failure of the Congress to instil this very essential quality into the people. I then asked him if the Congress was not responsible for encouraging indiscipline among the young people. I told him what had happened in 1942 when even school-children were asked to leave schools and engage themselves in activities like stone- throwing etc. Gandhiji could not approve of these activities, and felt hurt at what had happened. However, he pointed out that it was not the Congress who was responsible but those persons who in the name of
the Congress were carrying on such activities. He agreed that they were exploiting the name of the Congress to achieve their own end. At Kalyan where we got down there was a large crowd waiting, and in spite of all precautions Gandhiji was nearly crushed that day and was rescued from his worshippers and admirers with great difficulty. The last time I saw Gandhiji alive was on the day he broke his last fast, i.e. 20th January 1948. I expected to see him resting in bed after his ordeal but was very much surprised to see him sitting and spinning. He looked tired and exhausted and had to stop now and again for breath, and yet he insisted on finishing his allotted work. We all tried to persuade him to rest and put aside this I self-imposed task in view of his utter exhaustion. But he was adamant. In reply to our importunities he merely I smiled the smile of a naughty child as much as to say that we were wasting our breath. He propounded the theory that a man must work in order to earn his food. And since he had started taking his food that day he must also start working!
A few days later when I entered that same room again I saw him lying in bed taking his last rest. His face did not betray the violent end he had met with. It was I beautifully calm and serene. After the fitful fever of life I he slept well. What could one feel but moved to the very depths of one's heart in the presence of such peace, the supreme triumph of an enlightened soul? Baroda, 14-9-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi How He Taught Through Letters - Margarete Spiegel
SINCE a very young age I was interested in India. Living in Germany during the first World War, I was drawn towards pacifism. Rabindranath Tagore was my favourite author. Through Romain Rolland's book I came to know of Gandhiji, and then read all the books by and about him which were available in the State Library at Berlin, where I was a teacher at a Government college. In Germany there used to be no prescribed textbooks for higher classes, so I chose a German school-edition of Gandhiji's speeches and
writings for a class I was preparing in English for the University entrance examination. In order to study the Gandhi movement I got leave to visit India for two months in 1932. After travelling over several parts of India I stayed as a guest at the Sabarmati Ashram for three days, taking part in all Ashram activities. In December 1932 I saw Gandhiji for the first time sitting under a mango tree in the Yeravda jail. He scolded me for having given up vegetarianism because it was troublesome during my journeys, and I again became a vegetarian. In reply to a letter written on my way back home, he wrote on 12th January 1933: "I had your love letter from your ship. I was glad that you were at the Ashram and were able to take actual part in the service of the Harijans, and in my opinion, in as much as you rendered this selfless service to down-trodden humanity, you served the whole of it. You were quite right in giving up spinning 'ropes' as you were doing. If you could have learnt the art properly, I would certainly have advised you to continue to spin not cotton but wool, but perhaps you have no talent for such work. God has blessed you with many other gifts, and it is well with you so long as you use them for the service of mankind including of course your dear mother. Next time we meet, if we do, you are not going to be 'awed' by me, if you are to be a daughter to me. Do not hesitate to write to me whenever you feel like it." He wrote another letter only two days later, i. e. on the 14th of January, which said: "I must continue to dictate. You are entitled to call yourself an Indian, since you have felt like one from your childhood, but that is not a substitute for your' German birth. The adoption should be an addition both to your name and to your strength; and what , can be finer than that we should all add on the virtues of our own nations to those of others? Why was there a struggle to choose between Gurudev [R. Tagore] and myself? We are no competitors. Gurudev occupies a throne which belongs to him by sheer merit. I have none
of the gifts that he has, and what is more, we dearly love each other, and as years roll on, our love becomes stronger, and we understand also each other better and better. I would have you, therefore, to say that you like us both equally for, whatever gifts God has bestowed on us. No more, therefore, of choice-making, if you would be a real daughter like Mira." He wrote again on the 17th of February: "I hope you have been receiving all my letters. You should not think of coming here in the hope of getting a professorship or something of that kind so as to enable you to support your mother. You will only come when the way is perfectly clear for you. Surely it is possible for you to love India even from where you are and to do many acts of service. You have plenty of years before you. Go through the necessary training, keep India your goal, and some day you will gravitate here. Of course you are like Lakshmi to me or Mira. But you must also realise that it is a hard yoke to bear." .
The next letter is dated the 2nd of March: "You are sending me letters regularly. But you are telling me nothing except about myself. You must now begin to tell me something about your children and the many things that you teach them and how you teach them. You don't think that these things will not interest me. They will, because they might be of use for the Ashram children. You should tell me also, as a teacher, what you would do to and for the Ashram children, if you had then under your charge." And the next one the 1-7th of the same month: "Why do you want to come here for three days or at the most for a fortnight? [during 5 weeks' summer vacations. If you have at all imbibed the central truth of the Gita, it will tell you that this kind of wish has to be subjugated and sublimated into pure action which for you consists in doing your duty there. You should hold on to your savings, and if you cannot restrain yourself from spending them somehow, you should send them here for the
Harijan cause. I do hope you got all my previous letters as also the Ranjan which is being posted to you every week." A week later, on the 24th, he wrote a long letter, evidently in reply to one from me: "Your letters continue to 'come with clock-work regularity. Of course you are not going to be upset if you are turned out as a I Jewess. I shall be now eagerly waiting for your letters to know your fate. If you will have it so, you can take the palm for economy, though you must remember the old proverb that 'one swallow does not make a summer. And for that reason, your summary dismissal of the question of food does not mean that the solution is as easy as you fancy it is for you [giving up meat-eating]. Whilst it need not be given undue importance, it is a gross error to think that food has nothing to do with a person's moral or even physical growth. The experience of the sages of the world shows that they have given importance-some more and some less-to it, and the majority have admitted that a bloodless diet is necessary for full spiritual enlightenment. You need not worry over the poor comprehension that your girls have shown of ahimsa. I do not wonder. There is no response to ahimsa from the atmosphere. They have never been taught to attach the slightest value to it, and probably they have been taught to despise it. You cannot expect them all of a sudden to understand the value of ahimsa in an atmosphere so hostile as yours. Mahadev has been receiving your letters, and he has got your booklet too. As I had heard of Parsifal, and as it was quite a booklet, I read it during odd moments in two days, and 1 liked it very much." His next letter is dated the 10th of March: "I receive your letters regularly, and 1 have now your notes from your pupils' papers [essays on Gandhiji]. They make very interesting reading. What worries me is the time
you have spent Over the translation and copying. 1 hope you have had my letters that I have been sending you not quite every week but fairly regularly. I hope you are now satisfied that the work you may be doing there is also my work inasmuch as you are observing the rules of the Ashram and doing your work purely from a spirit of service, and 1 have no doubt that so long as your mother lives, your duty is to be by her side." Again he wrote on the 13th of April: "Your letter of 20th March is disturbing. Everything done in a hurry generally proves unsatisfactory, when. it is not positively harmful. All haste must be deprecated. From the highest stand- point-and that is the only one I am sure which you want to apply to yourself-your coming will be justified only when you are ready for the Ashram life. That clearly you are not. Your immediate duty is to be by your mother's side. You cannot risk bringi11g her to India. If you are thrown. out of employment and have to be ill search of one, you have to courageously stand by your people and suffer the hardships that they will have to suffer; and if you have imbibed the fundamentals of the Ashram life, you might even render inestimable help to them. All your letters to 24 people ill India, therefore, to get a job should not have been written. You do not want a job ill India, but you want to give your free service, the whole of yourself, to India. 1 wish, therefore, you would give up the idea of the job, remain there by your mother's side and live the Ashram life there, so that if God wills dt, He will send you some day to. the Ashram." This letter was redirected to me to the boat for India. On April 1st, 1933, I was dismissed from the Government College in Berlin for being a Jewess. As the Jews were deprived of their passports, I left for Venice on April 2nd and waited there for twelve days for the next boat to India. From Venice I wrote to Bapu that I was coming, and after landing in Bombay I went straight to Yeravda jail, and stayed in Poona for some time, seeing him almost daily in the prison. In May he began a fast for 21 days. I had evidently not understood the science of satyagraha well, for I started a fast in order to make him give up his; but he was adamant, and I gave up my fast after two days. On the same day (10th May) I got the following little note from him:
"I am glad you have broken your fast. You were too decent to persist in your folly. Now be good. You are forgiven. You should come and see me when you feel like it Love." He then sent me to the Ashram at Sabarmati, and gave me my Indian name-Amala. At Sabarmati I got the following letter from him dated June 6th, 1933:
"You are with me when you are at the Ashram doing the Ashram work. I am sure you understand this very simple truth. There were many prisoners occupying the same yard. Do you suppose that they were living with me?" After his release from prison in August 1933, he went from Poona to Wardha in the last week of September, and I had the good fortune to stay with. him there till he started on the Harijan tour on 7th November. His next letter is dated 28th February, 1934, written from some- where in South India: "If you don't believe in God as a permanent, living and the only reality prevailing all, naturally you 'cannot feel Him while praying or in the earthquake. The belief comes to a certain extent through reason and finally through faith. As children we derive belief from parents, as grown-ups from reason, and then we have faith or become sceptics. You will grow to faith in time, because I believe you to be a seeker, and because you have faith in one who believes in God." The next one was dated the 15th of March: "It is just now 12-40 a.m. The alarm that should have gone off at 2-30 a.m. went off at 12 midnight. I am attending to arrears at an affected place in Bihar. That many' Hindus are callous to the sufferings of animals is but too true. It is a mark of degradation and lifelessness of the religious spirit. You don't need to be a Hindu but a true Jewess. If Judaism does not satisfy you, no other faith will give you satisfaction for any length of time. I would advise you to remain a Jewess and appropriate the good of other faiths."
And yet the next one is dated the 22nd of May, 1934, written while he was on a walking tour. in Orissa: "My condolence on the loss of your companion, the squirrel. You are right in thinking that those round you don't act up to the principle they profess. They do not realise that mere refraining from killing is not enough. It is necessary to show active sympathy for sufferers. You should not be anxious about me. The march will do me good. I am certainly keeping well."
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Four Anecdotes - Jack C. Winslow
One characteristic incident of that visit remains with me. Charlie and- I had left Bapu lying on the verandah, and Charlie was telling me about an article he had just written for the Manchester Guardian about the satyagraha movement then in progress in Travancore. In glowing terms he had described how all eyes were now concentrated on this wonderful movement and no one was interested any longer in the proposed Government reforms. "I'll just go and show it to Bapu," said' Charlie, "before I send it off." Presently he returned, thoroughly crest- fallen. "What did Bapu think of it?" I asked. "Oh," said Charlie, "Bapu said: Charlie, it's what you'd like to be true; but it isn't true!" With all Bapu's idea's went a strong strain of realism, which Charlie Andrews sometimes, lacked.
During the fast which Bapu undertook for the alteration of the 'Communal Award' for the Harijans, I went to see him in the prison at Yeravda. He was lying on a cot in the open court under a tree; and, as I approach- ed, I struck my head on an overhanging bough. A few days later, I went again to see him; and, as I approached, Bapu lifted a warning hand and said: "Mind the branch!" 'With visitors coming all day, it was amazing that he could remember so trivial a matter concerning one unimportant person!
When landing from the steamer on his way, to London for the Round Table Conference, he was approached by a newspaperman desiring an interview. The latter, in the course of conversation, commented playfully on the scantiness of his attire in view of the rigours of the English climate. "It seems to me," replied the Mahatma with a smile, "that your plus fours are quite as amusing as my minus fours." While at Oxford, Bapu was invited by the Master of Balliol to speak to a number of Oxford dons at his college. At the end of his address an opportunity for questions was given. A young don, slightly swollen-headed through having recently been made a Fellow of All Souls, commented a little scornfully that he could not under- stand how Mr. Gandhi could possibly reconcile two particular statements which he had made. Bapu smiled at him and replied in the politest manner, "If you cannot understand, I will take you step by step,"-a remark which the entire company. greeted with delighted laughter. Lynton, 26-9-1948.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Lessons From His Life - J. C. Kumarappa
1. OUR MEETING
IN the year 1929 I returned from the United States where I had made a study of public finance, and wrote out the story of the British exploiting India through their taxation policy in the form of an essay. It was suggested that I should publish this. I was negotiating with some of the publishers in India in this regard when I was told that the subject was one in which Gandhiji would be intensely interested, and I was urged to submit the manuscript to him first. At that time Gandhi was merely a name to me. at was hardly associated with any definite ideas. The person who was responsible for this suggestion was very persistent about my getting into touch with Gandhiji. Gandhiji was passing through Bombay towards the end of April that year after his South Indian tour. I was then practising as an Auditor in Bombay. I was directed to go and see Gandhiji at Mani Bhavan, Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, which was his usual Bombay residence at that time. I went in European clothes up the staircase, and the door was answered by someone
whom I took to be a servant clad in dhoti and shirts. I asked him if I could see Gandhiji, and I was told that Gandhiji was busy in a Working Committee meeting, and that he would not be able to see me just then. I had taken my manuscript with me, and marking that the person who was talking to me was able to speak good English,. and thinking he might be worthy of taking a message, I left the manuscript with him and asked him to give it to Gandhiji. (This person later turned out to be Gandhiji's Secretary Pyarelal.) , Pyarelal telephoned to my office address later to say that Gandhiji would want to see me in Ahmedabad after he had had a look at the essay, and suggested that I see him at Sabarmati on the 9th of May, 1929 at 2-30 p.m. I reached Sabarmati accordingly that morning, and went to the Ashram where I was horrified at the emptiness of the 80 called guest room. It was devoid of all furniture excepting a charpai, though glorified by the designation of a guest, room. Squatting toilet arrangements further made me anxious to get away from the place at the earliest moment. With these personal difficulties, my appointment being in the afternoon, I anxiously waited to get it over. The house where Gandhiji stayed was pointed out to me, and I was told that was the place where I should report myself at the appointed time. With a walking stick in one hand and the manuscript in the other I walked down the bank of the Sabarmati at about 2 p.m., and after enjoying the beauty of the bed of the river, walked up the bank again towards Gandhiji's house. On the way up, I saw an old man seated under a tree on a neatly cleaned cow-dunged floor, spinning. Having never seen a spinning wheel before, I leaned on my walking stick and standing akimbo was watching, as there were still ten minutes for the appointment. This old man after about five minutes opened his toothless lips, and with a smile on his face enquired if I was Kumarappa. It suddenly dawned on me that my questioner might be no other than Mahatma Gandhi. So I, in my turn, asked him if he was Gandhiji; and when he nodded I promptly sat down on the cow-dunged floor regardless of the well-kept crease of my silk trousers! Seeing me sitting without stretched legs, more or less in a reclining position, someone from the house came rushing down with a chair for me, and Gandhiji asked me to get up and sit in the chair more comfortably. I replied that since he was seated on the floor I did not propose to take the chair.
Gandhiji told me that he was interested in the essay I had written, and that he proposed to publish that in a series in his journal Young India. Then he enquired if I would undertake a rural survey for him in Gujarat, as he found that the approach that I had to economics was almost exactly the same as his, and that I was about the first student of economics he had come across with that same view point. I raised the difficulty of language, but he quickly got over that by saying that he would place the professors of economics of the Gujarat Vidyapith with all their students at my disposal to help me with the survey, and suggested that I go and see the Vice-Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith, Kaka Kalelkar, who, Gandhiji informed me, was the very person who came running down the steps' with a chair for me!
In the afternoon I went to the Gujarat Vidyapith to see Kaka Kalelkar. Seeing that I was a young man dressed in the most fashionable Western style, Kakasaheb did not feel that I would fit into the sort of work that Gandhiji wanted me to do, and he made my ignorance of Gujarati to be a great handicap and discouraged me. I got into a huff and, even without taking leave of Gandhiji, returned to Bombay, and wrote to him that I should be glad to help him with any work that he wanted done, and reported that Kakasaheb did not feel that I could be of any Use. By return post I got 'back a letter from Kakasaheb to say that he would be most happy if I would go back and do the work that Gandhiji wanted. (Years later Gandhiji, in the course of a conversation on the study of characters, referred to this incident and said: "You remember Kakasaheb} was not able to size you up when he first met you. On the other hand, the moment I saw you I felt here is a I young man I must grab." And he succeeded in doing so, as the later events proved.) While I was doing the survey later, Gandhiji started off on the Dandi march as the first stage of the salt satyagraha, and after his arrest the trustees of the Navajivan Trust invited me to conduct the paper Young India in the absence of Gandhiji and Mahadev Desai. My writings in Young India ultimately landed me in jail, after which it became impossible for me to go back to resume my practice as an auditor in Bombay, as a great many of my clients were European and Parsi firms who would not tolerate a man with Gandhian sympathies. It was after this that I threw in my lot with Gandhiji.
2. AN UNANSWERABLE APPEAL
When Gandhiji was on the Dandi March my articles on 'Public Finance and our Poverty' were published in a series. Gandhiji wished them, to be collected together in the form of a pamphlet, and I desired that it should bear a foreword from Gandhiji. To discuss this matter he invited me to meet him at Karadi where he was camping then. In my own 'efficient' way I had prepared a foreword for him, and took it all typewritten and ready for him to sign! Gandhiji looked at it and smiled and put it aside saying: "My foreword will be my foreword and will not be written by Kumarappa." He then said he had called me there not to discuss the question of the foreword but to ask if I would write regularly for his paper Young India when he was arrested. He informed me that the arrangement was that when he was arrested Mahadev Desai was to take over charge and he, therefore, wished me to help Mahadevbhai. I replied that I knew nothing about Gandhian philosophy nor what had gone before in Young India, neither did I know how to . occupy a journalistic chair! I told him that I understood auditing dusty ledgers much better, and if there was any work in that line I would gladly undertake, and asked him to spare me from doing any writing work. Then Gandhiji replied: "As regards your qualifications to write, I, the Editor of the paper, have to sit in judgment and not you, and, therefore, I invite you to write to this paper. We have the tradition of publishing the name of the writer under each article. If you write any trash, the public will Say Mahatma Gandhi's paper publishes trash. But if you write anything that is appreciated, they will give all credit to this Kumarappa who is writing in Gandhiji's paper." This presentation of the appeal was irresistible. It was then I promised Gandhiji that I would send some articles as soon as I heard that he had been arrested. (It may here be stated that as the events came about, Mahadevbhai was arrested before Gandhiji, and later when Gandhiji was arrested I was required not only to contribute articles to Young India but to take up its editorial charge.) This incident indicates the masterly way in which Gandhiji makes his appeal irresistible.
3. POT - WASHING
Gandhiji's sense of humour often saves the temper of people around him. When he finds danger coming ahead he immediately brings the ludicrous into play, and thus glances off at a tangent and avoids friction. . When the All India Village Industries Association was formed Gandhiji came to live with us at Maganvadi .so as to be on the spot to guide the policy of the Association. One. of our rules at that time was that everyone should take part in all our daily activities. This included washing of heavy kitchen utensils coated with soot and dirt. One day it fell to Gandhiji's lot to clean the kitchen pots: I was his partner. So we both sat down together, near the well, with cocoanut fibre in our hands, and ashes and mud by our side, and we were scrubbing the black stuff off. Suddenly, Kasturba Gandhi appeared on the scene. She could not tolerate the sight of the great Mahatma with his hands up to the elbow in dirt, She watched him for a few minutes and burst out in Gujarati, telling Gandhiji that this was no work for a person like him, and that he ought to be engaged in better work. In a rage she asked him to get up and go away, leaving the work to be done by others; and, swiftly suiting her action to her words, snatched off the dekchi from his hands, leaving Gandhiji bewildered at the quickness of her action. With the cocoanut fibre in one hand and the other hand all full of dirt, he looked at me with open mouth and laughed, saying: . "Kumarappa, you are a happy man. You have no wife to rule you this way. However, I suppose I have to obey my wife to keep domestic peace. So you will excuse me if I go away leaving her to partner your washing of the kitchen pots!"
4. HUMILITY AND DISCPLINE
The greatness of a man does not consist in the power he wields to control the life of others, though it may result in such powers being granted to. him as a result of his greatness. The real greatness comes in the personal humility of the individual and selfdiscipline imposed on himself. Consequently, this alone brings us the so-called 'power' over our fellow-men. Power so obtained is a responsibility rather .than a privilege. It should make us cautious in using that power. Gandhiji's life is full of incidents which show the great humility and the iron discipline he imposes on himself. During the relief work in Bihar, after the earthquake of 1934, I was functioning as the financial adviser of the Bihar Central Relief Committee. Later Gandhiji arrived ,in Patna for a tour in Bihar. In order to check a tendency to be extravagant and spend much on the upkeep of volunteers and their expenses, I had made a rule that the daily allowance for food of volunteers should not exceed three annas. I myself was eating in the volunteers' camp on this basis. It became a little embarrassing when Gandhiji with his entourage arrived. Gandhiji's milk, fruit and the various requirements of his entourage, which called for provision of dates and nuts and other articles of food which would ordinarily be regarded as luxuries, would cost much more than the daily provision we had made for the volunteers, and, therefore, I told Mahadevbhai that I was not prepared to feed Gandhiji and his group. Again, I had a strict register kept recording the mileage of the cars, time when used, by whom used, and required sanction for every trip that the cars made. Naturally all these restrictions caused a certain amount of dissatisfaction. When Gandhiji came I suggested to Mahadevbhai that they should. obtain their own supply of petrol for themselves, and disallowed Gandhiji's bills in regard to food and motor car travel. When this was reported to Gandhiji he was a little puzzled. He sent for me and said: "I am coming all the way to Patna to help with the relief work. It is my one and only object in coming to' Patna. That being so I fail to see why you should not debit my expenses to the Relief Committee." I explained to him my delicate position where I was faced on one side with checking the expenses of thousands of volunteers. Even an increase of an anna
per day would involve the Relief Committee in lacs of rupees in the course of our work and, therefore, I suggested that Gandhiji should bear his own expenses so that they would not stand in contrast to the austere life I was suggesting to the volunteers and would also check the extravagant use of motor travel. Gandhiji appreciated my point, and told Mahadevbhai that not a pice was to be charged to the Bihar Relief on his account. He was willing to subject himself to the discipline that the administration called for, even though his rights arising out of duty done would have given him the right to claim for the expenses incurred in the execution of his work. This mode of sub- mission to rules requires a great deal of humility and wise understanding of the situation, taking into consideration the difficulties of those who are engaged in the field work. Similarly, early in 1947, when I was invited by the Congress President to become a member of his Working Committee, Gandhiji wrote to me, saying that he would be happy to watch my career in this new. responsibility that had been placed on me, thus in a sense giving roe his approval to take up the membership of the Working Committee. He had written this after seeing the reports in the newspapers. I immediately replied and said that one of the rules of the All India Village Industries Association, of which I was the Secretary, required us not to take part in politics, and if we wished to do so, we had to resign from the All India Village Industries Association. I pointed out that my life-work was connected with the Village Industries Association, and if I had to join the Working Committee, I should give up my connection with the Association according to our rules. Gandhiji thanked me for drawing his attention to the rules of the Association and said that his memory had failed him, though he was the President of the Association, in regard to this rule and that the rule was a wholesome one and we must respect it at all costs; and, therefore, he undertook to advise the Congress President not to saddle me with this additional responsibility's . Here again we see his greatness. He definitely said that it was an alluring offer; but in spite of the needs in other fields we must resist the temptation and confine ourselves to the work before us, if we wish to forge ahead with the development of our country .
5. CO-OPERATION OF SATYAGRAHIS
When the National Planning Committee was formed in 1938 by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, the then President of the Indian National Congress, with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as Chairman, I was asked to contribute my share as a member of that Committee. Pandit Nehru invited me to attend its deliberations in Bombay. Looking at the personnel of the Committee I was doubtful of any good results, as I found in: it all kinds of heterogeneous elements. It included practical industrialists, academic economists, laboratory scientists, men of the world, and business magnates. In a group of this nature I felt that all efforts would result in nothing and, therefore, I declined to go and waste my time in endless discussions which would bear no fruit. On tills Panditji wired to Gandhiji asking him to use his influence in sending me to Bombay. Gandhiji called me for an interview to discuss this subject. I pointed out the reasons why I felt my time would be ill- spent in merely trying to fence with the other interests. Gandhiji explained that it was inconsistent with the principles of satyagraha to prejudge our colleagues. He said: "Why do you think that you will not be able to persuade the whole committee to accept your policy? This shows a lack of faith in yourself and in your colleagues that they will be open-minded enough to listen to you!" I replied: "The view may be strictly correct; but though we may be innocent as doves, we have also got to be wise as serpents, and we' should not attempt the impossible. Knowing the personnel as I do, I feel that it would be merely dashing one's head against a wall." To this Gandhiji replied: "This is not the approach of a satyagrahi. You must give your opponent the fullest chance; and when the time comes that your position in the committee will not serve any purpose, you can always resign and come away. Having done your part in good faith you will have done your duty, and it will then become your duty to resign and not to waste your, time. The time that you spend in trying to satisfy yourself and your fellow-members will not be' wasted. It will develop you and widen your range of view; and, therefore, I suggest that you go and attend the committee meetings until such time when your work would. prove to be futile. Then you. can with a clean conscience resign. and come away." With this advice I went and worked with the National Planning Committee, and, remained on the Committee for about three
months. Afterwards, finding that they were driven into all forms of discussions which would not benefit the country, I got Gandhiji's permission to resign and get away. This shows that the duty of a Satyagrahi is limitless in regard to extending co-operation to whosoever calls for it, and it is wrong for one who wishes to lead the life of a Satyagrahi to prejudge anybody.
6. THE DOCTOR
The kaleidoscopic variety of activities that Gandhiji indulges in cover practically all professions, and his contributions are by no means mean. He calls himself a quack where the medical profession is concerned, but it has not yet been decided whether the professionals are quacks or Gandhiji. He brings to bear on the case before him profound wisdom and commonsense which often outwit the technical advantages that the professionals have. Some years ago when it was discovered that I was suffering from blood pressure, the reason for the malady was to be ascertained. I was taken to Bombay to be examined by some of the best doctors. I was thoroughly 'overhauled', and I was at the mercy of the specialists for three or four days. After this examination all that they could declare was that they could find nothing wrong organically, and therefore by the process of elimination they decided that my blood pressure was due to nervous strain. With this report I came back to Gandhiji. He immediately set about finding the cause of even that nervous strain. He said: "We have to trace the cause of the strain, able to treat the disease or prevent its recurring." He thought the cause might be either physical fatigue or mental tiredness, and therefore he wanted to locate the actual difficulty with me. At that time there was a professor from the Kinnaird College, Lahore, who had come to discuss certain difficulties with Gandhiji. He sent her to discuss some of these with me,
and instructed Dr. Sushila Nayyar to take my blood pressure both before the discussion and after it. The discussion was limited to a period of fifteen minutes. The result showed that my blood pressure went up by 15 points. The next day Gandhiji called the manager of the workshop and asked him to draw a line on a plank of wood and get me to saw it exactly on that line, and directed that my blood pressure should be taken before and after. The result again was a rise in blood pressure of 20 points this time. The third day the physical instructor was asked to run a furlong with me and observe. my pulse and also have my blood pressure taken before and after the exercise. The result this time was a fall of 15 points, and the pulse remained more or less normal.
With these three results before Gandhiji he said he was fairly positive that my blood pressure was due to concentrated work of the brain and not physical fatigue, and the results also showed the way of cure and prevention. He said to me: "Whenever you get symptoms of blood pressure you have simply to walk it off. As regards mental strain, to prevent its accumulation you should relax between your periods of work. You may work in the morning till 11 or 12 and take a complete relaxation for about a couple of hours before you begin to work again in the afternoon. Combining this with a regulation of the diet so that digestion and brain work do not, go together. you should be able to control your blood pressure more or less completely." I took Gandhiji's treatment as being scientific both in regard to diagnosis and in regard to treatment, and have followed his instructions carefully for the last seven years, with the result that excepting when this regime is upset by unforeseen circumstances the plan has worked satisfactorily. In the same way his approach to the various ailments is both simple and efficacious. He looks upon disease as caused by man's deviation from Nature's ways, and his attempt is to
bring back our life into alignment with the requirements of Nature. This should be the aim of every physician.
7. THE COMPASSIONATE
A few years ago when he was staying at Maganvadi a young man about 17 or 18 years of age appeared before him suffering from St. Vitus' dance which is a nervous disorder (choria) making the sufferer unable to control the shaking of his hands and feet. The young man said to Gandhiji that he found life heavy on him as he was unable to be of any use to anybody. So he requested Gandhiji to let him stay with him. Gandhiji told him that it was impossible for him, as he was situated, to take charge of every disabled person, and therefore he must seek else- where for shelter. But the young man was adamant, and would not go away under any circumstances. He sat down on the steps and remained there from morning till evening. One of Gandhiji's party reported to him in the evening that the young man was still sitting at the door-step, and suggested that he should be sent away. Gandhiji turned round and said: "If I turn him away, whom will he go to? Let him stay, and I shall consider how best to utilize him." The result was, the young man stayed, and he was put on by Gandhiji to do some work which the shaking of his hands and feet would not prevent him from doing reasonably satisfactorily. Of course he could not card or spin. but he was asked to wash vegetables and help in the kitchen work as far as possible. By will power the boy was able to control his limbs to a certain extent. Even the washing -of vegetables was a difficult process for him to begin with. Later on he started cutting the vegetables and handling the knife, and little by little in the course of a few months he was almost normal. He was then well enough to go to America for technical studies With the all-pervading love Gandhiji. elicits the capacity in an individual to the best advantage. He was able to develop in the young man will power sufficient to over- come the lack of control of his nerves. This was done by sympathetic understanding of the individual's case and dealing with him gently.
Gandhiji's decision to let the young man stay, as he would have nowhere else to go, reminded me of the invitation given by' Jesus: "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
8. JUST AS I AM
One of the features that makes Gandhiji great is his ability to accept everyone just as they come to him, without waiting 10 mould, the person according to his own specifications. Of course his leaven works slowly and secretly as in a mass of dough. He believes in letting each person express his personality in the best way suitable t() the individual. This accounts for the range of variety of men and women who cluster round the Mahatma. You have Rajen Babus and Sardars, Sarojinis and,Miras, Birlas and Vinobas, Rajajis and Bhansalis. ,He exploits the good points in each to the fullest on the principle "he that is not against us is for us." When I was in editorial charge of Y Dung India, some overzealous person who was anxious to attain non-violence, in a hurry, in his own fashion, in thought, word and deed; suggested that my language of criticism was very severe, and that Gandhiji should ask me to tone down. Gandhiji replied with a smile: . "Kumarappa comes from Madras. You must allow for the chilies in his blood!"
9. THE INDEFATIGABLE EXPERIMENTER
No scientist has a greater thirst for knowledge than Gandhiji. He is ever experimenting though not in an elaborately equipped laboratory. Changes in his food are often dictated by the desire to find out something new. At Maganvadi' we have a number of neem trees. So he started taking about ten tolas of neem leaves ground down to a paste, to find the effect it has on health. One day at the midday meal I was seated to Gandhiji's right and Sardar Vallabhbhai to his left. As Gandhiji was going to gormandize on 'the neem chutney', he took out a spoonful and placed it for me on my 'thali'. The Sardar was watching this parental act. Then he winked at me cynically and said: "You' see,
Kumarappa, Bapu started with drinking goat's milk, and now he has come to goat's food!"
Reminiscences Of Gandhi A Glimpse Of Gandhiji - Gurdial Mallik
My memory goes back to the year 1921 when Gandhiji visited Karachi in the course of his lightning tour round the country in connection with his newly- evolved experiment in welding people together into an humble instrument in the hands of the Power "other than ourselves", and "that makes for righteousness-an experiment incorrectly characterized as the non-cooperation movement. In spite of his unusually heavy programme, packed . with public engagements of all sorts, he had condescended to come for a few minutes to the
night school for labourers with which I was associated as one of the workers. At the scheduled time we began our evening routine with a couple of songs-one of an unknown mystic of Sindh, and 'the other of the well-known mystic of Rajputana, Mirabai. . As the former has since become a great favourite of 'Gandhiji, and is also one which he has generally asked me to sing to him whenever I have met him afterwards, I would ,like to translate it here: O Lord, Thy house (this world) is wonderful, and in it Thou dwellest everywhere. The sky is studded with stars, but the moon among them art Thou. The market-place is crowded with people, but the breath animating them all art Thou. The temples are installed with innumerable images, but through them all art mirrored forth Thou.
The river is aswaying with waves, but their liege and lord art Thou. That boatman sits at the helm, but at the helm of his life art Thou. We were so absorbed in the congregational singing that we did not notice when on tiptoe Gandhiji and his party had walked into the specious compound of the school and stood in
a corner, listening silently to the song. However, no sooner was the song over than, spotting him, we all rose to our feet to do him reverence. I then requested him to say a few words to the students. He replied: "What I would have said has been conveyed to you all through the song." And then he went away to fulfill another important engagement. Another memory of Gandhiji, rich in re-orientating radiance, haunts me till this day like the aroma of my own mother's love. It was after the prolonged dark night of fear and frustration in the Punjab had just begun to be touched with the light of dawn. Gandhiji had surveyed the whole scene, and was in the midst of writing a report of the horrible happenings of the recent past. One day I went to see him at the house of his hostess, Shrimati Sarladevi Chaudharani, at Lahore. It was on an errand of Deenbandhu C. F. Andxews. I found the door of his apartment shut. So I waited outside in prayerful patience. At long last, after about three hours, the door was opened. I went in. "Were you waiting long?" he asked me affectionately. "Rather," I answered with the individualized indifference, streaked with cynicism, of an impetuous youth. "I am sorry," he rejoined with the disarming courtesy of the truly great. "You see, I was trying to hit upon the right word in a sentence describing what a certain party had done, in the scorching heat of purblind passion in a particular place during the martial law' regime." And yet one more reminiscence of Gandhiji have I in my limited repertory which I should very much like to relate. It was in Bombay, during 1945. Gandhiji had drafted a certain statement, which was considered rather long by some of the members of his entourage. And SO one of them, referring to it, said to him: "All that you have written could be boiled down to only four lines." Whereupon Gandhiji remarked: "Is that so? Then please bring the abridged version, and I shall sign it straight- away." The young critic was at once taken aback. Then Gandhiji reminded all those present of the observation :made by some wise person in the past that, while criticising something what
another has done, the critic should De ready simultaneously with something constructive that could take its place. Bombay, 6-12-1945.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi His Daily Life - Mirabehn
OF all the incidents in Bapu's long career, to me, the richest and profoundest is the everrecurring incident of his daily-life; By this I do not mean the fact that he gets up at 4 or 3.30 in the morning, has prayers twice a day, eats unspiced food, and so on. Others also do this. It is the way he does everything. Whenever I am with Bapu I love to sit near him in silence for a while each day. Not when he is meeting people and carrying on discussions, but when he is alone. I know nothing more exquisitely gentle than the touch
of Bapu's hand, and I am never tired of watching him handling his writing work. Nothing is ruffled or damaged by. his bands, and nothing is wasted. I watch Bapu is absorbed in his thoughts. He softly takes a piece of paper to write a letter. Though small, it is yet bigger than he requires for his concise communications, so he carefully folds it, and then divides it 41 two. It is now about 3 inches broad and 5 inches long, and on this he writes .a11 he needs to say. Again he looks for something. There is a little khadi case with stationery in it. This he gently opens and extracts an envelope, addresses it, slips into it the written sheet, and puts it into a little basket, kept for outgoing letters. The next communication" is evidently to !be still shorter, and he takes up a post card. It is not a fountain pen which he is using; some misfortune happened to his last one, since when he writes with an ordinary nib" and holder. The ink-pot is one of Bapu's little patents, and consists of a tiny balm bottle fixed in a wooden stand which also carries pen and pencils. The little old tin screw top of the balm bottle Bapu most delicately puts off and on every time he uses his "ink-stand". The post card is now finished and slipped into the basket. Again he turns to the khadi stationery case. It is evidently an article that he is going to write, because he extracts a number of odd sheets, with writing on one side, but unused on the other. These are his "pusti" sheets, carefully I collected from the !blank page$ on the backs of letters and other communications which come In endless numbers by each post. Bapu begins to write. The article seems to be of a serious nature, probably on some burnirig problem of the day, for a concentrated, even stern, look appears on his countenance. Before the article is finished he begins to feel sleepy. The pen is laid in the stand, and the tiny tin top is placed on the balm bottle. The "pusti" sheets are carefully put on one side, and Bapu turns and lies down on his gaddi. He removes his glasses, places them by the side of his pillow, and in one or two minutes he is fast asleep, and breathing as peacefully as a little chilld. I take up a handkerchief and, sitting near his head, keep off the flies. Such times are for me infinitely precious, infinitely sweet, and filled with a profound teaching which could never be conveyed in words.
On one such occasion, when I was sitting near Bapu, he could not find his pencil, a little stump which he had been cherishing. A whisper went round that Bapuji was hunting' for his pencil. Members of the staff began to search about. It could not be found anywhere, so some- body brought him a new pencil. "No," said Bapu, "I want my .little stump." So somebody brought him another stump. "Do you expect me to be satisfied with somebody else's stump?" he said. "Supposing you had lost your child, would you be satisfied if somebody brought you another child and said, 'take this one instead'?" After that a desperate hunt was made, and at last the little stump was found and triumphantly brought to Bapu, who received it with a beaming smile. There is only one real Gandhi Ashram. in the whole world, and that is the few square feet containing Bapu's gaddi and little writing desk. Pashulok (U.P.), 24-1-1948
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Light And Shade - Sushila Nayyar
MANY people seem to think that a sense of humour is , incompatible with a serious or religious bent of mind. Therefore they are sceptical when they hear 'that Gandhiji never misses an opportunity to crack a joke and have a good laugh. "How can he possibly laugh and joke when he is carrying such a heavy burden on his shoulders?" ask others. Gandhiji's reply is that he is able to shoulder the burden because of' his ability to laugh under all circumstances. "If I had no sense of humour," he said to a friend recently, "the attacks that I have had to face would have killed me long ago., But I have a living faith in God, and so long as He guides my footsteps, I do not care what people say about me. I take it lightly and can laugh even with those who laugh at me. This is what keeps me going."
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS JOKES
I have often been struck by the way Gandhiji is able to adapt his conversation and his jokes to his company. With children he jokes like a child, with the young people, he is a young man, with old people he is old, with politicians he laughs and jokes about politics and with householders about their domestic affairs. But a careful observer can note that in all his jokes there is an undercurrent of seriousness. Even while joking he never says a thing that he does not mean, and not a word escapes his lips that may be termed frivolous. One can always learn something by listening to Gandhiji's talk irrespective of whether it is light or grave. I well remember how once at the Sabarmati Ashram a girl came for the evening walk, with half her sari stained with ink. She had broken her ink pot, spilled the ink on her clothes, and had been too lazy to go and change afterwards. Gandhiji greeted her with a smile: "Hullo, you have brought Ganga and Jamna together." Everyone laughed at the remark. The children were curious to know the meaning of what Gandhiji had said. He explained to them how the waters of Jamna look darker than the waters of Ganga, how the two come together at the Sangam at Prayag, and still one can discern the two currents distinct from each other for some distance. The joke became so much the richer for the instruction it brought them. At the time of the Rajkot Satyagraha, Shri Kasturba insisted on going to Rajkot to fill the breach caused by the arrest of Shrimatis Maniben Patel and Mridula Sarabhai She had been mothering Ramdas Gandhi's little son for some time. The boy had become very attached to her and would not leave his grandmother's side even for a little while. After her departure for Rajkot he was disconsolate and cried for 'Motiba' (Grandmother) all the time. Nobody could manage him, and Gandhiji was too busy. But he had to take up the matter in the end. He sent for the child and told him that he would soon be with Motiba'. The little imp was at once all smiles. Gandhiji took out a mala (rosary) and gave it to him. He told him the story of little Dhruva, and then advised him to sit down in meditation in imitation of the child saint. When he had done so, Gandhiji told him to tell the beads repeating 'Motilal' each time. If you do that with absolute concentration and without a
break, Motiba will be with you in person." And so little Kana sat down with eyes closed, counting the beads in all seriousness, with all the concentration that he was capable of. The family had a little relief and could attend to their work. From time to time little Kana would open his eyes and complain: Motilal has not yet come." Gandhiji reprimanded rum in mock, seriousness: That is because you interrupt your meditation time and again. In this way she won't come at all." And so the fun went on for two or three days. In the meantime Gandhiji had made arrangements for the boy to be sent to his mother at Dehradun!
IN SORROW AND SICKNESS TOO
His laughter has at times the quality of tears in it. Many of us can laugh when all is going well, but Gandhiji's sense of humour does not leave him even in the midst of adversity and sorrow. No one who saw him laughing and joking with the visitors on the day of Shrimati Kasturba's cremation, could have imagined what her passing away had meant for him. It created a void that could not be filled. As Gandhiji himself Said more than once, after sixty-two years of companionship he just could not adjust himself to life without her. Yet he would not let his grief be seen. He had been sitting !before the burning pyre from the early morning without food or water. Towards the evening someone suggested that he might retire and have some rest and nourishment. But he laughed and said: ,"If after sixty-two years of companionship I leave her now while the cremation is unfinished, Ba will never forgive me.'. Who does not remember, how Ba could sometimes scold, and how like a sport he let her exercise her prerogative to be his own and everybody's good-humoured laughter? The secret of his ability to smile even Under the weight of the most crushing sorrow, as he often explained, lay in his abiding faith in the goodness of God. "It is easy enough to smile when life flows forth like a song. But the man worthwhile is the man who can smile When everything goes dead wrong."
In illness too he keeps a smiling face and can appreciate a good joke. That sometimes misleads those around him. During his illness at the Aga Khan Palace, the Government. of Bombay sent their Surgeon-General to report on his condition. Out of his inborn courtesy Gandhiji greeted him with a friendly smile. He laughed and joked with him, and the temporary animation of the patient's face deceived the doctor. He went and issued a reassuring bulletin, which he had to contradict within 48 hours after seeing the pathologist's reports. These reports disclosed a dangerously low kidney efficiency, and resulted in the Government deciding to order his release unconditionally.
After his release his irrepressible high spirits some- times created difficulties for his doctors and attendants. People, when they saw him cheerful and smiling, thought that the doctors were unnecessarily alarming the public. They took the law in their own hands and entered into long tiring conversations. The result was that when he went to Juhu after three days stay in Poona, he was at his lowest; and stricter rules had to be enforced in order to ensure a more satisfactory convalescence.
HOW GANDHIJI BRINGS DOWN BLOOD PRESSURE
That reminds me of an interesting conversation that Gandhiji had with a homoeopathic physician who was trying to elicit his symptomatology. The physician first questioned him about his family history. When and what did his father die of, he asked. "He had had a fall, developed fistula, and died at the age of 65," replied Gandhiji. That did not help. The physician proceeded: "What did your mother die of?" Gandhiji: "She became a widow and died of a broken heart." It was no good. The physician was not getting what he considered helpful replies. Seeing a bottle of jaggery on Gandhiji's table, he asked: "Do you like sweet things or pungent?" and add, "I think you like sweets." "I have a sweet tooth," replied Gandhiji, "but I could gorge myself with bhajias and fritters." "Oh yes, no one likes only sweets," remarked the physician indulgently. Gandhiji interrupted him: "Don't say that. I have known Brahmins who will take huge ladus (Sweet balls) by the dozen with- out any bhajias."
The physician was getting a bit impatient. 'In homoeopathy, they say, the prescription depends upon the patient's symptom complex. He had been trying to interrogate Gandhiji as carefully as he could, but he was not meeting with luck. Still he was hot going to give up easily. "What about your memory?" he asked. "As rotten as you can imagine," replied Gandhiji. "I have lost the memory for details. I have often envied my friends who could roll out whole poems after reading them once." "If you can give me that gift, I shall become your unpaid advertising agent," - he added with a twinkle in his eye. "God alone can give these gifts, Mahatmaji," replied the physician. "1 cannot do so, however much I may like your offer." "Then give it to me without my offer," said Gandhiji. "Do you remember the occasion when years ago you went to visit the Mission Hospital at Hardwar? I took you round," the physician proceeded especially emphasizing the last part of the sentence. "Yes, I remember visiting the hospital at Hardwar," replied Gandhiji. ,The physician was very pleased and quickly put in. "Then your memory is quite good." "No," replied Gandhiji, "I have a very poor memory, and I do not remember you at all." The physician felt discomfited. He had been jotting down his observations. He now handed the sheet to Gandhiji for verification. It ran: "Temperament very intelligent, given to philosophic and religious studies " Gandhiji put a big question mark before the data on temperament. The physician asked: "Is it all right?" "How should I know?" replied Gandhiji. The irrepressible Dr. B. C. Roy, who never missed the opportunity of exchanging good jokes with Gandhiji, was sitting nearby. He put in: "To these you should add one more; i. e. the habit to question any allegations of virtue." The physician smiled.' "That is modesty," he remarked. "Modesty has never been my weakness," Gandhiji interposed, and there was a roar of laughter. The physician next inquired whether the homoeopath knew some others whose names had been given to Gandhiji. He knew them and had great regard for one of them, who, he said, had been his patient. "How can you have regard for a .physician if he is a patient himself?" put in Gandhiji. "Well, Mahatmaji, everyone does fall sick sometimes," replied the physician. "And sickness does not come because of what we do ourselves. It comes as an inheritance from our parents." "Surely, I have not inherited hookworms from my
parents, nor the germs of dysentery," remarked Gandhiji. The physician felt nonplussed. In a more serious vein Gandhiji then proceeded: "It was regard for the memory of the late C. R. Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru which had led me to seek homoeopathic aid. They had always wanted me to give it a trial. I have no faith in it. My own preference is all for nature cure. I have sought your aid because I have no faith in allopathic medicines, and because I am "not strong enough to have faith in God and what the five elements can provide." In the end the physician said: "Mahatmaji, I do not think you need any medicines. Regulation of your diet is all you require to get strong." Before he rose to go, he mentioned to Gandhiji about a pupil of his who was very keen on meeting Gandhiji. "She is a sweet Gujarati girl, Mahatmaji, and I would like to bring her to you if you permit me," he said. "All Gujarati girls are sweet," replied Gandhiji. "No, Mahatmaji, say all girls are sweet," corrected the physician. But Gandhiji was in a playful mood. "No," he persisted, "it is claimed as a specialty of Gujarati girls. But mind you do not run away with her." "How can you say such a thing, Mahatmaji?" said the poor man in holy horror. "I am sixty, I cannot run away with anyone at this age~." But Gandhiji was bent on teasing him. "I know of a man who ran away with a French girl after the age of sixty," he said. Everybody had a good laugh. "This is how I bring down my blood-pressure," remarked Gandhiji when the laughter had subsided. And besides some innocent entertainment, he had gained a friend.
LAUGHING AWAY THE BLUES
As an illustration of how Gandhiji can make people laugh away their blues the following may be cited. Years ago an esteemed lady friend and co-worker allowed herself petulantly to make an irresponsible statement about him. On the report being referred to her for verification she replied: "Ask your own heart to verify it." In reply he wrote the following post card which I reproduce from memory: "Dear Mother Superior, I must address you like this. You are so solemn. I must laugh or I shall burst. How is my poor heart to tell me what your tongue whispered into somebody's ear?"
HIS READY WIT
He has an unfailing, ready wit. I have never known him to be discomfited in repartee. During his incarceration in the Yeravda Central Prison in 1930, he once ordered a knife to be made in the jail workshop. It was done in a hurry and with unskilled labour. The next day the following little dialogue took place between him and the Superintendent of the jail: Gandhiji : "So this is your proud handiwork." Supdt. : "Well, you insisted on 'Swadeshi'." Gandhiji : "Yes, but not Yeravda."
On S. S. the Rajputana by which he voyaged to England to attend the Second Round Table Conference, a number of fellow passengers (mostly Europeans) had formed a club. It was named "The Billygoats". They also ran a typed news sheet, entitled The Scandal Times the title being a fair index of the contents. The members one day took it into their head to "offer their greetings to the Mahatma". Their spokesman, somewhat the worse for drink, after presenting the latest issue of The Scandal Times with the good wishes of the members of the club, asked him to "read it carefully" and "give his opinion" as to its contents. "For, Mr. Gandhi," he continued tipsily, "I must have it before I go down to my cabin for my next glass of whisky." Gandhiji scanned the sheets, remove~ the paper fastener with which they were fastened, and quietly returned them with the remark: "I have extracted the most valuable part from it." The tippler' beat a hasty retreat, well pleased with the joke. The little children of the Sabarmati Ashram used to address him questions every week which he would answer. His extremely laconic replies sometimes exasperated them. One of the bolder spirits expressed the grievance on behalf of his comrades thus: "Bapuji, you always tell us about the Gita. In the Gita Arjuna asks just a one-line question and
Bhagavan Krishna rolls out a whole chapter in reply. But you answer our full-page questions with just a word or a sentence. Is it fair?" Quick came the reply: "Well, Bhagavan Krishna had only one Arjuna to deal with, while I have a host of Arjunas on my hand, and each one of them a handful. Don't I deserve sympathy?" And the little :Arjunas laughed. The grievance was drowned in' the joke. On his release from the Aga Khan's Palace in May last Pandit Malaviyaji sent a wire of greetings expressing: "Every hope He will let you live hundred years to serve motherland and mankind." Gandhiji's reply was characteristic. In the course of his A.I.C.C. speech on the 8th of August, 1942, he had made a humorous allusion to the possibility of his living for a hundred and twenty-five years. He had often been reminded by friends about that remark as a "public commitment" to live for a hundred and twenty-five years. His reply to Malaviyaji ran: "Your wire. At a stroke you have cut off twenty-five years. Add' twenty-five to yours!"
THAT INFECTIOUS SMILE
His good humour is so catching that it led the late Maulana Mohamed Ali once to make a grievance of it. "Mahatmaji, you are very unfair to us. We come to you full of grouse, to quarrel with you. But you make us smile and laugh in spite of ourselves. So our grouse remains unventilated, and you think that it is, all right~ with us. And he quoted the wellknown couplet of Ghalib to describe his dilemma: muds nhnkj ls psgjs is tks vk tkrh gS jkSud os le>rs gSa fd chekj dk gky vPNk gSS Most people think that when Gandhiji meets to discuss political questions with his colleagues, the atmosphere must be very tense and solemn. The fact is that these meetings are often a picnic of wit and humour. Here is an illustration. C. R. and Gandhiji were discussing a letter which Gandhiji had addressed to Mr. Churchill containing his celebrated retort courteous to the latter's description of him as "the naked Fakir"! C. R. I am afraid your letter will be misunderstood. It was a naughty letter.
G. I don't think so. I meant it seriously. C. R. You have touched him on the raw by rubbing in a past utterance of his, of which he is probably not very proud. G. No. I have taken out the sting by appropriating his remark as an unintended compliment. C. R. I hope you are right. G. I am sorry, I can't return the compliment!
Even his most devastating retorts have the quality of benevolence. They leave no sting behind. At the Second Round Table Conference Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, in announcing the signing of what is known as the "Minorities' Pact", argued that they represented 46 per cent of In9ia's population. Therefore the Congress claim stood repudiated by about half the population of India. It was a plausible argument, and the House was on the tip toe of expectation when Gandhiji rose to reply: "You had a striking demonstration of the inaccuracy of this figure," he remarked, referring to the speeches of the women delegates. "You have had on behalf of the women a complete repudiation, of special representation, and as they happen to be one-half of the population of India, this 46 per cent is somewhat reduced!"
To a host of press correspondents who besieged him when his boat touched the shores of England on the same occasion, he retorted when a reference was made to his unconventional attire. ','The fashion here is plus-fours, I prefer minus-fours!"
Only once have I known anyone to get away with the last smile at his expense. It was in 1931, on board S. S. the Rajputana. He was indulging in a little swagger about his paternity bump, of which he has a grand conceit. He claimed that he could hold the baby of Shuaib Qureshi (now in Bhopal State Service) better than anyone else, and proceeded to make good his claim 'with a faked grimace. The baby smiled its sweetest, blandest smile as quietly it came into his arms. . . . Quickly Gandhiji returned it to its nurse, the baby still smiling but the grimace gone! N.B. I am indebted to my brother, Shri Pyarela1, for some of the anecdotes. New Delhi, June 1946.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Gandhiji And Women - Rameshwari Nehru
MY acquaintance with Gandhiji goes back to the year 1927. I heard and read about him ever since he returned to India from South Africa, and was a regular student of Young India. His sayings and teachings affected me deeply, and I felt irresistibly drawn towards him. But I had never met mm. He was much too high a personage out of the reach of an' insignificant individual like myself. So I felt. In the years 1927 and 1928 I served as a member of . the Age of Consent Committee appointed by the Government of India, and went to Ahmedabad in the course of my travels. He was then living in the Sabarmati Ashram, near Ahmedabad. I felt an urge to see him and sought an interview with him, wanting to ask his opinion on the '5ubjects of early marriage and the age of consent which were under the investigation of my Committee. An appointment was made, and I was given a few minutes interview. It was sometime in the forenoon, and he was busy with the inmates of the Ashram all about him. I do not
know what happened to me, but I was overwhelmed with emotion. Uncontrolled tears began to flow. I felt ashamed and became tongue-tied, not being able to say anything. Another appointment was made, and I came again to the Sabarmati Ashram; this time to spend the night so as to be able to attend the morning prayers. I was put in charge of the late. Mahadevbhai who looked after my needs and before retiring had a preliminary talk with me. Next morning at dawn prayer's were held on the sandy bank of the Sabarmati river. Thereafter I had my first walk with, Gandhiji. I explained to him, what we were doing in the Committee. He heard every,t4ing kindly and graciously. But I could feel a touch of, uncongeniality about the atmosphere. Without discouraging me, however, or without expressing his, disapproval of what I did, he made it clear that, although early marriage was bad and had to be stopped, his way of doing it was not through the agency of a foreign Government which he considered to be vicious and with which he thought it necessary to non-cooperate. He told me that, to achieve my object, the better way would be to go all over the country and preach against the evils of early marriage till people were, weaned from this evil custom. The serious part of the interview over, accompanied by a couple of young girls, he wended his way into the kitchen, sat down on a stool with a small table in front of him, and started peeling vegetables. A light conversation with the girls interspersed with jokes and laughter ensued. This made me feel at home and at ease. By the time the peeling of vegetables came to an end my time was over, and I came back to the labours of my Committee work pondering on all that I had seen and experienced. How does he find time for such a trivial occupation as the peeling of vegetables in the midst of his multifarious activities and with the heavy responsibilities of guiding big movements which shape the destiny of millions resting on his shoulders, and what common interest can he have with those simple, raw young girls whom I saw around him? They hardly looked educated. Greater understanding of him and closer association with him supplied me with answers to both these questions.'
'During my occasional and short visits both at Wardha and at Sevagram, as I watched him engrossed in his daily occupations, I realized the fact that with him there was no high or low either in work or in men. All work was service, and all service was dedication, and so
work had no rank with him.. I have seen him spending time in doling out food to the inmates of his Ashram with his own trembling hands both morning and evening. I have seen him devotedly attending on the sick. I have seen him giving as much time and attention to settling trivial disputes amongst his disciples, as one would give to settling matters concerning the most intricate affairs of politics or the State. He carefully reads the reports' of the smallest of institutions (and there are many such all over the country) run under his inspiration and guides them in great detail. He has time to enter into the domestic affairs of those who come near him and who seek his aid. He gives succour to the grief-stricken, and hope to the disheartened, by giving them daily attention. At this advanced age, with growing physical weakness and equally growing pressure of work, he writes his letters with his own hands. Others may consider all this a waste; and I have heard many highly placed men and women deploring the fact, asserting that, if Gandhiji spent his time a little more judiciously, saved it from these trivialities, and spent it on higher and greater objects which awaited his attention, things would be better managed. But I know how wrong such notions are, for the deep springs of Gandhiji's unfathomable love, like Christ's and Buddha's, must be equally shared by. all without any discrimination. It is the spontaneous natural- ness and the wisdom of these actions which is the real secret of the hold he has over millions. I can tell. from personal experience what thrill of joy a few uneven and illegible lines of his own hand-writing have given me and how I have longed to get them. It is this devotion to small matters which lifts him above everybody else, and makes the lowly feel that they too have a place in his scheme of things. In his dealings with human beings he has often struck me as a super-sculptor busily engaged with. the creation of. fine specimens of men and women out of the human material available to him. He moulds them, chisels them, and gives them a finish in accordance with his own conception of things. The fineness of the specimens he produces is naturally limited by the nature of the material at his command. There is, therefore, great variety and difference of stature and colour and fineness amongst his numerous followers on whom the skill of his chisel has been applied. But there is no doubt about the fact that i all those hundreds of thousands of men and women who I come under his magic influence are moulded into a better shape. They fall far short of his ideal, for it is so high; but they all benefit by the contact and evolve into a I better and higher life.
He is out to create a new world-a world which is free from the struggle and strife and turmoil of the world of today. He wants to bring the Kingdom of God on earth from which vicious human passions are eliminated and in which the governing force is love (ahimsa) and co-operation. For the creation of this world women supply the better material. He has often said that women can make better soldiers of his non-violent army than men. He therefore has confidence in them, and that is why they are so forcefully drawn towards him. I have often found him setting tasks to these little sisters of mercy too complicated and complex to be tackled even by men of great learning and power, with no other equipment except simplicity, humility, love of truth, and an iron will which he has instilled into them. These little women. wear themselves out at his bidding in fulfillment of the duties entrusted to them. Thus many of them are posted in different faroff corners of India burning the candle of their lives to give light to the poor around them. They live unknown to the outside world, enriching the little world they live in with the fragrance of their se1fless existence. The volume of their work may not be great, but its value lies in its purity which invisibly enlivens the world of their contact. He values an ounce of practice more than a pound of precept. All rituals and conventions of society, therefore, have value for him only in so far as they conform to the actual facts of life and are based on moral principles. Mere assertions of principles, however learned, are like empty shells if they are not followed by practice. He pushes this love of living the truth to dimensions beyond the conception of ordinary individuals. The latest instance of this love for the living truth regardless of consequences was the Indumati Tendulkar marriage celebrated last year at Sevagram under his instructions.
The procedure he adopted in this marriage gave a practical shape to the whole ritual of Hindu marriage, disregarding the fact that this ritual of his making was not recognized by the law of the land. He gave a new shape to the rite of Saptapadi which in its orthodox symbolic form represents seven steps taken by the couple jointly in the path of life. In this new ritual the bride and the bridegroom were made to accomplish in company with each other seven pieces of activities like the reading of the Bhagavadgita, spinning,
tending of the cow, cleaning the well-side and the land for cultivation etc., on the eve of the marriage. The priest who officiated at the marriage was a Harijan by caste and belonged to the Christian religion by profession. The whole proceedings were held in Hindustani. Amongst the list of pledges given and taken, some old unnecessary ones were omitted and new ones were introduced. In evolving this form of marriage the only one principle he regarded was strict adherence in life to the moral principles held by him and professed by the couple. At one stroke and in one action so many reforms which he advocates were woven into the fabric of life. Another instance of a similar nature happened when my son's marriage was celebrated in accordance with his advice. In this case the complication was that the bride belonged to a nationality and a faith different from those of the bridegroom, and the question of the ritual of marriage allowing freedom of religion to either party was to be solved. I give below his written opinion on the matter, which prominently brings into relief his bold adherence to moral laws I alone in defiance of all false notions of social prestige. The following is a quotation from what he wrote on the occasion: "The very word 'Hindu' is modern. The label was given to us. The name of .our religion is 'Manava Dharma', i. e., man's religion. Manusmriti is the code of man's religion. The fountain of all is the Vedas. But no one possesses all the Vedas~ Man's religion has been under- going evolution. Before the advent of British rule, society was undergoing change from time to time. British rule changed all this. What was fit for change became petrified. If there was a change, it came from either the Privy Council or the British-made legislatures. Owing to this much harm has been done, and society has become inert like the superimposed laws. In this state of things, my advice is to perform marriage rites according to morals prescribed by man's religion. That should be binding. We need not heed those British rules which are inconsistent with highest morals. We must run risks, if there be any in so doing." In the immensity of his work, he covers the whole of human life. No aspect is neglected. He has tried to solve all questions confronting individual and collective life. His solutions
are made with a view to evolving a civilization in which there is peace on earth and goodwill among men. New Delhi, 4-3-1946.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi In The South African Days - Millie Graham Polak
MANY of us who knew Gandhiji in the days. of long ago were aware that he had long had a deep interest in trying to heal a sick body-not only his' own, though with, that he was always experimenting, but just that of the many who were near or came to him for help. , :At one time he might have interested himself in orthodox medical science, though I cannot. say that he had ever made any real study of it. But orthodoxy was not for him, for, like all other things in his life, he sought to get back to what was to him the fountain-
head of life and health., So he sought to treat an ailment by what was known as naturecure methods. After reading Just's Return to Nature, in which the 'author had devised a special simple method of nature-cure, Gandhiji was convinced that here were to be found healing and absence of ills. It was about this time that an unhappy expense made a profound impression upon him, and deepened his suspicion of the orthodox medical schop1s'of thought and practice. An Indian trader had a dearly loved son, who had become seriously ill. Only an immediate operation, said the doctor in charge of the case, could cure the boy. The operation was not considered to be a serious one, but the father was filled with fear and anxiety. He consented at last. to. the operation, but.. begged Gandhiji to be with him during the ordeal, and to help the family at. the time of trial Gandhiji consented to do so. The operation was performed at the boy's home one Sunday morning. When, later that day, Gandhiji returned to us-my husband and I were then living with the Gandhi family-it was evident that he was still labouring under a severe emotional strain. We learned, upon inquiry, that the boy had died under the operation. Gandhiji seemed to feel that the boy need never have undergone it-and, in any case, that it had been incompetently performed, and that he might have recovered under other treatment. He worried about this considerably, and I think that he felt that his agreeing to be present on the occasion was tantamount to advising, and, therefore, being partially responsible for, the operation and the unhappiness of the bereaved family.
This experience certainly increased his bias towards 'unorthodox' methods of healing, and engendered a strong dislike of the surgeon's life. Several of us who were closely associated with him at the time underwent experiments with earth-poultices, cabinet steam-baths to be followed by a I plunge into a tub of cold water, colonic irrigation, acid fruit cures, fasts, many different types of diet, and several other trials. Always these experiments were first carried out on himself and the members of his own family. Many cases of illness or discomfort were quite successfully treated in this. manner-a poisoned
finger or a severely suppurating wound having made a remarkably quick recovery when treated with a clean, fresh earth-poultice. This same type of poultice, however, when applied to the stomach of my six-weeks old baby (who, like most infants, had a slight digestive trouble) proved not only a failure, but a real danger to the poor child. The shock of the cold compress produced a rigor and after my ministration had restored him to normal, I refused to have the method tested' on him again. The cure that seemed almost miraculous to those of us who watched it was that for which he was responsible in respect of Mrs. Gandhi. She was at the Phoenix Settlement, in Natal, and Gandhiji was at Johannesburg, in the Transvaal After having been ailing for some time, she became very ill, and the doctor, who lived twelve miles away, had to be sent for late one night. Upon examination, he found her suffering from a bad attack of pernicious anemia. He considered her condition so serious that he asked for her husband to be sent for at once. Upon Gandhiji's arrival, and after being closeted with Ba for some time, he told us that she had placed herself entirely in his hands for treatment, and that he was going to 'look after her himself. The doctor, who had been' urging, orthodox dietary treatment, which involved breach of the customary vegetarianism, was dispensed with, much to his indignation, and Gandhiji set to work and treat his 'wife. She was given frequent small quantities of acid fruit 'and practically no other food at first, and, contrary to the expectations: of those of us who feared the consequences of such drastic treatment of a weak and desperately sick woman, the trouble was arrested. After a week or two, simple, non-stimulating food was taken, and Ba commenced to improve. In due course, a complete cure was effected. In those days, Gandhiji accepted cow's milk as a valuable food, though already he was saying that, it was 'not a proper food for adults. Presently, he insisted that it stimulated the lower passions of man's nature. This line, of argument aroused strong opposition in me.' "If that be so," I said "then young children,. who are principally fed on milk, would be nothing but horrible little brutes, and you do not certainly believe that to be the case." However, he smiled tolerantly. Neither of us believed that the other was right. Shortly afterwards he took a vow never to drink again the milk of the cow and buffalo.
Since those days, doctors and surgeons played a bigger part ill Gandhiji's life. Even his fasts had to be carefully watched by his medical advisers, and probably only such medical care enabled him to retain for so long a hold on his physical body. And, too, he later learnt to distinguish between the moral consequences of taking cow's milk and goat's milk! I expect that he must often have thought back to the past and, in a way, felt that those days, full of hope and belief and strenuous endeavour, were rich in experiences and the knowledge that grew from them. Our dietary experiments were many and various. For some time, upon. his advice, Ba and I cooked without ordinary refined sugar. Cooked fruits, puddings or cakes were sweetened with raw cane syrup. When this phase passed, we had a saltless table. Salt, Gandhiji contended, other than that contained in natural foods, was bad not only for health but for the character. But years later, he conducted the great anti-salt tax campaign in India, and he and many others endured imprisonment therefore. Tea was not to be used, nor any other stimulant. Abstention from tea was, I think, a real deprivation for him, for, until my husband had denounced it to him as a stimulant or a narcotic, he had much enjoyed his afternoon cup in his office. When in London on one of his missions on behalf of his countrymen, his tea-parties were a delight to many. He would then be his most human self, teasing, laughing, and seemingly enjoying the friendly intercourse and the tea. An imitation coffee, made from roasted and ground cereals or peanuts, was the usual evening beverage. I personally struck against some of these austerities and refused to be Bound or worried by them; whereat Gandhiji, with his usual affectionate smile, would cease to argue with me, though keeping strictly to his own regime, intent on working out his own dietary theories. When Mr. G. K. Gokhale paid his historic visit to South Africa, in 1912, to investigate the Indian grievances there, my husband and I were no longer sharing a home with the Gandhi family, who were then living at Phoenix. A house had been placed at Mr. Gokhale's disposal by an Indian merchant. In all the arrangements for the distinguished visitor's comfort and convenience, Gandhiji entered minutely. When he discovered that Mr. Gokhale was suffering from diabetes, he and I used to char the bread and potatoes in
hot ashes, so as to extract as much starch as possible. Mr. Gokhale never knew of these culinary efforts to preserve his health. Nothing was ever too small for Gandhiji, and the more menial the task, the greater dignity he imparted to it by his own great earnestness and simplicity. . In our talks in the South African days, I came to realise that Gandhiji believed very intensely that man's essential nature was divine, and that if it were to be allowed to develop naturally from birth, the divine in him would expand as a flower and his natural wisdom would grow and manifest direct from God. This being his profound belief, it is understandable that education, in its ordinary sense, namely, the imparting of information along scholastic lines was of secondary importance to him. Many were the arguments that I had with him. Yet we did have a little school at the Phoenix Settlement for a short time, which the children of the settlers attended. The teaching was very rudimentary and amateurish, for the teachers were 'without much training or skill. Nevertheless, it was something in the right direction, and Gandhiji was interested in the work. A question that troubled him. somewhat during this period was ,how to convey the right Kind of sex-knowledge to the . children under his influence as they were reaching puberty. He realised that children growing up in a free life close to nature might misunderstand the right use of the procreative faculties and that experimenting and abuses might easily take place. At length he procured what at that time were regarded as standard works on what a boy and a girl should know and how they should be informed. The then teacher at the school was an unmarried woman, so Gandhiji did not feel that he could ask her advice on the books 'without embarrassing her. Being the only other Englishwoman there, and a married woman, he asked me to help him. Soon after, owing to his rapid immersion in the political struggle, the little school was closed; and nothing further was done in the matter.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi With Gandhiji On Deck - Edmond Privat
Our first meeting with Gandhiji was at Marseilles, in September 1931, when he arrived in Europe for the Round Table Conference. We went to the :French harbour on an early morning with Romain Rolland's sister, and together with Charlie Andrews we spent part of the day on board the ship with the Mahatma.
"It was a great experience. When we left, my wife wished him good success in London, and he replied, smiling: "Behaviour is success,"-a remark well summing up all his moral philosophy. We often quote it.
After the Round Table Conference we went to Paris to bring him to Switzerland, there he spent a week at Romain Rolland's house near Villeneuve. We organized his lectures at Lausanne and Geneva, and shall never forget his reply to an old man who asked him if he was not discouraged repeating the same non- violent advice
given by Christ two thousand years ago "without much success if we judge by history". "How long did you say?" asked Gandhiji with his usual good humour. "I said these things have been preached for twenty centuries in vain," insisted the old workman, who was a communist. "Well," answered the Mahatma, "do you think two thousand years such a long time to learn something as difficult as to return good for evil?" Gandhiji's part in human history will have shown that at least one nation agreed to fight for its freedom in a peaceful way thanks to his teaching and to the best spiritual tradition of the country. After such an event the world. will never be the same as before. Even Norway followed Gandhiji's inspiration in its resistance to the Nazi authorities. After his Swiss visit Gandhiji and his party went , south to Brindisi to sail back home on the S. S. Pilsna, and we accompanied them to the Italian frontier at two hours' notice. It was during that journey in the train that he asked us why we did not visit India. We replied that the journey was too expensive. "You probably think in terms of first or second class," he explained laughing, "but we only pay ten pounds each for our passage on deck and, once there, many Indian friends would open their houses to you." We counted how much money we had in our pockets, and decided to seize the opportunity. We stayed in the train, went to Rome with the party and, there, got the visa and the tickets. We had no luggage, except a tooth-brush, and an umbrella, but we bought some bedding at Rome and sent a few telegrams to cancel lectures. Such an adventure is only offered once in a lifetime. The journey on the S. S. Pilsna was wonderful. We all kept in row on deck, and Gandhiji was very jolly, full of wit, and very kindly teaching us about Indian ways, Indian food, and taking trouble for his friends: comfort with a real mother's heart.
They say that a great man is never great to his servant, and that illusions fall when you live near him. Well, Gandhiji is an exception to the rule, and he is still greater when you are his companions day and night. His humour and his kindness are unforgettable. We spent three weeks in close, intimacy, sharing all the details of daily routine on deck, even cleaning our common corner when the dogs of the first class passengers invaded it, and we found the Mahatma great as ever. He does not impose an overwhelming or crusmI1g personality on you as other great men often do. He just makes the atmosphere absolutely honest and clear by his presence and his love. of truth. Who could ever lie to such a guide and friend, a real brother of men? These three weeks with him on the S. S. Pilsna were a rare privilege, and such an introduction to India was unique. Gandhiji's love of his people is boundless, but never blind. Many times he repeated that his mission was to accustom men to use a better method, than war in their struggle for freedom. Indian self-government was not an end in itself: the nonviolent fight to achieve it was the occasion for a new experience in human history and a step towards abolishing war. When a radiogram announced that a girl student had tried to murder the Governor of Bengal, he was as deeply ashamed as if she had been his own daughter, and felt himself responsible. His pain was hard to bear. His description of Islam and of Muslims to us was the most generous we ever heard. He wanted us to under- stand the greatness of their religion and their sense of democratic equality. A few days after Christmas we landed at Bombay, where huge crowds were waiting to welcome him back. The political situation was tense and the atmosphere revolutionary. Jawaharlal Nehru had just been arrested. Lord Willingdon refused to discuss such measures with Gandhiji. The Congress contemplated a new civil disobedience campaign as a protest.
At the mass meeting on the Maidan we could compare the Indian leader's tone with the language of nationalist leaders in Europe and with their brutal appeals to hatred. Gandhiji was reminding the crowds of their promise of nonviolence, and was asking every man and woman to be ready to give their life in protecting English officials and their families against any injury or insult. "We are not fighting them, but the system of government that employs them". Staying with the same friends who were his hosts at Bombay, we could watch his patience and calm in very difficult circumstances. In the early morning there was a meeting for worship in a public square, where a silent mass of white-clad men and women squatted around their beloved leader. He only said a few words, mostly against fear, which is the chief cause of violence. If you are free from any dread, either of losing your possessions or your life, you can remain calmly brave and love your opponent while resisting his intrusions. Early another morning before sunrise, we saw the police arrest him on the roof of his host's house, and two very tall officers standing on both sides of, the stairs with tears in their eyes. We shall never forget that scene. Even then he found time to scribble a few words of general introduction for us, a sort of Indian passport on a precious scrap of paper. It opened all doors through India and, while he was :in jail, at Poona, in that winter of 1932, we found his spirit and his inspiration alive everywhere from North to. South. Travelling third class and wearing khaddar, we made hundreds of friends in the trains. . Two testimonials impressed us specially. A woman with white hair explained why she and so many of her sisters had come out of their homes to take part in the Gandhi led movement, much against old. customs: "We felt that he would never ask us to do anything against love or truth." In Calcutta, the great Poet of India, Rabindranath Tagore, told us what he thought was Gandhiji's greatest achievement: "He taught our people to cast away fear and so to ,free themselves from hatred and hypocrisy, for both go together."
The world owes a deep debt of gratitude to India for having chosen such a leader and shown mankind a way out of war in following his prophetic vision. Neucbatel (Switzerland), 25-3-1946.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Reminiscences - Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas
APART from learning from newspapers about the fame of Gandhiji in connection with his satyagraha in South Africa, my first knowledge about his firm views was when he returned from overseas and there was a move on the part of the orthodox members of the Modh Bania community in' Bombay to put Gandhiji out of the caste. There were many who did not approve of this. When. mention was made qf this move to Gandhiji: he simply said: "Why take the trouble of passing a resolution put-' ting me out of the caste? 1 am prepared to go out of the caste myself." This deservedly curt treatment of the orthodox element in the caste has had its own effect, and those who felt that they would in the least degrade him by their resolution, if carried, reconciled .themselves t9,doing nothing. Gandhiji's attitude regarding matters concerning his caste of Modh Banias has
been a consistently cold and indifferent one all through, without bring in any way. provocative or disrespectful. The net result today is that the Modh Bania community feel proud of him, and caste restrictions are slowly but most definitely being worn out, if not effaced. My first contact with Gandhiji was in 1920, when' he was about to launch the noncooperation movement for the first time. 1 then saw him by appointment through the late Revashankar Jagjivan, who used to be his host in Bombay at Mani Bhavan. I was Wing to Understand from Gandhiji how the non-cooperation movement could at all succeed under the circumstances of the country and the people at the time.' Gandhiji's one reply, after I explained my point of, view to him, was: "I will make this experiment with such as choose to follow me. There is such dire poverty in the country that I shall get my following from the masses, even though I may not get it from the classes." As I was leaving Gandhiji after the interview, Pandit Motilal Nehru came in to see him,' and' that was the first time I met the Panditji. He enquired of Gandhiji about me, and Gandhiji said that I was the Sheriff of Bombay. Panditji, half jocularly, remarked: "He will have to give this up now;" and Gandhiji, without waiting for me to ,say a word, rejoined: "He will do it more thoroughly than many, but he will only do it when he is convinced of our line of action being the correct one." As Revashankarbhai said good-bye to me at the threshold of the staircase of the second floor of his building, he asked if I felt that the interview had been a useful one. I replied in all earnestness: "It is a serious move and will require to be watched at every turn!' My next interview with Gandhiji was in 1921 immediately after the landing of the Prince of Wales at Bombay when commotion took place in Bombay and Gandhiji went on fast. It was decided that, when Gandhiji was to break his fast, a few friends should be present. I was specially invited to this, and there were a few speeches requesting Gandhiji to break the fast and assuring him of the loyalty of all India to him. At the end of these speeches, he asked me to say a few words. This took me by surprise, as nothing in that direction was indicated to me. But on his repeating his request, I referred to what I felt was most lacking in Indian public life or private, namely discipline. A few friends from the
Congress circle were upset by my few words, but I was given to understand that Mahatmaji said to them: "Purshotamdas touched the correct thing, and I am glad he said it on this occasion." Gandhiji's father had been Dewan of Rajkot; and during the agitation against that State, which developed just before the Tripuri session of the Congress over which Subhash Babu presided, Gandhiji decided to follow Kasturba who had gone to Rajkot, having been brought up at Rajkot though her birth-place was Porbandar. When I heard about this, I particularly asked friends in Bombay to arrange that I should be able to see Gandhiji in Bombay on his way to Rajkot. It was a Monday, his silence day, and he was to be in Bombay only for a few hours. As soon as he learnt that I was anxious to see him, he very kindly sent a message back saying that he would start his silence an hour or two later, so that I might go and see him at his host's place in Juhu. I particularly appreciated this, and had about half-an-hour's talk with him at Juhu. I suggested to him that in my opinion Rajkot was-too small a problem for him to go personally to solve. Gandhiji's only reply was: "I know it, but I feel. that, if I can go, I should not avoid it." I reminded him of the divided loyalty which was bound to worry him, and he said quite seriously: "That is exactly why I am going. The people are not in the wrong, and the Dewan has a great hold over the young Thakore. Perhaps I may be able to render a small service to the State which was served by my father." I left Gandhiji convinced that he would, with his tact and usual resourcefulness, bring about the best solution permissible under the circumstances there. And so it did happen. Gandhiji has proved that whenever he wills it so, he can stretch a thing without making it snap. The last incident that I may refer to is what took place during my recent illness in 1945. He had kind enquiries made after my health fairly regularly, and on the very first day after his arrival in Bombay, after the evening prayers, he told his host, Mr. Birla, that he was calling on me. When Mr. Birla said that at about 8.30 p.m. I might not be able to see him, all that Gandhiji said was: "Anyway I will see him, if he cannot see me." He called at my residence with Dr. Sushila Nayyar and another friend. My daughter and grandson had left me for the evening just a few minutes before, and the nurse was preparing me for the night's rest. A servant brought the message that Mahatmaji had arrived. My wife was
wondering what to say to him, but she forthwith went down to meet him. Gandhiji at once asked: "Is Purshotamdas in?" When my wife said: "I am afraid he cannot come down, but he is a little better," Gandhiji smilingly said: "Oh, I can go up and, if you like, I will take you up with me to convince you that I can go up the stairs comfortably." Without waiting any more, he started going up the stairs, and as soon as he was at the entrance of my bed-room, he said in his cheerful voice: "Don't move at all. I will come and sit by you." He was one of the very few who, instead of enquiring of me as to the why and wherefor of my illness, kept on talking to me merely, as if bracing me to the course of recovery. He left me after twenty minutes, and the nurse in attendance, who saw him for the first time, said: "If only I could be, sure that patients would have such visitors calling on them, they would do more for a patient's recovery than doctors themselves." Bombay, July 1946.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Gandhiji-Romain Rolland Meeting - Miraben
(The following, which is taken from The Nation (New York), is a letter written by the late Romain Rolland to an American friends of his on the visit of Gandhiji to his home. MIRABEN} How I should have liked ,to have you' here during the visit of the Indians! They stayed five days - from the 5th to 11th December at the Villa Vionette. The little man, bespectacled and toothless, was wrapped in his white burnoose but his legs, thin as a heron's stilts, were bare. His shaven head with its few coarse hairs was uncovered and
wet with rain. He came to me with a dry laugh. his mouth open like a good dog panting, and flinging an arm round me leaned his cheek against my shoulder. I felt his grizzled head against my cheek. It was, I amuse myself thinking, the kiss of Saint Dominie and Saint Francis. Then came Mira (Miss Slade), proud of figure and with the stately bearing of a Demeter, and finally three Indians, one a young son of Gandhi, Devadas, with a round and happy face. He is gentle, and but little aware of the grandeur of his name. The others were secretaries - disciples -two young men of rare qualities of heart and mind Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal. As I had contrived shortly beforehand to get a severe cold on my chest, it was to my house and to. the chamber on the second floor where I sleep at Villa Olga - you) will remember it- that Gandhi came each morning for long conversations. My sister interpreted, with the assistance of Mira, and I had also a Russian friend and secretary, Miss Kondacheff, who took notes on our discussions. Some good photographs by Schlemmer, our neighbor from Montreux recorded the aspect of our interviews. "Evenings, at seven o'clock, prayers were held in the first-floor salon. With lights lowered, the Indian seated on the carpet, and the little assembly of the faithful grouped about, there was a suite of three beautiful chants - the first an extract from the Gita, the second an ancient 'hymn on the Sanskrit texts which Gandhi has translated, and the third a canticle of Rama and Sid intoned by the warm, grave voice of Mira. "Gandhi held other prayers at three o'clock in the morning, for which, in London, he used to wake his harassed staff, although he had not retired until one. This little man, so frail in appearance, is tireless, and fatigue is a word which does not exist in his vocabulary. He could calmly answer for hours the heckling of a crowd, as he did at Lausanne and Geneva, without a muscle of his face twitching. Seated on a table, motionless, his voice always clear and calm, he replied to his adversaries open or masked -and they were not lacking at Geneva - giving them rude truths which left them silenced and suffocated.
The Roman bourgeoisie, and nationalist, who had at first received him with crafty looks, quivered with rage when he left. I believe that if his stay had lasted any longer, the public meetings would have been forbidden. He pronounced himself as unequivocally as possible on the double questions of national armaments and the conflict between capital and labour. I was largely responsible for steering him on this latter course. His mind proceeds through successive experiment's into action and he follows a straight line, but he never stops, and one would risk error in attempting to judge him by what he said ten years ago, because his thought is in constant revolution. I will give you a little example of it that is characteristic.
GOD IS TRUTH
"He was asked at Lausanne to define what he understood by God. He explained how, among the noblest' attributes which the Hindu scriptures ascribed to God, he had in his youth chosen the word" truth" as most truly defining the essential element. He had then said, 'God is Truth.' "But," he added, .. two years ago I advanced another step, now say, Truth is God. For; even the atheists do not doubt the necessity for the power of truth. In their passion for discovering the truth, the atheists have not hesitated to deny the existence of God, and, from their point of view, they are right." You will understand from this; single trait the boldness and independence of this religious spirit from the Orient. I noted in him traits similar to Vivekanand. And yet not a single political ruse catches him unprepared. And his own politics are to say everything that he thinks to everybody, not concealing a thing. On the last evening, after the prayers, Gandhi asked me to play him a little of Beethoven. He does not know Beethoven, but he knows that Beethoven has been the intermediary between Mira and me, and consequently between Mira and himself, and that, in the final count, it is to Beethoven that the gratitude of us all must go, I played him the Andante of the Fifth Symphony. To that I added, "Les Champs Elysees" of Gluck- the page for the orchestra and the air for the flute.
He is very sensitive to the religious chants of his country, which somewhat resemble the most beautiful of our Gregorian melodies, and he has worked to assemble them. We also exchanged our ideas on art, from which he does not separate his conception of truth, nor from his conception of truth that of joy, which he thinks truth should bring. But it follows of itself that for this heroic nature joy does not come without effort, not even life itself without hardship. The seeker after truth hath a heart tender as the lotus, and hard as granite. "Here, my dear friend: are a few hints of those days of ours together on which I have taken much more detailed notes. What I do not dwell on to you is the hurricane of intruders, loiterers, and half-wits which this visit loosed on our two villas. No, the telephone never ceased ringing; photographers in ambuscades let fly their fusillades from behind every bush. The milkmen's syndicate at Leman informed me that during all the time of this sojourn with me of the King of India they intended to assume complete responsibility for his victualling". We received letters from 'Sons of God'. Some Italians wrote to the Mahatma beseeching him to indicate for them the ten lucky numbers for the next drawing of his weekly national lottery! "My sister, having survived, has gone to take ten day's rest at a cure in Zurich. She returns shortly. For my part I have entirely lost the gift of sleep. If you find it, send it to me by registered mail ! Harijan, Vol.11, p.403
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Some Reminiscences of the visit of Mahatma Gandhi to Romain Rolland in 1931 - Madeliene Rolland
ONE of the most precious memories of my life is that of the visit which Gandhi paid to my brother, on his way back from the Round Table Conference at London, in 1931. We were then residing in Switzerland, near Villeneuve, at the eastern end of Lake Leman. We had long looked forward to this meeting, and more than once we had been disappointed. What was, therefore, our joy when we received a wire announcing that the Mahatma would arrive on the 6th of December! We were tenants of two small villas at ten minutes' distance from Villeneuve, enclosed within a large park and separated from each other only by their own small gardens. It was in one of these villas, the further of the two from the road, that we arranged to offer Gandhiji and his party our modest hospitality with, however, the advantage of complete independence.
On Sunday, the 6th of December, as night was Coming on, Gandhi arrived by train from Paris. It was com; it was raining. My brother, still suffering from an attack of bronchitis, was unable to go to the station to welcome his revered friend. But he was waiting for him at the threshold of the Villa Lionnette when Gandhi, enveloped in his big white shawl and followed by friends, some Indian and some European, appeared. My brother moves forward, his hands held out; Gandhi, pressing his cheek on his shoulder, puts his arm around him in a moving brotherly embrace. A few words of welcome are exchanged, and we take on: guest. to the upper floor where a room almost unfurnished is reserved for him, with one window overlooking the Lake I and two others the beautiful Alps of Savoy, the wide valley I of the Rhone against the background of the glaciers of the Dent du Midi. It is there that he will stay during his all too short visit, I from that Sunday evening of December 6th to the following from Friday, the 11th; there, too, that the morning and evening prayers will usually be held; there that, seated at his spinning wheel, he will receive the many visitors of all races and all strata who will stream in ceaselessly. Hi!' son Devadas, his disciples and secretaries, Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal, and the devoted Mira supervising everything, will share the other rooms. Henceforth, letters, telegrams, messages, telephone calls (the latter, fortunately, received only at the Villa Olga) will keep up uninterruptedly. Now it is Lausanne reminding the Mahatma of his promise to address several meetings; then, Geneva, notified of his visit later, feeling desperate at having to take second place and claiming the immediate presence of Gandhi at a large public meeting; then there are all the press correspondents, most of them ignorant enough of the real life and teaching of the master; and above all come ail the fervent admirers of non-violence (amidst whom, of course, there are a few prompted by curiosity) requesting interviews and vying with each other in offering the greatest service. Two reverend fathers place ,their car at the disposal of Gandhi during the entire period of his, stay; a young musician, every morning at dawn, plays the violin under his windows; a Japanese artist comes hurrying from Paris to make sketches; school children bring him flowers; and on the eve of his departure the choir of Villeneuve will
sing popular songs in the garden, including the celebrated Ranz des Vaches (Calling the Herd), that song which even more than the national anthem touches the heart of every Swiss away from his motherland, arousing patriotic love coupled with a feeling of home sickness. And let me not forget to mention the Syndicate of the Milkmen of Leman who, even before Gandhi's arrival, had phoned to express their desire to supply milk to the "King of India"! Amidst that seeming confusion, Gandhiji remains calm and smiling,! punctual at every one of the engagements he makes, and yet managing, somehow, at dawn or during any moment of leisure in the course of the day, to slip out of the house and to stride briskly along through the neighbouring country, accompanied by. the faithful Mira, but watched by photographers hidden behind trees and followed (we blushed to witness this!) by British and Swiss policemen, entrusted, so they pretend, with "protecting" him! On Wednesday afternoon, he asks to be driven by car to a ,mountain village where he calls on an old peasant woman whom Mira had known when she was still Madeleine Slade and used to come to us at Villeneuve; that old woman spins and weaves her own garments; and so Gandhi is happy to shake hands with her, to sit at her loom and to fraternize 'with her before proceeding along the steep road up to Leysin where he says a few words to the tubercular students of the University Sanatorium. But before all else, he gives preference to his daily interviews with Romain Rolland for which he sets aside jealously two to three hours. Is not that the sole reason .for his having come? And so, sometimes in the morning and sometimes at the end of the afternoon, he will go across "the little garden of the Villa Lionnette and enter through the gate that of the Villa Olga to go up to my brother, since he does not wish the latter, in his indifferent state of health, to be exposed to the cold and dampness of a specially' rainy season. Then, Romain Rolland at his desk and Gandhiji -facing him cross-legged on a settee, talk to each other as if alone, for the rest of us are silent listeners-Mira, Mahadev, Pyarelal, my future sister-in-law and myself. We .are there only to take notes or to be called upon as interpreters. They discuss the grave problems which they have at heart. My brother describes for Gandhi the tragic situation of Europe: the sufferings of the people oppressed by dictators; the drama of the proletariat who in their desperate effort to break the
shackles of an anonymous and . ruthless capitalism and pushed forward by their legitimate aspiration for justice and freedom, see only one way out, that of rebellion and violence. For man in the West is by education, by tradition and by temperament unprepared for the religion of ahimsa...... Gandhi listens, reflects..... When he answers, he reaffirms his unshakable faith in the full power of nonviolence. Yet he understands that to convince sceptical Europe the concrete example of a successful experiment in nonviolence would be necessary. Will India furnish it? He hopes so many are the burning topics that are touched upon during these intimate talks, in the course of which the two speakers open their hearts without any reservation. At times their conclusions vary; yet always they commune with each other through their common love for humanity, their identical desire to alleviate its misery, their fervent search for Truth, in its multiplicity of aspects. On Tuesday the 8th and on Thursday the 10th, the Swiss Pacifists (headed by Edmond Privat and Pierre Ceresole organized public meetings in Lausanne and Geneva, respectively. Gandhi, refusing the motor car which is offered him, takes the train to Lausanne, traveling in third class, as his custom is. There a large crowd awaits him, eager to hear him speak, and receiving enthusiastically the answers that Gandhi gives to the various questions put to him at the public meeting, answers which are remarkable for their precision, their clearness, for the presence of mind they show, as also for their biting frankness. But the two private gatherings at Lausanne are more moving still. Of these one is set apart for his personal friends; at which Pierre Ceresole, founder of the Civil International Service; states to- Gandhi his point of view on' the practice of non..; Gandhi gives to the various questions put to him at the public meeting, answers which are remarkable for their precision, their clearness , for the presence of mind, they show, as also for their biting frankness. But the two private gatherings at Lausanne are more moving still. Of these one is set apart for his personal friends, at which Peirre Ceresole, founder of the Civil International Service, states to Gandhi his point of view on the practice of non violence. Ceresole (that noble personage who has just passed from the scene) believes that he can reconcile with his duties as a loyal citizen his passionate fight against war and militarism. He thinks that, if a conscientious' objector refuses to comply
with the obligation of compulsory military service, because to him it represents a maleficent and destructive force, he owes the State voluntary service; beneficent and constructive, in exchange for the protection it gives him, and hence should pledge himself to assist the victims of national and international calamities. On this basis was created the Civil International Service. Gandhi, on the other hand, explains that for him there is only one logical attitude possible towards a militaristic Government, and that is total noncooperation. A painful and perplexing inner conflict for a sincere soul who in all loyalty, as in all humility, cannot and does not wish to resolve it on the spot. The other private gathering, held in a church, is for the representatives of the Pacifist groups in Switzerland. It is permeated by a religious atmosphere which becomes more striking still as Gandhi speaks of his experiences and explains - how he passed from his first definition of God, "God is Love," to "God is Truth," and finally to "Truth is God." Meanwhile the public meeting at Lausanne, which had been broadcast, was having its repercussions. Gandhi's voice. had aroused echoes throughout Switzerland as well as abroad. Some of his statements had awakened fear in the minds of the narrowly conservative. Furthermore, Gandhi !:lad dared to protest openly against the way in which his words and even his motives had been misrepresented by two of the leading newspapers of Switzerland. These did not forgive him. Overnight the press, until then rather favourable changed its tone. As a result the public meeting at Geneva took place in an atmosphere altogether different from that which had prevailed in Lausanne. On Thursday the ,10th of December, the large amphitheatre of Victoria Hall was filled with a dense crowd among whom one could sense conflicting tendencies. The upper bourgeoisie were there, capitalistic and militaristic, and hence hostile to Gandhi; some Socialists, sceptical and curious, wanting to hear him speak of social problems; and some Pacifists, his followers; Most of the questions raised were but. traps behind their insidious simplicity. One of them brought up the. case of a neutral country, such as Switzerlandwhat should it do faced with foreign invasion? Must it not defend itself, and therefore did it not need an army? In a tranf1uil' yet firm voice Gandhi answers: "An army is useless: It would be enough to have all citizens, men, women and children, making of their bodies a
wall against the enemy;' And if the latter should be barbarous enough to butcher them, their death at least would bear good fruit." The other question refers to the class struggle. And Gandhi answers: "Labour does not know its own power. Did it know it, it would only have to rise to have capitalism crumble away. For Labour is the only power in the world." Such statements fill the bourgeoisie with silent fury while most of the audience applaud.
One can understand, however, that such declarations by Gandhi were looked upon as dangerous by the authorities and commented upon with indignation by the press. It is very likely that, if the departure of the Mahatma had ,not already been fixed for the next day, his expulsion as an undesirable, might have been considered.
That same day, Gandhi, indefatigable and having taken only a few minutes' sleep on the hard, benches of the third class compartment, was back in Villeneuve to have one more talk with my brother, in the short free interval before the evening prayers. !These were held on this day, in the ground floor of the Villa Olga, so as to allow Romain Rolland to be present. Afterwards, in the silence which followed the last hymn, my brother, accompanied only by Gandhiji, Mira and myself, went up to his little music room. There, at the request of the Mahatma, he played on the piano an andante movement of a symphony of Beethoven, an invocation without words to the Deity, by the religious soul of the great composer. For Gandhi knew that it was through Beethoven that Mira had known Romain Rolland, and, that it was to Beethoven therefore that he owed his faithful disciple...... The following day, Friday the 11th of December; the sun, which on the previous days had hidden itself, flooded the country, revealing to our guests for the first time the mountains and glaciers clear of mists, and the sparkling lake. That morning there took place the last interview, even more intimate and more affectionate than the preceding ones. Then the preparations for the departure. The good weather fortunately permitted my brother to go
to the station. On the square, a sympathetic and curious crowd had gathered, as also friends who had come to greet Gandhiji who was to cross through Italy, halting at Rome, before embarking at Brindisi. My brother had warned him against the tricks of the Fascists who might try to get hold of him and thereby compromise him. To protect him my brother had succeeded in having Gandhiji invited to stay at Rome with a friend whose integrity was beyond doubt and whose. hospitality was therefore above any possibility of suspicion. We stand beside those who are about to leave us, reflecting sadly on the fact that most likely in this world we shall not see each other again, yet deeply grateful that Providence should have granted us the privilege of living a few days near Gandhi, to feel the radiance of his presence, as also to be richer through the affection of new spiritual brothers, for it was thus that we looked upon Mahadev, Pyarelal, Devdas...... Then, Gandhi, coming towards my brother, gives him a farewell embrace and gets into his compartment. We stay a long time looking at Mira who waves a last good- bye. The train starts, carrying our friend towards his destiny of earthly trials and spiritual victories. (Translated, from the original French, by Shrjmati Sophia Wadia.) Paris, 14-2-1946.
Reminiscences Of Gandhi Gandhiji And Medicine - G. R. Talwalkar
IT was in about the middle of 1918 that I first came in personal contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He was then in a bad condition of health due to acute dysentery. Dr. B. N. Kanuga of Ahmedabad was treating him, and was feeling very puzzled as to how to persuade him to take a few injections of emetine which alone was the right remedy for Gandhiji's trouble. But Mahatmaji was firm that he would not ,allow his body to be injected with the medicine, and he asked for some nature cure method of treatment. We, doctors, have not, I must admit, paid sufficient attention to nature cure methods according to Mahatmaji's conception, but I must say that for acute amoebic .dysentery there is no treatment so sure as a few injections of emetine hydrochloride. We were almost at our wit's end how to give Mahatmaji emetine. Suddenly it struck me that, if we proposed to him an enema, he would gladly allow us that procedure. So we proposed to him that we would only give him an enema. He at once agreed, and we added to the enema water a full dose of emetine and morphia. This little procedure had such marvellous effect on our patient within the next twenty-four hours that he voluntarily asked for a repetition of the same enema procedure for five successive days, with the result that his dysentery was cured and he was able to travel from Nadiad to Ahmedabad in a week's time and; placed
himself completely under my care without questioning my authority. Soon, however, I discovered that he was taking no food and even no milk. He was under the impression that a dozen or two of oranges were enough for maintaining his nutrition; and when I said that it could not support his body and strength for more than a few days, he challenged me to convince him about the -fallacy of his fancy. So I showed to him from a wellknown authority on dietetics that, if a man wished to live entirely on oranges, he would require about 50 to 75 oranges a day to give him enough nourishment, but that would more certainly produce diarrhoea. Mahatmaji was at once convinced, and from that day he began to take rice and chapati as his daily diet, but he would not take a single drop of milk. We, doctors, believe that, for pure vegetarians as we Hindus are, milk is the most precious and indispensable animal protein diet. I tried my best to persuade Gandhiji to take milk, but he would not agree on this point. A few months later when he was in Bombay the late Surgeon A. K. Dalal, with the help of Kasturba, ) was able to persuade Gandhiji to take goat's milk. The story is narrated by Gandhiji in his autobiography. For some time after Gandhiji resumed to take rice and chapatis, in spite of good feeding, he did not pick up energy satisfactorily, and I was getting anxious about his future. At this juncture came into the field one Dr. Kelkar who had for some time studied the use of naturotherapy in the form of rubbing the back with ice as a valuable and rapid method of bringing vigour to the body. At first this good and sincere man was a butt of ridicule by some inmates of the Ashram, and Gandhiji would not let himself be experimented upon by this faithful apostle of naturopathy. Gandhiji asked my opinion about this novel treatment. When I whole-heartedly endorsed the views of Dr. Kelkar the ice treatment began, and within a fortnight Gandhiji so much improved in health and, vigour that I willingly offered half the credit of having cured him at that time to Dr. Kelkar. In 1935 Gandhiji had high blood pressure, and his condition at times caused much concern to many of his doctors. At this juncture somebody (I do not know who it was) suggested the use of garlic as a remedy against high blood pressure. It was then that I sent to Harijan some . of my views on the medicinal virtues of garlic, as I had long since known that in the south of Italy garlic was much used by the poor as a remedy against
tuberculosis,and one Dr. Minchin in Ireland highly praised the local application of garlic poultice to tuberculous glands and sinuses as an effective remedy. The late Shri Mahadevbhai got intensely interested in the use of garlic, and Wrote to me a letter asking for my experiences with it. I had been using a concentrated extract of garlic in cases of lung tuberculosis with very gratifying results, but I could not convince my medical brothers about this. However, I found that Gandhiji at once took to the daily use of garlic; and I yet believe that his continued good health for years after his high blood pressure had frightened doctors out of their wits, may be attributed to the regular use of garlic. Gandhiji always had an open mind; and though inconveniently inquisitive at the beginning, he was the most enthusiastic follower of a principle once he was convinced about its soundness. Here is the key of a great mind. Bombay, 5-6-1948.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.