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Bringing Mahatma Gandhi to Life by audio, images, video and writings.
Bringing Mahatma Gandhi to Life by audio, images, video and writings.

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Mahatma Gandhi as never seen before - unless you knew him personally. Visit http://www.colourfulgandhi.com/order

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I WANT YOU, NOT YOUR MONEY
I saw Gandhiji for the first time in London in 1909, in an English suit and a top hat. A party was given to a friend who had completed his education in England, and I was invited to it. Gandhiji too was there. When he was asked to speak, he got up and said: 'Why do you give him a party? What has he done? He has merely completed his studies. Let him go to South Africa and work there.' That was the tone of his speech even in those days. The next time I saw him at Kanpur in 1916 in the simple dress of a peasant. The first thought that came to me was that he had become so poor. I pitied his lot, and thought of taking out some guineas from my pocket to give to him. That was my second impression of him. The third time I met him was in Bihar in 1917, when, on his way to Champaran, he stayed as a guest with my father-in-law, the late Mazhar-ul-Haque Saheb. The fourth time I met him was in 1921. The Ali Brothers had asked me to suspend my practice at the Bar, hut I refused to do so and said: 'Why do you want me to suspend my practice? I will give you money, if you want it.' But I had to give in when Gandhiji asked me to suspend the practice, saying: 'We want you and not your money.' (As it was said by St. Paul: I seek not yours but you.' —2 Cor, 120 4.) "After that," Dr. Mahmud added, "I have been in intimate contact with him. I resumed my practice in 1925 with his permission, and left it finally in 1930, after which I have never practised."
Source: The Great Experimenter - By Bharatan Kumarappa, Incidents.
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DISCRIMINATION BY THE VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION
"When Gandhi was in South Africa, he was liable to the same restrictive laws (as the natives and the coloured). So, to protect him, my brother granted him a Certificate of Exemption. I remember an incident which occurred when my brother had invited him one night to dinner. The natives, serving at the table, protested at being called upon to attend to an Indian, and it was only after it had been explained to them that Gandhiji was a great man, just like a native chief, that they were prepared to continue their service...."
Source : F.E.T. Krause: Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Reminiscences of Gandhiji, ed. Chandra Shanker Shukla, p, 160
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STAMPEDES OF DONORS
"Travelling with Gandhiji is a remarkable experience. I accompanied him on his tour in Bengal, Assam and Madras in the cold weather of 1945-46. Everywhere the enthusiasm of the people for him was unbounded. In some cases it was beyond control, and people stopped his train and demanded darshan (auspicious glimpse) even at odd hours of the night before they would let the train pass. On the night that we were travelling from Wardha to Calcutta, he was so tired with the noise and the shouting throughout the day that he sat in his seat exhausted, with his fingers in his ears. It was a pathetic sight. He went to bed at 9:30 p.m. with cotton wool stuffed in his ears.... Our worst experience was as we travelled through Bengal to Assam. Mobs stopped the train repeatedly by pulling the alarm chain. They flashed torches on Gandhiji's face to have a look at him, and banged the windows of his compartment to make him get up and give them darshan. We were entirely at their mercy. Because of being held up the mail took 131/2 hours to cover distance usually made in 61/2 hours. After this bad experience, the Government of Bengal would not allow him to travel by ordinary trains. Gandhiji protested in vain, saying that as a public worker he did not want any special facilities. He believed that public money should not be used for providing comforts to people who were journeying at public cost. The Government, however, was adamant. If ultimately he yielded and permitted a special to be provided for him, it was because he was told that the Railway could not afford to have ordinary trains detained for several hours on the way, and that such delay caused other passengers and the Railway great inconvenience. So thereafter we had to travel by special trains. During the journey, whenever the train stopped at stations, he collected money for the Harijan Fund. People often underwent torture to get through the crowd to place money in his hand. They pushed their way through, and in the process got crushed, or tore their clothes, or lost their chappals. Still they persisted
till they could reach his outstretched hand. It often happened that someone was at the point of placing money in his hand, and Gandhiji was bending (down) to take the gift, holding on to the window sill to prevent himself from falling out, the crowd would push and the gift receded. He would laugh like a child heartily stretch his hand out all the more till he secured the money with evident glee. At one station in Andhra, I noticed a woman holding in her hand a pair of gold bangles and trying hard to get to him. She struggled for
well over five minutes although she was within a few feet to where he stood. At times she was pushed towards him, at tines away from him. She could make little progress and seemed in great distress. In the meantime Gandhiji went off to the other side of the compartment to give darshan to the throngs who demanded his presence there. The woman, however, continued to struggle to get to within reach of his window, thinking that he might still come back to it. On seeing this, I spoke to him about her and brought
him back. But just as she was pushing through desperately, the train whistled and started off. She made one last frantic effort, but was mercilessly pushed back by the police. And there she stood on the platform, disconsolate and weeping, with the gold bangles still in her hand. For most of us, to give is no pleasure; to this woman as to thousands of poor
people, not to give to Gandhiji what was often their sole possession was untold deprivation.
Source: The Great Experimenter - By Bharatan Kumarppa, Incidents.
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MEETING OLD CRONIES
Atakara was only miles from Badalkot. But it took full one hour to reach it. A very old couple lived in its neighbourhood. They were anxious to meet Gandhiji, but were too infirm to walk the distance. When Gandhiji came to know of it, he said he would visit them in their hut. He went there in the evening. The old man was deaf. Gandhiji affectionately patted him on the cheek as he came up. The old woman, too, came with two necklaces of camphor beads. She handed one of them to her old man, keeping to herself the other, to put round Gandhiji's neck. As the old man came up with his necklace, Gandhiji took it out of his hands and put it round the old man's neck instead — the latter being senior in years. The old dame then came up, put the other necklace round Gandhiji's neck, took both his hands in hers, and reverentially pressed them against her eyes and face and whole body for his blessings. Her gnarled hands and whole body shook with ecstasy as she did so. Gandhiji was deeply moved. His eyes glistened and his countenance beamed with tender affection. "When two cronies meet, there is unsurpassable joy," he remarked.
Source: Mahatma — The Last Phase by Pyarelal, Vol. 1, p. 519
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ILLUMINATION AND POOR MAN'S COPPERS
During his tour to campaign against untouchability, Gandhi wanted to address a meeting at Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu). He and Dr. Rajan were driving down from Kerala. As they approached the town, they found that the roads and lanes were chock full of people. It took them a long time to reach the place of the meeting. Night had fallen, and the dais from which Gandhi was expected to address the meeting could be seen from quite some distance, illumined with coloured bulbs, tubelights, and twinkling strands of bulbs. When Gandhi arrived on the dais,  there were deafening cheers. But as soon as he settled down, he turned to Dr. Rajan and asked: "Rajan, what is this brilliant illumination? Who pays for it? Is the Reception Committee spending out of the money raised for the Harijan Sevak Sangh? I am out begging even for the poor man's coppers. Surely money collected for the Harijan should not be allowed to be wasted like this." Dr. Rajan tried to assure that no money from the funds of the Harijan Sevak Sangh or even the Reception Committee had been spent on the lighting. It was a contribution made by the contractor who erected the dais, as a token of his affection for Gandhi. Gandhi was not satisfied. He called the other workers on and around the dais. They gave the same answer. Still, he was not satisfied. He enquired whether the contractor was anywhere around. He was summoned, and produced before Gandhi. Gandhi cross-examined him till he was fully satisfied that the contractor had done it on his own, out of affection, and, without any expectation of being recompensed in some other way by the organizers. It was only then that Gandhi turned to the mammoth gathering and spoke of the sin of untouchability and the need to rid Hinduism and India of the blot. As soon as Dr. Rajan recovered from the shock, he sent telegrams to all centres that were on Gandhi's itinerary cautioning them against spending even a single pie from the funds of the Harijan Sevak Sangh on organizing receptions for Gandhi.
Source: Dr. Rajan's account in — Incidents of Gandhi's Life, by Chandra Shanker Shukla
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OFFERING FROM A SMALL BOY
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, India was under British domination. There were popularly elected governments in seven out of the eleven Provinces of India. Yet without consulting them, Britain declared that India was at war with Germany, Italy, and later Japan — the Axis Powers. Gandhi and the Indian leaders were sympathetic to Britain and its allies, because they believed in democracy and were against Nazi and Fascist dictatorships. So they asked Great Britain to declare that India too would enjoy the democracy for which they were fighting, at least after the war. The British Government refused. Meanwhile, the Axis Powers made spectacular advances. They overran most of Western Europe, and Asia, and reached the doorstep of India. In most of the South-East Asian countries including Malaya, Singapore and Burma, British Armies had retreated, and after destroying even standing crops in a scotched earth policy. It appeared as though it would now be India's turn. Gandhi and the Indian leaders were
worried that the Indian people would not resist the aggressor with such means as they could muster unless they knew they were fighting for their homeland, a free homeland. But it appeared that Britain was prepared to lose India to the Japanese, yet was not prepared to leave India to Indians. So Gandhi and the leaders declared their intention to lead a non-violent movement to force the British Government to "Quit India". India was
there before the British came. It would be thereafter the British left. But as soon as the "Quit India" demand was made, Gandhi and the leaders were arrested. Gandhi was detained without trial from August 1942. In the prison his health deteriorated. He had malaria and amoebiosis. Apprehending further deterioration, the British Government released Gandhi in 1944. He went to convalesce in the house of a friend, on the sea beach at Juhu in Bombay. Thousands of people used to gather in front of the house to have a glimpse of the Mahatma (the Great Soul). It was a hard task for the volunteers to prevent gate crashers and stragglers. One day, among the crowd, there was a small boy holding a worn out basket in his hands, and trying to push his way in through the crowd. The volunteers spotted him, and pushed him aside taking him for a beggar boy. The boy stood aside with tears glistening in his eyes. He told the volunteers, "I am not a beggar. I go to school. When I heard that Mahatma Gandhi was ill, and had been released, I wanted to do something to be of help, and to show my affection for him. I started working as a porter carrying head loads, without my people coming to know of what I was doing. I earned enough money to buy these fruits in the basket. I have brought them as an offering to the Mahatma." The volunteers were moved by the story, and took the boy into the presence of the Mahatma. As the boy stood with folded hands, and his head bowed in reverence, the volunteers related his story to Gandhi. Gandhi patted the boy on his back and offered him a fruit from the basket. The boy declined to accept it, saying that it was his offering to the Mahatma. Gandhi persuaded him, "These are the fruits of your labour. You have the first claim. Come and eat yourself the fruit of your labour." The boy happily accepted the fruit, and walked away with a sense of fulfilment.
Source: Mahatma Gandhi —The Last Phase, Volume I. pp. 5- 6
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STRANGE COINCIDENCE
The love and veneration of the crowds and their anxiety not only to see him but to touch his feet created serious problems wherever Gandhi went. Once, when Gandhi arrived from Sindh, one of his associates, Kaka Kalelkar, found that Gandhi's legs and feet bore the marks of nails, and were bruised, and bleeding at many places. Gandhi explained to Kaka Kalelkar that he had sustained the injuries while wending his way through crowds. Kalelkar had to wash Gandhi's feet in warm water, and apply balm, and massage the bruised feet. In Bihar, Gandhi's associate Acharya Kripalani found it hard to protect Gandhi's feet from devotees who found themselves too far from Gandhi to be able to touch his feet with their hands. They therefore used an ingenuous method to reach Gandhi's feet. They tried to touch his feet with the lathis (sticks) they were carrying. Kripalani therefore had to see that Gandhi's feet did not get entangled in the mesh of lathis that were extended to his feet. When Gandhi's motorcade approached villages, people used to block the roads so that the car would slow down and they could have a closer and longer look at Gandhi. Once near Sasaram, in Bihar, Gandhi's car had to stop because of a tyre-burst. He had to wait till the tyre was fixed. It was drizzling. Krishnadas was standing close to Gandhi on his left. Just then an old lady holding an umbrella over her head and supporting herself on a staff approached Krishnadas with slow steps and asked him the question, "My son, who here is Mahatma Gandhi?" "Standing as I did so near Mahatmaji, I refrained from saying that the person by my side was none other than Mahatma Gandhi because I was feeling shy. So I made no reply, but remained mute. As she repeated her question, Mahatmaji himself put in the query: 'Why should you be seeking him?'. At this the old lady stepping forward said: 'Sir, I am now one hundred and four, and my sight has grown dim. I have visited the various holy places. I have been to Badrikashram. In my own home I have dedicated two temples and made provision for the worship and maintenance of the Deity. Just as we have had Ram and Krishna as Avatars, so also Mahatma Gandhi has appeared as an Avatar. Until I have seen him, death will not come to me.' When she was speaking, tears surfacéd in her eyes. She had herself become aware, without my telling her, that the persqn she was speaking to was none other than Mahatma Gandhi himself. So the next question that she put was how could this desire or thirst (for things) be allayed?' Mahatmaji nodded, smiled a little and said: 'This desire,, yes, it is impossible to get rid of our bondage so long as there is this desire, this thirst for enjoyment? Then hearing that she was so old, Mahatmaji wanted to know what kind of food she took, etc. She began by saying that she had been following a very austere mode of life. She described it all. At the time in question, she said that she had been subsisting on very little, for her practice was to take only one syrup made out of Durba-grass during the day. Finding that the old lady was thus freely talking with Mahatmaji, the eight or nine rustics who had in the interval gathered together informed us that she had been standing at the very spot the whole of the day since early morning with the umbrella over head, with no other object than that of having a darshan of Mahatma Gandhi. She was now too old to be able to walk about. At that time we had been speeding along with the speed of an arrow; and so if per chance the tyre had not burst at that very spot, she could hardly have noticed anything. Or, if the tyre had burst at some little distance from the spot, it would not have been possible for her to walk that distance, and have a look at Mahatmaji. The tyre had burst only at a distance of four or five yards from where she had been standing. This coincidence of circumstances seemed, indeed, strange.
Source Krishnadas Seven Months With Gandhi, pp. 34, 35
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GANDHI EXORCISES SUPERSTITION
In 1924 severe communal riots broke out in Delhi. Gandhi went on 21-day fast to appeal to the consciences of both the communities and to persuade them to put an end to fratricidal strife. Thousands of people from the town and the neighbouring areas used to throng to the house where Gandhi was staying, to share the ordeal and the agony, and if possible to have a darshan (glimpse) of the fasting Mahatma. On some days his health caused grave anxiety. Doctors did not want him to bear the strain of meeting visitors. So
(Deenbandu) C. F. Andrews, an English associate of Gandhi, took upon himself the responsibility to prevent visitors from going up to the room in which Gandhi was lying. One day, a couple from a  nearby village managed to jostle their way up to the foot of the stair-case that led to the room in which Gandhi was fasting. There they encountered C. F. Andrews who was all politeness, but was firm in refusing them entry. They were distraught. They had with them a brass pitcher with water, with the mouth covered and fastened. They implored Andrews to let them in, they were sure that if he heard their story he would not stand in the way of their going to the presence of Gandhi. Their only son was seriously ill in their village home. They had tried all medicines. There was no improvement. He was sinking. They believed that his life could be saved if the Mahatma's feet could be washed with the water they had brought, and their sinking son could have a sip of the water. Andrews was shocked to hear this explanation for their insistence. He was firm in refusing them entry. Moreover, he was sure Gandhi would
never permit or countenance such superstitious conduct. While Andrews was still arguing with them, someone standing by suggested a solution, why not take the matter to Gandhi. After hearing everything, if he did not want the couple to go up to him, they would go. They squatted at the foot of the stair case as Andrews went up the stairs and placed the matter before Gandhi. Gandhi was very weak. But after listening to Andrews, he signalled to him to let them come in. Andrews could not understand how Gandhi could encourage the superstitions of the couple and let himself be treated in this fashion. However, when the couple came in, Gandhi asked them to sit near his bed, and gave them his thoughts in his weak, sad voice. Did they believe in God? If they did, how could they insult God by transferring their faith to a frail human being? Did they not know that it was degrading to him and to them to get his feet washed in the superstitious belief that the water would turn into medicine? How could they be so ignorant of the laws of God, the laws of nature, and the laws of health and hygiene? He talked to them gently and sadly, but with great affection and compassion. He talked to them for nearly fifteen minutes even in his poor state of health. They saw the truth of what Gandhi said. They emptied their pot, and left for their village, happy at what they had learnt from the saint himself.
Source G.Ramachandran, A Sheaf of Gandhi Anecdotes, Hindi Kitabs, Bombay, 1945, pp, 11-13
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I OWN NOTHING
While at the Woodbrooke Settlement of the Quakers, in 1931, Gandhi told J.S. Hayland of how "one night many years before that time, he had made the resolve that never again, so loog as be lived, would he call anything his own; but that he would hold everything as belonging to the community. He told me of the vast resources at his command, and of the eagerness of his followers to do anything he might desire." "Yet, I own absolutely nothing," he declared. "And from the night's decision there came into experience four things — life, power, freedom and joy. If you would know these things, my friend, you tread the same path." "If I own anything of which my brother stands in need, I am to that extent a thief." These words came powerfully to my mind. I remembered also that I had been told of how the Mahatma had made five thousand pounds in half an hour, just before coming to Birmingham by giving an audition to a gramophone company; and that not one penny of this large sum would go to himself; it would all be devoted to one of his funds for the suffering poor in India."
Source: John S. Hayland - Chandra Spanker Shukia Incidents ...
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