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'CLEANING UP IS MY PROFESSION'
Even for Noakhali, it had been an exceptionally dewy night, and the narrow footpath by which Gandhiji was to proceed had been rendered extremely slippery when on the morning of 19th January he left Badalkot for Atakara. Twice Col. Jiwan Singh, accustomed to difficult marches, lost his foothold and rolled over. Everybody enjoyed the fun as his giant figure sprawled at full length on the ground. Laughingly Gandhi offered him the end of his walking stick to pull himself up the slippery slope. The footpath was narrow so that the party could walk on it only in single file. All of a sudden the column came to a dead stop. Gandhi was removing excreta from the footpath with the help of some dry leaves. The footpath had again been dirtied by some Muslim urchins. "Why did you not let me do it? Why do you put us to shame like this?" Manu asked. Gandhi laughed: "You little know the joy it gives me to do such things." Lots of village people had stood complacently by while Gandhi was engaged in cleaning the footpath. Manu felt annoyed. Gandhi noticed her annoyance. "You will see," he remarked, "from tomorrow they wouldn't let me clean the footpath myself. I have already given them an object lesson. They now see that scavenging is not derogatory." "I have no doubt they will clean the footpath tomorrow," Manu replied, "but suppose they give it up as soon as your back is turned,...What then?" "I will send you out for inspection. If the path is still dirty, clean it myself. Cleaning up, in the widest sense of the term, is my profession."
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