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Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 82. TOWARDS SELF-RESTRAINT :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 82. TOWARDS SELF-RESTRAINT :: I have described in the last chapter how Kasturbai's illness was instrumental in bringing about some changes in my diet. At a l...

82. TOWARDS SELF-RESTRAINT :

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I have described in the last chapter how Kasturbai's illness was instrumental in bringing about some changes in my diet. At a later stage more changes were introduced for the sake of supporting brahmacharya.


The first of these was the giving up of milk. It was from Raychandbhai that I first learnt that milk stimulated animal passion. Books on vegetarianism strengthened the idea, but so long as I had not taken the brahmacharya vow I could not make up my mind to forego milk. I had long realized that milk was not necessary for supporting the body, but it was not easy to give it up. While the necessity for avoiding milk in the interests of self-restraint was growing upon me, I happened to come across some literature from Calcutta, describing the tortures to which cows and buffaloes were subjected by their keepers. This had a wonderful effect on me. I discussed it with Mr. Kallenbach.


Though I have introduced Mr. Kallenbach to the readers of the history of Satyagraha in South Africa, and…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 81. DOMESTIC SATYAGRAHA :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 81. DOMESTIC SATYAGRAHA :: My first experience of jail life was in 1908. I saw that some of the regulations that the prisoners had to observe were such as ...

81. DOMESTIC SATYAGRAHA :

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My first experience of jail life was in 1908. I saw that some of the regulations that the prisoners had to observe were such as should be voluntarily observed by a brahmachari, that is, one desiring to practise self-restraint. Such, for instance, was the regulation requiring the last meal to be finished before sunset. Neither the Indian nor the African prisoners were allowed tea or coffee. They could add salt to the cooked food if they wished, but they might not have anything for the mere satisfaction of the palate. When I asked the jail medical officer to give us curry powder, and to let us add salt to the food whilst it was cooking, he said: 'You are not here for satisfying your palate. From the point of view of health, curry powder is not necessary, and it makes no difference whether you add salt during or after cooking.'


Ultimeately these restrictions were modified, though not without much difficulty, but both were wholesome rules of self-restraint. Inhabitions imposed from…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 80. KASTURBAI'S COURAGE :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 80. KASTURBAI'S COURAGE :: Thrice in her life my wife narrowly escaped death through serious illness. The cures were due to household remedies. At the time of her...

80. KASTURBAI'S COURAGE :

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Thrice in her life my wife narrowly escaped death through serious illness. The cures were due to household remedies. At the time of her first attack Satyagraha was going on or was about to commence. She had frequent haemorrhage. A medical friend advised a surgical operation, to which she agreed after some hesitation. She was extremely emaciated, and the doctor had to perform the operation without chloroform. It was successful, but she had to suffer much pain, she, however, went through it with wonderful bravery. The doctor and his wife who nursed her were all attention. This was in Durban. The doctor gave me leave to go to Johannesburg, and told me not to have any anxiety about the patient.


In a few days, however, I received a letter to the effect that Kasturbai was worse, too weak to sit up in bed, and had once become unconscious. The doctor knew that he might not, without my consent, give her wines or meat. So he telephoned to me at Johannesburg for permission to give her beef tea. I…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 79.MORE EXPERIMENTS IN DIETETICS :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 79.MORE EXPERIMENTS IN DIETETICS :: I was anxious to observe brahmacharya in thought, word and deed, and equally anxious to devote the maximum of time to the Satyagrah...

79.MORE EXPERIMENTS IN DIETETICS :

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I was anxious to observe brahmacharya in thought, word and deed, and equally anxious to devote the maximum of time to the Satyagraha struggle and fit myself for it by cultivating purity. I was therefore led to make further changes and to impose greater restraints upon myself in the matter of food. The motive for the previous changes had been largely hygienic, but the new experiments were made from a religious standpoint.


Fasting and restriction in diet now played a more important part in my life. Passion in man is generally co-existent with a hankering after the pleasures of the palate. And so it was with me. I have encountered many difficulties in trying to control passion as well as taste, and I cannot claim even now to have brought them under complete subjection. I have considered myself to be a heavy eater. What friends have thought to be my restraint has never appeared to me in that light. If I had failed to develop restraint to the extent that I have, I should have descended lowe…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 78. THE BIRTH OF SATYAGRAHA :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 78. THE BIRTH OF SATYAGRAHA :: Events were so shaping themselves in Johannesburg as to make this self-purfication on my part a preliminary as it were to Satyagraha....

78. THE BIRTH OF SATYAGRAHA :

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Events were so shaping themselves in Johannesburg as to make this self-purfication on my part a preliminary as it were to Satyagraha. I can now see that all the principal events of my life, culminating in the vow of brahmacharya, were secretly preparing me for it. The principle called Satyagraha came into being before that name was invented. Indeed when it was born, I myself could not say what it was. In Gujarati also we used the English pharse 'passive resistance' to describe it. When in a meeting of Europeans I found that the term 'passive resistance' was too narrowly construed, that it was supposed to be a weapon of the weak, that it could be characterized by hatred, and that it could finally manifest itself as violence, I had to damur to all these statements and explain the real nature of the Indian movement. It was clear that a new word must be coined by the Indians to designate their struggle.


But I could not for the life of me find out a new name, and therefore o…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 77. HEART SEARCHINGS :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 77. HEART SEARCHINGS :: The Zulu 'rebellion' was full of new experiences and gave me much food for thought. The Boer War had not brought home to me t...

77. HEART SEARCHINGS :

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The Zulu 'rebellion' was full of new experiences and gave me much food for thought. The Boer War had not brought home to me the horrors of war with anything like the vividness that the 'rebellion' did. This was no war but a man-hunt, not only in my opinion, but also in that of many Englishmen with whom I had occasion to talk. To hear every morning reports of the soldiers' rifles exploding like crackers in innocent hamlets, and to live in the midst of them was a trial. But I swallowed the bitter draught, especially as the work of my Corps consisted only in nursing the wounded Zulus. I could see that but for us the Zulus would have been uncared for. This work, therefore, eased my conscience.


But there was much else to set one thinking. It was a sparsely populated part of the country. Few and far between in hills and dales were the scattered Kraals of the simple and so-called 'uncivilized' Zulus. Marching, with or without the wounded, through these solemn solit…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 76. THE ZULU 'REBELLION' :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 76. THE ZULU 'REBELLION' :: Even after I thought I had settled down in Johannesburg, there was to be no settled life for me. Just when I felt that I should be br...

76. THE ZULU 'REBELLION' :

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Even after I thought I had settled down in Johannesburg, there was to be no settled life for me. Just when I felt that I should be breathing in peace, an unexpected event happened. The papers brought the news of the out break of the Zulu 'rebellion' in Natal. I bore no grudge against the Zulus, they had harmed no Indian. I had doubts about the 'rebellion' itself. But I then believed that the British Empire existed for the welfare of the world. A genuine sense of loyalty prevented me from even wishing ill to the Empire. The rightness or otherwise of the 'rebellion' was therefore not likely to affect my decision. Natal had a Volunteer Defence Force, and it was open to it to recruit more men. I read that this force had already been mobilized to quell the 'rebellion'.


I considered myself a citizen of Natal, being intimately connected with it. So I wrote to the Governor, expressing my readiness, if necessary, to form an Indian Ambulance Corps. He replied imme…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 75. A PEEP INTO THE HOUSEHOLD :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 75. A PEEP INTO THE HOUSEHOLD :: It has already been seen that, though household expenses were heavy, the tendency towards simplicity began in Durban. But the Joha...

75. A PEEP INTO THE HOUSEHOLD :

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It has already been seen that, though household expenses were heavy, the tendency towards simplicity began in Durban. But the Johannesburg house came in for much severer overhauling in the light of Ruskin's teaching.
I introduced as much simplicity as was possible in a barrister's house. It was impossible to do without a certain amount of furniture. The change was more internal than external. The liking for doing personally all the physical labour increased. I therefore began to bring my children also under that discipline.


Instead of buying baker's bread, we began to prepare unleavened wholemeal bread at home according to Kuhne's recipe. Common mill flour was no good for this, and the use of handground flour, it was thought, would ensure more simplicity, health and economy. So I purchased a hand-mill for £ 7. The iron wheel was too heavy to be tacked by one man, but easy for two. Polak and I and the children usually worked it. My wife also occasionally lent a hand, thou…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 74. WHOM GOD PROTECTS

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 74. WHOM GOD PROTECTS: I had now given up all hope of returning to India in the near future. I had promised my wife that I would return home within a year...

74. WHOM GOD PROTECTS

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I had now given up all hope of returning to India in the near future. I had promised my wife that I would return home within a year. The year was gone without any prospect of my return, so I decided to send for her and the children.
On the boat bringing them to South Africa, Ramdas, my third son, broke his arm while playing with the ship's captain. The captain looked after him well and had him attended to by the ship's dector. Ramdas landed with his hand in a sling. The doctor had advised that, as soon as we reached home, the wound should be dressed by a qualified doctor. But this was the time when I was full of faith in my experiments in earth treatment. I had even succeeded in persuading some of my clients who had faith in my quackery to try the earth and water treatment.


What then was I to do for Ramdas? He was just eight years old. I asked him if he would mind my dressing his wound. With a smile he said he did not mind at all. It was not possible for him at that age to decid…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 73. POLAK TAKES THE PLUNGE :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 73. POLAK TAKES THE PLUNGE :: It has always been my regret that, although I started the Settlement at Phoenix, I could stay there only for brief periods. My origina...

73. POLAK TAKES THE PLUNGE :

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It has always been my regret that, although I started the Settlement at Phoenix, I could stay there only for brief periods. My original idea had been gradually to retire from practice, go and live at the Settlement, earn my livelihood by manual work there, and find the joy of service in the fulfilment of Phoenix. But it was not to be. I have found by experience that man makes his plans to be often upset by God, but, at the same time where the ultimate goal is the search of truth, no matter how a man's plans are frustrated, the issue is never injurious and often better than anticipated. The unexpected turn that Phoenix took and the unexpected happenings were certainly not injurious, though it is difficult to say that they were better than our original expectations.


In order to enable every one of us to make a living by manual labour, we parcelled out the land round the press in pieces of three acres each. One of these fell to my lot. On all these plots we, much against our wish, bui…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 72.THE FIRST NIGHT :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 72.THE FIRST NIGHT :: It was no easy thing to issue the first number of Indian Opinion from Phoenix. Had I not taken two precautions, the first issue w...

72.THE FIRST NIGHT :

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It was no easy thing to issue the first number of Indian Opinion from Phoenix. Had I not taken two precautions, the first issue would have had to be dropped or delayed. The idea of having an engine to work the press had not appealed to me. I had thought that hand-power would be more in keeping with an atmosphere where agricultural work was also to be done by hand. But as the idea had not appeared feasible, we had installed an oil-engine. I had, however, suggested to West to have something handy to fall back upon in case the engine failed. He had therefore arranged a wheel which could be worked by hand. The size of the paper, that of a daily, was considered reduced to foolscap size, so that, in case of emergency, copies might be struck off with the help of a treadle.

In the initial stages, we all had to keep late hours before the day of publication. Everyone, young and old, had to help in folding the sheets. We usually finished our work between ten o'clock and midnight. But the fi…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 71.THE PHOENIX SETTLEMENT :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 71.THE PHOENIX SETTLEMENT :: I talked over the whole thing with Mr. West, described to him the effect Unto This Last had produced on my mind, and proposed tha...

71.THE PHOENIX SETTLEMENT :

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I talked over the whole thing with Mr. West, described to him the effect Unto This Last had produced on my mind, and proposed that Indian Opinion should be removed to a farm, on which everyone should labour, drawing the same living wage, and attending to the press work in spare time. Mr. West approved of the proposal, and £3 was laid down as the monthly allowance per head, irrespective of colour or nationality.


But it was a question whether all the ten or more workers in the press would agree to go and settle on an out-of-the-way farm, and be satisfied with bare maintenance. We therefore proposed that those who could not fit in with the scheme should continue to draw their salaries and gradually try to reach the ideal of becoming members of the settlement.


I talked to the workers in the terms of this proposal. It did not appeal to Sjt. Madanjit, who considered my proposal to be foolish and held that it would ruin a venture on which he had staked his all; that the workers would bolt, Ind…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 70. THE MAGIC SPELL OF A BOOK :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 70. THE MAGIC SPELL OF A BOOK :: The black plague enhanced my influence with the poor Indians, and increased my business and my responsibility. Some of the new contact...

70. THE MAGIC SPELL OF A BOOK :

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The black plague enhanced my influence with the poor Indians, and increased my business and my responsibility. Some of the new contacts with Europeans became so close that they added considerably to my moral obligations.

I made the acquaintance of Mr.Polak in the vegetarian resturant, just as I had made that of Mr.West. One evening a young man dining at a table a little way off sent me his card expressing a desire to see me. i invited him to come to my table, which he did.
'I am sub-editor of the The Critic,' he said 'When I read your letter to the press about the plague. I felt a strong desire to see you. I am glad to have this opportunity.'

Mr. Polak's candour drew me to him. The same evening we got to know each other. We seemed to hold closely similar views on the essential things of life. He liked simple life. He had a wonderful faculty of translating into practice anything that appealed to his intellect. Some of the changes that he had made in his life were as pr…