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96. SOME REMINISCENCES OF THE BAR :

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Before coming to a narrative of the course my life took in India, it seems necessary to recall a few of the South African experiences which I have deliberately left out.


Some lawyer friends have asked me to give my reminiscences of the bar. The number of these is so large that, if I were to describe them all, they would occupy a volume by themselves and take me out of my scope. But it may not perhaps be improper to recall some of those which bear upon the practice of truth.


So far as I can recollect, I have already said that I never resorted to untruth in my profession, and that a large part of my legal practice was in the interest of public work, for which I charged nothing beyond out-of-pocket expenses, and these too I sometimes met myself. I had thought that in saying this I had said all that was necessary as regards my legal practice. But friends want me to do more. They seem to think that, if I described however slightly, some of the occasions when I refused to swerve from the t…

95.HOMEWARD :

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Mr. Kallenbach had accompained me to England with a view to going to India. We were staying together and of course wanted to sail by the same boat. Germans, however, were under such strict surveillance that we had our doubts about Mr. Kallenbach getting a passport. I did my best to get it, and Mr. Roberts, who was in favour of his getting his passport, sent a cable to the Viceroy in this behalf. But straight came Lord Hardinge's reply: 'Regret Government of India not prepared to take any such risk.' All of us understood the force of the reply.


It was a great wrench for me to part from Mr. Kallenbach, but I could see that his pang was greater. Could he have come to India, he would have been leading today the simple happy life of a farmer and weaver. Now he is in South Africa, leading his old life and doing brisk business as an architect.


We wanted a third class passage, but as there was none available on P. and O. boats, we had to go second.


We took with us the dried fruit…

94. TREATMENT OF PLEURISY :

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The persistence of the pleurisy caused some anxiety, but I knew that the cure lay not in taking medicine internally but in dietetic changes assisted by external remedies.


I called in Dr. Allinson of vegetarian fame, who treated diseases by dietetic modifications and whom I had met in 1890. He thoroughly overhauled me. I explained to him how I had pledged myself not to take milk. He cheered me up and said: 'You need not take milk. In fact I want you to do without any fat for some days.' He then advised me to live on plain brown bread, raw vegetables such as beet, radish, onion and other tubers and greens, and also fresh fruit, mainly oranges. The vegetables were not to be cooked but merely grated fine, if I could not masticate them.


I adopted this for about three days, but raw vegetables did not quite suit me. My body was not in a condition to enable me to do full justice to the experiment. I was nervous about taking raw vegetables.


Dr. Allinson also advised me to keep all the…

93. GOKHALE'S CHARITY :

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I have already referred to the attack of pleurisy I had in England. Gokhale returned to London soon after. Kallenbach and I used regularly to go to him. Our talks were mostly about the war, and as Kallenbach had the geography of Germany at his finger tips, and had travelled much in Europe, he used to show him on the map the various places in connection with the war.

When I got pleurisy this also became a topic of daily discussion. My dietetic experiments were going on even then. My diet consisted, among other things, of groundnuts, ripe and unripe bananas, lemon, olive oil, tomatoes and grapes. I completely eschewed milk, cereals, pulses and other things.

Dr. Jivraj Mehta treated me. He pressed me hard to resume milk and cereals, but I was obdurate. The matter reached Gokhale's ears. He had not much regard for my reasoning in favour of a fruitarian diet, and he wanted me to take whatever the doctor prescribed for my health.

It was no easy thing for me not a yield to Gokhale's…

92. MINIATURE SATYAGRAHA :

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Though I thus took part in the war as a matter of duty, it chanced that I was not only unable directly to participate in it, but actually compelled to offer what may be called miniature Satyagraha even at that critical juncture.


I have already said that an officer was appointed in charge of our training, as soon as our names were approved and enlisted. We were all under the impression that this Commanding Officer was to be our chief only so far as technical matters were concerned, and that in all other matters I was the head of our Corps, which was directly responsible to me in matters of internal discipline; that is to say, the

Commanding Officer had to deal with the Corps through me. But from the first the Officer left us under no much delusion.


Mr. Sorabji Adajania was a shrewd man. He warned me. 'Beware of this man,' he said. 'He seems inclined to lord it over us. We will have none of his orders. We are prepared to look upon him as our instructor. But the youngsters h…

91. A SPIRITUAL DILEMMA :

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As soon as the news reached South Africa that I along with other Indians had offered my services in the war, I received two cables. One of these was from Mr. Polak who questioned the consistency of my action with my profession of ahimsa .


I had to a certain extent anticipated this objection, for I had discussed the question in my Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule , and used to discuss it day in and day out with friends in South Africa. All of us recognized the immorality of war.If I was not prepared to prosecute my assailant, much less should I be willing to participate in a war, especially when I knew nothing of the justice or otherwise of the cause of the combatants. Friends of course knew that I had previously served in the Boer War, but they assumed that my views had since undergone a change.


As a matter of fact the very same line of argument that persuaded me to take part in the Boer War had weighed with me on this occasion. It was quite clear to me that participation in war could…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 90. MY PART IN THE WAR :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 90. MY PART IN THE WAR :: On arrival in England I learned that Gokhale had been stranded in Paris where he had gone for reasons of health, and as communicatio...

90. MY PART IN THE WAR :

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On arrival in England I learned that Gokhale had been stranded in Paris where he had gone for reasons of health, and as communication between Paris and London had been cut off, there was no knowing when he would return. I did not want to go home without having seen him, but no one could say definitely when he would arrive.


What then was I to do in the meanwhile? What was my duty as regards the war? Sorabji Adajania, my comrade in jail and a Satyagrahi, was then reading for the bar in London. As one of the best Satyagrahis he had been sent to England to qualify himself as a barrister, so that he might take my place on return to South Africa. Dr. Pranjivandas Mehta was paying his expenses. With him, and through him, I had conferences with Dr. Jivraj Mehta and others who were prosecuting their studies in England. In consultation with them, a meeting of the Indian residents in Great Britain and Ireland was called. I placed my views before them.


I felt that Indians residing in England oug…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 89. TO MEET GOKHALE :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 89. TO MEET GOKHALE :: I must skip many of the recollections of South Africa. At the conclusion of the Satyagraha struggle in 1914, I received Gokhale&#39...

89. TO MEET GOKHALE :

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I must skip many of the recollections of South Africa. At the conclusion of the Satyagraha struggle in 1914, I received Gokhale's instruction to return home via London. So in July Kasturbai, Kallenbach and I sailed for England.


During Satyagraha I had begun travelling third class. I therefore took third class passages for this voyage. But there was a good deal of difference between third class accommodation on the boat on this route and that provided on Indian coastal boats or railway trains. There is hardly sufficient sitting, much less sleeping, accommodation in the Indian service, and little cleanliness. During the voyage to London, on the other hand, there was enough room and cleanliness, and the steamship company had provided special facilities for us. 

The company had provided reserved closet accommodation for us, and as we were fruitarians, the steward had orders to supply us with fruits and nuts. As a rule third class passengers get little fruit or nuts. These facilities mad…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 88. FASTING AS PENANCE :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 88. FASTING AS PENANCE :: Day by day it became increasingly clear to me how very difficult it was to bring up and educate boys and girls in the right way. If ...

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 88. FASTING AS PENANCE :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 88. FASTING AS PENANCE :: Day by day it became increasingly clear to me how very difficult it was to bring up and educate boys and girls in the right way. If ...

88. FASTING AS PENANCE :

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Day by day it became increasingly clear to me how very difficult it was to bring up and educate boys and girls in the right way. If I was to be their real teacher and guardian, I must touch their hearts. I must share their joys and sorrows, I must help them to solve the problems that faced them, and I must take along the right channel the surging aspirations of their youth.


On the release of some of the Satyagrahis from jail, Tolstoy Farm was almost denuded of its inmates. The few that remained mostly belonged to Phoenix. So I removed them there. Here I had to pass through a fiery ordeal.


In those days I had to move between Johannesburg and Phoenix. Once when I was in Johannesburg I received tidings of the moral fall of two of the inmates of the Ashram. News of an apparent failure or reverse in the Satyagraha struggle would not have shocked me, but this news came upon me like a thunderbolt. The same day I took the train for Phoenix. Mr. Kallenbach insisted on accompanying me. He had not…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 87. TARES AMONG THE WHEAT :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 87. TARES AMONG THE WHEAT :: It was at Tolstoy Farm that Mr. Kallenbach drew my attention to a problem that had never before struck me. As I have already said, s...

87. TARES AMONG THE WHEAT :

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It was at Tolstoy Farm that Mr. Kallenbach drew my attention to a problem that had never before struck me. As I have already said, some of the boys at the Farm were bad and unruly. There were loafers, too, amongst them. With these my three boys came in daily contact, as also did other children of the same type as my own sons. This troubled Mr. Kallenbach, but his attention was centred on the impropriety of keeping my# boys with these unruly youngsters. One day he spoke out: 'Your way of mixing your own boys with the bad ones does not appeal to me. It can have only one result. They will become demoralized through this bad company.' I do not remember whether the question puzzled me at the moment, but I recollect what I said to him: 'How can I distinguish between my boys and the loafers? I am equally responsible for both. 


The youngsters have come because I invited them. If I were to dismiss them with some money, they would immediately run off to Johannesburg and fall back int…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 86. TRAINING OF THE SPIRIT :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 86. TRAINING OF THE SPIRIT :: The spiritual training of the boys was a much more difficult matter than their physical and mental training. I relied little on reli...

86. TRAINING OF THE SPIRIT :

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The spiritual training of the boys was a much more difficult matter than their physical and mental training. I relied little on religious books for the training of the spirit. Of course, I believed that every student should be acquainted with the elements of his own religion and have a general knowledge of his own scriptures, and therefore I provided for such knowledge as best I could. But that, to my mind, was part of the intellectual training. Long before I undertook the education of the youngsters of the Tolstoy Farm I had realized that the training of the spirit was a thing by itself. To develop the spirit is to build character and to enable one to work towards a knowledge of God and self-realization. And I held that this was an essential part of the training of the young, and that all training without culture of the spirit was of no use, and might be even harmful.



I am familiar with the superstition that self-realization is possible only in the fourth stage of life, i.e., sannyasa…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 85. LITERARY TRAINING :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 85. LITERARY TRAINING :: It was seen in the last chapter how we provided for the physical training on Tolstoy Farm, and incidentally for the vocational. Thou...

85. LITERARY TRAINING :

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It was seen in the last chapter how we provided for the physical training on Tolstoy Farm, and incidentally for the vocational. Though this was hardly done in a way to satisfy me, it may be claimed to have been more or less successful.


Literary training, however, was a more difficult matter. I had neither the resources nor the literary equipment necessary; and I had not the time I would have wished to devote to the subject. The physical work that I was doing used to leave me thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day, and I used to have the classes just when I was most in need of some rest. Instead, therefore, of my being fresh for the class, I could with the greatest difficulty keep myself awake. The mornings had to be devoted to work on the farm and domestic duties, so the school hours had to be kept after the midday meal. There was no other time suitable for the school.


We gave three periods at the most to literary training. Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati and Urdu were all taught, and tuitio…

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 84. AS SCHOOLMASTER :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 84. AS SCHOOLMASTER :: The reader will, I hope, bear in mind the fact that I am, in these chapters, describing things not mentioned, or only cursorily menti...

84. AS SCHOOLMASTER :

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The reader will, I hope, bear in mind the fact that I am, in these chapters, describing things not mentioned, or only cursorily mentioned, in the history of Satyagraha in South Africa. If he does so, he will easily see the connection between the recent chapters.


As the Farm grew, it was found necessary to make some provision for the education of its boys and girls. There were, among these, Hindu, Musalman, Parsi and Christian boys and some Hindu girls. It was not possible, and I did not think it necessary, to engage special teachers for them. It was not possible, for qualified Indian teachers were scarce, and even when available, none would be ready to go to a place 21 miles distant from Johannesburg on a small salary. 


Also we were certainly not overflowing with money. And I did not think it necessary to import teachers from outside the Farm. I did not believe in the existing system of education, and I had a mind to find out by experience and experiment the true system. Only this much …

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 83. FASTING :

Bharatham : Uthishtatha-Jagratha : (wef-05/11/2012. ): 83. FASTING :: Just about the time when I gave up milk and cereals, and started on the experiment of a fruit diet, I commenced fasting as a means of...

83. FASTING :

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Just about the time when I gave up milk and cereals, and started on the experiment of a fruit diet, I commenced fasting as a means of self-restraint. In this Mr. Kallenbach also joined me. I had been used to fasting now and again, but for purely health reasons. That fasting was necessary for self-restraint I learnt from a friend.


Having been born in a Vaishnava family and of a mother who was given to keeping all sorts of hard vows, I had observed, while in India, the Ekadashi and other fasts, but in doing so I had merely copied my mother and sought to please my parents  At that time I did not understand, nor did I believe in, the efficacy of fasting. But seeing that the friend I have mentioned was observing it with benefit, and with the hope of supporting the brahmacharya vow, I followed his example and began keeping the Ekadashi fast. As a rule Hindus allow themselves milk and fruit on a fasting day, but such fast I had been keeping daily. So now I began complete fasting, allowing mys…