A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-5

This incident occurred in Noakhali. After the Hindu-Muslim riots Gandhiji toured the area on foot to reassure and comfort the people. He would set off from a village soon after dawn and arrive at the next village after sunset. On arrival he would first attend to his work then he would take a bath.

Gandhiji used a rough stone to clean his feet. Miraben had given this stone to him many years ago and Gandhiji had kept it carefully ever since. He took it with him everywhere.

One evening after they had arrived at a village and Manu was getting Gandhiji’s bath ready, she noticed that the stone was missing. She looked everywhere but could not find it. Continue reading “A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-5”

A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-4

Children loved visiting Gandhiji. A little boy who was there one day, was greatly distressed to see the way Gandhiji was dressed. Such a great man yet he doesn’t even wear a shirt, he wondered. “Why don’t you wear a kurta, Gandhiji?” the little boy couldn’t help asking finally. “Where’s the money, son?” Gandhiji asked gently. “I am very poor. I can’t afford a kurta.” The boy’s heart was filled with pity. “My mother sews well”, he said. “She makes all my clothes. I’ll ask her to sew a Kurta for you.” “How many Kurtas can your mother make?” Gandhiji asked.

“How many do you need?” asked the boy. “One, two, three…. she’ll make as many as you want.” Gandhiji thought for a moment. Then he said, “But I am not alone, son. It wouldn’t be right for me to be the only one to wear a kurta.” Continue reading “A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-4”

A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-3

Gandhi and his wife 

Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, 1902

Soon after Gandhiji’s return from South Africa, a meeting of the Congress was held in Bombay. Kaka Saheb Kalelkar went there to help.

One day Kaka Saheb found Gandhiji anxiously searching around his desk. “What’s the matter? What are you looking for?” Kaka Saheb asked. “I’ve lost my pencil,” Gandhiji answered. “It was only so big.”

Kaka Saheb was upset to see Gandhiji wasting time and worrying about a little pencil. He took out his pencil and offered it to him. “No, no, I want my own little pencil,” Gandhiji insisted like a stubborn child.

“Well, use it for the time being,” said Kaka Saheb. “I’ll find your pencil later. Don’t waste time looking for it now.”

“You don’t understand. That little pencil is very precious to me,” Gandhiji insisted. “Natesan’s little son gave it to me in Madras. He gave it with so much love and affection. I cannot bear to lose it.”

Kaka Saheb didn’t argue any more. He joined Gandhiji in the search. Continue reading “A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-3”

A Story from Gandiji’s Life-2

This incident occurred when Gandhiji was practising law in the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. His office was three miles from his house. One day a colleague of his, Mr Polak, asked Gandhiji’s thirteen-year old son, Manilal to fetch a book from the office. But Manilal completely forgot till Mr Polak reminded him that evening.

Gandhiji heard about it and sent for Manilal. He said, “Son, I know the night is dark and the way is long and lonely. You will have to walk nearly six miles but you gave your word to Mr Polak. You promised to fetch his book. Go and fetch it now.”

Ba and the family were upset when they heard of Gandhiji’s decision. The punishment seemed far too severe. Manilal was only a child, the night was dark and the way lonely. Continue reading “A Story from Gandiji’s Life-2”

The Courteous President

Abraham Lincoln was driving in his state carriage one afternoon. An old man walking along the road, recognised the American President. He took off his hat and bowed in respect.

Lincoln responded to his gesture by tipping his hat and bowing in return.

One of his companions riding in the carriage with him told the President,”Why did you have to do that? After all he was only a poor man!”

“I don’t want anyone to be more courteous than I,” said the gracious President with a smile.

Determination

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge. Continue reading “Determination”

A Story from Gandhiji’s Life

In South Africa Gandhiji set up an ashram at Phoenix, where he started a school for children. Gandhiji had his own ideas about how children should be taught. He disliked the examination system. In his school he wanted to teach the boys true knowledge—knowledge that would improve both their minds and their hearts.

Gandhiji had his own way of judging students. All the students in the class were asked the same question. But often Gandhiji praised the boy with low marks and scolded the one who had high marks. This puzzled the children.

When questioned on this unusual practice, Gandhiji one day explained, “I am not trying to show that Shyam is cleverer than Ram. So I don’t give marks on that basis. I want to see how far each boy has progressed, how much he has learnt. If a clever student competes with a stupid one and begins to think no end of himself, he is likely to grow dull. Sure of his own cleverness, he’ll stop working. The boy who does his best and works hard will always do well and so I praise him.”

Gandhiji kept a close watch on the boys who did well. Were they still working hard? What would they learn if their high marks filled them with conceit? Gandhiji continually stressed this to his students. If a boy who was not very clever worked hard and did well, Gandhiji was full of praise for him.

by Uma Shankar Joshi

In the picture: Gandhi in South Africa, 1895 

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