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« on: February 10, 2011, 06:44:05 AM »

All for a Stone

Many people know that instead of soap, Gandhiji used a stone to scrub himself. Very few people, however, know how precious this stone, given by Miraben, was to Gandhiji.

This happened during the Noakhali march, when Gandhiji and others halted at a village called Narayanpur. During the march, the responsibility of looking after this particular stone, along with other things, lay with Manuben. Unfortunately, though, she forgot the stone at the last halting place.

"I want you to go back and look for the stone," said Bapu. "Only then will you not forget it the next time." "May I take a volunteer with me?" "Why?"

Poor Manu. She did not have the courage to say that the way back lay through forests of coconut and supari, (betel nut) so dense that a stranger might easily lose his way. Moreover, it was the time of riots. How could she go back alone?

But go she did, and alone; after all she had committed the error. Leaving Narayanpur at 9:30 in the morning, Manu trudged along the forest path, taking the name of Ram as she went.

On reaching the village she went straight to the weaver's house that had been their last halt. An old woman lived there. And she had thrown the stone away. When Manuben found it after a difficult search her joy knew no bounds.

Carrying the precious stone, she returned to Narayanpur by late afternoon. Placing it in Bapu's lap she burst into tears.

"You have no idea how happy I feel. This stone has been my cherished companion for the past twenty-five years. Whether in prison or in a palace it has been with me. Had it been lost it would have distressed me and Miraben as well. Now, you have seen that every useful thing is worth taking care of, even a stone."

Manuben said, "Bapu, if ever I took Ramanaam with all my heart it was today." Bapu laughed and replied, "Oh yes, one remembers the Lord only when one is in trouble."
 


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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 06:46:15 AM »

A Car and a Pair of Binoculars

Here's how a close friend of Gandhiji came to give up two of his possessions. This friend, a German named Kallenbach, was an engineer-architect whose earnings had made him rich. Kallenbach shared the beliefs and principles of Gandhiji and worked closely with him in the struggle against the white South African government. This, however, was not always easy.

It was 1908. Gandhiji was being released from jail, having served his sentence for the Satyagraha struggle. At the gate he realised that his friend Kallenbach was so happy at his release that he had actually bought a new car to take him home. Gandhiji refused to enter the car. "It is stupid to spend so much money on a car when other people are suffering. You must return it to the seller before doing anything else."

On another occasion, Kallenbach and Gandhiji were returning to South Africa from England by ship. Kallenbach had a well-crafted and expensive pair of binoculars. This led to a serious discussion. What exactly is essential for a good and simple life? And if non-essentials are not required, shouldn't they be discarded? The binoculars were costly, but not essential. Persuaded by Gandhiji, Kallenbach threw them into the sea. And felt greatly relieved.


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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 10:10:45 AM »

My Master's Master

Gandhiji inspired many, but who inspired him? Here's a story that gives hint towards this.

This story has to do with Dr. Kumarappa, who had decided to live in a hut in Kallupatti in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu. It was a hut he had built himself. On the inner walls of his hut hung a photograph that would attract anyone's attention. It was a picture that showed a common farmer, with a turban on his head. What was this photograph doing here, in the house of a man such as Dr. Kumarappa? Many an important visitor would ask Dr. Kumarappa about this mysteriously unimportant looking man.

"Oh, he's my master's master." Dr. Kumarappa would say. "Master's master?"

"You see," Dr. Kumarappa would explain to the puzzled visitor, "my master is Gandhiji, and this villager, indeed every poor person in the land, is his master."
 
(Dr. J.C. Kumarappa was an economist educated in England and America. His article 'British Rule and Indian Poverty' brought him in touch with Gandhiji on 9th May 1929 in Sabarmati Ashram. Becoming a partner with Gandhiji in the struggle for freedom, he helped set up and run the All India Village Industries Association at Maganwadi, Wardha.)



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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 10:13:51 AM »

Enter the Monkeys



Of course you've heard of the three monkeys that are always mentioned along with Gandhi's name. But have you also heard of how they came to be with him in the first place? Find out from this recollection by someone who worked with both Tagore and Gandhi.

Most of the people who came to see Gandhi sought his advice on something or the other. But one day came a party of visitors from China. "Gandhiji, we have brought you a small gift," they said. "It is no bigger than a child's toy, but it is famous in our country." To Gandhi's delight it was a set of the three monkeys that were later to become so well-known and to be kept carefully by him for the rest of his life.

(Majorie Sykes was born in 1905, and obtained a Teacher's Diploma from Cambridge in 1927. She came to India to teach at Madras, then went on to Shantiniketan during 1938-47.

She came to Sevagram in 1948 to work in the Nai Talim School. Later she worked at Hoshangabad. She passed away in April 1996 in England.)

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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 07:15:31 AM »

Premchand Quits his Job

Did you know that, inspired by the Non-cooperation Movement, the Hindi writer Premchand decided to give up his job? But it wasn't such an easy decision. Here's how it happened, narrated by his wife.

It was 1920. Non-cooperation was in the air. Gandhiji came to Gorakhpur. He (Premchand, that is) was ill. Even then, our two sons, Babuji and I went to the meeting. Both of us were deeply affected by Mahatmaji's speech. Of course there was illness. There were compulsions. But from that very time he lost interest in continuing in his government job.

When he had recovered from his long illness he said to me one day, "If you agree I will leave this government job."

I asked for two to three days time to think it over. We had thought that he would become a professor, that our days would pass in comfort. More so, because his health had not been very good. And now this idea of simply letting go whatever had been attained.

At that time he got an overall amount of around Rs. 125. And because he taught in a school, he also got time at home. I kept thinking: what will we do once he gives up his service. Looking at our needs, his prolonged illness, the fact that we had no house of our own, all this made me feel like telling him not to resign.

Four to five days later he asked me what I had decided. I thought, now that he is better, I will not worry about his giving up the job. In just those days, too, everyone was seething with anger at the gruesome massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. Perhaps I was too.

By the next day I had braced myself to face all those difficulties which were bound to come in the wake of his resignation. I said to him, "Give up the job." I had thought it would be painful leaving a job he had had for twenty-five years. But no, compared to the oppression being wreaked on the country, it was almost no pain at all.



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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 07:19:30 AM »

Returning his Medals



In South Africa, Gandhi had worked shoulder to shoulder with the British on occasions and even received awards for this. However, as soon as he felt he could no longer accept the British government, he returned the awards bestowed upon him. This was how his letter to the Viceroy ran, quoted from Young India dated 4th August, 1920:
It is not without a pang that 1 return the Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal granted to me by your predecessor for my humanitarian work in South Africa, the Zulu War medal granted in South Africa for my services as officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps in 1906 and the Boer War medal for my services as assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher-bearer corps during the Boer War of 1899-1900. I venture to return these medals in pursuance of the scheme of non-cooperation inaugurated today in connection with the Khilafat movement. Valuable as these honours have been to me, I cannot wear them with an easy conscience so long as my Mussalman countrymen have to labour under a wrong done to their religious sentiment. Events that have happened during the past one month have confirmed me in the opinion that the Imperial Government have acted in the Khilafat matter in an unscrupulous, immoral and unjust manner and have been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend their immorality. I can retain neither respect nor affection for such a Government.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boer and Zulu Wars

Like the British Boers were white Europeans who had settled in south Africa. the Boers had come from Holland. In his autobiography, Gandhi writes thus on this war:

When the war was declared, my personal sympathies were all with the Boers, but my loyalty to the British rule drove me to participation with the British in that war. I felt that, if I demanded rights as a British citizen, it was also my duty, as such to participate in the defence of the British Empire. so I collected together as many comrades as possible, and with very great difficulty got their services accepted as an ambulance corps.

In 1906, the Zulu Rebellion broke out in Natal. This was actually a campaign against tax being imposed by the British on the Zulus, who were demanding their rights in their own land. However, the whites declared war against the Zulus.

Again, Gandhi's sympathies with the Zulus but he considered it his duty to help the British and he volunteered to form an Indian Ambulance Corps. This Corps had twenty-four men, and was in active service for six weeks, nursing and looking after the wounded.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 07:37:53 AM »

Basic Pen

 
Most people have lost a pen at some time or the other. So did Gandhi. He had a costly fountain pen which was pilfered. The pen was immediately replaced but the theft pained him. Henceforth, he decided, he would not use anything so attractive that it would tempt someone to steal it.

He began using a pen-holder and a nib. (Do you know what this was like? Ask your parents if YOU don't.) But even this did not last forever. For the nib once got bent and he had to send Manubehn to get a new one.

This was a loss of time when every moment was precious. Even a few minutes' delay could upset a whole day's schedule. When Manubehn returned, she found Bapu sharpening the other end of the wooden holder. "Why"' she wanted to know.

At which Gandhi said, "Now the point of my nib will never get curved. In olden days, people used such kittas for writing purposes. Using them made the handwriting better, and they did not cost a paisa." So he now had a pen that would neither be stolen or spoilt. And do you know to whom the first letter to be penned with this kitta was addressed--Lord Mountbatten.

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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 07:39:13 AM »

Prisoner No. 1739

When Gandhi was a prisoner of the South African Government in November 1913 in Bloemfontein Gaol, his jail card bore the following among other details:

No. : 1739

Name : Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Religion : Hindu

Age : 43

Trade : Solicitor

Date of Sentence : 11-11-13

Date of Discharge : 10-11-14

Sentenced : Pounds 20 or 30 months (on each of four counts).

Gandhiji was awarded 50 marks for good conduct. As he did not pay the fine, he had to serve the full sentence. The card bears his thumb impressions.

About the prison diet supplied to him the card says:

"Allowed vegetable diet owing to religious scruples. Diet : 12 bananas, 12 dates, 3 tomatoes and 1 lemon each, 2 ounces of olive oil, and 3 selected groundnuts."


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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 05:18:55 AM »

Gandhi's White Brother

In the vegetarian restaurant where he took his food, Kallenbach would often see a young barrister. This was an Indian lawyer who dressed like an Englishman and had taken up the cause of Indian labourers in South Africa. It was not long before the German engineer and M. K. Gandhi became friends.

They had a great deal in common a deep attraction for simple life and working for the good of their fellow beings. At the time Gandhi was struggling for the rights of Indians and Africans in a land dominated by white men.

The form of resistance that Gandhiji used was unique: satyagraha. He would patiently appeal to the good sense of the whites while also refusing to follow their laws that he regarded evil. He was willing to suffer punishment for breaking these laws but refused to hate the white men.

Kallenbach was attracted by this method. He and Gandhiji worked together for the poorest of the poor. They changed their own life style and honoured every useful work. They said that a lawyer or an engineer was not superior to a cobbler or a scavenger. In fact they went to a Chinese cobbler in Johannesburg and learnt to make footwear. And they undertook to clean their own latrines, something most people would not do in these days.

From Ruskin's book Unto This Last, Kallenbach and Gandhi laid down three principles for themselves: (i) the good of the individual is in the good of all; (ii) all work is noble and all are equal; and (iii) a life of labour is worth living.

In 1903 Gandhi's family came over to South Africa. Though Kallenbach became a dear uncle to his three children, Gandhi would not let him buy costly toys for them. They must not feel that they are different from poor people, he would say.

In 1910 Kallenbach, who was a rich man, donated to Gandhi a thousand acre farm belonging to him near Johannesburg. This was a very great gift indeed and was used to run Gandhi's famous 'Tolstoy Farm' that housed the families of satyagrahis.

With the satyagraha campaign in full swing, Gandhi would often go to prison. During such times, Kallenbach would take up the work of editing Indian Opinion, a weekly paper started by Gandhi. Being white, he could not be punished under the South African laws. This angered the white rulers no end, but Kallenbach carried on as a co-worker with Gandhi.

When Gandhi started the Phoenix Ashram near Durban, living as a farmer and labourer, Kallenbach gladly joined in this new life. He built the simple sheds for the inmates, working as a mason and carpenter.

In 1915 Gandhi returned to India. The First World War had broken out. England and Germany were at war with each other. Being a German, Kallenbach was refused entry into India and had to return sadly to South Africa, where he continued his work as a satyagrahi.

Kallenbach did come to India in 1936, when he visited Gandhi's ashram at Sevagram near Wardha. He was ill at that time. Gandhi nursed him back to health himself.

In 1937 the Second World War broke out, Kallenbach was again put into jail by the South African Government.

When Kallenbach died of illness a little after this, in 1938, Gandhiji felt he had indeed lost a brother.

 
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 05:20:10 AM »

Who Saw Gandhi?

Sometimes old words acquire new meanings, as happened in this incident.Gandhi had arrived at the Harijan Ashram in Delhi. In this ashram ran a workshop to train boys in various vocational skills.

When Gandhi entered this workshop during his round of inspection, the boys working there stopped what they were doing to stare at him curiously. A lone boy, engrossed in making rotis, was so involved in cooking them over the chulha that he did not get to know that Gandhi had just passed from there.

As Gandhi came out of the workshop, one of the boys remarked in amazement, "Arrey, the boy making rotis did not see Bapu at all." Bapu responded at once, saying, "If there is anyone who really saw me at all in the whole workshop, it is the boy who was making rotis."

Ram Pradesh Shastri
 
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 07:46:24 AM »

An Early School
 
What were schools like a hundred and ten years ago when Gandhi was a child?

The Kattyawar High School, Rajkot where Gandhi studied for seven years, was the ninth English school started in Bombay Presidency (find out from your elders what this was) and the first in Kathiawar (now Saurashtra). It had a good building with classrooms that had benches to sit on and desks at which to write (unlike most other schools of the time). Inside the class-room, the teacher had his seat on a raised dais (or platform) facing the boys. Girls did not attend this School. (In fact, there weren't many schools where girls could study.)

At the age of 11 years, 2 months and 2 days, the young Mohandas was enrolled in standard l-B. The school's fee for standard I was 8 annas (50 paise) a month. On week days the school worked from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a recess of an hour at 2-3. On Saturdays it worked for half an hour less.

The subjects Gandhi had to study in standard I were arithmetic, Gujarati, history and geography. In geography, in fact, his marks in the first terminal examination of standard I were: zero. In English dictation that is, spelling too, he got no marks at all. In the same exam his rank was 32nd among the 34 students of his division. At the annual exam, though, he was able to secure the sixth rank among pupils in both divisions.

Adopted From Mahatma Gandhi as a Student edited and compiled by J.M. Upadhyaya
 
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 07:47:24 AM »

An Unusual March


It was a celebration of sorts. No mithai (sweets) or diyas (lamps) or even flowers. Instead, a march. To observe a hundred and twenty fifth anniversary.

This was a march to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 125th birthday. And this time it was not at Sabarmati or Porbandar but in England-the very place and the same people against whom he had.

The march took place between Birmingham and London, a distance of 125 miles, and lasted from the 22nd of September to the 2nd of October, 1994.

At every step, English men and women joined the march, lending support wherever they could. Sometimes, between one halt and another, there would be no place where we could eat. Village folk would then pitch in with boiled potatoes and tomatoes to keep the march going.

Along the way, one of the Indian marchers lost his camera. Later, when he returned home after the march, he was delighted to receive the news that his camera had been found and an English lady was taking the trouble to send it back to him.

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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 08:36:52 AM »

OM SAI RAM

THANKS subhasriniJI FOR SHARING SO MUCH PRECIOUS LESSON TAKING STORIES OF GANDHIJI....
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 09:02:56 AM »

The Less you have the more you are

If you had lots of money, what would you choose for yourself: a piece of coarse cloth or colourful fine clothes?

There was a time when Gandhi would have chosen the latter. At school as a child and later as a student of law in England, he bought the best of clothes, in tune with the fashion of the time.

How then did the change to a mere loin cloth occur? Well, it did not happen overnight but in phases. The first phase in this shedding began during his stay in South Africa. Having suffered at the hands of the British rulers he came to feel that if Asians and Africans were to win over humiliation, they needed to stop imitating Europeans at once.

At the same time, Gandhi was also influenced by the book Unto This Last. Real beauty, he learnt from this book, comes from within rather than from that which is outside. In Africa, therefore, his western clothes gave way to his native Kathiawari dress: dhoti, kurta and a turban.

It was in this elaborate Indian dress that Gandhi returned to India in 1915. Soon after, he went on an extensive tour of India. It was during this tour that he came to realise what poverty meant.

Once, in Madurai, he addressed a public meeting attended by a large number of men and women. That night, the picture of those half clad men and women filled his thoughts.

Next morning, Mr. Rajan who was translating Gandhiji's English speeches into Tamil, came to fetch him. Finding Gandhi in a loin cloth, Mr. Rajan said, "It is time for the meeting. Please get ready soon." "I'm ready," said Gandhi.

Surprised, Mr. Rajan asked again, "Are you not getting dressed to go?" At which Gandhi said, "From today, this is what I am going to wear - the dress that every Indian wears.

 
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2012, 12:38:38 PM »



Gandhi's Spiritual Heir
 
 On 7 June 1916, a young man of twenty waited at the gates of Gandhi's ashram at Kochrab, in Ahmedabad, for an interview with him. Later given the name of Vinoba Bhave, Vinayak Narhari Bhave was a Chitpavan Brahmin from Maharashtra. He had been drawn to the Mahatma, on reading reports of his stirring speech at the foundation stone ceremony of the Benares Hindu University in February that same year.

Gandhi had invited him to his Ashram for a detailed discussion. Their first meeting was in the kitchen where Gandhi was cleaning and cutting vegetables. He welcomed the newcomer warmly and offered him full membership of the Ashram.

The hard and austere life of the Ashram did not deter Vinoba. He participated quietly and painstakingly in all its activities. It was only when he was heard reciting verses from the Gita and Upanishads early One morning that the inmates of the Ashram came to know of his profound knowledge of Sanskrit and religious scriptures.

After some months, Vinoba's younger brother Balkoba also joined the Ashram. It was Balkoba who once found the 12-year-old son of the Ashram sweeper weeping when he was unable to lift the pots of night soil. He helped the young boy with his work and Vinoba, too, joined him. This created a sensation in the Ashram. "How could two Brahmins take to such work?" Many, including Gandhi's elder sister, left the Ashram.

Vinoba's humility and self-effacing ways made him relatively unknown till 1940. An article by Gandhiji in the Harijan, his weekly paper, drew public attention to the man who was later to become his spiritual heir. Gandhi described him as a man who "believes that silent constructive work with civil disobedience in the background is far more effective than the already crowded political platform."

Later, it was his work for the improvement of villages that was to make Vinoba famous. His Bhoodan (land gift) movement that took him from village to village in an attempt to find a solution to the problem of unequal distribution of land, was started in Pochampally (better known for its sarees!) in Andhra Pradesh.

This was in April 1951, when the land problem was so bad that it led to murders, fights and fires raging all around. On a padayatra, returning from Shivrampally, Vinoba camped at Pochampally. Here he held a prayer meeting attended by people from different walks of life. When he referred to the land problem, one of the Harijans said, " We work on the land with the sweat of our brow, but we have no land."

Vinoba asked them how much land they required. They quickly calculated: "80 acres". He, in turn, appealed to the conscience of the audience. Was there any among them generous enough? After a minute's silence, one gentleman, Ramachandra Reddy, got up, and offered, not eighty but one hundred acres.


 Courtesy:Rita Roy
 
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A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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