Gandhi Comes Alive

Flashback - Introduction

-Apurva Mehta

My late father Jayantilal R Mehta was a Gandhian and was one of the trustees of Sharda-Mandir, a multi-purpose high school at Karachi (now in Pakistan). It was visited by Gandhiji, Pandit Nehru, Gurudev Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Acharya Kripalani, Madam Maria Montessori and many other distinguished people from India and abroad who during their visit to Sharda-Mandir addressed students. My elder sister and two elder brothers studied there. Gandhiji was much concerned about safety of the people during partition time riots. My father used to mail a post-card to Gandhiji every day to appraise him of the latest situation in Karachi during the transition period. While letters were either censored or confiscated these post-cards always reached Gandhiji. Manuben Gandhi’s diaries contain references to my father. My elder sister had stayed with Gandhiji at Sevagarm Ashram for a month. In our home there was often discussion on Gandhiji and there was great respect, admiration and awe for him. In my school and college days I had developed a hobby of collecting autographs of distinguished people. I used to write letters to them to collect their autographs and autographed letters. This also prompted me to write to people who were close to Gandhiji and that is how these letters were collected.