Gandhi Comes Alive

Four Anecdotes

-Jack C. Winslow

One characteristic incident of that visit remains with me. Charlie and- I had left Bapu lying on the verandah, and Charlie was telling me about an article he had just written for the Manchester Guardian about the satyagraha movement then in progress in Travancore. In glowing terms he had described how all eyes were now concentrated on this wonderful movement and no one was interested any longer in the proposed Government reforms. "I'll just go and show it to Bapu," said' Charlie, "before I send it off." Presently he returned, thoroughly crest- fallen. "What did Bapu think of it?" I asked. "Oh," said Charlie, "Bapu said: Charlie, it's what you'd like to be true; but it isn't true!" With all Bapu's idea's went a strong strain of realism, which Charlie Andrews sometimes, lacked.

During the fast which Bapu undertook for the alteration of the 'Communal Award' for the Harijans, I went to see him in the prison at Yeravda. He was lying on a cot in the open court under a tree; and, as I approach- ed, I struck my head on an overhanging bough.

A few days later, I went again to see him; and, as I approached, Bapu lifted a warning hand and said: "Mind the branch!" 'With visitors coming all day, it was amazing that he could remember so trivial a matter concerning one unimportant person!

When landing from the steamer on his way, to London for the Round Table Conference, he was approached by a newspaperman desiring an interview. The latter, in the course of conversation, commented playfully on the scantiness of his attire in view of the rigours of the English climate. "It seems to me," replied the Mahatma with a smile, "that your plus fours are quite as amusing as my minus fours."

While at Oxford, Bapu was invited by the Master of Balliol to speak to a number of Oxford dons at his college. At the end of his address an opportunity for questions was given. A young don, slightly swollen-headed through having recently been made a Fellow of All Souls, commented a little scornfully that he could not under- stand how Mr. Gandhi could possibly reconcile two particular statements which he had made. Bapu smiled at him and replied in the politest manner, "If you cannot understand, I will take you step by step,"-a remark which the entire company. greeted with delighted laughter.

Lynton, 26-9-1948.