<--Added on 8/22/08 for migration to TPB -->
Rarest among jewels
It was the first and only time they met each other. And it all lasted for barely an instant.
The year was 1919. MK Gandhi was in Madras at the residence of Rajaji, drumming up support in the south for his Civil Disobedience Movement. Rajaji, Satyamurthy and other leaders were in serious discussion with the Mahatma. Suddenly, a disorderly maverick with unkempt hair, long beard and flaming eyes stormed into the room. Exhibiting a brazen urgency, he walked straight upto the Mahatma's bed and before anyone could react, sat next to him. He looked straight into the great man's eyes and shot forth a question:
-"Mr.Gandhi, I am speaking at the beach in Triplicane this evening. Will you preside over the function?"
Gandhi turned to his secretary Mahadev Desai and found he had a previous commitment.
-"Cant you schedule it for tomorrow?", the Mahatma gently asked the intruder.
-"No. Goodbye. I bless your efforts. May God help you!"
Saying so, the man strode out of the room as quickly as he had come in.
Even as his hosts were yet to recover from this abrupt encounter, Gandhi asked them, "Who is he? Is there no one in Tamil Nadu to look after him? He should be well looked after."This
was the man.
He bathed when he liked and shaved when he pleased. Clad in just a loin-cloth, he gambolled with the urchins and bumpkins of Kadayam village(his wife's native), teaching them songs and games. His open mind and all-embracing outlook made him a ready target for the arrows of the conservatives. Beareaved of his mother at age 5, his father at age 16, found his father's wealth turn to dust immediately, left his 8 year old wife alone and went to Benares to study and came back. Long long before Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915, his fiery writings aroused the masses and he fled to Pondicherry to escape arrest by the British. The poverty of his family forced him to re-enter TN and was jailed immediately. But there was no restraint to the song in his soul.
His prodigious mind also churned out poetry by the thousands.
Rarest jewels such as this pass by once in a thousand years. The world is simply incapable of fathoming the depths of their genius or intellect.