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A Chilly Autumn Day with Mahatma Gandhi

January 16, 2021

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6
    Devadas looked at his father. His eyes were barely open, staring off into the ocean, looking at the little strand of land that carried the name of England. 
    "What are you thinking deeply about?" Devadas asked.
    His eyes opened all the way. Devadas smiled. He was very tired running nonviolent movements, he would normally close his eyes through long discussions. But not with his family, he loved them very much. It showed in the little things his father did. However, Harilal didn't see that.
    Devadas frowned. Why couldn't Harilal see that he loved them so? Why couldn't Harilal see that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had so much work being the father of a nonviolence movement in India that he didn't have time to be at his son's beck and call? Devadas knew that part of it was the fact that he had been without his father for a couple of years when Mohandas was in South Africa. But even when he had invited his son back, Harilal had wanted a life of luxury- wanting it all about him. Devadas gave a bitter smile. One of the few things that the father and son had in common was the fact that they've been arrested multiple times- however, Mohandas got arrested for trying nonviolent attempts to free India, Harilal got arrested for quarrel, thefts, and other outrageous things.
    The bapu answered, bringing Devadas out of his thoughts, "I was just thinking about the last time I wore white when I arrived in London on a chilly autumn day."
    "When was that?" Devadas asked, suddenly intrested.
    "On October 27th, 1888," Devadas's father answered. "I was eighteen." 
    "Tell me more about it, please," Devadas pleadead. 
    "That was before I went to South Africa," he recounted. "That was before the protests. I hadn't been wearing my white dhoti. I was coming to England to study law. I had mostly dark suits but one white summer flannel one. I had saved mine for when I would arrive in England." He gave a short laugh and said, "Of course, it had to be a foggy, cold September day. My arms were prickled with goosebumps when I stepped onto land."
    "What was England like?" Devadas asked. "This is my first time going there." 
    "Many things," the father answered. "The 'bellhops' have the fanciest uniforms, more than a general of an army. They have bright lights that threaten to blind your eyes. But here is the most astonishing thing of all- they have what I thought was a mini waiting room that rises up to another floor."
    "Really?" Devadas asked.
    "Really."
    Devadas put his head on his father's shoulder and said, "Thank you."
    This is a short story about Mahatma Gandhi and one of his sons, Devadas, interacting. Gandhi did often close his eyes through long discussions. However, there is no place where it said he opened his eyes nor kept them closed for his family. Harilal did rebel against his father, and they had both been arrested, the reasons listed in the story. People would call Gandhi "Bapu", which means father. And Ghandi did go to South Africa to study law, and saw all those things, including an elevator.
    My primary source was John B. Severance's book "Gandhi Great Soul". But a few other sources I used are here:
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/harilal-gandhi-33672.php
https://www.historyextra.com/period/20th-century/gandhi-in-britain/#:~:text=On%20the%20afternoon%20of%2027,long%20sea%20voyage%20from%20Bombay.

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2 Comments
  • Coolgirl2020 (LOVE YA ALL)

    Anddddd, just reviewed this! :)


    18 days ago
  • Emi

    Oh, I love this different perspective about Gandhi...interesting to read about it from one of his sons' eyes.
    Re: I'm writing a book about a family and a town in the early 1900's, set in rural Pennsylvania. It's kind of just a collection of stories, some humorous, some tragic, and some romantic, so I figured since they're shorter stories they would work well to post here.


    about 2 months ago