To my mother who taught me to respect all work
This is a book for children. But I am sure that many grown-ups will read it with pleasure and
Already Gandhiji has become a legend. Those who have not seen him, especially the children of
today, must think of him as a very unusual person, a superman who performed great deeds. It is
desirable, therefore, for the common aspects of his life to be placed before them, as is done by
this book.
It is extraordinary how in many things he took interest and when he took interest, he did so
thoroughly. It was not a superficial interest. It was perhaps his thoroughness in dealing with what
are considered to be the small things of life which emphasized his humanism. That was the basis
of his character.
I am glad that this book has been written telling us of how Gandhiji functioned in a variety of
ways, quite apart from politics and the public scene. It will perhaps give us a greater insight into
Jawaharlal Nehru
New Delhi,
10th March, 1964.
THE MANUSCRIPT Of this book has been lying with me since 1949. I read D. G. Tendulkar’s
manuscript of the Mahatma in 1948, just after I had left the work in Kasturba training camp of
Bengal. I worked in a village. The villagers around me and the girl trainees, I noticed, knew very
little about Gandhiji. They observed Gandhi Jayanti, daily spun and prayed. Some had taken part
in national movements and courted jail, but they did not know what Gandhiji’s real contribution
was. Maybe, I was wrong, but that is what I felt.
I still feel the same about many persons I come in contact with everyday, some of whom are
educated, and all of whom abhor manual labour. I myself do not believe in the dignity of labour
but I know the drudgery of body labour. And that is why I everyday try to share some manual
labour with servants, lest I develop the feeling that just by paying a few chips I can win a right to
make others work for me.
I wanted to present Gandhiji as a willing sharer in many such labours, which others do to earn
their livelihood, not for the love of the work. Some incidents are repeated purposely. I definitely
do not want to add more persons to the band of blind worshippers of Gandhiji. But I would very
much like the young of today to know that Gandhiji was not merely the Father of the Nation or
the Architect of Freedom, and then, criticise him.
The idea of the book was mine. I wrote it for the teenagers. Almost all the material has been
culled from D. G. Tendulkar’s Mahatma. I cannot express how much indebted I am to him for
this small publication. Mr. N. G. Jog was kind enough to go through the manuscript. Mr. M.
Chalapathi Rau gave me the chance of getting twenty of these sketches published in a series in
the National Herald.
I am indebted to Mr. R. K. Laxman for the illustrations he has done for my book.
I am extremely grateful to Jawaharlalji for writing a foreword to this book.
I shall be happy if one young reader out of a thousand practises any of the works done by
A BUSY BARRISTER advised his clients not to ruin themselves by wasting time and money on
litigation and to settle their disputes out of court through arbitration. In his leisure hours, he read
books on the religions of the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists. He also read
books written by wise men. This study of books and a search within convinced him that each day
every person should do some manual labour. It was not enough to do only brain work. The literate
and the illiterate, the doctor and lawyer, barber and scavenger should be paid equal wages for their
He slowly changed his way of life and began to lend a hand to

© 2016 All right reserved