Back | Next
STUDENTS' PROJECTS > BA AND BAPU >74-year-old student Ba !
91. 74-year-old student Ba !
After Mahadevbhai's death the atmosphere in the Aga Khan Palace became very sad, indeed. So Bapu suggested to all the members of his party that each one of them should so draw up his daily programme that his mind would be kept fully and healthily occupied. For, he added, that in the world full of himsa, Ahimsa can find its proper place and purpose only in this way.
Bapu himself, of course, kept busy from morning to evening. However, he drew up a programme of work for everyone else of the party, including that for Ba. Accordingly, he started to teach Ba, the Gita, Gujarati, Geography and History. Also before his midday rest, he would read out something to her.
Ba, too, took great interest in her studies. But at her age it was rather difficult for her to learn. Often when Bapu would ask her some questions on the previous day's lesson, it was found that she had completely forgotten it. Once Bapu taught her the names of the rivers in the Punjab. But she could not remember them. So, after Bapu had retired for his siesta, she went up to Sushilabehn and asked her to write down the names of the rivers to help her remember them. Sometimes Bapu would teach Ba the names of important cities in different provinces of India and Ba, too, would make a special effort to remember them. But next day it was the same story over again. Ba had forgotten the lesson and she would say, "Lahore is the capital of Calcutta!" Later on, Bapu interested Ba in Natural Geography and told her several facts in this field with the aid of an orange, which he would order out for the purpose after his midday meal.
After some days, however, Pyarelalji also began to teach the same subject to Manubehn, and now and again Ba would overhear him. However, not being quite familiar with the Hindi equivalents of the English terms, he sometimes used one term for another and Ba, discovering this error, would rejoice, thus showing that she had learnt well her lessons from Bapu.
In addition, Bapu began teaching the fifth Gujarati primer to Ba. Whenever there was a poem to be studied, he would also teach her how to recite it and then afterwards, both of them would recite the poem. Now one day Sarojini Devi chanced to see this. So she said jokingly, "What are you two up to in your old age?" Whereupon Bapu had a hearty laugh, but after a brief pause, they resumed the recitation.