The manuscript of this book has been lying with me since1949. 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. May be I was wrong, but that is what I felt.
I still feel the same about many persons I come in contact with
every day, some of whom are educated, 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's why I every day 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 shared 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
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 have been culled from D. G Tendulkar's Mahatma. I cannot
express how much indebted I am to him for this small publication.. My diffidence
delayed the publication of this small book. Mr. N. G. Jog and Prof. P. R. Sen were
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
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
practices and of the works done by Gandhiji.