5. Erase Those Two Words
The Hindu-Muslim riots had broken out in Calcutta (now Kolkata). A mob attacked the house Gandhiji was staying in. They shattered the doors, the windows and the furniture too. They threw bricks at Gandhiji, but by God’s grace no one was hurt. The incident made him brood over it. He decided to go on a fast. He said that he would keep fast to bring awareness to the agitated people of Calcutta. He said, “My conscience prods me to go door to door and ask the people to do away with their differences of opinion and unite again. Since it is not possible for me at this age, I have resorted to go on fast.” He had already declared that during the fast he would take only water, soda and lemon squash. Rajaji was the Governor of Bengal at that time. Since Gandhiji had decided to have lemon squash, Rajaji thought that there was a chance to dissuade him from fasting. Rajaji met him and explained the reason for not doing so. He said, “If you are going on fast, why take lemon squash even?” Gandhiji looked at Nirmal Babu and asked, “Why didn’t you realise it when you checked my declaration? Rajaji knows me since long and hence he has caught me perfectly. I hope that I would be able to sustain the fast and that’s why I mentioned lemon squash.” Saying this he took the pencil and erased the words ‘lemon squash’!