In 1922, Gandhiji was sentenced for six years. I was also sent to jail with him, for one year. I was with him all the time. During those days carding cotton and spinning it held the first place in his routine. He used to card the cotton for two hours and then spin for four hours till it tired him. In the meantime, a leader who was about to be released came to see him. He said, “Bapu, tell me what to do after I am released. I need your advice.” Gandhiji said, “Try to propagate Khadi with all your might.” The leader was a believer in Khadi and used to spin cotton regularly. But he had doubts about its acceptance by the people. He said, “You are right, Bapu, but how is it going to be sold? What if people don’t like it?” The gentleman’s queries irritated Gandhiji. Troubled, he said, Alright, then you suggest what should I ask you to do. Should I ask you to make a film so that people would like to see it? Hundreds of people would watch and pay for it too.
“But how would it help us? We must not do what
people would like. We should rather lead them to the path of their welfare
and ‘Charkha’ is that path.” He saw that the poor don’t get clothes even to
cover themselves, he decided to clothe himself scantily. He felt very sorry
about the poverty in the country but more than that he was unhappy about
people’s inactivity and lack of concern regarding it. Why did the country
reach this state? Inactivity is the root cause of poverty. If the people are
concerned about it, they should try to eradicate it. But the laziness has
gone to such an extent that it almost competes with the extent of poverty
and unhappiness. If laziness is done away with, poverty can be removed. The
only solution for getting rid of the inactivity is to make the villagers do
something, which they can easily do. It will benefit both – their mind as
well as their body.