STUDENTS' PROJECTS > GANDHI - GANGA > > Ghanshyamdas Birla > On The Deathbed of a Patient
46. On The Deathbed of A Patient
This is an old incident. In Delhi, a woman emaciated by the disease was about to die. Her respiration was the only sign of life. She had lost all hopes for life. Thinking that she was about to embark upon her last journey, she kept murmuring ‘Ramnam’, but she earnestly wished to meet Gandhiji. She hoped that her last wish be granted by the God. Gandhiji was nowhere near Delhi at the time, so it seemed rather impossible. But to me it seemed unfortunate that a dying person’s wish could not be met. I said to her, “Let’s see. If God provides, your wish might be granted.”
After two days, I came to know that Gandhiji was coming from Kanpur and going to Ahmedabad via Delhi. His train would arrive at Delhi at 4 O’clock, early in the morning and the train to Ahmedabad would depart at 5 O’clock. There was just an hour in-between. The sick woman lived ten miles from Delhi. Going to see her and coming back in an hour’s time was rather impossible.
It was a windy day of the winter season. To ask Bapu to travel twenty miles back and forth seemed improper to me. Secondly that distressed woman didn’t at all now about Gandhiji’s arrival there. Gandhiji alighted the train. I whispered to him hesitantly, “Could you stay here for a day?” Gandhiji said, “Its very difficult.” I was depressed to hear that. I knew how disappointed the sick woman would be!
Gandhiji asked me, “Why do you ask me to stay?” I told him the reason. Gandhiji said, “Come, we shall go there at once.” I said, “How dare I take you out in an open car in this chilling weather?”
He asked me not to worry about it and to get him in the car immediately. I did so. It was extremely cold and windy. The day was about to break. The early morning silence pervaded the atmosphere. The sick woman was saying ‘Ramnam’ on her deathbed. Gandhiji went to her bed. I told her, “See, Gandhiji has come.” She could hardly believe it. Stunned, she tried to get up but had no strength left. Tears rolled down her eyes. The sick woman’s eyes expressed the peace she felt. Gandhiji’s train had already departed but we were able to catch it at the next station.