There used to be an inscription on the flag of Maharaja Gaikwad of Baroda—‘Jin Ghar, Jin Takhat’ (The saddle is our home, the saddle is our throne). The Maratha Sardars (knights) felt proud that their saddles were never taken off their horses. Their horses used to be saddled day and night. Likewise Gandhiji’s home and ashram and the third class compartment were the same for him. He continuously traveled to propagate his message from one end of the country to the other. It was very difficult to guess whether he spent more time in Ashram or in the railway compartment.
He would do all his daily chores as if the
railway compartment was his home. He would work on his spinning wheel, spin
yarn, pray, look after the correspondence, give interviews, etc. there. He
always traveled by the third class and experienced the jostling and the
plight of the travelers of that class. He was not known as ‘Mahatma’ then.
Many a times he would have to travel standing all the way and bear the
The leaders of the country used to be a bit
reserved and maintained a distance from the poor countrymen. They used to
travel by the first class like higher officials. Once Gandhiji came to
Calcutta and stayed at Gokhale’s residence. While returning, Gokhale offered
to see him off at the station. Gandhii politely tried to dissuade him, but
Gokhale did not listen to him. He said, “Were you traveling by the first
class like others, I wouldn’t have come to see you off. I will come because
you will be going by the third class.” Gandhiji got to know very well the
poor countrymen through traveling by third class. No other leader knew the
common people, their disposition, their shortcomings, their habits and many
other things, as good as Gandhi knew. That is the reason why people revered
him so much.