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43. Harijan Sin The Ashram
When Gandhiji established his Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati he declared that if a deserving Harijan came to him, he would be allowed to stay there.
People were doubtful that any Harijan would come there. So people didn't pay attention to it and kept helping Gandhiji in the establishment. They never let Gandhiji worry about money.
After a few days, a Harijan family really came there. The husband, wife and their child came there. Thakkar Bappa sent them there.
Gandhiji thought that God was trying to test him. He asked the Harijan man if he knew the rules of the Ashram.
"Yes," he said.
"Would you be able to follow them?"
"Yes."
"Then you are welcome! Feel at home here!"
In this way the Harijan family started living there. They lived there with others. They worked with them and ate with them too.
But all the inmates of the Ashram were not understanding enough. Many of them were disturbed by this incident. So Gandhiji told them clearly, "I want them here! Those who don't want to follow the rules may leave. Rules won't change even if it's my wife or children."
The news spread out in the town that Gandhiji has allowed a Harijan to stay in the Ashram.
People thought, "He did what he declared. Why should we help his corrupt deeds?" The orthodox businessmen then stopped donating money to the Ashram.
Maganlal Gandhi used to look after the management of the Ashram. He told Bapuji, "The store room is empty now. What would we do next month?"
Gandhiji assured him, "Have faith in God! When nothing remains, we will go to the Harijan colony and work for earning our livelihood. But we will still not leave the path of truth!"