When Gandhiji went to London to attend the Round Table conference, King George V (also called Pancham George in India) had arranged a dinner party for all members.
The viceroy, Sir Samuel Hoare was worried about inviting Gandhiji. His first
worry was, would the king meet such a rebel? And the second was, even if they
meet, Gandhiji’s dressing won’t look appropriate at the party. He talked to the
King. The King first expressed his anger saying, “What? Why should I invite that
rebel Fakir, who has been responsible for the attack on my loyal officers?”
After sometime, he again displayed his dislike for that `small man with open
knees and without proper dressing.’ But, finally it was decided that, Gandhiji
should be invited without putting any condition regarding his dress.
The viceroy had taken charge of presenting Gandhiji at the right moment before
the King, at the dinner party hosted by the latter. It was not difficult to
identify Gandhiji from the crowd due to his pure white Khaddar clothes. He took
Gandhiji to meet the King and introduced. It was a difficult moment. It was not
possible for the King to forget Gandhiji’s rebellion. During the last whole
year, Gandhiji had launched a powerful Satyagraha movement in India.
But, once they started talking, it all went on quite smoothly. The King was
sympathetic and Gandhiji’s manners were also unquestionable. But, during their
conversation, when the King’s eyes once set on Gandhiji’s open knees for a
moment, his heart started beating rapidly.
Now, their conversation was gradually proceeding towards the end. King George
Pancham was quite aware of his responsibility. At the time of farewell, he
warned Gandhiji: “Remember, Mr. Gandhi, I won’t tolerate any attack on my
The viceroy became very tense. It looked like as if the war of words would start
But Gandhiji’s gentleness took the situation under control. He answered, “My
Majesty, I should not drag myself into a political dispute with you after having
enjoyed the hospitality of my Highness.”
And they took each other’s leave in a friendly atmosphere.
The viceroy was stunned. “How one was a very noble King and the other was the
great statesman! The men who are above worldliness, possess the superb worldly manners,” he thought.