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112. "Pray For Me"

One of the constant visitors to the hospital where Gandhiji was recouping after his release from Yeravda Jail in February 1924 was an Englishman, an old military pen­sioner, who used to make it a point to come every other day with a bouquet of flowers, and get into Bapu's room unobstructed by any one. It was simply impossible to stop him. Impatiently he used to rush to Bapu, shake his hand, and deliver his message of cheer in a few seconds and walk away. "Cheer up, old man ! I see that you are very much better than yesterday. I know you must get better. How old are you ? Fifty-five. Oh, it is nothing. You know I am 82. Get better, please do."

One day he stopped and asked, "Can I do anything for you, Mr. Gandhi ?" "No," said Bapu, "please pray for me."

"That I will, but tell me if I can do anything for you. Please do tell me. Believe me to be your brother."

Bapu replied with a smile, "Believe me I have amongst my friends a number of Englishmen whom I regard as more than my brothers."

The man was deeply touched and left after assuring. Gandhiji that he prayed thrice every day that Gandhiji may live up to his age, and also that many Englishmen were praying for him, and many officers were inquiring after him.