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113. Unforgetful Memories

Describing some of the unforgetful memories of his comradeship with Gandhiji in South Africa, Mr. Hermann Kallenbach, who came to visit Gandhiji in Sevagram in May 1937 after a separation of no less than 23 years, told Shri Mahadev Desai that once, during their walks, there was a terrible thunder-storm. "Rain was pouring down in torrents and the storm and thunder made all other sounds inaudible. As we were trying to cut across a road a tramcar rushed past us both, nearly grazing us and it was by the sheerest good luck that we were not killed that day. 'It would have been a glorious death,' said Bapu that moment: 'that was the moment to die, because both of us have been strenuously striving to live according to our ideals. And there is nothing more glorious than to die whilst you are striving.’ Well, that is a thing I can never forget. I can even now see the tramcar rushing past us, nearly knocking us down. It was during those talks that I decided that if ever there was a man for whom I could lay down my life it was he. But let me also confess that I have not the courage to lay it down for anyone else."

Mr. Kallenbach also recalled another extraordinary incident in his life with Gandhiji. On their journey to England by boat in 1914, Gandhiji discovered that Mr. Kallenbach happened to possess two costly pairs of binoculars. Gandhiji knew that his friend was fond of binocu­lars, but then both of them had long since decided to eschew luxuries and vowed to lead simple lives. Gandhiji, said Mr. Kallenbach, appeared very much annoyed when he found that the costly binoculars had been purchased without his permission. "He asked me," added Mr. Kallenbach, "to fling them into the sea. I had not the heart to do so. I said, 'You might do whatever you like with them,' and without the slightest twitch of conscience he flung both the pairs into the sea."