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122. Harijan Work for Students
While Gandhiji was recouping his health at Parnakuti, Poona, after his "anti-untouchability" fast in Yeravda Jail in 1933, a group of high school students came to see him. They stated that they wanted to serve Harijans, but their fathers would not allow them. Gandhiji laughingly said they should fight them, but he added, "How can you fight them?"
He asked them, "What do you do when you want things done. You cry. Is it not?"
The students laughingly said "Yes." Gandhiji said : "Then pry and weep." (Laughter)
One student said that as their fathers were Government servants they were afraid to join the anti-untouchability movement.
Gandhiji at once replied : "This is not political work. Even Government servants could do many things. They could contribute funds, and engage in their houses untouchables and bring up Harijan boys and girls. There is no politics in that."
"How could we serve them in schools?" asked another student.
Gandhiji : "In schools you can't do anything. You go there to learn. Don't bother your little heads there, but out of school hours you can do much."
Question : "How?"
Gandhiji : "Go where the untouchables are living, mix with them, play with them and see that their quarters are kept clean; take a broom and sweep. Teach them to be clean. Show by your own life that you don't observe untouchability. Show them that you love them. Treat them as your blood brothers."
Concluding he said, "You are too young. Day by day you will learn better and the knack of doing things in the right way."
The students thanked Gandhiji and offered him garlands and withdrew.