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123. His "Daughters"

At various times various people claimed kinship with Gandhiji, only to advance their ulterior motives. Several times such cases were brought to the notice of Gandhiji. He considered it as one of the grave dangers that followed mass awakening. Here is one such incident :

"I have just read a notice in the papers that a girl has been pretending to be my daughter and receiving on that account all kinds of attention. I do not mind owning, I should be proud to own, thousands of good, restrained girls, as my daughters. They will do credit to­me and the country. The world will recognize them as members of an ever-increasing family by adoption. As. it is, I have to remark for the tenth time that I do not possess the good fortune to have a daughter. There is a tiny 'untouchable' girl whom I do proudly call my adopted daughter. She has brought happiness to me and I hope by the time she has grown up she will bring truth and humi­lity to her future field of service. Today she is a veritable 'devil'. She believes in all play and no work. She finds it hard to work without the ebony ruler which used to- keep her straight in her paternal home. But I do not mind this charming idler of seven years claiming me as father. There are also some grown up girls who permit me the pleasure of claiming them as my daughters, but then they make it difficult for me to live up to the stand­ard they exact from me. They are ever in danger of my being a discreditable father to them. But I must inform all the girls of India that I decline to run the risk of being discredited by their forcible adoption. I want certainly to adopt all the exacting girls like the ones whose names too I dare not give to the world.

"But the reported forcible adoption of me by a girl is comparatively a harmless pastime. I hear that a gentleman by name Motilal Pancholi hailing from Udepur claims to be my disciple and to preach temperance and what nots among the rustics of Rajputana States. He is reported to j be surrounded by an armed crowd of admirers and establishing his kingdom or some other dom wherever he goes. He claims too miraculous power. He or his admirers are reported also to have done some destructive work. I wish that people once for all understand that I have no disci­ples. I have for the time being at any rate no existence apart from the Congress and the Khilafat committees. All my activity is referable to these two organizations. None works in my name; none has authority to use my name .save under my own writing."