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131. Experiments with Uncooked Food

Gandhiji believed in Nature Cure. Dietetics also interested him. There was no suggestion that he would throw it away as useless unless it was tried fully and gave unfavourable results. He would conduct the experiment on himself so that he could get first-hand information about the pros and cons of the experiment. Here is what he described in Young India (13-6-'29) as his experiments with uncooked food :

"I have been known as a crank, faddist, madman. Evidently the reputation is well deserved. For, wherever I go, I draw to myself cranks, faddists, and madmen. Andhra has a fair share of these. They often find their way to Sabarmati. No wonder then that I found these specimens in abundance during my Andhra tour. But I propose to introduce to the reader only the fellow crank who by his living faith in his mission compelled my admiration and induced me to plunge into a dietetic experiment which I had left unfinished at the age of twenty when I was a student in London. This is Sundaram Gopalrav of Rajahmundry. The ground was prepared for him by a survey superintendent whom I met in Vizagapatam and who told me that he was living practically on raw food. Gopalrav has a Nature Cure establishment in Rajahmundry, to which he devotes all his time. He said to me, 'The hipbaths and kindred appliances are good so far as they go. But they are artificial. To be rid of disease it is necessary to do away with fire in the preparation of foods. We must take everything in its vital state even as animals do.'

'Would you advise me to adopt entirely raw diet ?' I asked.

'Certainly, why not? I have cured cases of chronic dyspepsia in old men and women through a balanced diet containing germinated seeds,' was Gopalrav's reply.

'But surely there should be a transition stage,' I gently remonstrated.

'No such stage is necessary,' rejoined Gopalrav. 'Uncooked food including uncooked starch and protein are any day more digestible than cooked. Try it and you will feel all the better for it.'

'Do you take the risk ? If the cremation ceremony takes place in Andhra, the people will cremate your body with mine,' I said.

'I take the risk,' said Gopalrav.

'Then send me your soaked wheat. I commence from today,' I said.

Poor Gopalrav sent the soaked wheat. Kasturba not knowing that it could possibly be meant for me gave it to the volunteers who finished it. So I had to commence the experiment the next day."

Gandhiji subsequently gave up the experiment as it had unfavourable effect on his health.