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56. "Are You A Mahatma ?"

A correspondent once sent Gandhiji a formidable list of questions. The first question was:

"Are you really a Mahatma ?"

Gandhiji's reply was: "I do not feel like being one. But I do know that I am among the humblest of God's creatures."

Q. : If so, will you define the word Mahatma ?

A. : Not being acquainted with one, I cannot give you any definition.

Q. : If not, did you ever tell your followers that you are not one ?

A. : The more I repudiate, the more it is used.

Q. : Is it a fact that formerly you travelled third class in railway trains and now you travel in special trains and first class carriages ?

A.: Alas ! the correspondent is correctly informed. The Mahatma-ship is responsible for the special trains, and the earthy case for the degradation to the second class.

Q.: In what relation do you stand to Count Tolstoy ?

A.: As a devoted admirer who owes much in life to him.

Q.: What will your own position be when Swaraj is obtained?

A.: I would certainly like a prolonged and perhaps well-deserved holiday.