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61. Bapu's Humanity

At the Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations held at Ranchi on 2nd October, 1947, Shri Jairamdas Daulatram, who was then the Governor of Bihar, recalled two interesting incidents which took place in the Yeravda Jail, where, along with Gandhiji and others, he also was one of the prisoners lodged in 1930. One day, said Shri Jairamdas, while out on a morning stroll with naked feet, a black ant got on Gandhiji's foot, and began sucking his blood. But Gandhiji would not brush it off lest he might hurt or kill it. He allowed the ant to suck as much blood as it wanted to, though as a result of it he had to be in bed for a couple of days suffering from fever.

Again, when a warder of the jail, in response to Gandhiji's request for two or three leaves of Neem to clean his carding bow, brought to him a whole twig of that tree, Gandhiji felt that he had no claim on Nature's products beyond what was absolutely necessary and he warned the jail warder for having destroyed life unnecessarily.

These were small incidents indeed, said Shri Jairamdas, but the true greatness of a person lay more in small deeds like these than in big achievements. "It is small things that count most in a man's life and show the stuff he is made of. Thus, if any one wants to know and understand Gandhiji, his life and teachings, he must try to study and find out what true humanity is and how it works in Gandhiji's everyday life and teachings."